Another Tony Awards have come and gone…and last night’s telecast was pretty good! A night with a wonderful host (I stand corrected…he was great this year), some super duper performances (Pippin, Matilda), some head scratchers (Rascals tribute? What was that?), and some super weird speeches (Cicely Tyson). Check out below for my reviews on all the performances of the evening from worst to best! More
Rielle Braid is a Toronto actress and writer, and just completed a successful cross-Canada tour of the Dora award winning musical hit Ride the Cyclone. Her first play, Boygirl, premiered at the Victoria Fringe Festival four years ago. Her upcoming Cabaret, A Casual Cabaret with Rielle Braid is June 18th, at the upstairs cabaret space at Theatre Passé Muraille (click here for details). It will feature fellow actors from Ride the Cyclone, and original written material by Rielle.
Singer songwriter teams are so wonderful. The very notion that two artists have found a part of their soul in the other is so incredibly special. So specific. What one lacks, the other provides. The trust, the vulnerability, the honesty. It’s everything art should be. I like to imagine when these teams find each other, they can physically feel a change in themselves, almost like they found a twin. More
Word on the street is that this year’s Tony Awards will feature an opening number combining all the Broadway musicals currently running (yes…even Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark whose producers boycotted the Tonys last year in response to not being nominated for Best Musical). Having a good opening number is important to the broadcast network, CBS, as the majority of viewers tune in early and start to drift off as the evening rolls along. So for this week’s performance I chose another awesome medley: More
Nathan Carroll is an actor, storyteller, and singer-songwriter living in Toronto. He has been blessed to perform across the country in such shows as The Book of Esther and Bordertown Cafe(Blyth), The Sound of Music (Citadel), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Driftwood). He has been a part of numerous new works in development, including Alexandria (Acting Upstage),When the Ice Breaks (Down n’ Out), and Bremen Rock City (Theatre 20). Nathan is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School, and inaugural Theatre 20 Emerging Artist, and a member of the folk’n’b band We’re Sorry We’re So Famous. He is currently performing in Forever Plaid in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.
I was raised on Rodgers and Hammerstein. The first musical I ever acted in was The King and I at our local community theatre, with my very caucasian father playing the King, my older sister playing one of his wives (it’s a small town, okay?), our next door neighbour playing Anna, and a 5-year-old me and my 7-year-old brother as two of his sons. They dyed my platinum blonde hair permanently black, an action I’ve never forgiven them for as my hair was never as blonde again. Despite being only a little older than a toddler, something stuck, and I’ve been adoring these two geniuses ever since. More
The lights dim. A very dark stage with a proscenium far upstage. Behind a banquet table, with actors milling in their black tie best. A man picks up a video camera and begins to speak into it. As he does, the images are projected against the curtain hanging from the proscenium. As the images start to roll, a hard rock underscore begins to build and as the actors begin to filter through the passage further downstage, the rock music becomes deafening.
My heart beats, I’m prepped for the world of this show. The rock overture grows and so does my anticipation, the adrenaline coursing through my veins.
And then suddenly a segue into a Bollywood soundscape. A woman in her wedding white begins to dance the dance of the seven veils, 21st century style. She bumps her hip and you almost expect the rest of the party to dive in.
Instead a man launches into Sein oder Nicht Sein. This isn’t musical theatre. It’s Hamlet directed by Thomas Ostermeier at the Shaubuehne in Berlin.
I am currently in Germany where I’m learning quickly that everything is music(al) theatre. Of the three shows I’ve seen so far, everyone has luscious, integral and affective soundscaping. Though the Germans are very into their re-appropriations of “classic” texts, a significant element in this redesign is the incorporation of music and technology. Hamlet contained no singing, but it certainly employed music often to enhance audience affect. When Hamlet’s ghost appears, a bizarre otherworldly soundscaping ensues. When Hamlet and Horatio temporarily break the fourth wall for a bit of vaudevillian repartee, the music accompanies it. Coming from a Toronto culture, where music is so secondary, this investment in music-theatre is so refreshing.
I also saw a show called Kill Your Darlings, or, the Streets of Berladelphia at the Volksbuhne a couple of days ago. While I understood very little of what they were saying, the movement and music made it a very affective piece of theatre. A piece about the distinction between individual and chorus, the play was essentially a monologue backed by a group of non-speaking gymnasts. Though music was employed more sparsely than in Hamlet, it was still often used to set the whimsical tone and engage the audience on a guttural level.
The Germans really seem to understand the power music can hold, drawing on the way in which we employ music in our North American musical theatre model. If music is so affective, wouldn’t it be great if it was also a prime consideration in our construction of Canadian “straight” theatre?