Sunday, September 23, 2007

Odds and Ends

Tomorrow High School Musical closes at the theatre, so I'm sharing other things I've noticed during the run.

*Get'cha Head in the Game becomes more brilliant every time I watch it. The number is so intricate, the timing so precise, it blows my mind. I found out that the basketball sounds come off a synthesizer, which just makes the soundscape even more amazing. And I didn't mention before just how fantastic John Jeffrey Martin is in the number. He manages the switches from team leader to lovesick boy and back effortlessly. I just love how he delivers the lines when he's trying to shake himself out of it, and his dancing is even more impressive because he's singing his way through it.

So, so going to miss watching it. Hopefully The Mouse will be smart and record this show. I'd buy it.

*Ron Bohmer, who plays Coach Bolton, has been in Toronto before, playing Alex in Aspects of Love. In one of those amazing quirks of fate, I ushered that show at the Elgin Theatre - and thought it was one of the biggest pieces of crap I had ever seen. (Nothing to do with the actors or the director, Robin Phillips, who did the best they could with it. I honestly don't know what Andrew Lloyd Webber was smoking when he came up with that one.)

What is really weird is that for some reason I have the glossy program from the show and not the free program we handed out each night, something I can't conceive of paying money for. Obviously the universe wanted me to have it available now. It was fun showing it to him tonight and talking about that show, 16 years later. Now I have to keep my promise to stage management and have them pass the program around backstage tomorrow.

*Love the variety of styles of performers spoofed in the audition number. I especially love the dancer who strictly does Fosse moves throughout.

*Slow-mo is so cliched on film now, but can still be incredibly effective on stage. That's the case here, where a basketball is moved on a stick by a referee to create the climax of the show - the scoring of the basket that wins the championship. By using the basketball as a puppet, with the spot following the ball itself, the moment has much more impact - even if people laugh as it first starts. And again, the choreography is exquisite.

*Noticed a lot of the choreography in the second half involves bouncing. While I'm not a fan of the look, I understand the reasoning - to raise the energy and build to the finale, which it does quite effectively.

*While not a big fan of the songs he wrote for the show, I have to say that I'm incredibly impressed by the musical arrangement Bryan Louiselle has done. I love the choices he made for the music that moves us from scene to scene.

*The biggest problem I have with the show is that the scenes where the drama teacher and the coach are alone on stage together are filled with very pointless movement. They keep backing away and moving back and forth where it makes no sense intention-wise. It drives me crazy.

*My co-workers are really enjoying the show. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people bopping around during the end of the second half, both inside and out of the house. And we all agree that Get'cha Head in the Game is a masterpiece. The energy at work has been so high, it's been really good for us - especially after having lived through 5 months of Phantom of the Opera.

*It's also been really wonderful to watch the audiences. I've seen some amazing outfits/costumes being worn by some of the children. I've seen probably every bit of HSM merchandise under the sun. And their anticipation and excitement has been highly contagious so that despite all the challenges we've had this show accommodating them, it's been a lot of fun.

*One of the leads, Arielle Jacobs, is keeping a fantastic blog that is worth checking out.

*In the end, I liked the work the cast is doing, and all the people I've met connected with the show have been welcoming and I'm glad our paths crossed, however briefly.

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