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Perez Reviews: Queen Of The Night

queen of the night

Queen Of The Night is an extravagant feast for the senses - ALL of them!

Brought to you by many of the same people behind the hit Sleep No More, Queen Of The Night shares many similar sensibilities - but it is a FAR superior and satisfying show!

Like Sleep No More, Queen Of The Night is an immersive AND interactive show.

Unlike Sleep No More, Queen Of The Night has more focus and an easy-to-follow plot. You know where to look, when to look and you leave the night feeling entertained, satisfied and stuffed!

The premise of Queen Of The Night is simple. A love story. It's very Romeo & Juliet as told through the minds of some mischievous merrymakers.

It's like a Baz Luhrman film come to life!

This feast for the senses of a show includes stunning visuals! Gorgeous costumes! DANCING! Magic! And some truly thrilling acrobatics that enhance the sweet, satisfying and very NC-17 plot.

This is a love story with lots of… SEX!

And to enhance the intimate mood guests are liquored up and fed!

The one thing that we didn't like about Queen Of The Night was this almost hyper extravagance that came with the meal. It wasn't just dinner - it was en event! And a very carnivorous one!

We like meat. We eat meat. But it just felt a wee bit gross when a swarm of cooked baby pigs came waltzing into the ballroom and onto the plates of many tables - as did huge racks of lamb and other dead animals. We had full lobsters on our table. We like lobster, but ours wasn't even made easy to eat with some pre-slicing and the like. It was messy and laborious so we just opted to have the vegetarian paella instead.

But we felt bad that we left so much lobster on our plate. And we felt even worse that so many baby pigs have to be slaughtered and then only half eaten or less by each table. Unnecessarily wasteful!

Now that we got that out of the way….

Dessert was delicious!

Chocolate cake was brought out and the only way to eat it was to be spoon-fed by the performers!

Sexy!

And what's even more super fun is that the show you see is only about 70% of all the action. A lot happens in the hallways, in hidden rooms and backstage.

At one point a guy from a table next to ours was taken away and he returned a few minutes later fully undressed with just his underwear on!

We were lucky enough to have two "interactions" - a very seductive dance that was performed upon and with us, and then we were taken… Well, let's not reveal all the surprises!

And adding to the fun of it all is the strict "fancy" dress code that Queen Of The Night enforces. People really did it up! So fun!

Queen Of The Night is not just a show or a show with a meal. It's a whole night! A night you'll never forget!

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Perez Reviews: Here Lies Love

here lies love 1

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Here Lies Love is one of the best new shows we have seen in years!

The new musical from Fatboy Slim and Talking Heads icon David Byrne is currently playing downtown, but this could easily play uptown and it SHOULD be a big Broadway smash - just not in a traditional theater.

The show is like Evita Part 2 in so many ways - and we mean that in the best way possible!

Just like the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic billed itself as a "rock" opera and told the story of a fiercely powerful female political figure, Here Lies Love calls itself a "revolutionary musical experience" and tells the story of a fiercely powerful female political figure.

In this case, that woman is Filipina Imelda Marcos and that "revolutionary musical experience" is a disco opera!

Like Evita, Here Lies Love is completely sung-through. There is no dialogue. The entire story is told through song!

And these are not "musical theater" songs. These are big pop songs told through mostly disco, dance and pop arrangements.

They are GREAT songs!!!!!!!!!!! GREAT SONGS!!!!

We're STILL singing the title track!

Conveying emotion without any dialogue and effectively showing a character's journey is not easy, but all of the actors do a superb job! Each one!

The show tells the story of Imelda as well as that of her husband, Ferdinand, and that of slain Filipino politician Benigno Aquino.

There is hunger, fame, corruption, greed, adultery, fashion, fun and more! This show has it all, as told through the wildly inventive creative imagination of director Alex Timbers, who also brilliantly conceived and staged the new Broadway production of Rocky.

Here Lies Love is presented as an immersive theatrical experience. There are no seats. The audience is standing and moved around the entire rectangular-shaped room.

