Before the curtain rose on MEMPHIS last night, TUTS Artistic Director Dan Knechtges (also the show’s director) and Executive Director Hilary J. Hart delivered a pre-show speech, pointing out that for their upcoming 50th Anniversary season, all six shows would be locally produced and focus on using Houston talent. They also explained that the majority of cast and crew on MEMPHIS were local artists. So for better or worse, this show is a watermark of things to come for this performing arts company.
Putting together a Broadway show is much like assembling a good band. There are specific elements that must be in place to make you successful. One element both have in common is the music. A great musical (and a great band, for that matter) must have songs people want to hear and lyrics that tell a great story or entertain. The biggest problem with SCHOOL OF ROCK, playing this week at The Hobby Center, is that one of these key factors is missing.
Earlier today Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars revealed the shows for their 50th Anniversary season. Here’s the official release and my comments/thoughts.
Revivals are a tricky thing. Producers have to ask some tough questions. Is it too soon for a return? Can we bring anything new to this show? Will audiences want to see this story again? One of the classics of musical theatre, SOUTH PACIFIC, took roughly 50 years to return to Broadway. If it took five decades for Rodgers & Hammerstein to return, is it too soon for THE COLOR PURPLE, which was last in Houston in 2009?
How do American Idol, The Disney Channel, a classic fairytale and the British theatre tradition of panto fit together? The short answer is: very well, especially in Theatre Under the Stars’ holiday offering SLEEPING BEAUTY AND HER WINTER KNIGHT, now playing at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.
So my apologies for the lack of posts but business and traveling has been keeping me busy. So I’m making up for lost time today and writing not one, not two, but three reviews of recent shows — starting with the national tour of ON YOUR FEET! THE EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN BROADWAY MUSICAL.
The golden age of Broadway musicals saw many stage shows turned into classic films. But reversing that process has not always been as easy or successful and that trend unfortunately continues with THE BODYGUARD, a production that could more aptly be titled THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY instead of using the name of the hit 1992 movie.
November 13th will mark the 20th Anniversary of “The Lion King” premiering on Broadway. The tour first appeared in Houston in 2002 and has visited two other times since then. Yesterday, the national touring company nicknamed the “gazelle company” arrived at The Hobby Center for a one month summer run. Has the show held up over the last two decades?