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IceDragon
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^^^I love hearing lottery winning stories! That's so exciting!

 

^Yes, KT is a superfan so I got up super early the morning the tickets went on sale and snagged $150 tickets. Used Hotel Points for free lodging so it ended up being cheaper than seeing the show here in Orlando! And Lin was in it!!! And when they changed the venue we ended up with amazing seats!!!

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Hamilton is in Orlando!

 

I think most everyone by now, especially those with even a remote interest in Broadway theater, is at least familiar with Hamilton in that the show tells the story of one of America's Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton and part of the show's charm is that the story is told mostly through untraditional-for-Broadway rap, R&B, hip hop, and soul music. The characters in the show are also mostly cast as non-white performers to play the roles of white American figureheads. The shows boasts that it is "the story of America then told by America now."

 

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Kristen was thrilled to be able to see the show again! It is her absolute favorite Broadway musical and she's seen it four times now (including a trip to Puerto Rico to see it with Lin-Manuel Miranda playing Hamilton!)

 

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Thankfully we knew some people who worked on the touring production and she was invited backstage by Brad the Company Manager and she loved getting to tour the stage and learn more about the traveling production!

 

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My personal overall feeling about Hamilton is that I like the show quite a bit, there are parts that I absoultely LOVE, and I feel that anyone who is into Broadway musicals needs to see it, but that being said, having seen Hamilton twice now, once on Broadway and once at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando, I do have some thoughts and musings about this show...

 

1. It absolutely is a "rap musical." I call this out because, while this is a popular feature of the show, it is also my least favorite part of the show. When it comes right down to it, I'm just not a huge fan of rap music, and I'd say about 1/3 of the show is fairly hardcore rap (at least for me) and if that isn't something you are a fan of, I would suggest taking a listen to the cast recording before spending hundreds of dollars on tickets. While I do like most of the rest of the music that is not quite as hardcore rap, I find myself tuning out about 1/3 of the show because it is a music style that I just cannot connect with.

 

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2. The set design, lighting, and staging is absoultely wonderful! If you are a fan of stage lighting, there are some scenes in this show that I feel are absolute perfection! And I am blown away by how much story they can tell from a set design that is actually fairly simplistic. It reminds me quite a bit of the original production of Les Miserables, including the Les Mis classic "turntable" that was made popular by that show. I feel like the story and the staging alone makes this show for me!

 

3. Ticket Prices - ENTER THE LOTTERY! Every day! When the tour comes to town (currently it is in Orlando until Feb 10th) download the official Hamilton App and play the lottery! They will sell 20 pairs of tickets for $10 each ticket via the lottery! Aside from that, I would keep checking the theater's official website for any tickets that may come available. It does happen!

 

Since there is an insane amount of hype surrounding this show, ticket prices are still absolutely crazy and for the most part, beyond what I would suggest paying to see a Broadway musical. I have seen tickets well into the $300 - $550 range for seats that aren't even that great, and IMO, no show is worth that much money. Thankfully, there will soon be three casts of Hamilton touring the US, in addition to the New York Broadway cast and the London West End cast. The more people who get to see this show, the less the demand will be and thus ticket prices will eventually come down. If you have not been able to get tickets for this current tour, don't worry, this show will continue to tour and will most likely be back in a year or two and hopefully by then the tickets will be cheaper and the show will still be just as great!

 

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4. The story that Hamilton tells is absolutely inspiring on many levels and is easily my favorite part of the show. While, to be honest, the character of Hamilton himself actually comes across as a bit "unlikeable" at times during the show, there is so much amazing history that unfolds throughout the show and the displays of doing "good" for humanity is something that I feel more people need to be aware of, think about, and perhaps learn from. The show is worth going to see just for the storytelling alone.

 

As I said above, overall I do like the show quite a lot. Maybe not as much as other people do and that goes back to what I said about the style of music. I feel like if it wasn't a "rap musical" it would easily be in my top 10 shows. If you are a fan of rap music, I think you'll be absoultely blown away by it, and even if you're not a fan of rap music, you should still give it a chance!

 

Hamilton is currently playing in Orlando at the Dr. Phillips Center until February 10th and we strongly recommend checking the official Hamilton app and entering the lottery for tickets every single day! Do also check the Dr. Phillips official website for last minute tickets that may become available!

