Monday, May 21, 2007

Blonde Bombshell

I can't believe a cynical gal such as myself was so enanamored with a musical as fluffy, frivlous and just plain fun as Legally Blonde. While several notable critics insist its prime audience is perky teenage girls, I thought it was highly entertaining for slightly older gals and even -- gulp -- a bit empowering. It reminded me that some dreams can come true if you hang in there and keep believing.

Actually, I know snobby theatergoers will attack me for saying this, but the characters in Legally Blonde seemed more real to me than the characters in LoveMusik, even though those characters -- Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya -- were real. I was surprised at how easily I could relate to the struggles of the Legally Blonde characters, while the ones in LoveMusik rarely felt more than two-dimensional.

I could certainly identify with Elle's plight of not being taken seriously by her supposedly sophisticated Harvard Law School peers. When you're a journalist who's worked for magazines about soap operas and romance novels, you get used to it.

I could identify with Emmett because I too come from a working-class family, and when I see people my own age or younger buying apartments with downpayments that their parents gave or lent them, it both frustrates me and makes me determined to prove that I can do it on my own.

And I could identify with Paulette, the lovelorn hairdresser who's afraid to take another chance at love but ultimately dives right in.

Now I like Sondheim as much as the next musical theater geek, but I also love Jerry Herman. And I don't think that simply because his shows are upbeat and full of hope that they're any less significant theater pieces.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mandy Patinkin: A Special Breed of Singer

Got a press release for the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts 2006-07 season, and my eye immediately went to the March 15, 2008 event: "Mandy Patinkin in Concert."

It included this description: "He belongs to a special breed of singer who doesn't merely dramatize songs — he incorporates them into his very being."

That's putting it mildly. Still, I'm impressed that the top ticket is only $40, and that he's performing in a place as far from bright lights of Broadway as Midwood, Brooklyn. Given his TV star status, I'd think he could command more.