Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Go, Go, Jo!

Kirk saw "Joseph" for the first time last night.

Okay, not really, but that is a long-standing joke of ours stemming from the fact that he always forgets he saw my sister perform at the Narrator in Joseph a couple summers ago.

He's seen it that time, and he saw me perform in it just a couple of months ago.  But when he saw that it was playing at Hale, he really wanted to go see it there, citing his usual reason, "I really want to see what they do with it on their stage." 

Reluctantly, I agreed that we'd see it.  And then I procrastinated and it was sold out.  But they added more shows, and I got us tickets to last night's 10pm showing.  [Sidenote: who goes to a musical at 10pm?  Craziness.]

Moments in, I decided that it was like I was seeing "Joseph" for the first time.

As I mentioned, I was in the show just a few months ago.  And I think we put on a pretty awesome show!  But, realistically, it was not even in the same league as this production.  Here's why:

THE NARRATOR:  I've been told the story many times by great narrators.  But this narrator didn't tell it.  She taught it.  She was a little older, and at intermission I told Kirk that I didn't think she was the best narrator I've heard vocally but that she more than made up for it with her storytelling skills.  I guess she was just getting warmed up or something (or it was a 10pm show!) because in the 2nd act, this woman was incredible.  At the end of "Pharaoh's Story," she held the final note ("star") for what seemed like an eternity, with all the control and intonation I could ever ask for, holding out her vibrato until the last possible second, and then she smiled, nodded her head, and stamped her foot as if to say, "Yes, I am that awesome."  And she was.

JOSEPH:  We had a great Joseph in our show.  We saw a great Joseph in Idaho a couple of years ago.  But this guy was hands down the best male vocalist I have seen in any show everHe changed up the melody lines a lot, which normally would have bugged me, but as Randy Jackson would say, "He could sing the phone book and make it sound good."  I'm not sure if he didn't have much of a lower range or if his upper was just so great that he prefers to stay there, but he often flipped the melody up at the ends of phrases, and it worked.  And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the guy was cut.  Six pack, pecks, nice arms - the works. 

ENSEMBLE:  I honestly felt the ensemble was just one step above my Draper cast.  I'm accutely aware of the harmonies in each song having taught them recently, and these guys nailed every single one.  Not a spot in the show was "dumbed down," and not a note was out of tune.  There was one moment in one song where I felt the balance was a little off (too much backup and not enough melody), but even that was just personal preference.  Props to Mike Weaver and Luke Johnson (Butler and Baker from my Draper cast), though, because I preferred their duet to their Hale counterparts.

LIGHTING:  Here is where Hale absolutely blew us out of the water.  There were so many moments where I just looked at Kirk as if to say, "Really?  Did they really just do that?"  And at one point I leaned over with a bit of a dejected look and said, "It's not fair.  The rest of us just can't even compete.  We just don't have the resources.  It's not fair."  There were stairs that lit up as Pharaoh stepped on each one, a la "Billy Jean."  The rotating stage was covered in translucent panels which could be lit up in various colors to reflect the mood of the song.  And - here's the kicker - I was impressed when Joseph came out for the megamix in a gorgeous white and silver coat.  And then it lit up.  LIT UP!  With led lights.  And as if that wasn't enough... they changed colors!  Really?  Really?!

Not only did I thoroughly enjoy myself, but I also think I learned a couple of things that will make me a better director and choreographer.

MUSIC:  This cast took a lot of liberties with melodies.  I think as a music director, I can learn that it is okay to be a bit creative.  I tend to want to teach the show exactly as it is on paper, and this limits my casts.  I'm going to try to look at music direction as a creative position, not just a teaching position.

CHOREOGRAPHY:  Simple can be awesome.  Our Draper choreography was SO much harder than this stuff.  And I didn't care.  The choreography was clean, and it supported and told the story.  Much of it was accomplished with hand movements.  I'm going to remember that sometimes footwork gets in the way of the story.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn't love Pharoah.  But after all the other stuff, I kind of forgot.

All in all, it was worth the money, worth the time, and worth the staying up so darn late.  I'm glad Kirk wanted to see "Joseph" for the first time.  But I may never see it again; I'm pretty sure it would be a disappointment.


Evette Mendisabal said...

Love that you went to the 10pm showing! You're certainly comitted to your hubby and his need to see Joseph for the "first time." LOL Glad it was a wonderful experience for you.

On another note; I came across this blog
and thought of you and little Dylan's bedroom! Thought I'd share.

Miss Megan said...

I did the play last summer and wasn't excited to go, but I'm so glad I did! I think I saw the same cast you did, and I have to agree -- the show was fantastic! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and had no complaints. It's definitely what Hale does best: wonderful spectacle and amazing singers. I'm glad that you got to go and liked it!

Logan Gifford said...

I went to Joseph when they did it at the Hale as well, mere months after having done the show myself, and I felt much as you did. "Really? how can the rest of us compete??"

Logan Gifford said...
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