Friday, November 18, 2011

Other People's Theatre

I don't see nearly enough of my friends' shows. I do try, though. I saw Q's production of Antigone last month. It featured several good friends (including K) and  actors with whom I've worked before, and was rather brilliant. Before that... I'm not really sure.

I know I saw several friends in another friend's production of Steel Magnolias (a show I don't really ever need to see again) last year.

I have a rather busy season coming up. After A Christmas Carol, I'm doing Hairspray and then the JTMF 10th Anniversary revival of Jeffrey. I'm basically booked through June, which is a good thing (I think). 

My friends at Maurer Productions Onstage have an excellent reputation for producing award-winning musicals and plays in New Jersey. The Maurer brothers (Dan and John) are enthusiastic and talented and have been very helpful to JTMF. John appeared in our productions of What the Butler Saw and  It's a Wonderful Life and produced, directed and edited all of our YouTube videos. I am loathe to admit that I have yet to see one of their shows. 

But that's about to change. Tomorrow afternoon, I will be attending the matinee of their production of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida. Disney's first commissioned musical, Aida is a modern retelling of the Verdi opera about an enslaved Nubian princess who falls in love with the man engaged to the future Queen of Egypt. I saw the original Broadway production with Adam Pascal (Rent), Sherie Rene Scott (The Little Mermaid) and Heather Headley. While not the best show to ever grace the Great White Way, it was entertaining and featured some terrific numbers in a variety of styles and two amazing performances form Scott and Headley. 

The Broadway production had some amazing set pieces and outrageous costumes (especially in the fashion-oriented number "My Strongest Suit"). The show's best number was Scott's rendition of "I Know the Truth," though the gospel-driven "The Gods Love Nubia" ran a close second. Knowing the Maurer brothers and their reputation for excellence, I can't wait to see what they do with the show. And I'll assuage a bit of the guilt I always feel for not being able to see every single show that every one of my friends does. 

Here's a taste of the original production featuring Sherie Rene Scott:

And another featuring Heather Headley:

I'm very much looking forward to seeing Aida. On a break from our own rehearsal, I caught a few bars of a number during their dress rehearsal last night. It sounded terrific.

More, anon.

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