 

Official Website: https://www.drphillipscenter.org/

 

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Edited by robbalvey
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It absolutely is a "rap musical." I call this out because, while this is a popular feature of the show, it is also my least favorite part of the show. When it comes right down to it, I'm just not a huge fan of rap music, and I'd say about 1/3 of the show is fairly hardcore rap (at least for me) and if that isn't something you are a fan of, I would suggest taking a listen to the cast recording before spending hundreds of dollars on tickets.

This was my biggest concern about seeing Hamilton. I'm not a fan of rap, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed those parts of the show. The lyrics are very well written, with a few really clever rhymes. I was also happy that I was able to understand and follow most of the lyrics without having heard the soundtrack, but I agree that the soundtrack would help someone decide if they'd enjoy the show.

 

Thanks for the review, Robb!

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agreed, thank you for the review, and the insights.

 

as a fan of shows, this is on my radar to see (of course), although haven't gotten to it as of yet.

 

I'm a huge fan of "rock musicals" (such as "Rent" and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"), so I take your comment about the "Rap" portions seriously, as that has been a worrying point for myself - I too am not a huge fan of Rap.

 

I have enjoyed what i've heard from the soundtrack tho. . so it's a great suggestion to hear the whole thing before purchasing tickets when it come here.

 

Great info on the Lottery too (similar in idea behind what Rent does when touring too).

 

thanks again for the post, and looks like Kristen had a fantastic time backstage too!

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Well, I just found out today, we're going to get a tour of Hamilton, during the (gulp) 2020-2021 Season

of Broadway Across Canada. So I'll be "catching up" with my Brdwy Cast cd before then.

 

That said, we also got our new 2019-2020 Season. And I am very happy with this set of shows:

 

RENT ~ September

Waitress ~ November

Dear Evan Hansen ~ February/20

Finding Neverland ~ April/20

 

I'm especially looking forward to Finding Neverland, as I just love the cast recording,

and always enjoyed the libretto of the production, based on the movie.

 

 

p.s. By the way, here's what's eventually heading your way, New York, New York....

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And Channing Tatum is a Major Producer of it. Cool!

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Tomorrow afternoons, for the first time in far too long, it's Cats time for me. I'm just hoping the new tour is good; the last tour was kinda disappointing. This one just opened, so I can't even find any reviews yet. I absolutely can not wait, I'll never be able to get enough of it. Not everyone's favorite these days, I know, but it was...something of an important factor in my life when I was young.

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^ Hope this production turns out better, than the last one you saw. I was lucky in seeing the original

Broadway company waaaaaaay back in 1982 (in the fall), with Betty Buckley as Grizabella (now starring

as Dolly in the "Hello,Dolly!" tour). And then we we saw two tours here in Vancouver, that were both good.

And that was a long long time ago, too. But seeing it on Broadway was an amazing experience!

 

Just announced on http://www.broadway.com -- for those of you who can't get enough of Wicked...

 

A new 15th Anniversary CD is being released on February 8. It will be a 2-CD set, including 4 tracks from

the television Halloween Special from last October. Including Adam Lambert, Ariana Grande and that wonderful

last number "For Good" re-sung by Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, incl. actresses who have played

Galinda and Elphaba in the New York show, still going strong. A wonderful end to the special it was.

 

mmmm Adam Lambert Gorgeous voice he's got. Here's the full article...

 

https://www.broadway.com/buzz/194696/wicked-15th-anniversary-album-to-feature-ariana-grandes-the-wizard-and-i-more/

 

p.s. A reminder that RENT ~ LIVE is on FOX tv this Sunday! Actually my very first time in seeing this musical

in full. Never seen a production of it, ever. Know a lot of the score, but still. Looking forward to it!

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First the Original; then the 5th Anniversary cd; and now this 15th Anniversary one!

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The eventual cd of the RENT~LIVE Broadcast (this Sunday on FOX).

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So...Cats. Just...wow.

