Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Long Cool Summer

This is the time of summer when I start really not enjoying Sacramento's Music Circus. It sounds like a good idea--a musical a week for seven weeks, in a nice air conditioned theatre (though--and I know I shouldn't jinx things by saying it--the weather so far this year has been decidedly pleasant. I don't think we've had a single triple-digit day, except what I heard about when we were in Russia).

But when you realize that each run opens on a Tuesday and that when you're a critic, your day starts at 11 p.m. and you can't really go to sleep until you've written your review, the thrill is not quite the same as it is for the average theatre-goer.

Also, I don't know why I hate to go out mid week to drive to Sacramento every week for 7 weeks. It's not like either of us works during the week. Tuesday is pretty much the same as Saturday, all things considered, but somehow it just seems much more work to drive 20 miles on a Tuesday evening than a Saturday evening.

I sure don't know how folks can afford the tickets, those season subscribers--especially people who bring their kids. If you get the season ticket package, it's $300. Each. Single tickets run around $50. It's the reason we never went to Music Circus until I started reviewing and got free tickets. Jeri saw all the shows for two years because she was working for Music Circus as a summer intern.

This season hasn't been too bad. It started with Spamalot, which I'd been wanting to see, since it was so hot on Broadway. The problem is that I have not been a Monty Python fan and so I suspect that a lot of the humor was lost on me. In fact, I had a hard time staying awake. However, the Python fans loved it and would laugh at bits before the actors had gotten the whole first word out.

Spamalot was followed by Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I guess that show is a guilty pleasure of mine. I've seen it several times, both for enjoyment and to review it, and I still enjoy it. And it is amazing to me how different various interpretations of the show can be.

Then came Oklahoma! which I can take or leave. It's OK (no pun intended) and the production was good, but ho-hum...another Oklahoma! It paled in comparison with a professional-quality production we saw at the University last year.

DRS.jpg (17110  bytes)Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has no song you can leave the theatre humming, though the two actors who had the leads were fun and so that made it an enjoyable evening. (Coincidentally, you can find Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Steve Martin and Michael Cain on Encore's movies on demand on ComCast, so I watched at it last night, but fell asleep before it was over.)

Last week's Funny Girl was excellent. I'd never seen it on stage before and the girl doing Fanny Brice looked, sounded, and moved so much like Barbra Streisand that it was almost like seeing "Streisand lite." I thought the whole production was excellent.

The season ends next week with 42nd Street, which will be fun because of all those big production numbers...and all that tap dancing.

Tonight, however, was something weird called The Marvelous Wonderettes, a 4-woman show which looks like it's better suited to cabaret than a large theater.

MAW10_b.jpg  (201787 bytes)

The first act takes place at their Senior Prom in 1958 and Act 2 is at a dance for their 10 year reunion. The girls have a singing group and the story, such as it is, is all told through songs, music of the 50s for Act 1 and music of the 60s for Act 2.

I haven't figured out exactly what I thought of it yet, which I'd better do soon because it's already after midnight. It was a lot of fun and the audience seemed to really like it. Maybe it's because it was the 6th week of driving 20 miles to see a musical on a Tuesday night, but I thought it OK, but mediocre.

Incidentally, guess what song they have just sung in the photo above!!! (Hint: It was sung in Act 1)


harrietv said...

Lollipop, lollipop, oh, lolli lolli... I don't know; I think I might like to see that, just because it's the year I graduated.

Kwizgiver said...

What an interesting slate of shows they had. My small community didn't have any summer theater this year. We did have "Music in the Park" but it's not the same.