Every square inch is used and it's dazzling to see how the stages and sets are transformed and evolve.

We were also SO IMPRESSED by Clint Ramos' costumes! As one would hope, Imelda wears soooo many in the show! And there are so many quick changes - some done right on stage. It's dazzling!

Everything about this production dazzles!

Even though it often tells sad tales and shows ugly moments, it still is told through a shiny disco veneer. Colorful! Happy!

You will walk away feeling GOOD!

This just isn't a musical. It's a concert experience!

It's a MUST-see!!!!!

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Perez Reviews: Heathers

The new Heathers musical, currently playing off-Broadway, will fuck you gently with a chainsaw!

If you liked Legally Blonde the musical, which we did, then you will love Heathers!

The stage show based on the iconic '80s movie has everything the singing Elle Woods production did - including a lot of the same creative team - and MORE!

Heathers has sass, sex, songs and laughs! Lots of laughs!

Yes, there's really song in the show called My Dead Gay Son! And it WINS!!!

Big high five to Kevin Murphy & Laurence O'Keefe for not only writing those super fun songs but ALSO writing the equally fun book! Very unusual in the musical theater world and to be applauded!

Heathers is definitely an "off-Broadway" production and prime to make the jump to the Great White Way!

In this production, Veronica barely has any costume changes - a pitiful two or three!! On Broadway we'd want at least 12!

And can we do something about her wig ASAP, please? We know things are lower budget off-Broadway, but that's just CHEAP!

Thankfully, though, when our only main critique is the lack of costumes and the minimalistic stage, you know you've got a winner - with a very attractive and talented cast of up-and-comers!

Barret Wilbert Weed is no Winona Ryder, and she's not trying to be. Vocally she's amazing in Heathers and we enjoyed her acting too. But she's no Winona. She played Veronica a bit too cheery and optimistic, whereas Ryder brought more edge and darkness.

It was wonderful to see the adorable Elle McLemore from Bring It On again - putting her cheerleader skills to good use!

Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alice Lee were fab and fab as Heather Chandler and Heather Duke, respectively.

BUT….

The real star of this show is Ryan McCartan as JD Dean - aka the Christian Slater part.

McCartan is electric! We could not take our eyes off him onstage! And not just because he's dreamy to look at! The actor, currently starring on some Disney Channel show we'd never heard of before, has a BEAUTIFUL voice and so much presence! Star quality! He's truly magnetic on stage!

And he completely made us forget about Christian Slater! He was THAT good!

We really hope Heathers transfers to Broadway. We'd love to see them take this up a few notches! Bigger show and bigger audiences!

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Perez Reviews: If/Then

If Idina Menzel were not so super talented, then If/Then would be such a Debbie Downer of a show - more so than it already is!

Unfortunately, this is no Wicked or Rent.

If/Then fails to serve the greatness that is its leading lady and her big Broadway return in 10 years is dampened by a show that is underwhelming at best and laborious throughout.

The whole concept of the show, a musical ripoff of the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors, does a disservice to the material and actors. If/Then would have worked A LOT better as a musical comedy! The show is a dramatic musical, but you're not very invested in the characters because you don't have time to be. The action is split into two alternating stories that explore the different consequences Idina's character would have been faced with if she made different decisions in her life.

Brian Yorkey's book literally made us groan repeatedly. There were so many moments we wanted to pull our hair out throughout the show, but then - thankfully - Idina would sing and all would be temporarily better.

Note to Mr. Yorkey: cursing repeatedly does not make your show "cool" or "edgy".

And even worse and more distracting than the book was the choreography by Larry Keigwin. It is just embarrassingly cheesy and bad!

Sigh.

THANKFULLY, though, there are some real standout performances. James Snyder brings so much warmth to his role as the love interest that you can't help but fall in love with him. And LaChanze brings so much humor and personality to her role as the best friend that she almost steals the
show!

