Theatre

How do you measure a year? In 44 shows.

P1030930

In 2011 I was lucky enough to work and travel throughout the United States on a one year Graduate Exchange Visa. It was an incredible experience for me, it was also the first time I’d moved out of home. To do that by not just moving twenty minutes away, but a good 24 hours, is not easy. I initially moved to New York. I’d longed to live in NYC, in fact it was the only place I ever wanted to travel to. But whilst I had enjoyed the Big, Bad City on previous shorter visits, trying to find work was a different matter. The city broke me, I had no money and got into big amounts of debt with my parents (who have always been incredibly supportive). It looked like I was heading home. But an opportunity loomed on the horizon in Chicago. The Windy City turned the trip around for the better, and I stayed for the full duration of my visa.

My year in the United States did a lot for me, I learnt so much from hands on experience, from jobs, from living out of home in a foreign country, and from going to see theatre. Even when I had very little money in NYC I tried to get to as many shows as I could. In fact Now.Here.This by the [title of show] team got me through a really tough time (I saw it on three different occasions.) A lecturer at my Theatre Course at university once said in regards to an ‘excursion’ to a show, “You must attend this. Seeing theatre, seeing people working in the industry, is far more important than attending a class.” So my American Theatre Education primarily burns down to the 44+ shows I saw whilst there.

There was good, there was bad, there was incredible and there was terrible. I experienced what makes a good show, what stimulates an audience, and what (in the case of Book Of Mormon) whips them into a frenzy (though it appears on the night of the show I was more kind to it than how I’ve been in retrospect.)

Below are a list of mini reviews from the shows I saw, originally from another blog I kept at the time, which has now gone to it’s grave, but to keep a historical reminder I’m posting it here as well. It includes the Broadway opening of the Australian musical ‘Priscilla: Queen of The Desert’, and a preview performance of the most expensive musical of all time, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, readings, developments, Broadway, Off Broadway, national tours and regional productions.

Enjoy my little theatrical postcards.

Title: The Road To Qatar
Venue: The York Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: February 5th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ***/5

“[title of show] meets Sex And The City 2” as one review said- and I agree. Two Jewish writers are employed to write a musical extravaganza for the Emir of Qatar that blows Spidey out of the water. Two dimensional characters fill the show, but were played with zest by the cast. A lot of songs. Good for a laugh or two… perhaps at the writers expense, as it is a true story.

P1030929Title: Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark
Venue: Foxwoods Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: February 9th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Musical (Or is it a Circus Rock Opera?)
Rating: **/5

Oh Spider-Man. I thought it was either going to be surprisingly ok, or incredibly terrible. It was neither. Just average. A terrible book that fell flatter than dropping actors, a score that (aside from 3 songs) was mediocre, and a villain that had a shoe fetish. Warped, twisted, and yet another re-telling of the Spidey Origin story. Yawn. However Spidey flying for the first time and landing in the balcony was awesome. Currently undergoing re-writes. Do I have to pay $75 to see the ‘new’ version?

Title: Interviewing The Audience
Venue: The Vineyard Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: February 11th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Improv/Play/Interview
Rating: ****/5

Zach Helm selects three people from the audience, progressively over the night and interviews them, proving that everyone has a story to tell, and drama isn’t created by $65million dollar budgets. A very open piece that left me laughing, smiling, and contemplative for the rest of the night. Talking to the other audience members at the end of the night was also a good touch. Would love to see this show again.

Title: Interviewing The Audience
Venue: The Vineyard Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: February 18th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Improv/Play/Interview
Rating: ****/5

I enjoyed the experience of Interviewing The Audience so much the first time that I had to come back for a second helping. In fact I wish I could have seen the entire season. Zach Helm’s methods of interviewing the people he selects from the audience was fascinating, even when one man was quite guarded with his answers. A truly unique experience.

P1030967Title: The Ultimate Drag Off
Venue: Times Square Arts Centre, New York, NY, USA
Date: February 19th, 2011, 10:30pm
Style: Drag Show
Rating: ***/5

Went along to see my friend Wonder Robbie perform, he had previously won an edition of this Drag Show Game Show. Four Queens battle it out in various categories including 2 songs, and then a little game in the middle. An audience member also gets to become a Queen. Lots of fun banter from host Sweetie. Lots of laughs to be had. Dingy venue… ex-strip club.

