Broadway performances astonish audiences
Talented actors, singers elevate New York shows
Dozens of taxis, thousands of people and endless billboard signs all dominate the acclaimed city of New York. Along with numerous landmarks, a major aspect in the popularity of the city is the numerous Broadway shows and productions that people come across the country to see.
After performing in musicals, knowing various Broadway shows and the lyrics to all the songs, going to New York to see a live production was a very enjoyable and unforgettable experience.
For The Feather staff's trip to New York, we were given the opportunity to see two Broadway shows: "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Billy Elliot." After listening to the soundtracks and watching videos repeatedly, my expectations were set high to see amazing shows.
Fortunately, both shows exceeded my expectations.
'Phantom' enthralls audience
The first show we saw was "The Phantom of the Opera" at the Majestic Theater. Director Harold Prince portrayed the story of the opera singer Christine Daae (Jennifer Hope Wills) and how she copes with the haunting love that the phantom (John Cudia) has for her.
The show begins forward in time, taking place at an auction of the old remnants of the opera house. When introducing the famous chandelier that once resided in the opera house, the music immediately begins playing the familiar tune of "The Phantom of the Opera." Instantly, myself and other audience members were enthralled by this outstanding orchestra -- in particular, the organ player.
The show then goes back in time to tell the story of Christine, her love interest Raoul (Ryan Silverman), and the phantom.
The phantom serves as a mysterious and ghost-like figure that haunts the opera house. He also is Christine's voice teacher who reveals his love for her after her performance.
Each main character had beautiful voices and had fantastic control with singing such large scales of opera. In particular, the character of Carlotta Giudicelli (Patricia Phillips) was a hilarious, over-exaggerated opera singer at the theater. But she still seemed to maintain control, even while standing as a comical relief.
"After performing in musicals, knowing various Broadway shows and the lyrics to all the songs, going to New York to see live productions was a very enjoyable and unforgettable experience." --Madison Dooley, Photographer
The remaining plot of the story then resides with Christine choosing between Raul and the phantom and how she will tackle this dangerous conflict.
Although I have never been a fan of opera music, this show exceeded my expectations and I am still amazed by the talent each singer had. In my opinion, the phantom had the strongest and most beautiful voice out of all the cast members. The way he sang added the exact ambiance that the show needed to enthrall the audience.
Overall, the show was wonderfully done, where the performance of the orchestra was the highlight of the evening along with the great talent of the opera singers. This musical was very enjoyable to watch and stood as a thrill to watch among the many audience members.
'Billy Elliot' inspires dancers
The next musical we saw was Billy Elliot at the Imperial Theatre. Director Stephen Daldry illustrates the story of Billy Elliot (Liam Redhead) and his love for dancing, despite the struggling times of a minor strike in the United Kingdom.
His father (Philip Whitchurch) encourages Billy to become a boxer and not participate in what was considered to be a female activity. Although going against his father's wishes, Billy joins in a local ballet studio taught by Mrs. Wilkinson (Kate Hennig) who sees his potential to someday become a professional ballet dancer.
The most hysterical portion of the show had to be when Billy is introduced to the ballet class and watches the students practice their routine, "Shine." The ballet girls were portrayed as amateurs and are inexperienced in the dance world, therefore having no skill whatsoever in what they practiced. Myself and other audience members were laughing practically through the whole number as the dancers were prancing about the stage with no dancing skill or ability.
After being taught and trained by Mrs. Wilkinson into a better ballet dancer, Billy then dances in a beautiful and captivating song from the ballet, "Swan Lake." In this scene the audience is then shown the older Billy (Easton Smith) dance alongside him.
Both dancers were amazing and made myself and other audience members very emotional during this beautiful piece, which was choreographed by Peter Darling. Also, after being involved in ballet myself, this piece was very inspiring, making me wish I could perform that well someday.
Although some language was considered offensive to various audience members, the show was very inspiring and enjoying to watch. Each cast members' talents and abilities shown brilliantly in the performance.
The rest of the plot follows Billy's journey to pursue his dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer and coping with his families' strong, disagreeable views of participating in this activity.
Considering I am greatly involved in areas of dance, this show was a great inspiration for myself to continue to do what I love to do no matter what may stand in the way.
Not only did this show focus on ballet but also on tap when Billy performs "Angry Dance." During this piece, Billy is portraying his anger for his parents' disapproving of his being involved in dance. Tap is one of my favorite styles of dance and I was completely in awe of how well Redhead performed this dance. I do wish the song could have included more tap dancing, but it was still exciting to watch.
Both shows are highly recommendable to see anytime when visiting the Big Apple. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip there with The Feather staff.