Fiddler on the Roof– an amazing show

Fiddler on the Roof was all that it promised to be. This classic piece of theater was a pleasure to watch and was thoroughly enjoyed. The music of Jerry Bock’s and Sheldon Harnick’s lyrics, along with Joseph Stein’s book (based on “Tevye and his Daughters” by Sholem Aleichem) are joined together to create one of the most enduring and well known works of theater to date.

The leading character, milkman Tevye, struggles with himself, talks to God, and tries to deal with the changes in the world around him. A kind-hearted man, he wants to do well by those around him and be an honest person. Living in the Russian village of Anatevka with his wife and five daughters, Tevye (please read the rest of my article below)
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Godspell- Live on Broadway

There is nothing quite like a modern day Socrates checking their status and quoting great works of days of old- an amazing way to start the classic show with a cult following, “Godspell”. When the first notes of “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” were sung- the audience was ready to dance along as well. I don’t think one can have a pulse and one want to dance when Godspell is preformed in front of you
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Recess Monkey Live at Symphony Space (NYC)

Saturday, February 25th, Symphony Space at 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY, will be showing Recess Monkey. Specializing in indie rock for children, this Seattle Teacher trio makes their triumphant return to Symphony Space with their outlandishly fun recipe of high-energy pop and rock and roll. Their two performances sold out last year, impressing parents and kids with space age music and futuristic sounds.

Their latest superhero-inspired CD is called “Flying”. These teachers, parents, and musicians know the power of music and how wearing a bedsheet, towel, or “cape” can only enhance one’s superpowers (and dancing and leaping abilities).

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Fiddler on the Roof- Live at the State Theater!

Tomorrow we will be at the show, and are excited to tell you all about it.

Fiddler on the Roof is slated to show at the State Theater in New Brunswick February 17-18. Fiddler on the Roof has been entertaining audiences from the youngest ticket holders upwards for generations. Few shows have captivated audiences like Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s Fiddler on the Roof. Even modern pop culture shows such at “The Wonder Pets” have referenced this Broadway standard, exposing even the youngest of children.
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Mary Poppins- Disney on Broadway (Live Theater)

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to see Mary Poppins on Broadway, for it’s 5 year Anniversary. Not only that, but we were able to go backstage and check out some amazing props from other Disney shows, like The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Aida, and Beauty and the Beast. OK, nerd alert? Totally have seen them all, with the exception of Tarzan, LOL. Aida is one of my all time favorite shows, ever-ever, and I nearly had a heart attack standing backstage.

Did I mention I was a total Broadway lover and geek? OK, well, so what? And I am raising one to boot! My son, age 4, loves the theater, and sits rapt through shows, then listens to the CDs and learns them by heart. This wonderful experience was not one either of us will be forgetting, especially since he got to touch the props themselves!

Disney Theatrical’s VP of Operations Dana Amendola gave us all a backstage tour, and told us a bit about the history of the New Amsterdam Theater- by the way, when you go, see if you can find the hidden Micky Mouse! LOL There is a ghost of one of the original Ziegfeld Follies stars, Olive Thomas who resides there and will only show herself to men. The cure for this phenomenon was to only hire female security guards, since Olive was scaring all the men off, LOL. There is also a “listening post”, where critics could be listened to during the intermission of shows. If they didn’t seem to like what they were seeing, then they were invited up to have a drink with a Ziegfield girl after the show. I bet that changed quite a few minds! Ah, men. So easy to manipulate, LOL.

There were also these beautiful ornamental light fixtures, that were re-created by using descriptions from old diaries and journals. Women would write in great detail of their theater visits, and when the time came to re-construct and renovate the New Amsterdam, nothing was held back. The above was what was created from the descriptions- and right before the show opened, they found one of the original light fixtures, with lights and all still working- buried in a wall! Here was what it looked like-

Not bad, right? So close! And how cool, don’t you just love that story? They very quickly had a new batch made, replicating the newly-discovered old fixture, just in time for the re-opening.

Another Quite Famous Lady of the Theater!

These lovely and ornate carvings are found everywhere you look in the theater- many based on Shakespeare’s plays. Right now, if you go see Mary Poppins, you can get the added perk of being able to see all this for yourself as well! Any donation of $150 or more at the show for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will get you a backstage pass and a meet and greet with cast members. This wonderful organization helps AIDS causes nationwide, and is a great way to give to others this holiday season.

Mary Poppins, being shown in the New Amsterdam theater in New York, as well as being on tour and in Australia, is a really fun and cute show. It is nothing at all like the movie- so don’t go thinking it will be! Being a fan of musical theater, I am a fan of Julie Andrews (the original Mary Poppins) so you can say I have seen the movie a few times, hahah. To me, it was sooooo odd- it was like a “loose translation” of the movie. It was fun, family friendly, and the acting was wonderful- but it was not the Mary Poppins I know. Have you ever seen a movie after you read the book? You loved the book, but the movie was so very different? That is kind of how I felt here. However, my son (who has not seen the movie in over a year, remember- he is only 4!) and husband, who had never seen the movie at all, had no expectations and loved it. The show was wonderful and I would recommend it- just know that the story is a bit different.