Title: Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: The Musical
Venue: The Palace Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: February 28, 2011, 8:00pm First Preview
Style: Musical
Rating: ****/5

It had been 3 years since I last saw Priscilla in Melbourne. I didn’t think I was going to get to opening night, so I had to be there for the first preview. National Pride. The show is slicker than what it was in Melbourne, more technically advanced, but somehow I felt the heart of the show shone more. The house was loving it. Tony Sheldon was the standout performer. He should be nominated for a Tony. Same with the costumes.

Title: American Idiot
Venue: St James Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: March 11th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: **/5

This was something I had high hopes for, but obviously if the shows loses $500,000 every time the lead singer of Green Day steps out of the show then it can’t be that good. And it wasn’t. Everything that excited me when the album was originally released- the revolutionary outcry and passion, was lacking from this show, where one character just sits on a couch the entire night. More like an average cover band doing really odd dancing than a musical.

Title: Analog And Vinyl
Venue: Davenport Studios, New York, NY, USA
Date: March 14, 2011, 4:00pm
Style: Musical Reading
Rating: ***/5

A very funny little musical by Paul Gordon about a guy that owns a record store with no customers, his employee a somewhat promiscuous story weaver known as Rodeo Girl and the Devil. There’s a lot of potential here. Look out for it in the future.

Title: Michael Kirk Lane: Songs from The Rock, The Street and The Hood
Venue: Don’t Tell Mama, New York, NY, USA
Date: March 20th, 2011, 4:00pm
Style: Cabaret
Rating: ****/5

Songs from Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and Mr Roger’s Neighbourhood presented not quite in their original context by the loveable Michael Kirk lane. Touching, funny, and a brilliant lighthearted way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

IMG_0037Title: Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: The Musical
Venue: The Palace Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: March 20th, 2011, 6:30pm Opening Night
Style: Musical
Rating: *****/5

I had to be at Priscilla for Opening Night, so when I found some tickets available I snapped them up. What an electric atmosphere. The entire company was of course on fire, and the audience lapped it up. Lots of celebs and drag queens and sparkles. Invited guests got bedazzled Playbills!

Title: Wonderland
Venue: Marquis Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: March 22nd, 2011, 7:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: */5

Another adaptation of Alice In Wonderland, this time Alice is a grown up woman with a daughter, she’s also an author, and in the early stages of a divorce. She banged her head in the elevator, and concussion takes her to Wonderland. What follows is a mess. A book that falls flatter than Spider-Man’s, and music so pointless and annoying it is bound to leave you yawning. The best song is sung by Lewis Carroll. Yes you’re right, he shouldn’t be there, and it’s completely a ‘let’s take a moment aside from the plot to sing this nice number’. Tempted to walk out in intermission, I stayed until the end. An utter mess. Gets a star for costumes and perhaps scenery.

P1040144Title: Anything Goes
Venue: Stephen Sondheim Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: March 24th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: **/5

It’s probably more of a 2.5… Slick tap number, but uninspired boring choreography throughout the rest of the show. An early jukebox musical, blending Cole Porter songs, so they never feel like they’re really tied to the plot- however a total joy for Cole Porter fans wanting to listen to his glorious hits. I don’t get the Sutton Foster hype NY seems to have, I thought she was terribly miscast in this role, too quirky, and not enough gruffness to her voice. A big joy for me was seeing Joel Grey live, I never thought I’d have that opportunity.

Title: If It Only Even Runs A Minute 6
Venue: Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY, USA
Date: March 28th, 2011, 6:30pm
Style: Concert
Rating: ****/5

There’s a chance you’ve never heard of any of the songs from any of the shows being presented, but that’s because they were all flops… or as musical theatre fans/historians Jen Tepper and Kevin Michael Murphy put it “Unappreciated”. The two tell stories, give fun facts, and have lots of jokey joke fun behind the mic before passing on to the stars of the night- possibly original stars from the shows, or people interpreting the songs afresh. This was the 6th concert in the series. There will be more to come. Highly recommended. (Plus I was like 2 metres from Anthony Rapp… and I’m not a crazy Rent Head, but the “I live so far away” Broadway Nerd definitely kind of freaked out a lil)

Title: Things To Ruin: The Songs Of Joe Iconis
Venue: Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY, USA
Date: March 28, 2011, 10:30pm
Style: Concert
Rating: *****/5

I love Joe Iconis. He manages to create wonderful, detailed characters in his songs. Plus those said songs ROCK, absolutely, hard core, musical theatre rocking. Makes me wish I had a musical theatre rock band.

