Drama Talk & Drinks: How did those boys jump so high?

Weaned on The Little Mermaid, Lion King, Aladdin and countless other Disney musicals, you have to have at least a small soft spot for the magic only The Mouse can provide. True devotees of Disney musicals know however, you have to go beyond the animated features to get the full range of Disney’s prowess. That’s where Newsies comes in; the fantastical musical telling of the true story of paperboys who go on strike in 1899 to protest the unfair treatment they receive at the hands of their big-wig newspaper tycoon bosses. The tour of the Broadway show is playing at the Orpheum now, so of course we had to check it out.

Brittany: Damn can they dance!

Katie: How did those boys jump so high!

B: And flip three times in a row in the air without falling on their head! Seriously by the end I was worried that one of them might hurt themselves. I would collapse after one of those dance numbers, and in the finale they just keep going.

K: Yeah the dancing was ridiculous and amazing. I really loved the second act.

B: Yeah the second act was legit. The first act was a little too Disney corny, but the second act got into the protests and the drama and the really epic songs and set changes. You couldn’t help but feel that swell in your chest when you see four stories of boys dancing and singing in unison about seizing the day.

K: Yeah, you can’t get away from the fact this is a Disney musical. It’s kid friendly and maybe not as cutting edge and some shows I like. But everyone in this show was so talented, the set was dope, and the dancing was just incredible. I wasn’t one of those kids who was super into Newsies, but I was pleasantly surprise by this show.

B: Yeah, me too. And ten year old me would have had the biggest crush on the actor who played Jack Kelly (Dan DeLuca)

K: He can sing, dance and act. Yes please!

The Verdict: Newsies has all the Disney magic you could ask for, and a cast of super talented singers, dancers and actors. It’s a Disney musical, make no mistakes about it, but if you can unironically get into some cheering for a singing and dancing underdog in a jaunty paperboy cap you’ll love it.

The Drama Talk: This show is known for its amazing dance numbers and it more than delivers. Seriously impressive choreography, and an ensemble who can pull it all off. Like every touring show, the design and tech are top-notch, as is the the cast. At times the show is a little too predictable and borders on corny. But it’s heartwarming, good for kids, and with just enough Disney magic that you can believe villains may be able to be reformed after all.

The Drinks: Given this is a show about the newspaper industry, we couldn’t miss the opportunity for a newspaper themed cocktail, so we headed over to Local Edition. Katie got the Fidel and Che and Brittany got the Yellow Kid, and we toasted to dancing, workers rights, and a successful night of drama talk and drinks.

Newsies runs through March 15th at SHN’s Orpheum Theater. Tickets are currently available on Goldstar for $55 dollars for multiple dates. $40 rush tickets are also available for every performance, beginning 2 hours prior to curtain at the SHN Orpheum Theatre Box Office. Cash only, 2 per person. As always you can get tickets directly from SHN’s website.

Drama Talk & Drinks: “I’m all about the orgy”

Katie & Brittany saw Pippin, yes Pippin, and really liked it! It sounds pretty sweet. And while we’re (they’re) speaking (writing) of Bob Fosse and Ben Vereen, check out The Jazz Singer, the final scene is one of my favorite in all of cinema. Here’s their report:

An over-educated privileged youth graduates college and desperately searches for something meaningful to do with his life. He tries war, drugs, casual sex, Burning Man-esque orgies, social revolution, religion, and even farming, but still feels unfulfilled. This may sound like every millennial we love to hate, but this time the youth is a prince, the son of Charles the Great, the Ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, and his ennui is the driving coming-of-age story behind the 1972 hit musical Pippin, which won the Tony for best revival in 2013. This lesser known Broadway classic has oddly been Brittany’s favorite musical since she was a little kid (maybe she identified with the privileged angst), so when we found out the tour was coming through SF, Drama Talk & Drinks had to go.

Katie: Wow, so I had no expectations walking in. It’s a musical I’ve heard nothing about, aside from what you’ve told me. So the whole time I was like WHAT! There was a lot going on, and I was a bit overstimulated, but not in a bad way. It was a lot of fun. A real spectacle. It was spectacle spectacle spectacle until the end, and even that was spectacle. I kept trying to guess what the original was like.

