Sunday, November 21, 2021

[MANHATTAN] Broadway Barrage Season 6


Two weeks of Broadway shows every night. Wow, what more can you ask for? It was kind of exhausting, though, given the circumstances. But hey, it’s my happy place. I was a bit skeptical about this lineup for Season 6, but they all turned out to be worth the sleep deprivation on my part. And that’s it for Broadway Barrage 2021. Season 7 comes next year, moving from its usual fall schedule to early spring. Thank you, Broadway. See you again in late March!


Whatever who wrote this was smoking, I’d like to have some, please. No wonder the ticket was so expensive. This is not a musical. This is a rock concert. Of Henry VIII’s six ex-wives. Catherine of Aragon. Anne Boleyn. Jane Seymour. Anna of Cleves. Katherine Howard. Catherine Parr. In New York, rocking the stage with song and dance numbers like a reunion concert of the Spice Girls. Six is creative and highly imaginative, I must say. Clocking in short at just an hour and a half, you end up wanting more.


Oh wow, did I just find a new favorite musical? I guess I enjoyed Company that much because it hits close to home. Bobbie in the original staging and other revivals was actually Bobby. It is only in this particular rendition that the role is gender-swapped. Nonetheless, the core of the storyline is there. How do you live your life surrounded by friends and family who have already settled down and wouldn’t shut up about your own decision regarding the matter? I guess what people do not understand and what Bobbie/Bobby makes clear is that there is no easy answer.


In any case, now I know why the admission ticket has been expensive for quite some time now. This reimagining of the classic Greek tragedy is one for the books, transplanting the setting to the Great Depression of the 30’s and taking advantage of the jazz and big band swing representative of the era. The production design leans more on the gritty industrial while the soundtrack relies on the contagious doo wop energy courtesy of the Fates and the workers acting as the chorus. Overall, Hadestown is a hypnotic audiovisual trance anchored on a tale of love, hope, and tragedy.


With the consistent clamor for more diversity on Broadway, this play couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Like Trouble in Mind, this is a good material regarding race dynamics in New York, although that play is a more inside look at the industry itself. It’s meta like that. Thoughts of a Colored Man is more of an introspection of sorts, a collection of stories that at first might seem disjointed and have nothing in common, but all come together in the end to form one coherent narrative.


My non-coherent line of thinking while watching American Utopia: Wait, did I make it to the St. James Theater, or did I snooze the alarm after it went off and went back to sleep? Am I lucid dreaming this whole thing? What dafuq am I watching right now? Oh look, someone in the front row just got up to dance. Why are the lyrics of the songs so weird? I don’t care, the beat and all this dancing is contagious AF. Am I high? Oh wow, half the audience are up on their feet and dancing now. Should I also get up and dance?


The play is divided into three chapters. Trilogy. Doh. Clocking in at 3 hours and 15 minutes and with two intermissions, this has got to be one of the longest straight plays I’ve ever seen, not counting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child but that was actually comprised of two separate shows on different days pre-pandemic. Despite its length, the Lehman Trilogy keeps you at the edge of your seat and comes across as one of those Wall Street type of thrillers that go on to win Oscars. The Lehman Trilogy is not a film but with Sam Mendes on the helm, it might as well get its own cinematic adaptation.

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