It's Columbus Day here in the good ol' USA and where am I?
Doesn't help I went to see The Lion King with the 'rents and so was dead tired when I crawled into bed last night.
The newly restored Boston Opera House is positively astounding. I remember seeing the exterior when I was in college a billion years ago and I thought it was some random abandoned building with it's dirty grey exterior, boarded-up front and burglar bars.
Today the exterior is white, you can see the gargoyles (previously covered up with plywood). Here it is without The Lion King Marquee. (Warning, it's three images in from the beginning of the slide show. Hit the arrows under the picture to scroll ahead.)
The exterior of the opera house is opulent, as in Gilded Age opulent, with paintings, gold, marble, dark woods, heavy curtains and red velvet wall paper. Not only that, the walk into the theater is not a simple straight ahead like the Shubert Theater in Boston. First you have to enter the marble and gold halls, then you enter a hall of dark wood and velvet. Then you have to (again) enter a very large entrance hall that is now a mix of dark wood, red velvet, marble, gold, and painting. The concession stands are built into the the room and made of dark wood. The you can climb the stairs to the mezzanine or the balcony (each level has the ability to look out into the main room) or you can descend to the "lounge" downstairs, which includes a marble fireplace with gargoyles, carved dark wood, and (of course) bathrooms. The main theater itself is an embarrassment of molded plaster, heavy curtains, box sets and on and on and on.
It's the kind of theater you'd expect to see in a Victorian period piece, not in 21st century Boston. Really, I felt that I should be wearing something right out of a John Singer Sargent painting.
The way I'm talking about the Opera House, you'd think I didn't like the play much.
Truthfully, I liked The Producers a hell of a lot more. Hey! It has 'Springtime for Hitler'! No one can possibly beat that as a musical number. I fear I know judge all musicals by 'Springtime for Hitler.'
I'm a sad, sad little girl.
Anyway, there weren't any 'Springtime for Hitler' numbers in The Lion King, although the new music (i.e., the music not in the movie) was stunning and they managed to Africanized much of the music (with two notable exceptions) beautifully. The puppetry was jaw-droppingly good. The costuming was fabulous. The voices were fantastic.
It says something about the quality of the play itself that the Disney-ish elements tended to stand out like sore thumbs. I Can't Wait to Be King, while not terrible, was waaaaaay too Broadway Disney to fit in with the overall musical mood. And the less said about Can You Feel the Love Tonight, the better. Talk about bringing a play to a screeching halt and not in a good way...
Characters vastly improved by the play treatment: Mufasa (Daddy-O), adult Nala, the Lion Pryde (correctly shown as all female), and Rafiki the Monkey
Characters somewhat the same: Simba, Scar, Hyenas
Characters that shoulda been de-Disney-ed a little better:
- Zazu. Don't get me wrong. The puppeteer for Zazu was great. I love Zazu. However, Zazu, in the play, is aware he's a puppet. It was a little jarring to have the bird break the forth wall as a matter of course.
- Timon and Pumba. Again, don't get me wrong. Loved these two in the movie. But everything from puppet design to humor so clashed against the rest of the play that they were a distraction. There's a way to pull of a humor counterpoint and going for the Warner Brothers (at least in this instance) just doesn't work.
Overall, good play. Enjoyed it immensely, but if given a choice between, say, seeing Into the Woods for the fourth time and The Lion King I'd go for Sondheim.
The music is good enough from The Lion King play (Much, much better than the movie. There are some a capella pieces that make this CD very much worth owning in my eyes) that I'm trawling the Internet for a half-priced CD.
On another note: I'm posting this via Deepest Sender, an extension for Mozilla Firefox that makes posting to LiveJournal a breeze. Best of all, I don't have to go through the update interface. So, first update to Firefox 1.0 and get Deepest Sender. I mean, seriously, this has made my life much, much easier. This Update Client is da bomb. Seriously.
Oh, I'll be posting a new Living History part tonight. After a month in the tinkering (only to be interrupted by writing nwhepcat's b-day fic)
Special thanks to physicsteach for picking up a couple of typos on the testlist. *smoochies* They are now fixed.