 

So, a little background, for what it's worth. I was two years old, ish, when my mother brought home the Cats soundtrack on a copied cassette. I listened to it nonstop; by time I was in elementary school I pretty much knew every line start to finish. I never really grew out of it, and wore out several copies of it, but I didn't actually get to see the performance until the PBS Great Performances special in the late 90s, and then shortly after finally got to see it live for the first time. I wore out the VHS copy of the recorded one, too, before getting it on DVD, and I've had the chance to see it live a couple more times since. So yeah, I'm something of a fan of Cats? And yeah, that's how I got into the whole furry thing too =P

 

Still, I was going into this one a bit apprehensive. I hadn't had a chance to see the revival on broadway, but I knew they'd made changes, and were advertising a new score and choreography "based on" the original version, the latter redone by Hamilton's choreographer. Add in that the original choreographer Gillian Lynne was reportedly "very angry" about it being changed, and...well, I'm sure you can imagine my expectations, and how willing I was to have something I loved so much changed.

 

As it turns out, while there are some changes, they're almost all for the better. This is absolutely my favorite version I've seen yet. Most of the changes are fairly small; the choreography is different here and there, though probably not noticeably to anyone less...obsessive a fan. I did feel like the new version let some of the characters show a little bit more individual personality at times instead of being "just one of the cats." There's a little more attention given to relationships between the cats; small details like the old cats Deuteronomy and Gus sharing a moment together. A few scenes are changed more, like the latter part of The Old Gumbie Cat, which is far more playful and fun than the original version. Sorry Ms Lynne, I've always adored what you did, but it's even better now.

 

Some lines, particularly when introducing characters and songs, are delivered differently now, with a bit more acting, a bit more emotion in them, instead of just sung as part of the lyrics...small changes, again, but definitely for the better. The cats got a few more chances to play in the aisles and work the crowd than previously; had I known that I would have tried harder for an aisle seat.

 

Maybe slightly controversially, Growltiger's Last Stand has been removed from the show. This is definitely something of a hit against it, as I always thought it was one of the high points of the show, but...it was very much a product of its time, and the show is probably better off without it and the associated baggage in 2019. (For those unfamiliar, Growltiger took a rather stereotypical view of asians that is...not as publicly acceptable as it was decades ago.) Fortunately they don't leave Gus just hanging without a second part of his act, as the DVD production did (understandably, given Sir John Mills' age); the revival rewrites The Awful Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles to be Gus', with him reprising his old role as the Rumpus Cat. It works very well, and fits better into the show than the original version, which always did seem a bit oddly placed.

 

With or without changes, of course, the show only works if the cast is up to it...and this cast is fantastic. Grizabella is just amazing, every bit as good as the legends that have taken her role in the past, putting so much ragged desperation into her performance, and her voice...wow. Gus is absolutely a highlight too in this tour; starting out looking barely alive at all but slowing waking up as his past deeds as the theater cat are told, first joining in the stories a bit hesitantly, then more enthusiastically and finally coming to life again entirely to play one of his old parts one last time. The actor playing Rum Tum Tugger ups his ego and...difficult nature, even more than past versions, but still manages to show a softer side towards some of the other cats. While there were a couple of the less featured characters that I felt fell a bit behind some of the past versions I've seen, as a whole this is by far the best cast I've seen live, and mostly even lives up to the picked-from-'round-the-world "best of" cast of the recorded version.

 

(I found out after I got home from it that the show will be playing in Philedelphia the day I'm driving past there on my way to Pittsburgh for Anthrocon. Not only do I get a chance to see it again, but the timing is just perfect! I'm even more excited now than I was to see it over the weekend, knowing how good it is now!)

 

So, TL;DR - If you have any interest in Cats at all, and have a chance to see this production...absolutely, definitely do not miss out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just found out...they're releasing a Cast CD for The National Theatre's production of FOLLIES!

 

 

This was the production that was broadcast world-wide, on cinema screens, over a year ago.

 

Release date to be announced.

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The original National Theatre company of FOLLIES. "Beautiful Girls"

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.... and I just convinced myself to put up $100 (Cdn) for a mezz. front row balcony seat to

what I call an "add-on show" that isn't part of our Season Subscription..... WICKED.

It has been a long long time, since I saw any show that far away from the stage. I think the last time

was a tour of The Full Monty, and that was the utmost top of the balconies! Then all of us

who bought those cheapest (last row) seats, moved all the way to the front row of that upper balcony,

because nobody else bought those front row seats, lol. And it was a great show, too!

 

And since we have already seen two great touring productions of Wicked, from our usual seats in

Centre Orchestra, I just wanted to see it again, but from a "different angle."

 

So I got me a ticket, not to be used until July 9th.............2020.

(And remind myself to borrow David's binoculars, when I go.)

