Friday, September 21, 2007

Back to High School ... Musical... On Stage... Again! Yes Really!

So yes, I saw it AGAIN. Really. NO SHAME! (Actually, we noticed even more adults with no kids this time in a fuller house, so no, I didn't look THAT creepy against the throngs of kids in the audience... I hope.).

In fact, it was even better the second time around since I knew to expect the re-orchestrated musical numbers (which I preferred) and there is so much going on, on the stage that I was able to take more of it in, and notice some of the funny details going surrounding the spotlight.

A detail I forgot to mention the last time I reviewed the show was to take note of the inch-worm. Seriously, I couldn't stop laughing both times around.

The two new songs ("Cellular Fusion" and "Counting On You") fit in perfectly but it was the re-orchestrated version of "Bop To The Top" in the Auditions scene that I loved. It went from the original fast tempo silly song to a slower A Chorus Liney type of ensemble piece which worked really well (and don't worry, they do perform the original version later on in the show). It was nice to see each audtioner have their own little archetype to play, and I noticed the Fosse guy in the background who didn't break character in the entire scene. Hilarious!

Again, the show works best when the entire ensemble comes together to back up a wonderful John Jefrey Martin and Arielle Jacobs as Troy and Gabriella, with anthemic renditions of "Breaking Free", "Start of Something New" and of course, "We're All In This Together". I mean, we have to admit that the original musical was hokey at best, with a flimsy plot stolen right out of Grease, Hairspray and every other guy meets girl stories but it's simple, and the stage show works so well because of the energy of the cast, and the great production values. In fact, High School Musical really works better on stage as the musical numbers are better suited for the stage, which probably was why I found the original TV movie hilarious and a big hunk of cheesorama (not a bad thing, but not exactly A quality either).

I loved every minute of this new theatrical edition (again) and if the basic plot doesn't offend your brain, then join in the fun! If anything, at least we have a musical marketed to make a new generation of theatre-lovers with a built in message of tolerance and acceptance for all (yup, even the gays, from a DISNEY show for middle America!). And if that doesn't convince you, the final bows in "High School Musical Megamix" will even force a smile on the grumpiest of adults (and if not, watching the kids jump up and dance is pretty amusing too).

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