The scene: Intermission at the Broadhurst Theatre
MP: (wearing his coat, pulling his bag up onto his shoulder, obviously ready to leave) So, what do you think?
ACB: Well, ok, here’s what I think. While I think Eponine will have some lovely moments in the second half, and Marius and students most certainly will, and Javert and Valjean might, the rest of it seems awfully like a high school musical. And, well, since my dream of Broadway has pretty much been shattered…”
MP: (bursts into sad laughter) So... drinks?
Ok, so it didn’t quite go down like that, but it wasn’t far off. What a disappointment. The “new orchestrations?” Obviously a money-saving venture, as the pit was thin and far too electronic to have any of the power of the original version. The tempi were so strict, and so fast, obviously in an attempt to keep the running time under three hours and avoid union overtime fees. No flexibility, no room for any feeling, just rushing from one line to the next. I felt like I was listening to a highlights version on cd. Except with some really shameful singing.
I was amazed at the lack of support, breath control, and intonation. Even with mikes, the lack of vocal technique was incredible. It was like American Idol Does Broadway. And I know it wasn’t just my nostalgia talking. I know enough to let go of my aural impressions of the Original London Cast Recording that I listened to over and over again in junior high and try to make room for a new experience. Just not this one. And that doesn’t mean that I’m not currently downloading said Original London Cast Recording (with Patti LuPone! and Colm Wilkinson! And Rebecca Caine!) off iTunes. I imagine I’ll give it a good listen or five in order to restore this work in my mind’s ear.
Sigh. Maybe a better revival will show up in a few years?
(MP and his boyfriend assure me that there is better Broadway to be seen out there. I’m going to see how many shows I can get them to take me to to make up for this…)