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I just found out...they're releasing a Cast CD for The National Theatre's production of FOLLIES!

 

 

This was the production that was broadcast world-wide, on cinema screens, over a year ago.

 

Release date to be announced.

 

 

Alice

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...And if getting the recent London production of FOLLIES on CD(s) is awesome enough....

 

This is now available in digital and streaming. CD to be eventually realeased.

 

 

*COMPANY,* too?!?!?!

 

You're KILLING me!

 

Thanks soooo much for your info updates!!

 

Alice

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^ And what would make this an Ultimate OMG! would be DVDs of both productions, eventually available.

 

(And I actually wrote, in Steve's Christmas card, that he/they'd be fools NOT to put COMPANY on a CD, at least. So on his birthday card in March, I'll ask/PLEAD with him about a DVD for either production, although he did tell me before, the one for FOLLIES probably won't happen, due to so-many-UK-unions involved, and all. Butcha never know, right? And there has been 3 DVD recordings of COMPANY: The Video of the Making of The Orig.Cast Album {whew}; the minimalist Company w/Raul Esparza; and the Concert Version w/Neil Patrick Harris/Patti LuPone)

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^ And what would make this an Ultimate OMG! would be DVDs of both productions, eventually available.

 

(And I actually wrote, in Steve's Christmas card, that he/they'd be fools NOT to put COMPANY on a CD, at least. So on his birthday card in March, I'll ask/PLEAD with him about a DVD for either production, although he did tell me before, the one for FOLLIES probably won't happen, due to so-many-UK-unions involved, and all. Butcha never know, right? And there has been 3 DVD recordings of COMPANY: The Video of the Making of The Orig.Cast Album {whew}; the minimalist Company w/Raul Esparza; and the Concert Version w/Neil Patrick Harris/Patti LuPone)

 

Heaven would be the DVD versions of both shows! (Tho I gotta say that ANYTHING would be tough to top Elaine Stritch trying to perfect The Ladies Who Lunch! while making COMPANY!)

Pls DO ask/plead with Steve S. for those DVDS!!!!

 

Alice

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^ I'm betting that no matter how much he OWNS all of that, it will still be up to others,

to figure out what's feasibly po$$ible for either production to be filmed. Unless

(sneaky) they've filmed both already, and everybody's just .... waiting to exhale.

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Saw the Lion King tour here in Korea. I enjoyed it because I love the music (even if I'm one of the few who isn't the biggest fan of the story) but it was kind of weird for me. I've seen a lot of musicals here (mostly domestic productions and a few international tours) and we've never had problems getting tickets for anything but this sold out instantly and I think is breaking sales records.

 

Every musical we've seen in Asia has been the same routine, polite clapping throughout without any cheering or standing no matter how great it was but then all hell breaks loose at the curtain call. Maybe we just got a bum day with the audience but you could feel the disconnect in the air. I would laugh at something and hear nothing and the curtain call was just polite applause. The drummer tried to get the audience to clap along after the interval and people just sat there or clapped along very half-assed.

 

I think over-hype can be dangerous butI'm not sure if that was it or people were expecting something more special being an international tour. I've seen a lot of domestic tours, even with my Korean being passable at best, because the amount of energy Koreans put into the choreography and performance can be insane. We saw rock of ages on a whim because I thought it'd be cool to see how they fit Korean lyrics into the pop songs and the number of dancers and energy throughout was great and I don't even like the original.

 

There were subtitles off to the side which I guess could be a big disconnect when you have to keep looking away from the stage but that didn't happen when we saw Avenue Q. Every joke got a big laugh there and you think how much that relies on language to keep the audience invested compared to something visual like the Lion King. It could be a case of puppets being dirty and foul-mouthed in English is more of a niche sale in Korea so everyone knew what they were in for and wanted to be there compared to Lion King where people came because it was THE musical that's breaking records.

 

So yeah I enjoyed myself but felt very awkward laughing when only a few were or seeing flashes of screens as people checked their phones so I think I might carry on seeing domestic tours. There's been Korean performances of Lion King here that have come and went with little fanfare.

 

My wife compared it to when we rode Jungle Cruise at HKDL. Chineses people getting on the English version ride without any understanding of English (even when the line was longer for that version) because they think it'll make them look more dignified somehow or that it'll be different than the one in their language (there were a couple of Korean specific jokes about Everland or Zazu singing a Korean song) and are then disappointed when they only just then realize they've just got the same they've seen before but in another language.