The Broadway production of MARY POPPINS officially opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre on November 16, 2006, recouping its initial Broadway investment within 52 weeks of its premiere in 2006. MARY POPPINS is the only show from the 2006-2007 theatrical season still running. The musical is the winner of 44 major theatre awards around the globe, including Tony

Have You Seen Godspell On Broadway Yet? @MamaDramaNY #BWAYGODSPELL

I love Godspell, I always have. I think most of you know I love the theater in general, but Godspell is one of my all time favorites. Confession- I have been in 4 productions of this show myself 😛 Local only of course, but I love, love, love this show- it is fun, eclectic, energetic, and it modernizes with the current times. I am NOT a child of the 70’s, but I loved the movie, and I own the original cast CD, and my son knew most of the songs long before this play hit the stage for a revival. (The new cast recording will soon be available!)

As soon as the cast hit the stage, even before the first song, I knew we were going to be in for a great night- because these “philosophers” came in with their briefcases and blackberries attached to their heads, texting and checking onto Facebook 🙂 Nothing quite like a modern day Socrates checking their status and quoting great works, LOL. And when the first notes of “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” were sung- the audience was ready to dance along as well. I don’t think you can have a pulse and NOT want to dance when Godspell is in front of you!

The cast is vibrant, young, and exuberant, with members from hit shows like “Glee” and is directed by Daniel Goldstein and choreographed by Tony Award nominee Christopher Gattelli. While this show has not been on the “main” stage for more then 40 years, you won’t know it- all the references are current and the show could not be funnier. The lines are all Biblical and the parables come straight from the Bible, the speech can seem old fashioned- but it is so well preformed that it won’t be strange or boring- it only adds to the show in every way. Hey- any show that can be all about the Bible while also references Donald Trump and iPhones has to be worth seeing!

The cast was amazing- my personal favorites were Julia Mattison (who sang “Turn Back, O Man” and was delightful and funny throughout the show, adding lots of what my daughter calls “glitter”), Uzo Aduba who was the first philosopher and broke my heart with her “By My Side”. She was a super soulful performer, commanded attention even while doing nothing, and someone I could not take my eyes off of all night. Judas, played by Wallace Smith, was a sparkly and peppy performer as well as an amazing voice- but it was his transformation from best friend to mortal foe that showed how talented he really is- his face was worth a million lines, and when the actor portraying Jesus (Hunter Parrish) “dies”, there was agony and guilt that you really believed. And felt. I admit that I cried.

The cast as a whole was believable as a family, as a unit. They had wonderful chemistry, and I bought my mom and her boyfriend tickets to go see the show at the end of the month. She will love it, she loved the original. Warning- Jesus does not wear the “Superman” shirt! 😛


Maybe you think your kids won’t sit through this show- in my experience, you’d be worrying for nothing! My kids both sat enraptured through the whole thing. I was a little worried about the death scene- my children know the story of Jesus, but to see it is a whole different thing. It is tastefully and simply done, and while sad- it’s not scary. My son was very worried about Jesus, but then the cast carried him off stage while singing again- and it was a hopeful and somewhat joyful feeling- and then he told me it would be OK, since Jesus was going to see his Dad, and that his Daddy would make it all right, right mom? So even the very young will be able to enjoy this musical experience, and I think they can only benefit from as much culture as you can give them.


Godspell is now playing at Circle in The Square Theater on Broadway. (at 50thSt.). When ordering tickets HERE, feel free to use this discount code: GSMDR79. Tickets cost $79.50 / $89.50 (Sat Eves). Certain black-out dates may apply. Valid through 12/23/11.

For more blog posts on Broadway’s Godspell visit MamaDrama on BroadwayWorld.com.

Disclosure: I received tickets to a performance of Godspell courtesy of MamaDrama in exchange for this honest review. The thoughts and opinions are my own, yours may differ.

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Madagascar LIVE- so super fabulous!


 OUT OF THE ZOO AND ONTO THE STAGE!  OUT OF THE ZOO AND ONTO THE STAGE!!!


“All of your favorite crack-a-lackin friends from Madagascar are out of the zoo and onto the stage in Madagascar Live – a wild new musical adventure based on the blockbuster DreamWorks film. Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and of course, those hilarious, plotting penguins as they escape from their home at New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar. This celebration of friendship is brought vividly to life by imaginative sets and costumes, action-packed adventure and spectacular new songs that will inspire you to MOVE IT MOVE IT in the aisles. Get ready to go wile at MADAGASCAR LIVE!”


