Sticking It To the Man at 30

My parents wanted to do something other than just take me out for brunch for my birthday this year (because I’m turning 30) and I suggested we go see School of Rock. I’ve been slow on my show-seeing this season and my mom agreed that it was a good idea. We sat in the second row on the left side last Saturday and I was looking forward to it. The movie was meant to be turned into a musical and Andrew Lloyd Webber knows how to write a good score. At the very least, it was bound to be good.

I was disappointed that Alex Brightman (Dewey) was out but seeing how his standby Jonathan Wagner looked exactly like him, I knew I probably wasn’t going to mind (after all, I had nothing to compare him to). Sierra Boggess was in though, so there was that.

The pre-show announcement is made by Webber himself and states that yes, all the kids are playing their own instruments. Good to know because I found myself wondering that as they shredded through the score! Holy shit, those kids are talented. 

The score is great and it follows the movie almost to a T. Everyone in the cast is very talented and I walked away humming the score (which usually never happens). The staging and sets were great and the choreography was effective. Jonathan Wagner also didn’t disappoint. My 30-year-old ass definitely walked away singing “Stick It To The Man.” 

If you like the source material (ie. the movie) and musical theatre, get yourself over to the Winter Garden Theatre immediately. School of Rock won’t let you down if you’re looking for a good time. 

I realized I never wrote about seeing the revival of Spring Awakening before I went away. I was under the impression that this production was going to open, be a hit, and sell out it’s short production, so I wanted to see it before I went away. I was so, so excited, yet skeptical, about this revival. I loved the original production so much. I love the score so much. This production was going to be completely different, but I knew that going in. It had a very Once-feel to it when we walked in because the cast was warming up onstage in costume. This is great as I really loved Once, but this wasn’t Once. I missed seeing the bleachers onstage. We were in the first row of the rear mezzanine (thanks, TDF!) and the seats were just fine. The always-excellent Patrick Page, as the adult man, walked by us telling us to quiet down so the show could start, and Marlee Matlin (who apparently is a big deal but I’m unfamiliar with her) walked around in the orchestra doing the same. And the lights went down.

The ASL aspect of this show was a neat addition. It was really affective that Wendla and Moritz had no voices so you could say their lack of ability to speak lead to both of their demises. Maybe that’s stretching. The set felt like they took remnants of Taboo and Rent, fine. The lighting had the same feel.

I’m in the minority but I really ended up missing the original production. This production had the same feel throughout, there was no juxtaposition between the book scenes and the songs. What really helped make that change harsh in the original production was the use of the microphones. For 99% of the revival, there were no microphones. You didn’t get that the characters were singing as their 21st century counterparts (which is, I believe, what the original production intended to do).

It’s still a fine production. It still has a gorgeous score. My favorites, cast-wise, was Sean Grandillo as Otto, Alex Wyse as George, and Katie Boeck as Wendla, and an honorable mention should go to Krysta Rodriguez as Isle. If you know her backstory, it was a bit more meaningful to watch her up there.

If you’ve never seen Spring Awakening, this production is definitely worth your time. It’s playing through January 24th.

Kristen and I are seeing the new revival of Spring Awakening tonight. I loved this show so much when it was originally on Broadway – and off-Broadway – and I’m really excited to see it again. The score is just so good. I tried not to read too much about it, but I read that the contrast between the book scenes and musical scenes is kind of not there at all, which is disappointing. 

I hope the cast is good. I hope Michael Arden’s staging is good. But in honor of tonight, I present you with a blurry photo of the the last production that was on Broadway in 2007. Old digital cameras were the best, right?

I got really lucky and I was able to see Andrew Rannells in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at his second to last performance yesterday. I hadn’t see Hedwig since it was in previews in April and I was stoked to go back. I was administering a survey for The Broadway League and we talked to the House Manager for a bit beforehand and she is by far the coolest House Manager on Broadway. She has a long history with Hedwig, to the point where she begged to manage the Belasco when it was returning, and loves it just as much as anyone. We had to stand as the show was sold out but I was fine with that since I never really stop moving during the show and it’s probably really annoying to sit next to. (Sorry, not sorry.)

Andrew added a bunch of little things that Neil Patrick Harris hadn’t, but he was also really, really buff. I thought that NPH looked better as Hedwig, but Andrew probably sang and acted it better. He got down to the heart of the character, deeper than NPH. Lena Hall rocked it, duh. As did The Angry Inch band members. 

Hedwig is just an incredible show, an incredible journey to go on, with a kick-ass, skull-rattling score. I will never tire of it. Best of luck to Michael C. Hall, who has big shoes to fill.