Monday, June 09, 2014

Once and American Idiot

To whet my appetite for the upcoming trip to New York (which I will write about soon, by golly), I went to a couple of touring shows at the Buell.

First up, Once.  


To my delight, Rachel joined me for the evening:

I saw the movie back when it was first released, and while I enjoyed the music the film itself didn't make me want to rush out to see the musical adaptation.

Once again (no pun intended), the music really was lovely with the two lead performers doing excellent jobs with the vocals.  I especially enjoyed the acapella version of "Gold" in Act Two - truly beautiful.  The book was funnier than I remember the movie being, and the staging was right up my minimalistic-directorial-alley.

Here's their Tony performance:

A week later (and to celebrate the last day of the school year!) I returned to the Buell to see another show I've put off on the last few rounds of its tour - American Idiot.


I arrived a little early and was delighted to discover an art festival in the plaza:

It was raining and most of the vendors were closing shop, but I had enough time to look through more than a couple of stalls.  After a friendly stranger (who complimented my hair) rescued me from a series of failed selfies:

I headed in.

I have to say, this was one of the weirder audience experiences I've had.  The moment they dimmed the house lights, the audience started hooting "Whoo!" and fan-girl screaming.  They kept this up a la rock concert throughout the performance.  This particularly surprised me because the vast majority of the audience I could see were my age or older.

I didn't especially like the show - too much swearing and "Are you shocked yet?!?!" striving for my taste without any new messages or thoughts to balance them.  However, it was interesting to realize early on that it's joined the ranks of "Phantom" and "Cats" as a museum piece - a production with an outdated style that is highly characteristic of its time.  The overuse of mounted television screens, bright strobe lights aimed at the audience, a set made of scaffolding and lights, and a chorus who change character as the scene dictates - it's very much a show from the early 2000's (and isn't that strange that the early 2000's are a different era now) with tangible roots in Rent, Les Mis, and Hair.  It's not a show I'd recommend (except to everyone in the audience with me; including the teenage boy sitting next to me who was literally perched on the edge of his seat with excitement throughout the show, who surreptitiously wiped away tears at several points, and who mouthed many of the songs as they were sung), but it's nice to have it checked off my list.

Here's their Tony performance:

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