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I saw the new broadway musical “Passing Strange” with [ profile] quietchris and [ profile] salliesandbags on Thursday night. It was awesome. Tickets are still cheap, as it hasn’t been “discovered” yet. I highly recommend you see it.

It is the story of a young black man that grew up in a South Central Los Angeles neighborhood who leaves for Amsterdam to become a musician and artist. He later goes to Berlin to explore the very different scene there.

The story is semi-autobiographical. The “narrator” is “Stew” and he tells the story of his life as he plays guitar. People sing and dance and act out what he is saying. The main charactor (himself as a youth) often shares the microphone with him. The band is on stage and shares part of the acting duties.

I loved the show. While I enjoyed the music and singing, I thought the writing was the strongest part of the show. It was funny and somewhat self-referential. That is, the show didn’t take itself too seriously even though it was powerfully talking about important serious issues. You’d have to see it to understand what I mean.

Wikipedia: Passing Strange

Now playing on Broadway in NYC.
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Thursday night I saw The Farnsworth Invention on broadway. Written by Aaron Sorkin (of West Wing fame), this play is about the inventor of television and his battle with the president of RCA to (1) invent TV, (2) claim the patent rights to it.

The play hasn’t gotten great reviews and is due to close in a few days (March 2nd) but a few months ago I dashed out (to the internet) to get the best seats I could. It turns out, $102 will get you 2nd row seats on a week-day. I’ve never seen a broadway show so close up. I tell ya... it was worth it. To see the faces of the actors close up was amazing. (I wouldn’t recommend being so close up for a musical since they are staged to be best viewed from the average seat.)

While the play may be historically inaccurate, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Sorkin highlights many themes that are very relevant to current technology issues around privacy, control of information, and the corrupting influence of advertising.

My favorite part? That RCA’s collaboration with AT&T always involved executives from AT&T that were idiots that didn’t understand the future (something I found true when I worked for AT&T Bell Labs and dealt with anyone in higher management.) Ok, the term “idiots” is too general so I’ll be specific: they’re making $25 a pop for something and someone says they could make millions but they have to stop the $25/pop product first... and they reject it. Yes, that was my experience constantly at AT&T.

Watch the trailer.

Hank Azaria was great, even though he used his “Chief Wiggums” voice for the entire show. (I would have put that under a “cut” but I doubt you’ll get tickets to see the show so I haven’t ruined anything for ya). Jimmi Simpson as Farnsworth was excellent.
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[ profile] quietchris, her mom, and I saw The Drowsy Chaperone on broadway last night. It was *excellent*. Sadly it’s one of those musicals with a plot that if I tell you anything about it, I’ll be giving too much away. But I will say this: if you love old musicals, and even if you don’t, you’ll love this.

A reviewer said, “this is the funniest play on broadway” and I agree. I had a better time than Spamalot and possibly even Avenue Q.

yesthattom: (Default)
Saturday I took C to see "Chicago" on broadway for her birthday.

The good points: It was great. Cast was great. We had a great time. The plot was very topical.

The bad points: There were so many understudies that night I feel like I should have asked someone else to post a guest review.

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