Notre Dame de Paris Fails To Impress
It is billed as a unique musical extravaganza. Notre Dame de Paris premiered in France in 1998 and has attracted more than 15 million theatregoers across the globe, but I am surprised this show has lasted this long. It is poorly directed by Gilles Maheu and spastically choreographed by Martino Muller. Even the set is blasé with two wobbly giant gargoyles and a rock climbing wall for Notre Dame. What should have been spectacular is mediocre.
What saves this show is its cast. Angelo Del Vecchio, as Quasimodo, gives us powerful acting, making us feel his pain in loving the beauty Esmeralda. Hiba Tawaji is perfect as the gypsy who drives men wild and whose charisma is her downfall. As the poet of the streets Gringoire, Gian Marco Schiaretti is a vision for the eyes and ears. As Frollo, Daniel Lavoie embodies the religious leader who is consumed with lust though he is a little stiff in performance. Jay is Clopin fighting against tyranny and begging for asylum. This version is a political plea that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to invade any country they want. As Phoebus, the man Esmeralda loves, Yvan Pedneault is the perfect -man who doesn’t care about women’s feelings, as long as he can have his cake and eat it too. What surprised me about this production was Fleur-de-Lys, Emma Lepine, who will forgive Phoebus if he kills Esmeralda. These two unlikeable characters are lost in translation and we never find out their ending or Frollo’s. All these performers have glorious voices and sing the score to perfection.
Notre Dame is power ballad heavy, but they all sound like “Le Temps Des Cathédrales” in different keys and riffs. The songs by themselves are reminiscent of catchy late ’80s rock and the lyrics if they weren’t repeated ad nauseam, are filled with surging emotion about life-and-death struggles and the failings of man. Composer Richard Cocciante, Luc Plamondon has tried to create a rock opera, but it is really a soft pop one.
In the staging the performers, for the most part, sing their numbers in spotlights down stage or pace like mild tigers.
The dancers and acrobats have energy galore, but the movements are choppy and robotic. The acrobatics tumble gleefully and do amazing splits on the rock climbing wall, as well as become bells but they are not in-sync.
The costumes by Caroline Van Assche make the actors look like bedouins, especially the dancers.
And yet the audience I was with, loved this show. Sadly I did not!
Notre Dame de Paris: David H. Koch Theatre, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, until July 24th.
A limited number of $32 rush tickets will be available each performance day on TodayTix. Users can request up to two tickets each, and seating locations are subject to availability.
Also a limited number of $32 student rush tickets will be available before each performance in-person at the box office. A valid student ID must be presented to purchase tickets at the David H. Koch Theater Box Office (20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023). Tickets will be made available when the box office opens (10am Wednesday – Saturday, 11:30am Sunday) for that day’s performance(s) only. Tickets are limited to two (2) per person and some seats may be partial view. Locations are subject to availability. Offer may be revoked at any time based on prior sales. Cash and credit cards accepted.
The Marvelous Marilyn Maye Received Twelve Standing Ovations At The New York Pops
Karen Akers, Jim Caruso, Tony Danza, Jamie deRoy, Max von Essen, Melissa Errico, Bob Mackie, Susie Mosher, Sidney Myer, Josh Prince, Lee Roy Reams, Rex Reed, Randy Roberts, Mo Rocca , Mark Sendroff, Lee Roy Reams, Brenda Vaccaro and David Zippel were there to see and honor Cabaret legend and Grammy nominee Marilyn Maye. Maye who turns 95 April 10th, made her at Carnegie Hall solo debut last night with The New York Pops, led by Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke.
Maye is a highly praised singer, actress, director, arranger, educator, Grammy nominated recording artist and a musical treasure. Her entire life has been committed to the art of song and performance and it showed with the 12 standing ovations she received.
Maye appeared 76 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, she was “discovered” by Steve Allen and had a RCA recording contract, seven albums and 34 singles.
The evening started out with the superlative New York Pops Overture of Mame, which Maye had played the title role.
Next a Cole Porter Medley with “Looking at You,” Concentrate On You,” “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” It’s Alright With Me,””Just One of Those Things,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “All of You”. This was Marilyn’s second standing ovation. The first was when she stood on that stage for the first time and the audience was rapturous.
A terrific “It’s Today” from Mame with high flying kicks was the third ovation and wow can that woman kick.
A rainbow medley included “Look To The Rainbow” from Finnian’s Rainbow, the iconic “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” the jazzy “Make Me Rainbows” and of course “The Rainbow Connection.” And with that another standing ovation.
