Tag Archives: Hamilton

Alfie Boe Stuns at Kelvingrove

Last night saw the first concert of Alfie Boe’s summer concerts, in Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow. Roving reporters Roberta Kappus and Annie Lloyd were there for thoughtsofjustafan:

Glasgow was simply everything anyone could have hoped for – two hours and fifteen minutes of Alfie’s musical talent, backed by an incredible band (there was no support act). There was no intermission and it was pure Alfie, covering what could be described as his greatest hits and more. It was musical heaven and as it was Alfie’s first UK solo performance since Leeds in 2015, to say it was well worth the wait would be an understatement.

Last night we were once again treated to Alfie’s amazing talent as he began with swing from his upcoming album. We then journeyed through Serenata, both Together albums and concerts, Trust and Classic Quadrophenia. He saved the best till last with a mix of country and rock and never before heard material from Alfie.  He was back on the guitar for Wagon Wheel, an amazing Glen Campbell medley and an Islands in the Stream duet with one of the female singers. Alfie has an amazing ability to sing a previously recorded song heard many times before and place his own mark on it. Once Alfie has sung it the song is never the same again.

The addition of Tommy after Quad was a fantastic surprise and a massive crowd pleaser; he really hit his stride from this point, loosening up and clearly enjoying playing the music he loves alongside fantastic musicians who out played any orchestra.

Yes he did sing Bring Him Home, to a standing ovation, but not before teasing the audience that he was going to sing from Les Mis, instead launching into You’ll Be Back from Hamilton, accompanied with stories of his time on Broadway.

A fantastic night that can only be even bigger and better in Fleetwood.

Another fabulous review from two star reporters – roll on Fleetwood!

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Top Ten Shows to see on Broadway / West End in 2016!

I am a huge fan of musical theatre and as we get towards the end of January, I’ve teamed up with Angry Baby’s Flo Bannigan to share her top ten ‘must see’ musicals of 2016.  The shows are in no particular order and are from both Broadway and the West End so if you can get to New York or London this year, these are the shows to see.

Alfie Boe in Les Miserables:
Anyone who knows their tenors will already be well aware that Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean is the ticket to die for. His run in the role on Broadway ends in February, but he has already spilled the beans that he will be moving straight into another show. The question is – which one? With rehearsal time to assimilate a new leading man anything from two weeks to two months, we may not know for quite a while, but we can be sure that any show which Alfie headlines will sell out fast.

You’d have to have been living under a rock to not have heard of this one by now. After a sell out run at the Public Theatre, Hamilton moved to Broadway in August 2015. Click here to read more.

The Color Purple:
The Color Purple‘s revival first played at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory in 2013 before moving to Broadway in December of 2015. Although having only just opened, it has received amazing reviews and is set to be a big contender at 2016’s Tony Awards.

Sheridan Smith:
Although Sheridan Smith is not, strictly speaking, a musical theatre moment, she is definitely one to watch out for in 2016. I first saw her on the West End in Legally Blonde years ago, and she’ll be back in 2016 as Fanny Brice in the revival of Funny Girl. In 2015 it opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory, where it will continue to play to sell out audiences in early 2016 before moving to the West End in April.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch:
This is a bittersweet one, as Hedwig and the Angry Inch closed on Broadway in September. However this is because it is making plans to come to London in the near future! Yay!

School of Rock:
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation of the hit movie School of Rock opened on Broadway in 2015. It is planning to open at the London Palladium too, in late 2016. Watch out for hordes of child actors competing for the hottest roles since Matilda – good luck kids, you all deserve the break!

Spring Awakening:
Deaf West Theatre’s revival of Spring Awakening, which incorporates sign language into the original show, opened on Broadway in 2015. Although it is a strictly limited engagement, it is wowing audiences every single night.

The King And I:
A revival of The King and I opened on Broadway in 2015, starring Kelli O’Hara and Hoon Lee. It picked up a fair few Tonys at the 2015 awards, and looks like it’ll run for a lot longer yet. It’s a show with lots of memories for the blogger behind Angry Baby, Flo Bannigan, as she played one of the King’s children in the 2012 UK tour.

Finding Neverland:
Another screen to stage adaptation, that started life at Leicester’s ‘Curve’ theatre, Finding Neverland opened on Broadway starring Glee’s Matthew Morrison. It did not receive any Tony nominations, but it is still selling out and stunning audiences. Matthew Morrison will be leaving the show early in 2016 and his replacement, Tony Yazbeck, is sure to bring something new to the role.

Beautiful has been playing on Broadway for a while now, and this year Chilina Kennedy replaced Jessie Mueller in the starring role of Carole King. In 2015 it opened on the West End and its a show I’d love to catch at some point.

So there you have our top ten shows for 2016, a mix of the classic and the new – clips from all shows can be found in this playlist:

Hope you get the chance to see at least one of them this year!

Massive thanks to Flo Bannigan for writing this and sharing with me!

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Hamilton – The Hottest Ticket on Broadway

A few weeks ago I had never really heard of Hamilton and certainly never heard of Lin-Manuel Miranda until I read Flo Bannigan’s Angry Baby blog about the musical phenomenon that has taken Broadway by storm.  It’s the current must see show on Broadway and if you’re there to see Alfie Boe in Les Mis you should try and get tickets…and there’s the rub; it’s sold out for months and tickets are ridiculously difficult to come by.  However, we don’t let a little thing like that put us off and thoughtsofjustafan’s resident Broadway critic, Roberta Kappus, saw the show a while ago and so we have a review!

Hip hop. Rap. Definitely not my type of music but the music of Broadway’s hottest ticket – Hamilton. Reviews for the show were using terms such as phenomenal,  ground breaking and innovative. So, with some trepidation I decided to go. Even while I was waiting to enter the theatre  I was telling myself I could always leave at the intermission if I didn’t like it. Almost three hours later I walked out loving the show and convinced that Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator, composer and star was a genius.  It all works: the music, the multiracial cast, the costumes, the dancing and on and on.   The show, which is sung throughout, tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, an orphan and an immigrant, who fought in the American Revolution against England.  He was one of America’s Founding Fathers, became the first Treasury Secretary and was killed in a duel by Aaron Burr, the vice president. It touches on Hamilton’s personal life including a famous affair as well as his relationships with his contemporaries including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.    The show covers a lot and that is one of the reasons given by Lin-Manuel for his use of hip hop which  contains more words per minute than other forms of music. It also lends itself to a revolutionary, strife-torn atmosphere.  But where needed, the score incorporates R&B, jazz, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Gilbert and Sullivan as well. There are verbal and musical references to many Broadway shows including Les Mis throughout the show.  Lin-Manuel Miranda, the lead in the show, is not an Alfie Boe or a John Owen-Jones but he has a tremendous supporting cast. Particularly outstanding are  Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr,  Daveed Diggs who plays both Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson and Phillipa Soo who is Hamilton’s wife, Eliza.  To ensure historical accuracy a Hamilton biographer whose book was the basis for this show was hired as an adviser.

Thanks for that great review Roberta – rumour has it that Hamilton will be coming to London next year so us in the UK can see for ourselves…if we can get tickets of course!  In the meantime, the cast recording is available here and we can hear Satisfied, which shows how the musical styles work together (the song explains how Hamilton met and married Eliza Schuyler, sister of Angelica):

Wow is all I can say to that – love it!

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