Friday, March 28, 2008

No ghosts in sight

Ok, last night was Passing Strange at the Belasco. I liked it a lot but I didn't love it quite as much as my fellow bloggers.

First of all, it's really, really loud at times. I hate to sound like an old fart, but it's been a long time since I've listened to music quite that loud. And I don't know, maybe it was just a little too minimalist for me. Maybe I just like my musicals more traditional, with big dance numbers, elaborate sets and catchy pop tunes.

But Daniel Breaker as Youth, whose journey through life we follow, is amazing. He made me realize how much an actor can do without words - his expressions, the way he carries himself, the way he slouches in a chair. It's worth the price of admission to see him leap across the stage in imitation of a big Broadway dance number. (I'm still smiling about that). In fact, everyone in the cast is wonderful.

And there's a lot of really witty dialogue - about race, about art, about politics. At a time when an African-American is waging a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Passing Strange seems to have extra relevance and urgency.

I have to think about it some more, and I'll be writing a review. Passing Strange certainly gives you a lot to think about afterward.

On the way to the Belasco, I did one of my favorite things to do in Times Square - take pictures of theatre marquees. I've never passed a marquee - or a giant poster on a building - that I didn't want to stop and photograph. Call me tourist - I don't mind.

Tonight, it's the salsa and hip-hop infused Latino musical In the Heights. I think it says something great about the theatre that on successive nights, I'm seeing musicals featuring a young African-American man and a young Latino man telling their own stories.

And no ghosts at the Belasco, I'm sorry to report.


SarahB said...

I haven't made up my mind whether or not to see this one. It does crack me up that you use the word "traditional" and "catchy pop tunes" in the same sentence. Hmmmm.

Esther said...

Well ok, I was kind of writing on the fly. I guess by traditional I meant more the big dance numbers and elaborate sets. I guess pop tunes aren't quite traditional. Not that a show has to have those things for me to enjoy it.