Friday, May 27, 2011

"Baby It's You" part 2

I will start off by saying my Broadway experience is pretty limited.

I think in high school, when I came to New York City for the very first time, I saw Les Misérables. But it was so long ago I can't tell you where it was and if it was on or off that famous NYC street. When I actually moved to New York, and started volunteering at pretty gay library, really the only fringe benefit was being able to go to Shrek: The Musical for free. And it didn't suck. That's saying something... I mean, I kind of expected it to. My dad took me to see West Side Story during one of his visits, mainly because the first time he came to see me kept singing the music from it. When I saw it advertised, I figured we needed to see the show and he needed to pay.

In the last six months, my theater experience has expanded considerably. With my friend Jen, I saw both parts of Angels in America. Then I got to see Catch Me If You Can (I have a shameless crush on this guy) a few weeks later in the first Broadway show I actually paid for. Both were really, really good. It's hard to compare shows to one another because, like snowflakes, they really are all different. Shrek and Catch Me were both based on respective movies and included original music, while Angels was a straight dramatic piece. Baby It's You! is unique because unlike all the other shows I've seen, it was based in actual music that came out during a specific time period. I'll admit: I knew little music used in the show.

Baby It's You! deserves to be highlighted because the show is so good. I also had the sneaking suspicion that I recognized someone from the show. It turns out that Allan Louis, the male lead, was Marco the chef on Privileged (one of the television series that will be on a Top 10 lists of 'Unfairly Cancelled'). He plays such a dramatically different character play that I didn't even recognize him during the whole first act. So, damn that guy can act.

The story revolves around The Shirelles, an African American "girl group" from the 1960s who, if Wikipedia can be believed, were the first of those early girl groups to have a Billboard Hot 100 hit. If you've heard the song "Mama Said" - well, the original version was sung by these lovely ladies (and it's likely you've heard that one, since it's most famous version). Despite heavily featuring the group and their music, the show is really the story of Florence Greenberg, both her early unsatisfying home life and her rise as a business woman in the music industry. Luthor Dixon (played that guy from 'Privilaged') comes into play to help write hit singles for the girls, and later becomes Florence's lover. This was at a time when both blacks and women did not yet have full equality in our country, and interracial relationships were still frowned upon (even in NYC).

Everyone was so good in the show I can't really say anything bad about. We got to do a Q & A session after the show as done. The cast was pretty gracious, despite some weird people asking some weird questions. One guy in particular was just a nutbar. I was happy someone asked towards the end about costume changes (there are SO MANY of them during the musical it's almost unfathomable) and a few of the cast commented that slipping in and out of the outfits is akin to dance choreography; you have to make your cues and hit them right on time, otherwise the whole show will suffer. If there were any flaws or someone didn't make their mark, I certainly didn't see it. Despite my review being a little bit late, the show is still on Broadway. If you're in NYC, it's worth the trip to go see it. Especially if you're a senior; the older woman in front of me hardly stopped dancing in her seat for the entire show :)

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