Saturday, June 12, 2010

Trip to the Tonys: Day Won, Part Two: Fela! The Musical

I realized at some point this evening that I left out an important detail from Part One: Between the Frick Collection and the TKTS booth I did the Radio City Music Hall "stage door" tour. Unfourtunately this was during the time that my camera was charging in the hotel room an cell phone cameras were verbotten for some unclear reason. You'll see the Music Hall and Tony set tomorrow night on CBS -- the main lobby is an amazing volume of space, and of course, there is some interesting history in the building. For about $20 I'd reccommend it over the Empire State Building.

And thus we arrive at the ticket booth and by extention the show I saw tonight: Fela! The Musical. I took a risk with Fela! because I hadn't heard anything about it; it was a risk that didn't pay off -- perhaps ominously, Fela is playing directly across the street from the only musical I've ever walked out on; maybe West 49th isn't my street for theatre.

Unfourtunately it's a case of the sum of the parts being less than the whole: The set -- which spilled out into the entire theater -- was visually interesting; the correography was good. Lighting and visual effects were effective and probably my single favorite element. I really didn't care for the music--and it seemed like 2 hours of pretty much the same beat--but it was well played technically. I take no issues with the acting or the dancing.

The storyline stopped making sense to me after about twenty minutes, and the plot seemed confused. For example, Fela died in 1997 and [based on Wikipedia] was most active in the 60s-70s, yet references are made to Hati, AIG, the IMF and other anachronistic-just-to-make-a-political-statement insertions. In the end, I simply was not entertained*, motivated, inspired, or enlightened and it's not a show that I can envision myself seeing again.

"Lincoln," you may ask, "why did you buy a ticket without knowing anything about the show?" Fair question. When I arrived at Father Duffy square, I surveyed the board. Of the shows that caught my interest, I want to see Phantom of the Opera a second time, but it will be in PlayhouseSquare later this summer [I should probably buy a ticket, if I can, shouldn't I?]-- I really like the music from Next to Normal, but I have it to look forward to in PlayhouseSquare's next season, and while I enjoyed Avenue Q and In the Heights, I already know what those are about: I wanted something new. I had planned on Promises, Promises -- which was on the board when I got to the front of the line, but had sold out by the time I got to the window. So I blurted out the first name that came to mind: Fela.

No, I didn't know anything about the show before I bought my ticket, but I didn't know anything about Next To Normal either, and that's a show I enjoyed at the time and has really grown on me since then. In that case it was a gamble, that paid off. Such was not my luck with Fela... but there is no regret in trying something new.

Making a speedy exit during the curtain call, I walked back to the hotel via Rockefeller Center--another destination I missed on my first "real" visit to Manhattan back in January--and grabbed a few pictures of both the plaza and Radio City Music Hall. New York at night is a beautiful city. They aren't the greatest quality, but I've uploaded the ones that are at slightly in focus to Flickr.

And now it's time for a nice long nap before the big day. I'm quite excited at the moment.

*- I also wasn't amused that I was sold an obstructed view seat without it being disclosed as such.

No comments:

Post a Comment