I lived mere blocks away from California Music Circus in Sacramento for year, and not once did I visit the venue, an oversight I surely regret. I was however majorly involved in acting myself at the time…sometimes with three productions at one time. As were my theatre loving friends. Needless to say, my love of theatre didn’t hit me until I became a theatre manager in San Francisco. I had seen the tour of ‘Private Live’ with Joan Collins in 1992 and the tour of ‘Fosse’, both in Sacramento..but still, not the big musical as I now know and love. When I read Music Circus was presenting ‘The Little Mermaid’, I knew I had to go. I saw the original production on Broadway, loved it, and have waited to see this magnificent show again. Sacramento is the first city in the United States to obtain licensing to bring Ariel and her cohorts back to life. Under the sea of course, as we’re reminded with a “dance in your seats” number brilliantly put together for this venue. Music Circus, for those who do not know, is in the round. There lies my original skepticism with the show. On the New York stage ‘Mermaid’ has extravagant sets, a pirate ship and a lagoon illuminated with vivid colors and life as Sebastian sings and whispers to Prince Eric, “Kiss the Girl”.
My skepticism was immediately put to rest. The team at Music Circus crafted a worthy and phenomenal production. Without major sets, the show relies on the talent of the actors, lighting and costumes. They succeeded in all three areas. Approximately half of the costumes were borrowed from the original production, a cast of seasoned Broadway vets (one even from the mother show), and a stellar job in the lighting department made for a worthy rival of the original production. Eric Kunze is, as any prince should be, dashing as Prince Eric, Merwin Foard gives a noteworthy performance as King Triton, Jessica Grové captures all the charm and innocence of Ariel, never has a crab been so loveable and entertaining as Kevin Smith Kirkwood’s and Vicki Lewis is brilliant as the evil sea witch Ursula. My only regret is that I no longer live blocks away from this midtown hot spot…I would have likely taken this trip “Fathoms Below” more than once.
This show was not on my radar, I even passed on it in New York.
Then the tour came up and other people were interested in seeing it. Once again, a show that didn't hit the Bay Area, so we made the trip to the Pantages in Los Angeles. I knew the show would be fun, so of course I was up for seeing it.
From the moment we walked into the pre-show banter with one of the "girls" the show had me. When one group walked in late, she hollered from the stage, "Did your tickets say 2-ish?". From that moment, loved this show!!! I'm not a fan of drag, but this show is not a story about drag. It has a story, about people, love and family and it's a pretty funny story!! The ensemble cast ("the girls") are hilariously fantastic. My favorite "girl" is the one who is obviously over the whole thing, and rolls her eyes and practically gets into a shoving match with one of the other girls laster. Jeigh Madjus practically steals the show from Christopher Sieber, but this show is big enough for all the wigs, heels and comedy each character has to offer. Gay Marshall won be over as Jacqueline, the restaurant owner. Unfortunately George Hamilton is the weak link in the produciton, but, it's still cool to say you saw a legendary actor perform; I just wish he had more charisma for his part of Georges, the club owner and emcee of the show. I kept thinking how great Kelsey Grammar must have been in the role on Broadway.
My recommendation, SEE this show if it is in your area. Or even if you have to drive six hours to see it like we did! You'll walk out of the theatre satisfied, laughing....and perhaps with a high kick or two in your step!
Another stellar touring production outshing it's parent production on Broadway. The Broadway production I saw was entertaining, nostalic and fun. Brooke Shields was fantastic as Morticia, and Roger Rees did a great job as Gomez. I was excited to see the retooled tour production at the Pantages this past June. The retooled production, minus that great squid in the basement, was even better and even more fun than the Broadway production. The cast is great, but Douglas Sills as Gomez clearly is the show stealer in this produciton. His vocals and comic timing are impecible.
We went to Los Angeles, because, the tour unfortunately did not have a stop in the Bay Area, but if you find yourself anywhere in the Addams neighborhood, definitely see this show! You'll be glad you did. Snap, Snap.
I am a bit behind on this post, but better late than never, right?
This is an outstanding touring produciton, eclipsing it's "mother ship" on Broadway - now Off Broadway I believe. I saw the original Broadway cast...all fantastic, but they don't hold a candle to the tour cast.
Lee Ferris shines as the disgruntled Carl Perkins. Martin Kaye must be channeling Jerry Lee Lewis himself as he plays the piano on stage for 90 minutes.
Derek Keeling can't help but seduce the audience with his on the money portrayal of Johnny Cash, and Cody Slaughter is like the reincarnaiton of Elvis on stage.
This is a riveting, and rock-and-rolling musical that will leave you dancing in the streets as you exit the theatre.
We sat in pit seats for the tour stop in San Jose, and I highly recommend getting pit sits if at all possible, it's well worth the cost.
If the tour stops anywhere near you, or if you're in New York City - this is a must see show for any theater or rock and roll lover!
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