A couple of British imports worth full price admission
By Kevin Michael Murphy(Actor-Voice Teacher)
As the 2011 theater season begins, the Broadwayworld message boards are all a twitter with predictions, sneak peaks, and snarky comments about the upcoming shows.
LuntaLover78 thinks Victoria Clark is "too young for the part" of Mother Superior in Sister Act, PiraguaGuy4 is "totally excited" about The Book of Mormon, and LilyStRegisandKelly finds the Catch Me If You Can sampler CD to be rather "rudimentary." I, for one, am looking forward to all of these shows, especially Mormon, but will only probably see them if I know I can get a comp or some kind of discount.
I am, however, willing to pay full price for two upcoming productions, and neither of them are Broadway musicals.
War Horse premiered at the National Theater in London in 2007, and moved on to a sold-out commercial run in the West End. On March 15th it starts previews on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. I caught the show in London this summer, and it is truly one of the most moving pieces of theater I've ever seen, and I don't say that lightly. A blend of puppetry, movement, and music, this production is appropriate for ages 10 and up.
Before you scoff at the thought of seeing a show with horse puppets, that is "appropriate for families", look at the video below, and trust me when I say that this is some of the best storytelling I've ever seen.
Lincoln Center's website describes the piece:
WAR HORSE travels from the verdant English countryside to the fields of France and Germany at the outbreak of World War I. A boy's beloved horse has been sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. Caught up in enemy fire, the horse serves on both sides of the war, and survives an odyssey that leaves him alone in no-man's land. The boy, now a young man, cannot forget his horse, and embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.
The other piece of theater I'm excited about is called Sleep No More. Described as being "part installation art, and part interactive, self-guided theater," Sleep No More was created by the British theater company, Punchdrunk, and after runs in London and at A.R.T. in Boston, this "immersive production inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth, told through the lens of a film noir thriller," is set to open in Chelsea on March 7th. As of now, it's only running for 6 weeks, so buy your tickets folks.
One of my best friends is working on this production, and I got an exclusive tour of the McKittrick Hotel, the 1939 film noir inspired environment being created for Sleep No More. Entering this hotel is like entering someone else's dream. The audience are silent observers, and each person will leave the piece with a completely different experience. While they encourage you not to speak, you are free to wander about the 6 floors, and touch anything you like. This is aesthetically and artistically one of the coolest things I have ever seen. This is a piece of theater that is not for the blue haired audiences of Mamma Mia, but rather for people like you, Crazytown readers.
And if you ARE the target demographic for the smash hit Abba jukebox musical, I'm surprised and delighted you were able to find the internet.
Here are some production shots from the A.R.T. run:
Here is Diane Paulus's take on the amazingness that is Punchdrunk and Sleep No More:
Check out the Sleep No More website for more info on tickets, and thank me later.