It wasn’t meant to be airing until late 2021 but the filmed version of the Broadway production of Hamilton will now be airing this summer. With the cinematic release of In The Heights being pushed back to next year, it means that Lin-Manuel Miranda will still get his chance to take over our households once again.
The film was made with the original Broadway cast (whom I was lucky to see) just two weeks before Miranda left the cast. And as it turned out, I saw Javier Muñoz as Hamilton so this means I’ll finally get to see Miranda delivering the music, lyrics and book he wrote and for which he has subsequently won every award going. Continue reading “News: Hamilton film to premiere on Disney+”
“I am not afraid
As everything I’ll ever need appears
his is how my world gets made”
A musical adaptation of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film and led by a red-hot Phillipa Soo coming off her enormous success of Hamilton, Amélie felt like a safe bet for at least a half-decent run on the Great White Way. But underwhelming reviews crippled it and striking out on Tony nominations delivered the killer blow, meaning it closed at the Walter Kerr Theatre before even making it to its third month.
Fortunately, we were blessed with an Original Broadway Cast Recording, so those of us unable to see it can experience some of its pleasures. And it is undeniably pleasant, as befits so gently lovely a story as this. With music by Daniel Messé, lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen and a book by Craig Lucas, there’s little to take offence at, and you suspect that that is part of the problem. The gentleness that is such an integral part of the show and the score just ends up tending towards the bland in this volume. Continue reading “Album Review: Amélie (2017 Original Broadway Cast Recording)”
Hamilton-mania never dies down – as the first news about the UK cast arrives, the original Schuyler Sisters are reuniting this weekend!
Continue reading “Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things”
“Gonna have to study up a little bit
If you wanna keep up with the plot”
It might seem a little disingenuous to wish that Hamilton
had won one more Tony than the eleven it scored but the deserving Philippa Soo stood no chance against the juggernaut that is Cynthia Erivo’s Celie in The Color Purple
for the Lead Actress award, despite her name being part of a Beautiful South lyric (Jennifer, Alison…). So I was interested to listen to the only other cast recording I could find with her on it, 2013’s Off-Broadway production of Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
Described as an “electropop” opera (although electropop evidently means something different across the ocean) and with a story filleted from the mid-section of War and Peace (Volume 2, Part 5 to be precise), it’s a rather startling but hugely imaginative piece of writing that folds in musical influences far beyond that descriptor. There’s elements of electro-pop and other contemporary pop sounds including indie rock and they’re somehow combined with Russian folk and classical music in some unholy alliance.
It is effective though – complex and tangled as much musically as lyrically, the score is fiercely demanding but in the way that makes you want to listen to it, I’m on my fourth full run-through and I still keep discovering entirely new facets to the layering of the writing, in some ways it’s a wonder this hasn’t caught on like Hamilton – maybe the forthcoming Broadway run will rectify that… Sadly Soo won’t be with that production (she’s going onto new show Amélie) but it’s glorious getting to hear her tenderly romantic voice here as the conflicted Natasha.
Other standouts are Lucas Steele’s Anatole in all his seductive glory, Brittain Ashford’s Sonya, Amber Gray’s Helene whose ‘Charming’ is superb, and Malloy himself as Pierre, a smaller contribution that one might expect for a title character but you’ll soon see why once you give Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 a good listen or 3 and fall under its strangely compelling spell.
“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known”
I can understand why people might be feeling a little Hamilton-ed out with more than 12 months to go until it opens at the Victoria Palace and no let up in the hugely successful Broadway run, even as the original cast members are beginning to scatter. I even sometimes think I feel that way myself but the minute I pop the cast recording on to listen to a song or 3 or even the whole damn thing because I can’t resist, I am swept up once again in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genius.
Part of this comes from the care and attention that was put into creating the Official Broadway Cast Recording, multiple recording sessions over several days were put in with The Roots on production duties, ensuring the layered complexity of every aspect of the score was preserved on record. And it is densely packed, it needs, nay demands, multiple listens to unpack not just the lyrical content but also the musicality, the richness of the orchestrations and how detailed they are. Continue reading “Album Review: Hamilton (2015 Original Broadway Cast Recording)”
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Frank Langella, The Father
Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
Mark Strong, A View from the Bridge
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey into Night
Laurie Metcalf, Misery
Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo, The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Leslie Odom, Jr, Hamilton
Alex Brightman, School of Rock
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, The Humans
Bill Camp, The Crucible
David Furr, Noises Off
Richard Goulding, King Charles III
Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey into Night
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
Megan Hilty, Noises Off
Andrea Martin, Dotty Otley
Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along
“I’m crossing the ocean and I just can’t wait”
Where to begin? Could anyone have expected the phenomenal success of Hamilton? Turning into the biggest Broadway hit of an age, accepting invitations to the White House, reinventing day queue culture, being the subject of made-up scandals, winning Grammys, all while radically challenging traditional notions of musical theatre. The build up of such hype has been thrilling to see but also poses questions like ‘could it really possibly be that good?’. And ‘how on earth does one get tickets for find out for oneself?’.
In short, the answers are yes and by booking months ahead in my case. I deliberately hadn’t listened to the original cast recording when it was released as I wanted to experience it for the first time on stage and knowing full well that I would get to see it one way or another, I also denied myself any of the multifarious online offerings so that the first I saw of Hamilton would be as the curtain rose at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. And I have to say the anticipation and delayed gratification was completely worth it – that said, I’ve struggled to write about the show in a satisfactory way (“I will never be satisfied…”) so treat this as an outpouring rather than a review. Continue reading “Review: Hamilton, Richard Rodgers Theatre”
UK – Best male in a supporting role
Adam James as Prime Minister Evans in King Charles III at the Almeida and Wyndhams
UK – Best female in a supporting role
Deborah Findlay as Volumnia in Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse
US – Most promising male
Josh Grisetti – as Marty Kaufman in It Shoulda Been You
US – Most promising female
Phillipa Soo – as Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton