Saturday, October 18, 2008

In Search of Music on a School Night

There should be an order to these things. First Thursday, then Friday.

So Thursday.

I met Courtney at Mexico for a leisurely dinner then headed up to the Paramount Theatre to see "Spring Awakening."

The show left me fairly cold. Our seats were obstructed by large scaffolding on the sides of the stage -- the most expensive, "best available" seats purchased before tickets were open to the public. Part of me wanted to let it go because I worked in a ticket office for 2 years and I understand how seating works. But seriously. These seats should not have been sold at full price and it should've been obvious far enough in advance to do something about it. Shame on you, Paramount.

The show itself... Set design is a noble art and it always disappoints me when I feel the Director must have thrown up his hands and said, "Meh." Another big open stage with some chairs moved around. Also, what looked like audience members were seated onstage for the whole performance for no reason.

Costumes were nice. Actors had beautiful faces and voices. Choreography was odd. During a song about knowing there's a moment when you're fucked, everyone bursts into epilectic fits onstage. Not so much choreography as crazy.

I suspect that they didn't have enough money for set designer or choreographer.

The structure of the plot made me sad. It's been awhile since I read Wedekind's play, but I remember being shocked and surprised and in awe of these characters' situations and most importantly, the absurdity. Only one character, Ilsa(?), was truly absurd to me. But I'd have to reread the play to be sure about this point.

The musical set us up for 2 specific events and then slammed us over the head with them. Lazy. Also, the 2nd act was way too rushed. And somehow it ended on a high note with a stupid song. In short, I'm saying that the transitions were terrible.

After the delightful surprise of Avenue Q, I was disappointed with this show.

I should also mention that mid-way through the first act, someone in the audience across the row required medical attention. The person was carried out of his seat, laid on the ground, and eventually I think a wheelchair was brought down. Someone whispered loudly, "Did you call an ambulance yet?" The show, of course, went on.

Friday night I saw Dar Williams at the Moore Theatre. Shawn Mullins opened, who I totally confused with Shawn Colvin, until he walked out onstage. Whoops. He had a beautiful voice and was a gifted storyteller, but his subject matter is not something I relate to -- though his song about suckling at the corporate breast and not losing your dreams drew a grand reaction from the crowd.

When he played his acoustic version of his late 90's hit, "Rockabye," I totally wanted to yell, "Sing it like the record!" I didn't, but I cracked myself up in my head. (For the record, it was not like the record.)

Dar Williams... She is a lot of fun. Her voice is more amazing in person than on cassette and CD, which shouldn't surprise me but it always does. Most of her set was from her current album, "Promised Land," which I've already said here that I love. She also played, "Spring Street," "The Christians and the Pagans," and "When I Was a Boy." Shivers.

Have a great weekend.

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