Friday, March 27, 2020

Time To Celebrate World Theatre Day

I know. I know. Seems a little weird to be celebrating when theatre as we know it, is no longer going on in the world. But remember, it wasn't always like this. After all, Broadway has been around since the 18th Century, with London going as far back as the 16th Century. That's a lot of years of theatre my friends. Now as much as I would love to take everyone on a trip down memory lane, I would like to focus on the current theatre scene instead.

Now until this terrible pandemic took over the world, there were over fifty shows playing both On and Off-Broadway,with just as many shows playing in London as well. I guess that's why they call New York City the "Theatre Capitol of the World." Now let's be honest, we all have our favorite shows. I know I certainly do. So in honor of Theatre World Day, here are my "Top Five" favorite shows currently playing in New York City and around the world.

1. Rock of Ages (Off-Broadway) - I start off the list with a personal favorite of mine. Probably why it's my number one pick. I'll admit, I am a huge 80's fan. Huge. And of course one of my favorite things about the 80's, is the music. The show, which opened Off-Broadway in 2008, before moving on to a highly successful six year run on Broadway, returned to it's original Off-Broadway home last year. Originally it was supposed to be a limited run in honor of it's tenth anniversary. Even I knew it was going to be around a lot longer than twelve weeks. Guess what? It's still here. Oh and one more thing. I have seen the show nine times. Enough said.

2. Ain't Too Proud (Broadway) - Here's the truth. The Temptations are my favorite musical group of all time. Therefore, when they announced a couple of years ago that they were working on a musical about them, I was as you can guess very excited. I take that back. I was also a little scared as well. What if they screwed it up? Yes I knew going in that the music was going to be good. That was a given. I guess I was a little worried more about the performances. After all, those five guys had some big shoes to fill. Long story short, they more than delivered, with three of the five guys being nominated for Tony Awards.

3. Beetlejuice (Broadway) - Let me just start off by saying that I have never seen the movie. In fact, the night I saw the show, I was convinced that I was the only one in the theatre who hadn't. Which is why I think I liked the show so much. No expectations. Since that night, I have seen the show two more times. Sadly a couple of months ago, the show announced that it would be closing in June to make room for the revival of The Music Man. Now while there have been rumors that the show might move to a different theatre, I'm afraid they may not happen any longer due to the current shutdown. Plus with the way things are going, it may not even return at all. Here's hoping that's not true.

4. Matilda (London) - Hard to believe that it's been almost seven years since I first saw this show on Broadway. Now as much as I love going to the theatre, that was the last place that I wanted to be that night. I had just finished a long shift it work, it was cold and raining, oh and as soon as I got to my seat, I discovered that I was surrounded by about thirty middle school children. Oh and also I was in the Balcony, which in the Shubert Theatre, feels like you're a mile away. Now I know what you're thinking. Did I like it? No. I loved it. And to this day, I am so thankful that I stayed, and even more importantly, thankful that theatre like that exists.

5. City of Angels (London)- Growing up in the Midwest, the only shows that I was familiar with,were the shows that I did in high school, and at the local community theatre. Thank goodness for the Tony Awards. Since 1987, I have watched the show year in and year out. Who would have guessed that less than five years later, I would be living in New York, and seeing shows that I had loved for years. One of those was City of Angels. I must have listened to the cast recording every day during the Summer of 1990, which was the year that the show won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical of the Year. Hopefully this new production will reopen once this pandemic is over.

So there you have it theatre fans. My "Top Five" picks. Although I could probably pick more. But I'll save that for another blog. Now as I said at the beginning of my blog, today is World Theatre Day. It's the day where we theatre lovers celebrate the theatre. Now whether your favorite theatre is on Broadway or in your own community, it doesn't matter. What matters is that we as a theatre community continue to support each other during this trying time, and know that together, we can accomplish anything. Until next time theatre fans.

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