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Perez Reviews: Sweeney Todd - Starring Emma Thompson!

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez ReviewsEmma Thompson

emma thompson

Is there anything Emma Thompson CAN'T do???

That's a serious question!

The multiple Academy Award-winning actress enchanted and impressed a jaded New York City audience on Thursday night not just with her superb acting skills but also with her equally superb singing voice!!!!!

The internationally adored Brit stars as Mrs. Lovett in the New York Philharmonic's production of Stephen Sondheim's classic Sweeney Todd, which has just three shows left! Do whatever you have to and MAKE SURE you get tickets to see this!!!!!!

We have never heard Emma Thompson sing before and she doesn't just sing well for a famous actor/Hollywood type. She more than holds her own with Broadway greats! And there were plenty in this production!

Our future boyfriend, Joy Armstrong Johnson, whom we previously saw in Hands On A Hardbody, was even better in Sweeney! Christian Borle was great, as he usually is! And….

Audra McDonald was a surprise cast addition as the Beggar Woman and she was supremely amazing! Her talent is on a whole other level!

Audra McDonald!!!!!!!!

Also a pleasant surprise was Bryn Terfel in the title role! He is a world-famous opera singer, but we were unsure of his acting chops - especially in an English production with dialogue. He was great!

Another pleasant surprise was Emma Thompson's tour-de-force comedic performance! Never before has Mrs. Lovett been so funny!

And yet another pleasant surprise was that this production, which we thought was going to be a concert version of the show, was so much more than that!

The actors didn't perform at podiums with binders in front of them. Each one had all their parts fully memorized and the show was fully staged - with costumes and props and the works!

What was also exceptionally special was hearing this iconic Sondheim score with the entire New York Philharmonic playing on stage with the actors! Exquisite!

And also exceptionally special was the augmented vocal chorus, much larger than you'd see in a traditional Broadway mounting of Sweeney.

Such lush sounds!

Such great singing!

Such great acting!

Such a great time!

Perez Reviews: Bayside The Musical

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

bayside front

Brought to you by the same creative team as Showgirls the musical is… Bayside. Yup, a Saved By The Bell Musical, currently playing off-Broadway.

If you're a child of the '90s and love the show, you will have a GREAT time!

While we think as a whole that Showgirls was way funnier and had better music, Bayside has a more well-rounded cast. And, two true stars!

Everyone did a great job, with the exception of the dude who played Mr. Belding. Bless his heart, but NO.

However, April Kidwell, who played Nomi Malone as well in Showgirls, is nothing short of brilliant and electric as Jessie Spano. You can just see so much talent oozing out of her! She's funny, gorgeous, can sing, can dance and has great boobs! If anyone at Saturday Night Live is reading, SIGN THIS GIRL UP!!!!!!!!

And, Bayside's other standout is Sam Harvey as everybody's crush, Zack Morris. Harvey is a total dreamboat! He has a mega-watt smile and insanely charismatic stage persona! You can't fake that and he MORE than fill's Mark Paul-Gosselar's shoes - and shorts! We definitely see a future as a Broadway leading man for Sam!

Bayside is super camp and super fun! And we are now super fans of the show's creators, Bob & Tobly McSmith. Can't wait to see what they do next!

P.S. Bayside is totally Nomi Malone's origin story! Ha

Perez Reviews: The Bridges Of Madison County The Musical

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

The new Bridges Of Madison County musical would be a big hit…. off-Broadway!

Unfortunately, it just doesn't work on Broadway!

The bar is high for the Great White Way, and this show just doesn't reach it!

Serious and heavy subject matter can definitely work on Broadway. A show like Once has thrived! But what that show gives that Bridges Of Madison County lacks is razzle dazzle.

Bridges is intimate yet artificially inflated.

The songs don't fill a Broadway theater. And the music is the show's biggest weakness.

We LOVE Jason Robert Brown, but his score for Madison County leaves much to be desired.

Far TOO MANY songs are conversational.

We want to hear songs SUNG, not spoken-sung!

Far TOO MANY songs sounded similar.

There were, however, a few standout songs that were quite pretty.

Kelli O'Hara lent her pretty voice to the production. And she did a pretty job in the lead female role. But she's no Meryl Streep.

And a similar sentiment can be said of Steven Pasquale, the male lead.

The direction for the show was woefully misguided.

There was little payoff throughout.

There are no bridges.

There is no razzle dazzle.

And there is just a lot of wrong.

Some of the cast, who are supposed to be playing teenagers, are WAY too old to play those parts.

And MOST of the cast is misused.

Director Bartlett Sher thinks he can trick the audience into believing Bridges is a big Broadway show by having a large cast, which does much of nothing.