Title: Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: The Musical
Venue: The Palace Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: March 29th 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ***/5

Third time seeing Priscilla on Broadway, which makes it my fourth time in total. 6 cast members were out of the show due to food poisoning (someone left the cake out in the rain!!!) Still the production fought on, a relatively quiet Tuesday night crowd. Still good fun despite the small cast. Nick Adam’s understudy was just as good if not better.

Title: Hair
Venue: Colonial Theatre, Boston, MA, USA
Date: March 30th, 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ***/5

This is the second time I’ve seen this production of Hair, and it’s the national tour. The production is a little smaller than the Broadway show, and the audience was a bit distracting, however the ensemble are fantastic, and that’s very important for this show.

P1040360Title: Prometheus Bound
Venue: Club Oberon, Cambridge MA, USA
Date: March 31st 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ****/5

Set in a nightclub, the action revolves around the entire venue, in an and out of the audience, up on the catwalks, on top of tables. A powerful rock show adaptation of the Greek Myth of Prometheus. It’s early days for this musical, but it’s very promising.

Title: Sister Act
Venue: Broadway Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: April 7, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ****/5

Just when I was beginning to feel like I was only seeing terrible shows on Broadway, I saw the light! Thank God for Sister Act! Hilarious, sweet, and a little touching, there’s a positive message in this movie adaptation, that stands alone in it’s own right. Great book, great classic musical score, and brilliant performances. Fun, fun fun! And gorgeous scenery. It would even beat Priscilla for best disco ball on Broadway at the Tony’s if there was that category!

IMG_0074Title: Freckleface Strawberry
Venue: New World Stages, New York, NY, USA
Date: April 10th, 2011, 4:30pm
Style: Children’s Musical
Rating: ****/5

Here’s a great little children’s musical with all the production values of a splashy Broadway musical. A tap number (amongst other great choreography), fantastic set, great performances, catchy songs and a really positive message about being perfect just the way you are- even if you’re a little different to everyone else. Plus it references Lady Gaga! COME ON! A kids musical that references Gaga. That’s amazing.

Title: The Book Of Mormon
Venue: Eugene O’Neill Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: April 12th, 2011, 7:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ****/5

It’s this years hottest musical and I had to wait two hours in a line just to get standing room tickets- but yes it was worth it. A very funny musical from the creators of South Park and Avenue Q’s composers. 2 young Mormons are sent to Uganda for their mission and instantly become fish out of water. Very traditional musical, a fantastic opening number, and some good songs dotted throughout, with some gorgeous perspective based scenery (the Temple Square drop is great). While the boys have boasted that there’s no censor on Broadway- unlike TV and Cinema, I felt like it wasn’t as offensive as it was being made out to be. I felt it was nothing I hadn’t seen on an ep of Southpark, and with it’s heart I felt it very similar to Avenue Q. I guess in the end there is a censor on Broadway- the ticket buyer, and you need them, so you can’t offend them too much.

Title: The People In The Picture
Venue: Studio 54, New York, NY, USA
Date: April 13th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ****/5

Going in to the fabulous musical The People In The Picture I did not know what it was about, and had heard a little negative buzz from the early previews, however what I saw was a beautiful, touching piece. This is a world premiere, however the show is written in such a style that it feels as though it is a brilliant revival of the piece. The score feels so classic, and it really captures a moment in time. Donna Murphy gives a stunning performance, and the giant frame set is stunning. If you’re looking for a musical for something more than just entertainment I highly recommend The People In The Picture.

Title: Avenue Q
Venue: New World Stages, New York, NY, USA
Date: April 17, 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Musical
Rating: *****/5

Avenue Q was the first show I saw ON Broadway, so it was really nice to head to New World Stages and see it again, even though it’s now back to it’s roots as an Off-Broadway show. It’s still in fine hands- especially those of Sarah Stiles (I’ve now seen her in three different shows this year). The book and score still hold up incredibly well, and I’m inclined to believe that Q does offensive better than Book Of Mormon, in fact I believe Q is a better show in all regards. Still hilarious, still deeply touching, still wonderful.

