Sunday, May 19, 2013

Three Off Broadway Musical Theater Experiences

Catching up with my neighbor the other day, we got on the topic of Broadway. She mentioned that her brother was visiting town and asked what's new and interesting. I mentioned Pippin, Matilda and Kinky Boots. By the end of our conversation, she was very intrigued by Pippin; so I suspect her brother may be seeing the circus style revival during his NYC visit. Reflecting on our conversation though, had my neighbor asked what's new and different, I wouldn't have mentioned the splashy Broadway musicals; I would have steered her Off Broadway to Here Lies Love, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, and maybe even Murder Ballad.

David Byrne's Here Lies Love is a disco musical about the rise and fall of Filipino Imelda Marcos. Set up like club, the audience (unless you opt for balcony seating which I wouldn't recommend because the floor is so much fun) observes and rotates around the musical action unfolding. Oh, and the audience can dance whenever; in fact, know that you will be engaged in line dancing. Absolutely brilliant and very entertaining! One of my all time top musical theater experiences. Now, if you don't have an aversion to loud disco music and are not repulsed by Imelda Marcos and her excess, right this minute, dance your way over to The Public and experience Here Lies Love before it closes on June 30th.  

When Dave Malloy's rock musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812  hit a few "top theater lists" last year after its Ars Nova run, I was intrigued. Ripped from a slice of War and Peace, the show supposedly "blends romance, cabaret, comedy and vodka." Now it's back and playing at Klub Kazino, a makeshift space in the meatpacking district. I can't wait to see it later this month!  

Finally, Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash's rock musical Murder Ballad is another show that is back after a run last year at MTC - now playing at the Union Square Theatre. Set up around a bar and pool table, the performers move around the theater (and amongst audience members who've purchase table seating) belting out rock tunes as they are caught up in a murderous love triangle. If you like your musical with a little downtown edge (and who doesn't like a little edge) and you can appreciate a bit of betrayal in your musical, then Murder Ballad may be for you. It plays through September. 

Thanks as always to Off Broadway. Keeping it relevant. Keeping it interesting. Keeping it musical

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