By Playbill Staff
17 Jan 2013
MICHAEL GIOIA, Playbill.com Staff Writer
The Last Five Years (Off-Broadway). When the news broke about a Second Stage Theatre revival of The Last Five Years, I could not wait for this to arrive! I can't express how much I enjoy storytelling through contemporary song, and the work of Jason Robert Brown — a master of contemporary scores — has had such an influence on my musical taste. (Also, how exciting is it that Brown will be directing the show himself?) The concept alone — seeing two sides of a story simultaneously told in chronological and reverse-chronological order — is already so thought-provoking… Add on a score that I've been listening to (and belting along to) for years, and I'm sold. Plus, Betsy Wolfe's limitless range (check out her gorgeous soprano in The Mystery of Edwin Drood before she's gone, and listen to her sassy belt on Ryan Scott Oliver's 35mm album) will be perfect for Cathy Hyatt.
Matilda (Broadway). After watching the highlights from the London production, I was immediately excited by the Broadway transfer. Angry children jumping around on stage? Count me in! This production looks so dark and creative, I'm sure the twisted ten-year-old inside me will be on the edge of his seat.
Jekyll & Hyde (Broadway). There was definitely a point in my life when I was obsessed with the original Broadway cast recording of Jekyll & Hyde — I simply cannot resist a good Frank Wildhorn power ballad. Since I didn't get to see the production in its first Broadway incarnation, I'm looking forward to the re-envisioned revival. Although I believe that Linda Eder and Robert Cuccioli are irreplaceable, I can't turn down a good riff or vocal embellishment from Deborah Cox or Constantine Maroulis. And, if you listen to the recently released concept recording, there is a lot of riffing.
In the Heights: In Concert. The first time I saw In the Heights was with my college musical theatre class on the final preview before the show's Broadway opening. The energy inside the Richard Rodgers Theatre was indescribable. Coming from the melting pot that is central New Jersey, with an eclectic group of theatre students — from all backgrounds, cultures and ways of life — the piece resonated so strongly with each and every one of us. Lin-Manuel Miranda's language was relatable, the music transcended beyond "musical theatre," and Broadway felt like a place that could be shared by all. At intermission, it felt like dreams really could come true. I think I will relive all of these feelings Feb. 11.
I'm also looking forward to the Broadway debut of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, starring Laura Osnes, whose voice is perfect for the title role; Diane Paulus' re-imagined Pippin, which looks like a gorgeous production from the pictures taken at the American Repertory Theater; and Hands on a Hardbody, which I don't know much about (new work is exciting!).Continued...