I started this blog with one daughter, kept it up with the other, to spend time together doing something we enjoyed.
However, things change and people evolve. My daughters are older, busier, and not as interested in writing.
From now on this blog will be mostly mom with occasional contributions from my daughters and maybe even my husband.
Nothing else will change. We'll still focus on sharing fun places to go, fun things to do, and more, and we would  still love to hear your views too

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Theater Thursday - Grand Hotel and Rocktopia

We were given free tickets to Grand Hotel for review purposes. Any and all opinions expressed here are our own.

What: Grand Hotel

Where: City Center Encores!
             New York City Center
             131 W. 55th St.
             New York, NY

This   event took place from March 21-25, 2018

Me - Grand Hotel was a good show. It was about the guests at a big hotel in Berlin. It took place in the past not in present time.  I liked some of the music. The story was interesting. Even though, there were a lot of characters, it wasn't hard to keep track of the them. The actors were well cast and did a good job with their roles. The singing was nice. All of the voices were pretty. The dancing was really good! There was one couple that did a lot of duets. They were amazing! The show was really enjoyable. I pretty much liked everything about it. The show was meaningful to me because a cousin of ours produced it when it was originally on Broadway. However, that was before I was born though so I had never seen it before. I was very excited to see the show. I was not disappointed because it was even better than I expected it to be. Over all, it was a really entertaining show.

Mom- We recently had the opportunity to attend a performance of Grand Hotel. Grand Hotel was the second show in this year's 25th anniversary season of City Center's Encore series in which older musicals are brought back to the stage for brief runs. Despite its complicated path to Broadway, Grand Hotel is a show that ran from 1989 through 1992. It was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won 5. The show is based on a 1932 non-musical Oscar winning movie which was in turn based on a book by Vicki Baum. It is about the goings on of the guests of a hotel in Berlin in the late 1920s. The show has quite a few main characters which may make it hard for some to keep track of the story although the plot is engaging. The songs are nice, but none of them really stand out. City Center Encore's production of the show was very appealing. The acting was good. Brandon Uranowitz, who had the thankless job of following the unforgettable Tony winning performance of Michael Jeter in the role of Otto Kringelein, was one of the standout performers in this production. His performance won't make you forget Jeter's though if you were lucky enough to have seen it.   The singing voices were all beautiful. The dancing especially that of Guadalupe Garcia and Junior Cervila as the Countess and the Gigolo was exceptional. All in all, it was a top-notch production.

The final show in this year's Encores! series will be Me & My Girl which will be performed from May 9-13. For more information or to order tickets to this show, visit www.nycitycenter.org/Home
We were given free tickets to Rocktopia for review purposes. Any and all opinions expressed here are our own.

What: Rocktopia

Where: Broadway Theatre
            1681 Broadway
            New York, NY

When: Through April 29, 2018

Who: Recommended for Ages 13 and up 

Me - Rocktopia was a unique experience. There was not really a plot. There were just songs. They were not like typical Broadway songs. They were rock songs. I recognized a couple of the songs, but not that many. Some of them I had heard before on Glee. The singing was nice. They also had rock music playing before the show. I don't ever remember walking into the theater and hearing rock music before. It set the tone for what the show was going to be like. During the show, there was a mix of classical music that drifted into rock. However, there was much more rock than classical music though. The classical music was nice. I am not that into classical music though. I am not really that into rock music either. I usually prefer showtunes to classical music or rock. Even though the performances were good, I prefer shows with plots. 

Mom - If you enjoy both rock and classical music and you want to see them combined in a unique way, you may enjoy this show. If you are looking for a show with a story or any sort of plot, this is not it. This is basically a glorified concert. The voices are good and the songs should be recognizable to anyone who is familar with 1970s and 1980s music. There are samplings from operas and other classical compositions from time to time as well. However, this show tends to lean more heavily toward the rock side of the spectrum, although the New York Contemporary Symphony Orchestra and solo violinist, Mairead Nesbitt do play on every song along with the show's rock band. If you are a big fan of a particular band that was popular during the time period covered, don't expect to hear a lot of music from your favorite band. No band is represented by more than two songs in the show and only one or two even get that many songs. If you are a big fan of the band, Train, you will enjoy this show because their lead singer, Pat Monahan is a guest artist in the show and sings several songs including his own band's Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me) even though the song is really outside the time period mostly covered by the show. In some performances, other guest singers will be appearing including Robin Zander of Cheap Trick. This is not a show for young children who probably could not sit through it. Older children who are particularly interested in rock and classical music might enjoy it. Over all, if you don't like the idea of a rock concert on Broadway than you probably would not enjoy this show, but if you do like the idea, than you might like the show. 

Rocktopia is playing through April 29 only. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://rocktopia.com/

And that's our view. Tune in tomorrow for Funtivity Friday.

Photo credits: All Grand Hotel production photos by Joan Marcus
                       All Rocktopia production photos by Matthew Murphy

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