Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

10/01/2008

Life is a Stage

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

A New York sojourn isn’t complete without taking in some of Broadway’s alternately moving and comical theatrical performances. Reputed to be the pinnacle of professional theatre along with London’s West End, find yourself involuntarily singing along softly and tapping your feet to the music on Broadway.

Text and Pictures by: Carren Jao
Published: MEGA Magazine Sept 2008

In the Heights
Salsa, merengue, hip-hop and rap beats resound all throughout Richard Rodgers Theatre as In the Heights, the little musical that could, premieres on Broadway after only a year playing off-Broadway. This musical, a brainchild of lead actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, portrays the irrepressible spirit of the Latino people in Washington Heights as they strive for the dreams and fall in love. The result is a joyous musical that moves the audience to tap and click their heels to the rhythm of the beat as well as squeeze the hands of their nearby loved ones. Though a rose-tinted rendition of life in the barrio, In the Heights emerges as an honest portrayal of Latino life on the streets of New York and 2008’s Tony Award winner for Best Musical.

Monty Python’s Spamalot
Fans of 1975 U.K. comedy, Monty Python and the Holy Grail will find themselves rolling in their seats and laughing at the slapstick “punny” Broadway version, Monty Python’s Spamalot.” This comedic musical “lovingly ripped off” from the film, as its tagline proudly announces, won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2005. With book and lyrics written by John du Prez and an original member of the Monty Python crew, Eric Idle, it echoes much of the outrageous Arthurian tale told in the original film, including a Finnish spoof at the beginning of the show. This musical amazes especially with the vocal stylings of its resident diva, the Lady of the Lake, and tickles in all the right places, leaving audiences laughing and whistling along to the tune of its company bow, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

The New Mel Brooks Musical: Young Frankenstein
After the overwhelming success of his 2001 musical, The Producers, Mel Brooks once again translates his 1974 comedy film onto the stage. Young Dr. Frankenstein, an esteemed doctor running away from the family business of making monsters in Transylvania, is forced to return when his uncle dies leaving him the sole heir. On the way, he meets Igor, his soon-to-be loyal but bumbling assistant, and Inga, an attractive, rather naïve girl applying to be his laboratory assistant. Together, they journey to his uncle’s castle and Dr. Frankenstein is (almost too easily) drawn into the family business. Young Frankenstein showcases complex stage design and production value in the glitzy Hilton Theatre while entertaining the audience with classic Mel Brooks comedy. For children and adults looking for a not-so-scary evening with a beloved ghoul, this musical is for you.


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