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Posts from February 2004

Concert - Orchestre National de

Concert - Orchestre National de France
(Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, 5pm)

This concert should have been conducted by Bernard Haitink,
but he had to withdraw due to poor health. Oleg Caetani took over. Ravel’s
L’Enfant et les sortilèges was wonderful.


Musical - Chicago (Casino de

Musical - Chicago (Casino de Paris, Paris,
8:30pm)

They got it right! In a country where "musical" has become
synonymous with "pop concert," it is no small joy that the transposition of the
Weisslers' production of Chicago look so right. The adaptation into
French is decent, with less prosodic errors than one might have feared, and a
general feeling that the French text simply makes sense (no small feat) and has
captured the irony and humour of the original. The cast is generally good, or
even very good (Véronic Dicaire is an excellent Roxie), even if the
predominantly foreign accents somewhat hinder the fluency of the show. Of
course, the fact that, by contract, the production has to replicate the Broadway
and London productions exactly is a guarantee. Let's hope that we get many more
productions like this one in the future!


Comedy - Noëlle Perna: Mado

Comedy - Noëlle Perna: Mado la Niçoise
(Palais des Glaces, Paris, 9:30pm)

An enjoyable show, with not too many trips below the belt.
Noël Perna has a real talent for characterisation, with sometimes a lot of
emotion.


“Can-Can”

City Center, New York • 13.2.04 à 20h
Music & lyrics by Cole Porter. Book by Abe Burrows.

Directed by Lonny Price. With Patti LuPone (La Môme Pistache), Michael Nouri (Judge Aristide Forestier), Charlotte d’Amboise (Claudine)…

Some of the songs haven't aged well and neither has the libretto, but there were luminous moments in this production, some of them thanks to a strong and rather unexpected performance from Patti LuPone.


Musical - Wonderful Town (Al

Musical - Wonderful Town (Al Hirschfeld
Theatre, New York, 8pm)

Wonderful indeed. One wish new musicals had so much class,
wit, sassiness and sophistication. Bernstein's music is a treat. And Donna
Murphy demonstrates that she should be a star if we still had stars.


“Wicked”

Gershwin Theatre, New York • 2/11/04 at 8pm

There was a time when Stephen Schwartz knew how to write good music, but it doesn't show in Wicked, except maybe in a couple of songs (“Popular” and “Wonderful”). The production is obviously very expensive, but I wish they'd spent more on making a better show. The huge set is impressive at first but it quickly becomes tiresome and doesn't add much to the show. Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth somehow manage to give memorable performances in these overall unmemorable surroundings.


Musical - Fiddler on the

Musical - Fiddler on the Roof (Minskoff
Theatre, New York, 2pm - preview)

I know commenting on a preview is in bad taste. However, I
found the production quite wonderful. Alfred Molina holds the audience in the
palm of his hand, and he's a very moving Tevye. The rest of the cast is great,
starting of course with the delightful Randy Graff. The visuals are pretty
astounding. Now if only David Leveaux stopped asking his casts to move tables
around...


Musical - Never Gonna Dance

Musical - Never Gonna Dance (Broadhurst
Theatre, New York, 8pm)

Granted, the orchestrations sound too contemporary and the
leading lady doesn't sing very well... but I couldn't not enjoy the show. They
don't write music like that any more. And the choreography, although probably
not on a par with Susan Stroman's for Crazy For You, was inventive
enough, starting with a heck of a scene in Grand Central Station.


Concert - Broadway by the

Concert - Broadway by the Year: The Broadway
Musicals of 1926
(Town Hall, New York, 8pm)

A nice opportunity to hear some seldom (or never) performed
songs. Nancy Anderson gave a particularly remarkable performance. It was
obvious, unfortunately, that "Special Guest" Sutton Foster had nothing special.
The rest of the cast was a mixed bunch, especially Nancy Opel -- out of place
singing "The Birth of the Blues" -- and Mark Kudisch -- too loud.