Title: Broadway Recycled
Venue: Joe’s Pub, New York, NY, USA
Date: April 25th, 2011, 7:00pm
Style: Concert
Rating: ***/5

AtHand Theatre Company’s Broadway Recycled presents a series of songs that never made it to the final product of that you saw on (or off) Broadway, whilst also promoting a greener future for theatre. Songs included “That’s The Show Biz” from Ragtime, “Tenterfield Saddler” which didn’t make it across the water for The Boy From Oz (though still a prominent song in the Australian version), “Ten Percent” from Chicago (performed brilliantly by the hilarious Jeff Hiller) and my highlight of the night “Being A Geek” from 13 performed by composer Jason Robert Brown himself. This type of concert (just like If It Only Even Runs A Minute) are DVD bonus features for theatre nerds, and are definitely the kind of event not to be missed.

Title: The 25th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition
Venue: The Minskoff Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: April 26th, 2011, 2:00pm
Style: Benefit Event
Rating: *****/5

The Easter Bonnet Competition marks the end of a 6 week fundraising period by Broadway, Off-Broadway and National Touring company shows for BCEFA- Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids. A series of sketches, songs, and dances are presented by various show companies, who then also present beautifully designed, intricate and often humorous Easter Bonnets which are then ‘judged’. It’s all in good fun, and all for a great cause. Standout numbers came from Avenue Q performing a song about recycling Broadway shows at New World Stages, The Addams Family with Me and My Shadow, Freud’s Last Session who turned their show into a musical and a very touching number by La Cage Aux Folles combining company members from the original production and subsequent revivals. (It was La Cage that began the Easter Bonnet competition tradition). If you wish to make a donation to BCEFA please click here. This Easter Bonnet competition raised over $3.7 million dollars for BCEFA.

IMG_0097Title: Rain A Tribute To The Beatles On Broadway
Venue: Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: April 26th, 2011, 7:00pm
Style: Concert
Rating: ***/5

I’m not a diehard Beatles fan, in fact I much prefer Herman’s Hermits and The Four Seasons, as that’s what I grew up listening to, but I went to Rain hoping for a good time, and that’s exactly what I had. Whilst the scenic design looks like it belongs in a high school auditorium (minus the opening set which was simple yet striking, bold, and brilliant) what the show lacked in good scenery it more than made up for in performance. I didn’t know if this would be more biopic or concert, and while it did have some ‘history’ it was mainly a concert, and a rocking one at that. My ears were ringing upon leaving the theatre after fantastic renditions of Beatles classics that had people up on their feet and singing along. Big shout out to Graham Alexander [pictured] (while they don’t credit the cast as who they were performing as, he was Paul McCartney) who gave a fantastic performance all night, with some amazing vocals!

Title: The People In The Picture
Venue: Studio 54, New York, NY, USA
Date: April 27th, 2011, 2:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ****/5

Returned to this superb and touching musical today, this time in the company of a young Jewish girl, who really connected with the story (and that of her own family) which made the experience all the better. The show definitely appears to be finding it’s audience now. Donna Murphy gives a fantastic performance, the set design is truly stunning from the minute you walk into the theatre, and while somewhat of an oxymoron the score feels like a modern classic.

Title: Beauty And The Beast
Venue: Crouse-Hinds Theater, Civic Center, Syracuse, NY, USA
Date: May 4th, 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ***/5

The production of Beauty And The Beast has been re-imagined for this national tour, with a traditional/classical theatrical and fairytale storybook feel to it. The gorgeous scenery is complimented by great performances by the cast, including a beautiful Belle and a very agile La Fou. There’s clever use of puppetry and clever stage techniques, plus there’s plenty of Disney magic for everyone to enjoy!

P1040527Title: The Clean House
Venue: Syracuse Stage, Syracuse, NY, USA
Date: May 5th, 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Play
Rating: ****/5

While in Syracuse I felt it important to experience what the local theatre company had to offer, and found this brilliant production of Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House at Syracuse Stage. A fantastic, spotlessly clean, white home interior greets the audience, and is then filled with brilliant performances from the entire cast, especially Gisela Chipe as Matilde, who is searching for the world’s funniest joke while cleaning the home of a couple who think all their problems are safely hidden under their immaculately clean rug. A first class production in a brilliant theatre.