Annmarie Milazzo did a FANTASTIC job with the vocal arrangements and she must be applauded for truly giving the audience what they want - to hear Idina sing and really show off that big and iconic voice of hers!

Menzel is at the top of her game vocally, and despite the show itself being lackluster, she will still likely get a Tony nomination!

Hopefully next in line for her… Menzel with a Z! Or something like that!

A Menzel one-woman show would have a lot more appeal and would be such a universally loved hit!

Do it! Do it! Do it!

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Perez Reviews: Cabaret

michelle williams cabaret alan cumming

We had never seen Cabaret before - until recently! And, boy, are we glad that the first production of the iconic Kander & Ebb musical we saw is the much-heralded one by the Roundabout Theater Company, now playing on Broadway with Michelle Williams and Alan Cumming in the starring roles

This is a revival of a revival, which is very unusual and not done - but it sure is merited!

Directed and conceived by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, their Cabaret is brilliant! You are transported and immersed in the Kit Kat Club, which happens to be the old Studio 54 space.

This production is dark, sexy and oh so bittersweet!

You're all probably wondering if Michelle Williams can sing. We know she can act, and the answer is a resounding YES! She sounds awesome and we are surprised she hadn't sooner gotten her Anne Hathaway on!

Alan Cumming is sinister and sensual. He's completely captivating!

And the entire ensemble is great - and HOT!

It must have taken such a long time to cast this production because every member of the house band - prominently featured and utilized in the show - is ridiculously good looking!

BUT….

None of the bells and whistles that this production has would matter much were it not for the timeless score! Those songs!

And the book still feels fresh!

Cabaret is only playing a limited run, so hurry and get your tickets NOW!

P.S. Major props and congratulations also to Deborah Hecht, the show's dialect coach. Those German accents were all flawless!!!! Kudos!

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James Franco Might've Laughed Over His "Little B*tch" Comment, But The Critic He Dissed Responds With A Bigger Laugh!

james franco posts picture as peace offering maybe

Looks like James Franco is trying to make amends!!

The actor took to his Instagram to post a picture of an ad (above) that ran in the New York Times for his Broadway show Of Mice And Men maybe as a sign of a peace offering?

Since he, ya know, BLASTED the New York Times critic, Ben Brantley, the other day, calling him a "little bitch" because he did not give the show as favorable of a review as James had hoped.

Harsh words, James!!

HOWEVER, the famously hated critic has responded back via the New York Observer and his words show how tough of a skin Ben has got!

He said:

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Perez Reviews: Mothers And Sons

mothers and sons broadway review tyne daly

It would be easy to dismiss Mothers and Sons as just another AIDS play from Terrence McNally.

But Terrence McNally is not just any other playwright. He is the great American gay playwright. He's the Arthur Miller of queer dramaturgy. He writes important plays about gay life and AIDS.

And his latest is just as important! A reminder of an era that has passed but is still affecting people in many meaningful ways.

The story is about a mother's loss and how she comes to terms - or doesn't - with her son's passing of AIDS.

Like life, Mothers and Sons is at times very funny and at times extremely emotional and sad. And true to life, things don't always end in a happy ending or wrapped up in a neat little bow.

But this play is beautifully written and even more beautifully acted by the great dame that is Tyne Daly.

She gives a tour-de-force performance! Showy but not forced.

And equally beautiful in this production is Bobby Steggert, who plays the husband of the widow that Daly's son in the play left behind. Less theatrical than Daly but just as good, Steggert is so real and believable in the part we oftentimes forgot he was acting. He was being. And being so good and sweet and charming and filled with love and light! He shines!

The same cannot be said of his counterpart, the miscast Frederick Weller. Weller looks way younger than his character is supposed to be, and seemingly to compensate he has a distracting vocal affectation - as if he's trying to age his voice. He is acting way hard. Too hard.

And, rounding out the cast is precocious youngster Grayson Taylor, who is so endearing. Kids always work on Broadway! And so does this play!

Go out and see it! It's nice to see shows besides musicals!

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