~Written by Communications/Melchior Lover, Toro Adeyemi~
Last night was truly… Magical.
When a friend asked me if I wanted to see Spring Awakening on Monday night, I swiftly checked my calendar, saw my evening clear, and replied with a “Yes I can!!” At the time, I had no idea that it would be the Deaf West Theatre's revival of the 2006 musical by Duncan Sheik – a musical that I had seen twice before in my teenage years.
I remember waking up before 5am to get to the Eugene O’Neill Theatre early enough for rush tickets, setting up camp and passing the time by singing the score, hanging by the stage door post-show to meet the actors.
This revival is like nothing I have ever seen before – the synchronization between the actors using American Sign Language and the actors singing and speaking in English is quite breathtaking. With communication (or the lack thereof) being a central theme between the adult and child characters, seeing this beautiful metaphor played out on stage makes the messaging all the more powerful.
This musical serves as a reminder that it’s not always what you say, but it's really how you say it. The most powerful forms of communication tend to be non-verbal: it is through our body language and our tone of voice that we can best convey meaning.
Our voice flattens when we’re disinterested, our eyes open wide when we are thrilled, we cringe at an unpleasant thought or jump when we are frightened. Superfandom aside, I would have still found this production powerful even with no musical numbers sung because the actors' physical intentions are crystal clear. Often complex, yet seamless and sophisticated, I derived meaning primarily from their body language and gesticulation (stellar lighting and set design helped to set up the environment, as well). Truly captivating.
The Word of Our Body is a powerful comms tool. So Dance! Run. Jump. Sit up Straight. Stretch.
I highly recommend that you go see this limited engagement while it's running at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre thru January 24th, 2016. You have to see this for yourself. Then, let me know what you think!
Getting off the 1 train at South Ferry station was nostalgic – feels like I haven’t been by Battery Park since an eventful Gareth Emery concert back in August of 2012. But I was back last night because I was invited to The Civilians Annual Spring Benefit, held at Battery Gardens Restaurant. Based at the tip of the park, the restaurant has a panoramic view of the New York Bay, where the Staten Island ferry regularly floated by and the Statue of Liberty was beautifully lit in the distance.
Green up-lighting surrounded the lighthouse designed event space, and all of the guests were settling into their seats for the show by the time I arrived. In the center of the space was a long table for the silent auction which had items ranging from coffee sets to museum tours, to a private reading by award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant to tickets to the live American Idol show in LA.
The Civilians is an interesting theater company – their scripts are crafted by taking language from interviews they conduct. One particularly funny performance was in honor of Jeanhee Kim, the Founding Board President. There was an upbeat cabaret styled delivery that was both witty and engaging – and it was even more amusing because the content had come straight from Jeanhee, who’s pretty funny, mixed with artistic license given in the delivery.
Michael Friedman accompanied on piano and shared some pieces from “Pretty Filthy” – t’was very different, very graphic, and very funny. “A team of Civilians’ artists conducted interviews with performers, directors, agents, producers, and more in Las Vegas and the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles… these interviews featur[e] several adult entertainment stars discussing the do’s, don’ts, and won’ts of shaping a career, how they got into the business, and more.” Some jokes went completely over my head… but I’m okay with that.
Complementary drinks were served all night, and I of course enjoyed the dessert bar =] - I had been craving chocolate covered strawberries recently! It was clear to me that this is a tight theater family, and I was happy to attend.
Looking forward to tonight’s Tech Meetup at Refinery29 – till then!
Written by CEO & Founder, Toro Adeyemi
When the opportunity came to see The Book of Mormon on Broadway this past Friday, I immediately cleared my schedule. Why now versus any other of the 8 shows a week that the show runs? Carnegie Mellon University alumni, Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., would be taking the stage for one week, making his Broadway debut 3 months after graduating from the Purnell School of Drama in 2013.
I took my seat in the front row of the mezzanine – I generally prefer elevated seating on Broadway so that I get a better view of the choreography and scenic design. The pre-show buzz was energetic and contagious as everyone in the theater was ready to watch what the creators of South Park had produced for the theater.
Needless to the say, the show was phenomenal.
The music, the costume, the set, the dance, the direction, the characters, the plot, the content… Never a dull moment, all executed beautifully.
After the performance, we were able to go backstage through the stage door, at which point I recognized that this was a theater I had been to four years ago when the space hosted Spring Awakening. This was back when a friend and I would take the 5:30am train from Ossining to wait in line for $35 rush tickets (we did this on two separate occasions).
After enjoying a closer look at the set and props, we went backstage and took a peak at the dressing rooms before heading back out to the street.
After our tour and chatting outside for a little while, a young man walked outside who I recognized as the lead actor, Elder Price. As is natural and customary, I told him I enjoyed his performance and, as we began chatting briefly, he started to look more and more familiar up close. Having mentioned that I had not been back at this theater since Spring Awakening in 2009, it clicked—this was Matt Doyle, the actor who had substituted for Hunter Parrish the second time I had seen Spring Awakening on Broadway. It was nice to see that he had moved forward from stand-in to lead in a Tony award winning musical.
A reminder that the world of theater can be a small one!
If you can, grab some friends and/or family who will appreciate the outlandish obscenity and SEE THIS SHOW!
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