Title: Now. Here. This
Venue: The Vineyard Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: June 9th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Theatri-Concert

Now. Here. This. is the latest offering from the team that brought us [title of show]. As this is a lab production free from critical reviews I’m not going to rate this production. But I will say it’s a very moving, emotional piece, which is also filled with joyous laughter. The gang take us on a personal journey through their lives to help us gain a better understanding of living in the present. It’s [title of show] meets Spalding Grey, and it’s brilliant. New updates and additions every night, as it’s a work in progress, which adds to the fun, as you’re seeing something that’s being constructed before your eyes.

Title: Catch Me If You Can
Venue: Neil Simon Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: June 11th, 2010, 2:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: ***/5

Catch Me If You Can is a jazzy take on the story of Con-Man Frank Abagnale Jr. Aaron Tveit and Norbert Leo Butz bring stellar performances, backed up by a full onstage orchestra. If you like your Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin sound, you’ll love this show. A clever concept musical, with fabulous performances.

Title: Now. Here. This
Venue: The Vineyard Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: June 11th, 2011, 9:00pm
Style: Theatri-Concert

Second viewing of Now. Here. This. I sat further back and was able to absorb much more of the piece. I love the way how the creators are able to delicately balance hilariously funny moments with incredibly sincere, emotional moments. This piece has a lot of future potential.

Title: Now. Here. This
Venue: The Vineyard Theatre, New York, NY, USA
Date: June 17th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Theatri-Concert

Third and final viewing of Now.Here.This. Very interesting to watch a show in development and see the changes as they progress. An excellent part of this production is the various different styles of music that Jeff Bowen has written into the score, which truly showcase his talents. Anyone that found [title of show] a personal experience, may be shocked to find out just how more personal this team can get. Keep an eye on this production in the future, I’m sure it has great things coming it’s way.

Title: Jerusalem
Venue: The Music Box, New York, NY, USA
Date: June 16th, 2011, 7:00pm
Style: Play
Rating: ****/5

Mark Rylance won the Tony Award for his performance in Jerusalem, and it’s incredibly evident why. His commanding performance is utterly brilliant as the drug dealing, caravan living, failing father Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron. Further kudos must go to the design team. The gorgeous set features real grass, and leaves you feeling like you’re lost in the woods for the duration of the three act play.

P1050939Title: Five Lesbians Eating A Quiche
Venue: The Dank Haus, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: July 8th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Play
Rating: *****/5

This is by far the funniest thing I have seen this year. Members of the Susan B Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein are having their annual Quiche Breakfast when the Commies attack, leaving them trapped in their bomb shelter of a community centre. All audience members get their own special sister name (I was Roberta) which truly adds to the spirit, and at times interactive nature, of the show. Performances are brilliant, the perfect mixture of melodrama and spoof. Get in quick to get tickets, many nights are already sold out, but there is standing room available.

Title: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die… IN 3D
Venue: Greenhouse Theatre, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: July 11th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Musical, Reading

Based on an old B-Grade Horror Flick, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die in 3D, tells the story of a mad scientist, his decapitated wife and his plot to find her a body. Lots of laughs, with some great performances by the cast- even for just a reading. Will get a full production at NYMF this year, but will require some work to make it a real gem, especially in a genre that includes musicals like Little Shop Of Horrors and The Rocky Horror Show.

IMG_0204Title: Blue Man Group
Venue: Briar Street Theatre, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: July 12th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Percussion/Performance Art
Rating: ***/5

Are they human? Are they Aliens? All we know is they’re Blue and they like discovering stuff. Whether it be making incredible percussion pipe songs, mouth art or trying to work out what a twinkie is, they’re loveable, dorky, and funny. The various antics lead up to the big finale, a huge dance party which sees everyone on their feet dancing along. My favourite part though is probably the Bathroom song that played in…well you guessed it, the theatre’s bathrooms.

(You can also get your photo taken with the Blue Men at the end, and if you want them to sign your ticket, they’ll smudge some blue skin paint on it!)

Title: West Side Story
Venue: Cadillac Palace, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: July 19th, 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Musical
Rating: */5

I don’t think it’s a good thing when you leave a revival of a show and ponder why it was so successful in the first place. Does West Side Story potentially have some of the most Mundane lyrics in Musical theatre history? One need only look at “Maria” to draw a conclusion. This touring production of the 2009 Broadway revival felt sloppy. Poor singing and poor dancing at times, terrible direction and pacing, a tinny sound mix, and a lighting design that sees a row of LED cyclorama floor lights blinding the balcony for the duration of the night, and doing a wonderful job of destroying the atmosphere of a period piece. Was it really too hard to hide them? Ali Ewoldt gives a standout performance as Maria, but not enough to save this show.