My Little Man is such a fan of this movie, and now after seeing it LIVE at Radio City Music Hall in NYC, I am too!  I am sitting here, bouncing and singing “I like to move it, move it”, and my preschoolers have been dancing around with us since we got home!  Everybody up!  Everybody down!  LOL…. it’s stuck in my head!  AHHHHH!!!!!
I had high expectations going in, and boy, let me tell you, they were met! 
Little Man is in love with Gloria, the hippo, above all others.  And seeing her dance and sing right before his eyes was just the bees knees!

The sets were awesome, I loved the subway scene!  Perfect.  And the boat scenes were done really well- super cute.  Poor Melman!  The whole thing was too just much for that poor giraffe, LOL.  Those Penguins were up to their usual tricks, but found out that there is no place like home- and set out to find all their former zoo-mates.  Alex the Lion and Marty the Zebra are best friends, but will they stay that way once they realize how the Food Chain works?  Let me tell you, also- Maurice?  That lemur can really bust a move (and was so amazing vocally- James Brown!  Woot!)  King Julian is my personal favorite, and it was so much fun to watch him live.  We also got the chance to meet him backstage!  Little was so excited- look at his cheesecake face, lol. 

Before the show started, we got to see the Radio City Stage Door Tour,and it was on that tour that we were able to meet King Julian.  We also met an actual Rockette! (Little Man informed me “Mom- she got big tall legs!”)   Yep, thanks darling!

It was also a lot of fun to hear about the design of Radio City Music Hall, see costumes, statues, and photos of the Rockettes from their start (NOT in NYC, believe it or not!) in 1932 all the way until today.  This is also where we got to meet the Rockette pictured above!  
Seeting King Julian in person was the most fun for most of the kids (and me!) and he was really nice, friendly, and funny!  He gave the kids little penguins, and had them answer questions.  He also taught them the “Move it, Movie it” dance, and told them not to “be snooty with the booty”, LOL…I laughed harder then Little did  🙂
The whole team at Radio City was sweet, friendly, helpful, and kind to the kids.  They gave them bags with snacks, juice, toys (Little got GLORIA!!!) and King Julian signed a poster for him!  Could they have been any sweeter?   They were also super energetic, God bless them, haha.  In fact, they were so thoughtful- THEY EVEN SCHEDULED A BATHROOM BREAK!!!!   How awesome, right?  This way, no one missed anything due to a Captain Pee-Pee Pants, LOL.

The creative team for “MADAGASCAR LIVE” includes: director, Gip Hoppe; assistant director and choreographer, Jenn Rapp; writer, Kevin Del Aguila and music/lyrics, Joel Someillan and George Noriega. The performers include Nigel Jamaal Clark (“Marty”), Rob Marnell (“Alex”), David Perlman (“Melman”), Aurelia Williams (“Gloria”), Drew Hirschfield, (“King Julian”), and Darren Lorenzo (“Maurice”). Assistant Director & Choreographer

“MADAGASCAR LIVE” will be performing 18 shows at Radio City Music Hall beginning April 15 through April 24. Tickets for the general public are on sale now by calling 866.858.0008, online or in-person at the Radio City Music Hall box office. For groups, please call 212.465.6080. 

For more information about “MADAGASCAR LIVE,” visit www.madlive.com or on Facebook .
You can find more information about Radio City Music Hall on Facebook or Twitter, and make sure to check out their website!  ( A few more Twitter Handles you may like!  @MadagascarLive @MSGEconcerts @MSGnyc )

Disclosure- we received tickets to review the show, as well as the tour described- all opinions are my own  🙂   

The Time Machine- Live Show Review

Yesterday, we saw a “Radio Theater” performance of H. G. Well’s classic “The Time Machine”, directed by Dan Bianchi. Preformed at The Red Room (85 East 4th Street), December 14-19, 21 & 22, and 28 & 29 at 8pm with matinee performances December 12 & 19 at 3pm. Tickets ($20/$15 students & seniors) are available by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444 or online at www.horseTRADE.info.

This was an interesting piece, reminiscent of the days where one got their entertainment gathered around the family radio set, rather then the TV or computer. In in intimate setting, we were treated to a reading of one of the most famous pieces of Science fiction ever written. Called “Radio Theater” because of it’s likening to the performances on the radio (complete with audio effects like walking across the leaves, etc) but without the visual of the actual person producing the effects. Preformed by two actors, FRANK ZILINYI and KATE SIEPERT who acted as the genius gentlemen traveller and his wife. The genius gentleman has created a machine in which he is able to transport himself through time- he goes to the far distant future. He experiences a variety of situations which he relates to his wife in a single conversation between them
This was modified for the stage performance from the original “Time Machine”, where the time traveler accounts his adventures to a group of weekly dinner guests.