 

People left happy and the performers gave it their all but like the skipper on that Jungle Cruise ride, you can feel the disconnect when it isn't landing too well and theirs that awkward silence.

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And Broadway tickets are now available for...

 

Opening July 25th. MoulinRouge!

This is one show I have zero interest in. I tried to watch the movie, couldn't get into it. I think it just goes back to my actively disliking "Jukebox Musicals" (Mamma Mia being the weird anomaly.)

 

I really prefer musicals where the songs were written FOR the narrative of the show, not the other way around.

 

It's a shame, I feel this is the first Broadway season in NYC where I'm not really that excited about any show this year and we don't actually have plans for a NYC Broadway trip for 2019, and we usually do at least two per year!

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And Broadway tickets are now available for...

 

Opening July 25th. MoulinRouge!

This is one show I have zero interest in. I tried to watch the movie, couldn't get into it. I think it just goes back to my actively disliking "Jukebox Musicals" (Mamma Mia being the weird anomaly.)

 

I really prefer musicals where the songs were written FOR the narrative of the show, not the other way around.

 

It's a shame, I feel this is the first Broadway season in NYC where I'm not really that excited about any show this year and we don't actually have plans for a NYC Broadway trip for 2019, and we usually do at least two per year!

 

Totally agreed on "preferring musicals where the songs were written FOR the narrative of the show....!"

 

As for 2019 shows that perhaps you might enjoy as a family (stuff that Kristen - whom you've often described as an "old soul" - might like), I briefly perused some of the Bdway lineup this year and noted:

 

Fiddler on the Roof

To Kill a Mockingbird

Oklahoma

Little Women

West Side Story

 

Just some shows that stuck out to me... (Hate to think of the Alveys missing out on Bdway this year! )

 

Alice

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^ A reminder that the Off-Broadway Revival of Fiddler on The Roof is:

 

1) Spoken and sung in total Yiddish. And

 

2) Directed by The Original CABARET Emcee hisself, Joel Grey!

 

There's a video of parts of the show at http://www.broadway.com which sounds fascinating.

And still pretty much understandable when you know the libretto backwards and forwards.

I do, not only because I love the show but I also played Perchik in a local production of it.

 

And several years ago, I saw a truncated version of WICKED in Japanese, and I enjoyed it fully!

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^ A reminder that the Off-Broadway Revival of Fiddler on The Roof is:

 

1) Spoken and sung in total Yiddish. And

 

2) Directed by The Original CABARET Emcee hisself, Joel Grey!

 

There's a video of parts of the show at http://www.broadway.com which sounds fascinating.

And still pretty much understandable when you know the libretto backwards and forwards.

I do, not only because I love the show but I also played Perchik in a local production of it.

 

And several years ago, I saw a truncated version of WICKED in Japanese, and I enjoyed it fully!

 

Thanks, NW! This will no doubt be a unique production...and certainly a tad 'offbeat.' But the music is amazing and the plot pretty self-explanatory. (Not to mention Joel Grey! I love that you played Perchik! Like you, I know the libretto so well that when I watched the video, I was singing English in sync. It's definitely a special experience! (Can you imagine FIDDLER in Japan! I'm sure it's played there!)

 

I'm really excited about WEST SIDE STORY. Haven't seen that for ages!! The narrative, music, amazing dancing! WOW! And put together by the greatest names in Broadway history! I'm really glad that a new generation can experience the excitement and magic of this show!

 

Alice

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Shout out to KT who performed in her big Middle School musical Shrek Jr. this weekend!

 

She played Young Fiona, which was just the perfect role for her as she's supposed to be seven years old and she was one of the only kids at school that could legit pull that off! Yay for a positive finally for being short! She also played two ensemble characters in Act Two.

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Young Fiona

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^ Congratulations to a young rising star!

 

And ^^ yes, there was a Japanese production of "Fiddler,"

in the late 1960's or so. I remember seeing a tour program where,

like today`s touring shows, Mormon and Wicked to name a couple,

they also showed pix of world wide productions of the same show.

 

And "the word" from the Japanese was, that they couldn't understand

this being "An American show" as the values and such, made it

so ...... Japanese. They were very impressed with it.

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They even produced an Original Cast recording of a later product6ion!

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