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In The Heights Portland Tour Review

October 20, 2010 No comments
Lexi Lawson and Joseph Morales In The Heights

Lexi Lawson and Joseph Morales in In The Heights

The original off-Broadway (and eventually Broadway) production of In The Heights is a much better show than what I saw at the Keller during opening night. If there was ever a show that clearly demonstrated the acoustic limitations and the issues of bringing a show on the road it was In The Heights. Set in the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York, In The Heights takes a very conventional musical structure and infuses it with an eclectic mix of latin music, culture and dance. The core of the story is a Dominican named Usnavi, raised by a surrogate grandmother in the neighborhood, who struggles to run a small, often broken-down convenience store.  Usnavi is surrounded by an cast of characters all dealing with the gentrification of the neighborhood and the struggle between planting roots or sprouting wings and finding a better life somewhere else.  Thematically and musically there are a lot of notes lifted from Rent, with characters at the apex of dealing with their identity. This is no accident as many of the producers also worked on Rent. Read more…

Burn The Floor Interview with Creator Jason Gilkison

September 8, 2010 1 comment
Burn The Floor

Burn The Floor

Dance has become a huge part of popular culture. Between TV shows “Dancing With The Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance”, more people are familiar with a wide variety of dance styles than ever before.  Jason Gilkison, Director and Choreographer of Burn The Floor (as well as choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance), captures the excitement of dance into a show that’s fresh off a successful run on Broadway and London’s West End.

We spoke to Jason Gilkison about the impact of dance moving into the popular culture, the challenges of putting together a huge dance production, and his experience with Pasha and Anya from So You Think You Can Dance.

Read more…

The Lion King Broadway Tour in Portland Review

June 20, 2010 4 comments
Lion King in Portland

Lion King in Portland

As a musical, The Lion King doesn’t measure up to a lot of its contemporaries. Outside its three signature songs “Circle of Life“, “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight“, the music of The Lion King is pretty clunky, uninspired and sometimes even awkward. Oddly enough, the music of The Lion King really isn’t the star of the show. Many of the musical numbers act as connective tissue between grand scenes awash in color, movement, dance and puppetry. It’s this wondrous magic and not the music which makes The Lion King the grand spectacle that it is.

Following fairly closely to the film, The Lion King Musical tells the story of the ‘circle of life’ of one lion cub from infancy through adulthood including his life challenges and adventures. The story is a fairly dark one where characters are often put into peril. One of the most important things to know about The Lion King Musical may be that is NOT really good viewing material for younger children. At least half of the show contains content that would be very challenging for kids under the age of 7 and some of the scenes are downright graphic. One scene depicts a fairly graphic death onstage, something far more intense than in the animated version. Read more…