PRESENTS

RADIOTHEATRE

IN

H.G. WELLS’ THE TIME MACHINE

WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY DAN BIANCHI
LIMITED ENGAGEMENT!
DECEMBER 12-29 @ THE RED ROOM

Blast off with the Drama Desk nominated Radiotheatre and their new live stage version of the most influential science fiction story of all time…H.G.Wells’ THE TIME MACHINE! Complete with a great cast of storytellers, an elaborate soundscape, and an original orchestral score!

IN SHORT, IF YOU LOVE WELLS, SCI-FI and HORROR genres, this dramatization will prove enjoyable…so program your time machines and BLAST OFF for an evening!” Off Off Online
STUNNING!” Sci Fi Channel
Brings to mind Vincent Price and Victorian Era Full moons!” New York Times
Spooky, Shocking, Horrific!” Time Out NY
A Sound Extravaganza!” Variety
Elegant and Vivid Storytelling” nytheatre.com
A Ton of Fun!” The Villager
Dan Bianchi’s sound design is Marvelous!” The Village Voice
Ominous, Eerie, Monster Movie sound effects!” Backstage
Radiotheatre is a vibrant force for NYC stage shows!” Hy Reviews
Creepy!” American Theatre Magazine
Horrific! Evocative! Rousing! Engaging! Chilling!” Off Off Online
A Sound Spectacular! A real Gem!” NYC.Com
An evening of spine chilling, goose bump rising, fun filled entertainment!” Retrovision Media

THE TIME MACHINE will feature Frank Zilinyi and Aleksandra Sczczepanowska with Original Music and Sound Design by Dan Bianchi and Sound Engineering by Wes Shippee.

FRANK ZILINYI has appeared in Radiotheatre’s The Haunting of 85 East 4th Street 2006/10, Frankenstein, Dracula, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, King Kong 08, Dracula’s Guest, The Black Cat, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell Tale Heart, The Oval Portrait, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Sphinx, William Wilson, The Case of M.Valdemar, The Oblong Box, Hop Frog, The Premature Burial, The Masque of the Red Death, The System of Dr.Tarr and Prof.Fether, The Cask of Amontillado. For Inwood Shakespeare Festival: Zorro, Dracula, The Arabian Nights, The Three Musketeers, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Treasure Island

KATE SIEPERT recently appeared as Joyce in RUFFIAN ON THE STAIR (Joe Orton Festival, The Secret Theatre). Other favorite productions include: SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS (The Secret Theatre, NY); JANE AUSTEN’S EMMA (Tobacco Factory, UK); BRÖNTE (BOVTS, UK); OTHELLO (BOVTS, UK); MERCHANT OF VENICE (McPherson Theatre, IL); SEVEN DEADLY SINS (Live Bait Theatre, IL). Kate also trained & performed for 5 years at Chicago’s ImprovOlympic. She holds a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Masters Certificate in Acting from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK. www.katesiepert.com

The show was really cool, a cerebral experience, where you could visualize the story in your mind. I really liked the lack of “show” and the the story unfolding in front of us, where we could feel transported (like the time traveler himself!)

Here is a short synapses of the book, and therefor the show!

The book’s protagonist is an English scientist and gentleman inventor living in Richmond, Surrey, identified by a narrator simply as the Time Traveller. The narrator recounts the Traveller’s lecture to his weekly dinner guests that time is simply a fourth dimension, and his demonstration of a tabletop model machine for travelling through it. He reveals that he has built a machine capable of carrying a person, and returns at dinner the following week to recount a remarkable tale, becoming the new narrator:
The Time Traveller tests his device with a journey that takes him to the year 802,701 A.D., where he meets the Eloi, a society of small, elegant, androgynous, and childlike people. They live in small communities within large and futuristic yet slowly deteriorating buildings, doing no work and having a frugivorous diet. His efforts to communicate with them are hampered by their lack of curiosity or discipline, and he speculates that they are a peaceful communist society, the result of humanity conquering nature with technology, and subsequently evolving to adapt to an environment in which strength and intellect are no longer advantageous to survival.
Returning to the site where he arrived, the Time Traveller finds his time machine missing, and eventually works out that it has been dragged by some unknown party into a nearby structure with heavy doors, locked from the inside. Later in the dark, he is approached menacingly by the Morlocks, pale, apelike people who live in darkness underground, where he discovers the machinery and industry that makes the above-ground paradise possible.
Overwhelmed, he returns to his laboratory, at just three hours after he originally left. Interrupting dinner, he relates his adventures to his disbelieving visitors, producing as evidence two strange flowers an Eloi had put in his pocket. The original narrator takes over and relates that he returned to the Time Traveller’s house the next day, finding him in final preparations for another journey. The Traveler promises to return in half an hour, but three years later, the narrator despairs of ever learning what became of him, although just before he left the lab he saw a glimpse of him.

DISCLOSURE: A product sample was provided for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed in this post are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.