Sense & Sensibility (Old Globe, San Diego)

I saw the first preview as it tied in best with the rest of my holiday in Los Angeles, and had a glorious few days visiting San Diego as well. I was thrilled because it had music by Paul Gordon, and Megan McGinnis in one of the leads, both as per Daddy Long Legs which I adored (see earlier posts).

It is a classic story, and it was adapted beautifully into this musical production. Sharon Rietkerk as Elinor was as extremely moving, and powerful performance, while Megan played Marianne with a fun, but passionate personality. I haven’t read the book for many years so I can’t comment on specifics.

My favourite song was sung by Megan about the rain, and I only wish for a Broadway transfer so I can hear it again. I also wish for more musicals with two female soprano leads in general, it meshes perfectly with my personal taste.

If interested, I looked up one of the reviews, the LA Times, here.

Queer Composers for Orlando

This was a unique experience, a concert arranged by ex-NYFA students, in a small converted loft-apartment-performance-space, Loft 227. It was a huge group of performers and composers, all generously giving their time and efforts to raise money for Orlando. Bravo to all. It was also a nice opportunity to see Christy Altomare sing, as she’s been cast as the lead in Anastasia for Broadway next year. I hadn’t seen her in anything before.

Off-Center Jamboree!

Wow, this was a night! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going in, my vague idea was that it was a concert with Sutton Foster and Jonathan Groff. What we got was an incredible night full of moments that made you gasp in surprise or sigh at the beauty. It began with a skit version of A Chorus Line with Sutton as Cassie, and Groff as Zach. It was peculiar but funny to see Sutton dancing in the line, and I think some of those in the audience who wanted to give her entrance applause were hilariously confused, as they couldn’t see her at first, and recognised her in stages.

Jeanine Tesori did a great job at selecting the set list, with a mixture of classics from musical theatre, rock/pop, and new composers. The other performers were all outstanding, and one in particular, a fairly political and brilliant tap routine from Ayodele Casel brought down the house. Thanks Jeanine for releasing the set list on twitter the next day so I can be reminded of all their names (I’ll pass it on to anyone who would like, just tweet me or whatever).

I was especially happy to see how much the two stars got to dance together, particularly knowing some of the history of Jonathan being a Sutton fan, in particular his learning the whole tap routine she performed in Anything Goes for Miscast, you can watch that here. To see him then get to play another Sutton role, as Millie in Forget About the Boy, with Sutton supporting (in the Anne L. Nathan role I believe), and then for the two of them to dance as Fred and Ginger, and many other duets, was just exquisite. A joyous occasion.

Lesli Margherita “Broad”

I’d actually seen this concert before, also at Birdland, some months ago, but when a friend wanted to go, I barely hesitated to buy another ticket. The advantage this time was that my fried got there early and got a brilliant seat, whereas last time I was either too cheap or too late and had a corner seat, far out of the line of sight of Lesli’s wonderful face.

The concert itself is a kind of musical educational session where Lesli explains what a broad is, with liberal use of examples, in quotes and songs, of historical broads. It’s a lot of fun, and as a woman, inspiring to be more like one, assuming most of us are not already quite this amount of fabulous. Lesli has a big voice, and very big hair (on the night) for extra oomph. She sang from the Judy Garland, Bessie Smith, Bette Midler repertoires, and many more, and every song suited her voice perfectly, and was gorgeous to hear. I am thrilled that I got a ticket a few days later for her NYMF musical, A Scythe of Time, as it had been sold out, but more must have been released. I only wish I hadn’t just been to LA so I could see her in the upcoming Hunchback of Notre Dame (as Esmerelda)!

Onward Victoria at 54 Below

This was a concert version of a Broadway musical which opened and closed on the same night in 1980. It was about the first American woman to run for President back in 1872, which was very bold considering women didn’t even have the right to vote at that stage! It was really interesting for me as a feminist, and I highly recommend going and reading her life story on Wikipedia.

It was also extremely touching to have about 5 of the original Broadway cast members perform in the cast here, including the original Victoria (Jill Eikenberry) as the narrator. We got a great sense of the score, and the story, and a sadness that it wasn’t really seen by many people back in 1980. Props to Steven McCasland for putting the night together.