“Put On A Happy Face” from Bye Bye Birdie.
Frank Loesser’s Joey, Joey, Joey brought on a fifth standing ovation. This song was a masterclass in acting and vocal nuance. For that matter every song that comes out of Ms. Maye’s mouth is perfection. Part of the brilliance of this night is her musical director, arranger, and pianist Ted Firth. That man is a genius.
Lerner and Loewe’s “On The Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady ended the first act with a sixth standing ovation.
The overture from Hello Dolly! and then Cabaret shows Marilyn Maye also starred in opened the second act. The New York Pops sounded phenomenal as always.
“Your Gonna Hear From Me” from “Inside Daisy Clover was an appropriate starter for this next round as the audience got to its feet.
Maye’s most requested song “Guess Who I Saw Today” from New Faces of 1952 was followed by a show stopping “Fifty Percent” from Ballroom and of course another standing ovation.
Her next song was chosen by the Smithsonian Institute to be included in its permanent collection of recordings from the 20th century. Her recording of “Too Late Now” is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the 110 Best American Compositions of the Twentieth Century and Ms. Maye showed us why and again another standing ovation.
A proclamation from The City of New York read by Steven Reineke to Marilyn Maye made this day Marilyn Maye Day. This treasure cried with joy as she sang Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here.” Though she forgot some of the lyric, Ms. Maye proved performing is all on the intent and connecting to the audience. Two more standing ovations were added here.
For encores, I was thrilled to hear James Taylor’s “Circle of Life” and “Here’s To Life,” which is my personal favorite, finally going back into “It’s Today” with those high kicks and a twelfth standing ovation. Bravo Ms. Maye!
If you are a singer and do not catch Ms. Maye live, you really do not care about your craft. Last night Ms. Maye made it clear why she’s been celebrated as one of America’s greatest jazz singers for more than 50 years and this was a night I will always remember. Thank-you New York Pops.
Don’t miss the Pop’s 40th Birthday Gala: This One’s For You: The Music Of Barry Manilow on Monday, May 1st. The gala will star Sean Bell, Erich Bergen, Betty Buckley, Charo, Deborah Cox, Danny Kornfeld, Norm Lewis, Melissa Manchester, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, Billy Stritch, Steven Telsey, Max von Essen, Dionne Warwick, and more to be announced. This will be yet another New York Pop’s Night not to miss.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: A Dolls House: Arian Moayed and Jessica Chastain
I went with T2C’s editor to A Dolls House, which inspired this caricature. You can read Suzanna’s review of the show here.
The Olivier Awards Return
Celebrate the very best in British theatre in a star-studded evening as the Olivier Awards return to the Royal Albert Hall on April 2nd.
Three-time Olivier Award nominee & Primetime Emmy winner, Hannah Waddingham will be hosting the awards for the first time.
The event will feature performances from all of the Best New Musical nominees, including The Band’s Visit, Standing At The Sky’s Edge, Sylvia and Tammy Faye. Also performing will be Oklahoma! and Sister Act, both nominated for the Best Musical Revival award, as well as Disney’s Newsies, which has been nominated for Matt Cole’s choreography.
The multi-Olivier Award winner The Book of Mormon, will be performing to mark its ten-year anniversary in the West End. Additionally, special award winner Arlene Philips will be honored with a tribute from the cast of Grease.
The ceremony will be broadcast live on Magic Radio from 6pm with Ruthie Henshall and Alice Arnold hosting.
The highlights program will also be aired on ITV1 and ITVX at 10:15 pm in the UK and via Official London Theatre’s YouTube channel elsewhere.
And the nominees are:
Tech2 years ago
How to Take Advantage of Virtual Numbers for SMS
Business2 years ago
Entre Institute Review – Is Jeff Lerner’s Program a Scam?
Entertainment2 years ago
A Star is Born – Barvina Takes Entertainment World by Storm
Events3 months ago
New Year’s Eve Traditions In The US and Around The World
Film9 months ago
Elvis and The Mob Connection
Broadway2 years ago
Broadway Reopening: The Theatre Listings
Events2 years ago
The Question On Everyone’s Mind Should Be How Did The Haitians Get To Mexico
Spiritual2 years ago
The History of Numerology
Family2 years ago
Who Is Justine Ang Fonte and Why Are We Letting Her Near Children?
Broadway11 months ago
Funny Girl Makes Julie Benko a Star