The next few weeks I’m going to hit the skies, roads and rails as I make my way to the Bookexpo America in New York by way of Washington. It’s not like that time I went from Los Angeles to Denver via New York (thanks JetBlue). But really. This is the plan:
Fly from Burbank to Seattle. Fly from Seattle to Spokane. Drive from Spokane to Seattle. Drive from Seattle back to Spokane. Fly to Seattle and then fly to Newark. Somehow get out of New Jersey and spend time in glorious New York. Probably via train? Attend BEA for a few days. Take a train down to DC. Fly back to Los Angeles.
No idea if I’ll post my trip or if I’ll put it back on tumblr or what. But … I’m not going to be able to go to my book club meeting. I am reading the book though. Promise!
I really should go to sleep. I don’t even know why I went to the gym tonight. Today was really tiring because it was like the book amusement park. The book theme park. No, I’m not going to call it the Disneyland of books because there was no admission. HA. YOU THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BE CLICHE and I managed to avoid it.
So today is the first day of the 2013 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the annual big book event in Los Angeles where I’m surprised at how many people come around to look at book stuff and hear authors and what not. Los Angeles is not a big reading town. That’s one thing that I have noticed while traveling on the east coast…people with their noses in books (on mass transit and so forth). And not shallow glossy magazines. Books that sometimes impress me, the former bookseller and intellectual snob. Continue reading “LATFOB the #BookFest Day One”
I realize that by titling this post “Jekyll & Hyde, the worst musical I’ve ever endured” I will have to back that up with justification for what otherwise sounds like hyperbole. And I don’t really want to do that so I accept that you may reject my statement due to rhetoric and a lack of substantiation.
Today I went with my mother to the Pantages theatre to see Jekyll & Hyde. I was originally schedule to see it last weekend but I had to reschedule. It’s nice that subscribers are allowed to change shows up to 48 hours before the performance which I had to do.
Frank Wildhorn wrote the music for Jekyll & Hyde and also did the music for The Scarlet Pimpernel. I really liked Scarlet Pimpernel so I was looking forward to Jekyll & Hyde. I’ve never seen it, but I’ve heard songs before like “This is the Moment.” According to wikipedia, the musical originally ran for 1,543 performances from 1997 through 2001. The article also noted that the the musical lost $1.5 million and was not well reviewed.
This production features Constantine Maroulis as Jekyll (and Hyde). Deborah Cox is also in it. Constantine Maroulis you may remember from American Idol. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered former American Idol contestants in musicals.
He can’t sing. His accent was bad. The acting I’d consider hammy. The only good bits in the show is Deborah Cox’s Lucy. She plays the role that was previously done by Linda Eder, Frank Wildhorn’s wife.
The plot is bad, the play ends with a whimper, and the music is uneven. The best songs are given to Lucy, perhaps because Linda Eder is Frank Wildhorn’s wife. Lucy has some fairly marketable pop tunes and the rest of the cast suffers with dissonant songs that they struggle with.
I would suggest that instead of seeing Jekyll & Hyde you read a book. Or watch netflix. Or do your laundry. Any of those three would probably provide you with more pleasure. This has been a negative review, one frowny face and no smiley faces. I refused to clap for Constantine; even when he was taking bows with the cast. Some members of the audience were on their feet and I can’t tell you why.
I preferred Russell Crowe in Les Miserables. Really.
I haven’t been making it out to New York as often as I’d like. Perhaps I’m getting old and it’s hard to muster up the enthusiasm my youth had or perhaps I’m familiar with New York and the thrill of exploration has lessened. One of the reasons why I visit New York is for the shows as I do enjoy musical theatre.
I’ve been subscribing to both the seasons from the Center Theatre Group and the Pantages. The Pantages sent me an email today (Friday) that contained their upcoming season announcement. They seem very excited about it because the subject said:
Your 2013-2014 Season Renewal—Announcing a history-making season
Their big news? Old shows are coming back.
- The Book of Mormon – I saw this last year. While I enjoyed it and I’m kinda glad it’s back, I have no intention to see it. This is one of the problems that Los Angeles faces because we have few Broadway-caliber theatres. We can’t let shows run until demand has been satisfied because first these are touring companies and second we wouldn’t get any other shows in town.
- The Lion King – I saw this a few years ago at the Pantages. Again, this is a good show and I’m glad that people have a chance to see it, but I don’t really want to spend hundreds of dollars to see the same shows repeatedly.
- Once – I was going to say mean things about this but the email assures me that this musical that is based on the movie I never saw because the trailer looked too saccharine is quite good as it “swept the Tony Awards with an astounding 8 wins” including Best Musical.
- The Wizard of Oz – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lush and lavish spectacular touring production from the West End! My fondest memories of Wizard of Oz involves my high school doing productions of it. This could be good. This could be great! Who doesn’t love flying monkeys and oh right it’s reminding me of Wicked which I saw multiple times at the Pantages.
- Evita – More Andrew Lloyd Webber. I like the show, I like the music, but I doubt Patti LuPone will be performing so I don’t feel that I absolutely have to go.
- Ghost the Musical – I’m not going to make a joke about Patrick Swayze. I know nothing about this show, so that means I should give it a chance.
- The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber featuring the US Premiere of Selections from Love Never Dies – no seriously, I would like you to know that I find this selection particularly offensive. I didn’t really feel like he needed to make a sequel to Phantom of the Opera and I haven’t heard anything that convinced me that the sequel was well received. Perhaps Love Never Dies is so awful that they figure the only way they can salvage their investment is as a marketing gimmick to unsuspecting theatergoers.
There are two optional add-on shows:
- War Horse – I saw this at the Ahmanson and it’s a puppet show with a really unrealistic plot. When I learned that the original story was a children’s book it made sense. There is a certain immaturity about the plot that could only have become from a children’s book.
- American Idiot – Again, this was at the Ahmanson previously. Plus I’ve seen it an absurd amount of times both in New York and out here.
So it looks like I’ll be saving some money.