Title: Peter Pan
Venue: The threesixty Theatre, Chicago Tribune Freedom Center North, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: July 20th, 2011, 7:00pm
Style: Play/Puppetry
Rating: ****/5

Great performances, and a darker than Disney retelling of the classic story of Peter Pan meet and merge with 360 degree scenic projection to create a fantastic night out at the theatre…or the tent for this matter. Yes, this production of Peter Pan is performed in the round, in the centre of a circus style tent. Gorgeous 3D projection has the audience feeling as though they’re flying through London, and diving under the sea to hunt mermaids. This new-age stagecraft wizardry is complimented by fantastic old stagecraft techniques as well, puppets constructed from everyday items (such as a crocodile made of coathangers) are a definite highlight.

Title: Beauty And The Beast
Venue: The Oriental Theatre, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: August 5th, 2011, 8:00pm
Style: Musical
Rating: *****/5
Guest Reviewer: Elizabeth Baxter

NETworks presentation of Beauty and the Beast enormously brought to life the classic Disney movie that so often kept me company when I was sick as a child. From the opening scene to the closing curtain, the sets dressed the stage as a convincing storybook and each scene change felt like the stage turned a page. The cast convincingly comprised the castle’s animated inanimate objects through their colorful, curious costumes and comedic, charming, and well-crafted characteristics. The songs were sensational; my favorite was the larger-than-life “Be Our Guest” which immediately went down as the best number I have ever seen in a Broadway show. My one brief critique of the show was that the castle’s set often looked wobbly and flimsy, but that must come along with the limitations of a national tour. All in all, I could not have seen a better rendition of Beauty and the Beast in better seats nor with better company.

Title: Colin Quinn Long Story Short
Venue: The Broadway Playhouse, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: August 31st, 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Stand up/Solo Show
Rating: ***/5

No great empire gets left behind as Colin Quinn examines history with a fine tooth comb and contrasts it to todays world in his historically based stand up show ‘Long Story Short’. Quinn jokes about the rise and fall of pretty much everyone on the planet, and why the USA is headed that way as well. Quinn looked a little scruffy at the performance I saw (not his traditional jacket and shirt costume) and tended to mumble a few of the jokes. But still a lot of laughs to be had.

6182251153_e02bba5256_bTitle: FRAT
Venue: The Apartment Lounge, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: September 23, 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Environmental/Play
Rating: ****/5

As an Australian there’s always been a little piece of me that wanted to experience the American college life we all watch in films. I wondered how true it was. Well FRAT by Evan Linder is based on true events he witnessed during his time at college as part of a Fraternity. The brothers of Theta Pi Psi are initiating four new pledges into their fraternity and we get to witness every step of the process from the rush party, through to hell week. It’s funny, disturbing and insightful. It also makes me kind of glad I didn’t go to an American college after all.

Title: Pinkalicious
Venue: Broadway Playhouse, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: September 29, 2011, 2:00pm
Style: Children’s Musical

I caught a dress rehearsal of this quaint Children’s musical, based on the book of the same title. Pinkalicious Pinkerton eats too many pink cupcakes and turns…you guessed it… PINK. The show promotes healthy eating and family, and children can get autographs from all the characters after the show.

P1060439Title: Love, Loss And What I Wore
Venue: Broadway Playhouse, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: September 29, 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Staged Reading/Monologues

I’m definitely not the target demographic for this show, I was one of the few males in the audience, and definitely one of the youngest people too, that being said I still had a good time. A collection of funny and moving stories about women and the pieces of clothing that defined moments of their lives. Take your Mum for a great night out.

Title: Facing East: A New Musical In Concert
Venue: Greenhouse Theatre, Chicago, IL, USA
Date: October 3, 2011, 7:30pm
Style: Musical; Concert Staged Reading/Workshop

What could be more exciting than seeing a show you’ve been working on all year finally make it to the stage! Our one night only concert workshop of the performance was great, we learnt a lot through the help of our fantastic cast, director and MD. Onwards and upwards from here!

P1050872

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About Sean Bryan

Creator of Mortimer Sparks, one part of Duck and Mouse.

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