Monthly Archives: October 2017

Finnish Dance: Tero Saarinen Company at Joyce Theatre (October 19, 2017)

The lights dim and an announcement asks for everyone’s attention. Please turn off your cell phones. Then, there is something happening in the fourth row. A young man is having a seizure. He is shaking as the people around him look stunned. Someone yells, “Is there a doctor in the house?” A doctor approaches and looks at the man. “Call 911”, he says. The young man has stopped shaking and is now still. After a while, the young man gets up to walk out. A few people start to clap, until he suddenly goes limp again and falls into the people around him. They place him back in the seat. A few minutes later, the sirens of an ambulance are heard in the theatre. The paramedics arrive and receive an applause. Just then, the young man gets up and walks out, looking embarrassed. “Sorry everyone,” he says just before exiting. He was clearly uncomfortable being fragile.

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Finally, the dance show can begin. The recorded announcement plays again and the curtains rises. The stage is surrounded by hanging ropes that have the appearance of a cage. The dancers walk around in rigid squares, like animals in captivity. At moments, they pause, and then resume walking again. This goes on for a bit longer than is comfortable. At last, they begin to break out of the trance and move through the ropes. In a way, they are transforming their space and escaping captivity.

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The timing of the medical events was very bizarre. The fact that the seizure occurred immediately when the show was starting and that he completely recovered immediately when the paramedics arrived is interesting. Also, the fact that the performance explored the themes of male strength and fragility. Was this medical event was staged? Probably not, but maybe they should stage it.

Get tickets now for Tero Saarinen Company through Sunday!

Quinn Delaney

 

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So Funny! Monday Night at Broadway Comedy Club (October 16, 2017)

It was a great night of laughs on Monday at Broadway Comedy Club, which is in a basement on 53rd St, just off Broadway. There was a 13 year old in the audience, but it’s really a show for adults. Here are three of the best comedians that night, and a few of their best jokes.

 Rodney Laney (Comedy Central, MTV, BBC, HBO, CBS Late Show)

So you were guided into a dark basement without windows in the middle of NYC. You should feel lucky that you are alive!

My name is Rodney. They named me that because when I was born, my rod extended to my knee! Also, you should meet my brother, Rod-Ankle.

Mike Somerville (Letterman)

I travel often as a comic. I was just in Oklahoma where I ordered three beers. “$3 dollars says the bartender.” “I said three.” “I know.” “Wow, I feel rich!”

“I love you.” “I love you more.” “Ah, I guess you’re right”

Joe Devito (NBC’s Last Comic Standing, CBS Late Show, FOX Red Eye)

“Dating is hard at my age. Dinner, sex, and a movie. Pick 2!”

Quinn Delaney

Fantastic! Spamilton at Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre (October 15, 2017)

Spamilton parodies more than just Hamilton. It pokes fun at many different Broadway shows including Book of Mormon, (aka, “Last Year’s Hit” featuring Hello!), Cats (Memory), and Ragtime. Other targets include the actors in Hamilton, such as Lamar Odom, who played Aaron Burr. Odom is sure that he won’t be in the movie version, whenever it happens. The main target is Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. They joke about how he is everywhere now, from all the late night shows to Moana to Mary Poppins!

The music is fantastically done. Most of the songs parodied are from Hamilton, including “His Shot” where he sings, “I am not gonna let Broadway rot!”. The album is now completely on Spotify. Also, the cast does a great job with the lyrically dense numbers.

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Get tickets now for Spamilton in New York or Chicago!

Quinn Delaney

Hilarious Satire! First Floor Theatre Presents Two Mile Hollow at The Den Theatre (October 12, 2017)

In this absurdist satire, the family is Caucasian, but the actors are all non-white and wearing blond wigs. They hilariously portray this rich, out of touch, east coast family. For example, the actors use a speech device akin to lockjaw which amounted to the elitist pronunciation of foreign words to emphasize intelligence. Yet, the effect displayed rudimentary understanding, and a total lack of self-awareness.

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The father, Derrick Donnelly has just passed away and now they are selling the house in the Hamptons.  Arguments ensue about who gets which items, especially the motorcycle. Emotions flare up as the sister kisses her brother. She confesses how she always felt about him. His response is “Barf! … Barf! … Barf City!” The audience is roaring with laughter. The show is filled with great moments like this.

