REMEMBER HAIR? SAME STORY IN GREEN DAY - ONLY MORE ELECTRICITY
The Musical Hair is calm to “American Idiot”. In the Hair days, we thought the music was way too loud. Now - “American Idiot” came along and we didn’t realize how much juice they have burned – and how few watts “Hair” used. Never in your lifetime will you see so many things lighting up on the Walls, Ceilings, along with various devices that light up all over the stage. There are cameras buzzing around everywhere - and Televisions that multiply by the hundreds. We get to read messages in this powerful, and sometimes somber evening. That can be good and bad. They are pretty repetitive, much like the song that they just sang. But, that is what they do these days. Every pop singer usually sings the same lyric over and over. Yeh, O.K. we get the point.
Now this is a puzzle. There is much to like about the show. It has expert timing, great visuals and terrific singers. However, the brooding young people are just never satisfied about anything. They are handsome men and girls that just don’t seem to care about all that. One young man tries to free himself from the drugs, sex and just laziness from himself. Another young guy – forgets to take a bath, but he still makes love with his girl. He puts on a shirt and tie. Washes up, and gets an office job that lasted about 10 minutes. Then he gave up and went back to his world of wishing for things instead of actually trying to make a life for himself.
The musicians do deliver some serious scores and the ‘High Wire” acts will really astound you. There are eye-popping colors everywhere that you look. It sure is cinematic. But I don’t see it as a literary delight.
Briefly the story is about some young men and women who try to make meaning out of their lives. Well, that’s easy – put away the drugs. The punk Rock band (Green Day) influenced this show with blasting musical numbers. They are catchy and effective with some of the tunes – but they begin to have a sameness about the tunes, but they seem to have a sameness after awhile.
One of the songs says: “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Well, sometimes that is true – but moaning about your self -- will not get you anywhere. Maybe the psychedelic story will be very interesting to many – but your eyes can only cross so many times.
Look, here’s the Deal. This is a show that is talented to the ends of the Earth. They drop their pants and show their tempting tight shorts (that you’ll like) and they simulate sexual moments. Or as they call it, Punk Rock! At times the show is Poetic, Provocative and beautiful, in a pulse beating way.
Music by Green Day. Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong. Book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer.
These Great Actors and singers are: Van Hughes, Jake Epstein, Scott J. Campbell, Leslie McDonel, Gabrielle McClinton, Joshua Kobak and Nicci Claspell. Also the Ensemble is essential to the show. They are very necessary to keep the drama going. And without the masterful Band – it would not be a very interesting “Day”.
RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! –trademarked-
NOW PLAYING AT THE ORPHEUM THEATRE
Ben Vereen fills the RrazzRoom. Courtesy Photo.
BEN VEREEN – DAMNED IRRESISTIBLE!
BEN VEREEN IS AMAZINGLY ATHLETIC. He dances around the stage like he’s a teenager. And no one but Vereen can illuminate the Rrazz Room with thrilling treasures from yesteryear. His clear strong voice takes us on an unforgettable journey. To say that he is vibrantly alive goes beyond that. His devilishly clever personality brings out the thrill of discovery of songs from famous shows like “Hair, Pippin and Wicked. From Pippin is “We’ve got Magic to do”. And Magic he does!
Who could forget Vereen in Hair? His strong voice is still the most marvelous of singers as he touches our soul with “Age of Aquarius from ‘Hair’. Vereen just made our summer!
How did Vereen get started on his brilliant career? Well, the way he describes it – a columnist from the SF Chronicle (The Great John Wasserman) got him going. He pushed Vereen into the spotlight. That Spotlight is still glowing over him. Bob Fosse also had much to do with Vereen’s Career. “He smoked Camel Cigarettes” – Vereen revealed. Of course in those days – almost everyone smoked constantly.
Here’s a very funny moment. Vereen looks around at the audience and asks? – “Has anyone ever heard of a Record Player? A Cassette? Or- a -Telegram? – “Heck – I saved all of my Telegrams.” The audience was just bent over with laughter.
From Broadway’s ‘Wicked’ - Vereen treats us to a marvelous version of “Fighting Gravity”. That song is usually sung by the female lead in ‘Wicked’ but Vereen gives it a new gloss, with his fireworks vocal range. “And that’s what I’m doing San Francisco – fighting gravity!” - he sez. Yep! It is a beguiling evening.
AT THE RRAZZ ROOM THRU JUNE 17
RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPGAGNE!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-
The Photo of Lee Hartgrave Boy Reporter is by Jim Ferreira – Film Noir & Hollywood Glamour. www.lafterhall.com.
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