The majority of the cast just sits on stage watching the action happen and acts as stagehands, moving the props and scenery. They contribute so little and actually take away.

Oh well. They can't all be winners!

Perez Reviews: Little Me!

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

Thanks to the "Encores" series in NYC, lesser-known shows get to be dusted off, polished and presented with vigor for audiences that may be unfamiliar with them!

We all know the Cy Coleman classic Sweet Charity, we we weren't familiar with his show Little Me.

Encores at City Center is currently presenting a new production of the show throughout the rest of this weekend and it is sooooo worth seeing for many reasons.

The Coleman songs are ace! And the book, written by the equally iconic Neil Simon, is laugh out loud funny! Sometimes too funny. The only real problem with the show we had is how exaggerated and out of touch with reality it is.

The story is a good-old-fashioned love tale, but it's all done so farcically that it's hard to actually root for any of the characters.

But these actors are given lots to work with and they have a ball with it!

Christian Borle does his best Jerry Lewis impersonation and is just as funny as the iconic comedian. He plays FOUR different characters in the show! Each one funnier than the next!

A real stellar cast of Broadway veterans also round out the cast, including Robert Creighton, David Garrison, Harriet Harris, Judy Kaye and Tony Yazbeck, but…

It is Rachel York who steals the show!!!

We had previously seen her in the touring production of the Anything Goes revival, and we kept comparing her to Sutton Foster the whole time - whom we'd seen play the Reno part on Broadway.

But in Little Me she shines on her own! She shines so bright!

Rachel York is such a talent!

Mega super huge star!

She is magnetic in this show!

Must must see!!!!

P.S. Kudos to Joshua Bergasse for the superb choreography!

Perez Reviews: Beautiful, The Carole King Musical

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

Beautiful lives up to its name and then some!

The new musical based on the life of and featuring the music of legendary songwriter Carole King is a non-stop hit parade and the perfect example of a jukebox musical done right!

If you enjoyed Motown the musical, you will love Beautiful!

Both shows wisely choose to tell real-life stories instead of crafting one together out of the songs, which doesn't always work. For every Mama Mia you have two We Will Rock Yous and a Spice Girls musical.

Beautiful has heart, soul, humor and moves along at a brisk pace! And it is all set to the iconic songs of Carole King!

You forget, also, how many songs she wrote before she became famous as a solo artist!

One Fine Day! Up On The Roof! The LOCO MOTION! And so many more!

The beautiful music, arranged beautifully and beautifully sound-engineered, is the star of the show. BUT, the show's star, Jessie Mueller, is such a star!

Jessie Mueller is the future of Broadway! Right now!

Her voice is special! Her tone! Such a warmth to it! And range! So special!

AND, what we especially loved, is that we got to see her shine in The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, where she played a hilarious role in a super comedic part. So it was very nice to see her do a total 180 and play a normal person and showcasing a different, more heartfelt acting.

She was so beautiful!

Anika Larsen and Jarrod Spector were two other standouts from the show and we are running right now to iTunes to download Carole King's greatest hits!

We suggest you do the same, but only after you buy tickets to see Beautiful on Broadway!

Perez Reviews: Murder For Two

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

We just saw Murder For Two and it's EXACTLY like…

Like Clue with songs and just as many characters but only two actors.

That's pretty much the best description for Murder For Two, the musical, now playing off-Broadway.

If you enjoyed Clue, then you will dig this too!

Perez Reviews: Showgirls The Musical

| Filed under: Broadway BabiesPerez Reviews

showgirls

Singing. Dancing. Tits.

That's the tagline for the new off-Broadway musical Showgirls, inspired by the cult 90s film, one of our favorite movies of all time.

However, the tagline should really read "Singing. Dancing. Tits. LAUGHS!"

Showgirls tells the now iconic story of Nomi Malone set to the catchy tunes of Bob & Tobly McSmith, who also wrote the dialogue and directed the show.

The original music is fun and memorable. Boat show! But what really makes Showgirls a MUST-see performance for any lover of the is the star of the show, April Kidwell. She is brilliant as Nomi Malone! BRILLIANT!

Not only is she playing Nomi but she's also playing Elizabeth Berkley playing Nomi!

She's working on many levels!

And what makes Kidwell so brilliant is how good she is all-around. How COMMITTED she is to the material! How serious she takes it! How funny she is! She's in on the joke but she's not a joke! She's a GREAT singer. She can dance. And she's got awesome tits! And they're real!

We laughed so much! We loved it!

Kidwell is on a whole other level and it's hard for the rest of the cast to keep up, but they try and everyone gets their moment to shine.

We are reliving so much of the show in our head and still laughing about it! Yup, we need to see it again!

P.S. If you haven't seen the movie Showgirls or didn't like it, this show is not for you!