The music choices in the production are fantastic. At one point, they sing a song that their maid claimed is an old one from Buenos Aires. “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t be love”. All the family starts singing it together in a very funny moment. “That song is by the Beatles”, exclaims Charlotte, the one non family member in the house. Also, In an emotional scene at the end, they play “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve. It’s such a great comedic choice.

Get tickets now for Two Mile Hollow through November 4th and prepare to laugh your ass off!

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Quinn Delaney

Teenage Musician: Sammy Brue opening for Rodriguez at the Vic Theatre (October 11, 2017)

At just 16 years old, Sammy Brue shows a lot of maturity with the way he handles himself on stage in front of a large audience. It’s just him and his acoustic guitar playing songs from his debut album, “I Am Nice.” What a great title for an album from a young man from Utah. And the music matches the title as he displays his talent. He moves with the songs, and at one point his guitar cord comes loose and cuts out. He doesn’t lose a beat and just holds up his guitar to the microphone like a pro. The song “I Know” is a highlight of his set. It’s quite fun and catchy. Even though he only had 30 minutes at the Vic tonight, it was enough to see that he has a bright future ahead of him.

 

Quinn Delaney

World Class! Visceral Dance Chicago Fall Engagement at Harris Theatre (October 7, 2017)

Minor Threat (1996 | Company Premiere 2017)

Choreography: Mark Godden

Music: (Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466) Performed by Friedrich Fulda, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra & Claudio Abbado

 

The choreography matches the music perfectly in this piece. Every dance move is synchronized, note by note. It’s incredibly impressive as the dancing captures the grace and beauty of the music.

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9/16/17 3:27:00 PM Visceral Fall Season © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Ruff Celts (2016)

Choreography and Concept: Marguerite Donlon

Music: Sam Auinger, De Dannan, Luke Kelly, Kila, Sinead O’Connor, Clas Willeke

This piece was also performed at Dance For Life Chicago on August 19th. It uses an interesting mix of music by Irish and German composers. They often throw chalk in the air which creates a cool visual effect with the sharp lighting. The men wear kilts as they dance and yelp. It’s a performance that really exemplifies their name, Visceral.

Pick a Chair (World Premiere)

Choreography: Danielle Agami

Original Music: Glenn Kotche

This is a very unique piece. A single dancer enters the stage carrying a violin. She sits down and tells the crowd that her mother died of a rare STD. Two dancers come out and do a dance simulating sex that almost looks more like wrestling. The man walks off but the woman just lies there, dead. She is then dragged off. It’s all done in a comical manner that has the audience cracking up. The dancer with the cello then describes meeting a guy that she really likes and having the best two weeks of her life. The dancer representing her goes and gives a huge hug to a male dancer. Then, they dance together with other couples in a very joyful manner. To close out the piece, she sings “Sugar, We’re Goin” Down by Fall Out Boy.  It’s a great close to a very fun performance.

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9/16/17 5:41:52 PM Visceral Fall Season © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Synapse (2017)

Choreography: Nick Pupillo

Original Music: Darryl Hoffman

Long thin bright lights hang from the ceiling around the dancers. They flash in sync with the music. Then the lights rise up and the dancers move to the electronic beats as if they are in a club. It is quite a visual feast.

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9/16/17 6:16:00 PM Visceral Fall Season © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

The entire night is excellently programmed. It’s actually very similar to the Joffrey’s Global Visionaries program. They both start with a classical piece, have a joyful piece in the middle, and end with a sleek modern electronic dance with long thing white lights. And also, they are both world class productions!

Quinn Delaney

Southern Rock: Will Hoge at Joe’s (October 6, 2017)

Will Hoge is a singer songwriter that plays a style of southern rock . Tonight at Joe’s, he plays a whopping two hours with 29 songs. This is quite a long set for such a small standing room only venue, especially when there is an opener. During this long set, there were definitely some slow parts where the crowd wasn’t really into it, specifically in the first half. It seemed like he was trying to play as many songs as possible, instead of taking a relaxing pace.

 

For those who stuck around for the second half, things picked up. He mentioned that when he last played Joe’s, on October 17th last year, he promised that if everyone sang along on the next song, the Cubs would win the World Series. He then made the same promise for this year, and everyone sure did sing along to “Even If It Breaks Your Heart”.  This bit of stage banter was a bit of what usually makes a Will Hoge show great. It was unusual that it was at a minimum on this night.

To close out the night, he played “Till I Do It Again”. He sings “It’s the last time I’ll do it, till I do it again!” It’s an incredibly fun song that is a great way to end the night.

Quinn Delaney