Monday, November 06, 2006

Broadway Bouncing – Avenue Q, A Chorus Line, Evil Dead: The Musical

Avenue Q – John Golden Theater, New York
A Chorus Line - Schoenfeld Theater, New York
Evil Dead The Musical – New World Stages, New York

I was able to hop around Broadway Saturday while I was in New York (uh. The real reason was to cheer on friends doing yesterday’s NY Marathon) and caught 3 shows in 1 day. Yes. I said 3 shows in ONE day. So to all of you out there? Yes, it can be done! And done for less than $100. (I’m not even lying there).

First up. Finally saw Avenue Q. I didn’t think I would have to explain myself at this point but apparently I did since 2 people in my group hadn’t even heard of it when I bought tickets for the group a few weeks back. I guess that’s what you get when you live in culturally-deprived Vancouver. I mean, they can eat soy and granola all they want and hike till the moose come home but apparently their knowledge of the world doesn’t exist beyond the Pacific Coast line or the Rocky Mountains (Yes, I like to make fun of Vancouver basically because I’m really jealous that none of them actually work for a living yet live in such a beautifully expensive place).

So, in case there’s a few other cultural-tards out there, Avenue Q is a musical about the puppets and people that were too poor to live on Sesame Street (or Avenue A), that end up living on Avenue Q. It’s about life, love and the pursuit of finding our Purpose in life. All done with humans holding puppets that look and sound just like Sesame Street until you listen to the adult words coming out of their puppet mouths and you realise… this isn’t Sesame Street anymore! This is Sesame Street grown up and paying Rent. There’s puppet swearing, full puppet nudity and even some puppet sex, yet the show is hilarious and heart-warming and completely lovable. It was the surprise winner at the 2004 Tony Awards for Best Musical, going on a campaign to “Vote with your Heart”, and alas, finally the small but smart little musical finally beat out the giants.

I have actually never seen Avenue Q despite it starting in 2003, but at this point, I’ve listened to the Cast Recording enough times that I can practically perform the entire show with my sock collection. With songs like “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist”, “Schadenfreude”, “If You Were Gay” “You Can Be As Loud As You Want (When You’re Making Love” and “Internet is for Porn”, how can you not love this show? It’s hilarious, witty, but actually has some thought provoking themes beneath all the dirty puppet one-liners.

So seeing the show was more just a completion of the journey of Avenue Q for me since I knew I was going to love the show and it didn’t and is just simply one of my faves of all time.

Next up, seeing A Chorus Line again. Yes, I just saw it a few months ago in San Francisco, but that’s how much I loved this show. The dancing is hot, the dancers are hot, and the show pulls quite the emotional impact (one that my friend didn’t realise was going to exist beyond the razzle dazzle dancing). Sadly, one of my fave dancers, Tony Yazbeck was absent, but this time Paul McGill was here (last time he was away and we got the understudy). Natalie Cortez again wowed me as Diana, but really, everyone was just exceptional and I think I found my new obsession to rival my Rent obsession from a decade ago (man, has it really been a decade already?).

We got Standing Room tickets (sold on day-of only when the show is sold out) but as I’ve told everyone, it’s not as bad as it sounds and considering it’s less than ¼ of the price of the seats directly in front of you, it’s a great deal, especially since the Schoenfeld theatre is not very big in the first place.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Finally, we hopped over 7 blocks to the New World Stages Theatre (very modern, very slick, very cinema multiplex since there were 5 stages including Naked Boys Singing and Altar Boyz playing in the same complex. Weird mix with Evil Dead The Musical huh?) where my high school friend’s show Evil Dead The Musical just opened Off-Broadway (and a block away from Wicked which I didn't like by the way and totally deserved to be beat out by Avenue Q as Best Musical that year).

Again, I had seen this show before, back in its first incarnation at Toronto’s Tranzac Club when it was just a Fringe thing with practically no-budget. Little has changed now that it’s move all the way to New York on a real stage, but that’s a good thing.

The entire show honours and spoofs the Evil Dead movies by Sam Raimi (Spiderman 1 & 2) but you really don’t need to know anything about the movies to enjoy them (though you’ll get more of the in jokes if you do) since the story is really about 5 horny teenagers going to a secluded Cabin in the Woods, and in horror movies, we all know what THAT means!

So yes, the blood spews by the geysers full (they aren’t kidding when they say the first few rows are the “Splatter Zone” (which I HIGHLY recommend and can be bought ahead of time, and don’t worry, they give out free ponchos to protect yourselves if you want to (which I would especially if you are sitting in the first row on the left side but basically everyone will get soaked in blood)) and the puns and bad jokes keep coming out, but it all makes for a ridiculously silly bloody good time.

So kudos to my high school friend Christopher Bond for co-directing this (with Tony Award winner Hinton Battle, who played the singing devil in the amazing musical episode “Once More with Feeling” of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and co-writing it with his Queen’s buddies. At least something good has come out of Queens University finally (Queens is the major rival to my alma mater McGill University)! :P

So yes, an interesting mix, from Adult Puppets to Sexy Dancers to Singing Corpses, it made for a wildly varied viewing concoction but all memorably excellent.

Next up in about a month, the revival of Company by John Doyle and Duncan Shiek's Spring Awakening!


Melanie said...

hmph. i can't slag queen's anymore...and you shouldn't either or you can forget seeing 100 of the MDs that graduate in 2008. just kidding. CREAM QUEEN'S!!

vance said...

Yeah but since there are apparently no one for me amongst that 100 MD's, who cares? so BOO Queens... hehe...

duckyxdale said...

I'm seeing Evil Dead on the 17th. 11pm show. Can't wait!!!!

vance said...

Oh so fun! You should get a foam chainsaw!!!

duckyxdale said...

And I just got stage seats (scary) for Spring Awakening on the 18th! Its a large theatre so that will be wierd.

vance said...

Oh Sweet! I'll be going about 2 weeks later on those Stage Seats! you can tell me how they are! Did you get the "rules" sheet? hilarious!

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