Brittany: AWESOME! Yay, I’m glad you liked it. I come into this show with the craziest bias, because I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only people under the age of 30 for whom this is a favorite musical. I watched the movie of the original with Ben Vereen in it at least 100 times. So whereas you were trying to figure out what was revival what wasn’t, I was thinking, “Okay, that dance is the same”, “WHOA, that’s different”, throughout the whole show. It was great seeing what a fresh take on this show can be, and I liked it!

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Drama Talk & Drinks: “We are left with a dun dun dun di di di dun di di”

This week, Katie & Brittany went to see a musical based on a movie that sparked a romance that turned into a Broadway show and then came to our little town. Here’s their report:

Remember the 2006 movie Once? I know it was a long time ago but we still remember getting “Falling Slowly” stuck in our heads.

So we were really excited to check out the stage adaptation of Once last week. The musical was nominated for 11 Tony awards and won 8 of them. Between the critically acclaimed movie and all the awards, needless to say, we went into this show with extremely high expectations.

Katie: What I’ve noticed about going to SHN shows is that the production value is so high and the actors are so talented that even if it’s not an amazingly written show it’s always really entertaining. Always.

Brittany: It’s true. Once is so interesting. It was more like real life, which means depressing. At the end I definitely was left saying “Wait that’s it? That’s the end?” No happy ending here. Which I guess is refreshing because most Broadway shows are tied up in 2 hours.

K: Yeah, tied up in a pretty bow with a happy ending and we are left with a dun dun dun di di di dun di di. Not Once. But what beautiful music and amazing talent.

B: It’s really music anyone would like. I would listen to it with someone who didn’t like show tunes and I wouldn’t be embarrassed.

K: One thing that I struggled with was the format of the show. The fact that the set was a pub, but even though we are in a realistic pub setting it’s used mostly as other locations, like the vacuum shop, the music store, his house. It would have worked better for me if the set was not a specific place. I thought they were going to be a little more creative with turning this movie into a musical but instead they grabbed moments from the movie and threw it awkwardly on a stage designed as a pub. Luckily the actors and the music were so good that was enough to make it work. But for me I don’t think it was an example of great writing or a well constructed musical.

B: They really did themselves a disservice by having such a detailed set behind them which made it harder for your imagination to transform it into other things. It was a beautiful set though.

K: Really beautiful, really detailed. Just not needed. I thought they were going to take the story and the music from the movie and present it in a different, a very creative, theatery way, which didn’t exactly happen.

B: I’ve never seen the movie so I didn’t come in with certain expectations or context. It took me a little bit to get into the staging, but they were good enough actors that midway through the first act it worked for me. I did really like the stylized movement.

K: I just feel that they should of taken it further. I mean there is already a movie. I can sit in my living room and watch the movie. What is going to make me want to see this on stage? And it’s that, it’s the stylized movement, it’s the musicians – who did a really good job – that’s why I’m going to want to see it live.

B: And I think when they went there it was really good. All of the musicians were amazing. I do wonder how I would be feeling if I saw the movie.

K: I think you would have had a different perspective. The production was really well done though. It was a concert with a story. The lead girl was so good. Her voice was almost like a violin. So beautiful. Loved how the lead guy would get crazy on the guitar. The music definitely makes it worth going.

The Verdict:
Once is a great night out. The actors are super impressive. As always SHN brings through a tour with Broadway level sets and production values.

The Drama Talk:
While some of us struggle to walk and text at the same time, these actors act, sing, play the accordion, change the set and dance in front of an audience of 100′s all without skipping a beat. If you haven’t seen the movie, wait. The play doesn’t elaborate as much on the film as we may have liked, so if you can keep the plot a surprise, you may enjoy the show more.

Drinks:
This production offers a special opportunity to go onstage before the show and during intermission to have a drink, so we did just that. Brittany had a beer and Katie had a chardonnay. As we were sipping our beverages, that were served in a plastic SHN sippy cup, actors came onstage and started playing music . . . right next to us . . . in arms reach. A really cool experience worth the really expensive unremarkable drinks. You don’t need to get a drink to be on the stage though, just get to the theater early since they limit the number of people allowed on stage at a time.

Once runs through 7/15 at the the Curran Theatre, and tickets can be purchased through their website. Ticket prices vary from $65-$210 depending on where you sit.