Greetings Theater Lovers,
July was a sparse month for theater
attendance. I saw only one play, Mamma Mia,
and I saw it for the first time. Now you might rightfully
ask, why now? Why go to Mamma Mia now?
Couldn’t you make up your mind which side
you were on – the critics who uniformly thumbed-it-down
or the audiences who have ignored the critics and
made Mamma Mia a sell-out-hit since it
opened on Broadway in October of 2001 (yes, that
is right after 9/11).
Well, I had been waiting for the
same reason that most New Yorkers delay hitting
the big Broadway musicals - waiting for out-of-town
company. And this summer I hosted my brother and
my teenage niece so the time had come to yet again
“do a big Broadway musical.”
The Phantom of the Opera
First I sent them off alone to
The Phantom of the Opera. It is not that
I did not want to go myself, but I had seen it six
times already and thought I would take a breather
from non-stop New York tourism. And what did they
think of Phantom? They loved it. They came
home raving about the music, the scenes (the boat
ride, "Masquerade") and the sheer spectacle
and romanticism of Phantom. Phantom
is the perfect show to introduce anyone to the magic
of Broadway. For more information, log onto: thephantomoftheopera.com.
And what did I think of Mamma
Mia? I liked it. I totally saw the clumsy plot
points that had the critics so up-in-arms. The shows
creators took the Abba songbook and created the
plot of their show with a “Why don’t
we write this scene so we can sing this song?”
mentality. And that let's-use-some-chewing-gum-here
plot-planing device definitely shows. But I simply
did not care and neither did the rest of the audience
who filled the theater to capacity on a hot summer
night in July. The show is upbeat, campy and fun.
The songs are show stoppers and the lead, Carolee
Camaro (she plays the Momma), is phenomenal.
I will admit that Xanadu
which I loved, is a much better juke box musical
(Xanadu boasts an incredible book and stars).
But there is no reason not to see both and throw
in Jersey Boys too for good measure. They
are all fun shows to share with out-of-town guests.
For more information about Mamma Mia, log
And stay tuned, Mamma Mia is being made
into a movie starring Meryl Streep.
Fall will soon be here and there
is a plethora of interesting new shows opening on
Broadway. Here are three that caught my eye:
The Farnsworth Invention
(of West Wing fame) has penned a new play,
The Farnsworth Invention, which is opening
on November 4, 2007 at the Music Box Theater. The
show tells the story of the invention of television.
Now I am a West Wing junkie (I have all
the first four Sorkin years DVD's) and I really
tried to love Studio 60, so I am truly
psched to see this new play. Log onto farnsworthonbroadway.com
for more information about the play.
The Producers may have
closed on Broadway but another one of Mel Brook’s
campy movie classics, Young Frankenstein,
is coming to Broadway, opening on November 8, 2007
at the Hilton Theatre. Now I just know this one
is going to be fun and nothing like the other monster
fiasco, Frank Wildhorn’s Dracula.
for more information about this show.
Lone Star Love
And last, Randy Quaid is starring
in Lone Star Love, a musical retelling
of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Lone Star is opening December 2, 2007 at
the Belasco Theater. I saw Lone Star Love
when it played off-Broadway back in February of
2005 and featured it in this column.
It was a lot of fun and has the potential to be
a hit on Broadway (you certainly can’t fault
the plot). Log onto lonestarlovethemusical.com
for more information about the show.
For information on all the Broadway
shows, log onto our Broadway
theater listing section.