It is currently Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:05 pm

All times are UTC


Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Forum Rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
  Print view Previous topic | Next topic 
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:33 pm 
Debbie
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:40 am
Posts: 1036
Location: Rain
Peter put on a stunning performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agcGRr6 ... 290969B998

_________________
.......__o
.......\ <,
....( )/ ( )


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:54 am 
Mrs Wilkinson
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:03 am
Posts: 1498
Location: palm springs,usa
http://www.playbill.com/news/article/15 ... -Video/pg1


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:56 am 
Site Admin
Billy
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:33 am
Posts: 17590
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Broadway World's Stage Tube has also posted coverage of the event here:

http://broadwayworld.com/article/STAGE- ... n-20120110

_________________
Ellen



"I don't want people who want to dance; I want people who have to dance.”
-George Balanchine 1904 -1983


To follow the forum's Twitter at http://twitter.com/BEForum, click on the direct link in Applies to All Forums above.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:34 pm 
Site Moderator
Billy
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:05 am
Posts: 3698
Location: Malverne (Long Island), NY
“The only possible way to make the hurt feel okay: to remind us of the smile that was with us all the while.”

The sad story we knew we’d be experiencing on that fateful Sunday afternoon was safely bookended by so much sheer joy that it just felt so much better than I thought it would. Between Friday afternoon and Sunday night, fans like me had SO much going on nonstop, it felt like a convention at times—albeit the most awesome convention you’ve ever attended. I'll post my best recollections and sharing of emotions felt before, during and since the final weekend of Billy Elliot on Broadway between here and the January Reviews thread.

Billy Elliot Farewell Celebration - Part 1
On Friday, January 6th, 2012, SuperFans from around the world, representing 10 countries globally, came together for a celebration of all things Billy Elliot. On the way to the Celebration, some of us met up first across the street for lunch. Trent, Tommy, and their moms were there too, which upped the excitement right away, as did seeing the beautiful poster designed by Ellen and the book of messages to the cast from so many of our Forum members!

I was too excited to eat, so I went over to the studio extra early to see if they needed any help setting up. Some of our Forum friends were already there helping Thommie set up, a great crew of volunteers making sure everything would go off fabulously! In the lobby, a bunch of fans were already hanging out, a full hour before the registration hour was set to even begin! And every few minutes, more fans and cast members past and present would pour into the room.

At First Preview, I showed up for dinner at The Edison Café and met Forum members in person for the very first time. Each one introduced him/herself to me by first name and Forum name, and with each one my smile got wider. “So YOU’RE (fill in Forum user name)!” It was really nice putting faces to user names. Fast forward three years and three months later, and as more and more people arrived for the Fan Celebration, I knew 90% of the room by first name, and many are very good friends now. Because I’m a New York-based fan, I’ve gotten to know more people than most, so I sometimes felt like a politician must as I worked my way through the now-crowded lobby and tried to spend as much time as possible with as many people as I could.

Once the event got underway, we were first ushered into a huge room to claim our seats for the performances that would come later on. I ended up with one of the worst seats in the room, but I could still see well enough anyway. There would be enough videos posted of the event too, so even if my angle wasn’t perfect for various numbers, I’d still have a great seat for posterity. ;) And funnily enough, I was completely surrounded by people I DIDN’T know! Overall it was as if the theatre gods knew I had to keep my big ego in place now and then. :D

After saving our great seats, we went into the room next door to learn the dance from the show. Now in the past two workshops, which I was also fortunate enough to attend, we were a large but manageable group. The size of this gathering though was HUGE! Over a hundred fans and then TONS of cast past and present and their families too! Someone recently shared video footage from YouTube of one of our past gatherings, and what seemed large then is positively tiny in comparison! Suffice it to say, it would be a major task teaching this many people to dance. Somehow, Master Dance Teacher and Broadway Star Thommie Retter managed to do it! Though it was an abbreviated version of our past dance “classes” with Thommie, it was still a ton of fun!

He taught the group how to dance and sing part of the Finale number from the show, with the help of 4 Billys Elliot, Trent Kowalik, Tommy Batchelor, Peter Mazurowski, and Giuseppe Bausilio. We also sang “Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher” together, and someone asked the 4 Billys to play the parts of the 4 boys on stage for that number, Billy, Michael, Tall Boy, and Small Boy. Shawn Gough asked the boys if they each knew which part to take—there was practically no worry about what each one’s lines were—and suggested that Peter, the shortest of the 4, play Tall Boy. :D Then Giuseppe made us laugh by pretending to be Small Boy before Tommy Batchelor called out, "Trent should be Small Boy!" :D I found documentation of this here beginning around the 5:45 mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ak72FvR ... W4di_gDC8P

After this fun, we were ushered back into the performance room. Videos of most performers’ bits can be found on a number of YouTube channels, so search around for those. If you’re technologically challenged, feel free to click the “PM” button below to send me a Private Message for help.

Every one of them, from the youngest to the oldest, performed for us like they were performing on stage at The Imperial, and gave us everything they had. None of the performances were Billy related, they were all just awesome demonstrations of the incredible talent that each and every one of the Broadway cast and crew have. And you could really see throughout the afternoon how fortunate we all have been to have these amazing performers lend their talents to our favorite show these past three years.

I’d hate to single out some performers and not others, so I’m going to give a VERY QUICK run through of each performance in a post to come.

To Be Continued...below! (keep reading) =)

_________________

"Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it." -Edward Albee


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:59 pm 
Site Moderator
Billy
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:05 am
Posts: 3698
Location: Malverne (Long Island), NY
Billy Elliot Farewell Celebration - Part 2

Here’s the lineup from the workshop with some brief reflections from me.
------------

New York State Of Mind - Donnie Kehr, with accompaniment by Rick Hip-Flores. Written by Billy Joel.

This was the first performance of the afternoon and what a treat! We were on the 12th floor with the windows open, and I’d bet good money that folks walking by on the sidewalk below thought Billy Joel himself was serenading us!

Acapulco, or shall I say ACAPELLA - Eboni Edwards, choreographed by Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards.

Eboni’s been there from day 1 all the way up until the closing show, and her tap dance highlighted just SOME of the awesome talent both she and her sisters in the ballet class have always exhibited!

Time To Go - Tommy Batchelor, written by Anthony Giunta.


Acting? We’re going to have kids performing a solo acting piece? Will that be interesting enough to watch? Those were thoughts some of us had going in, but with Tommy’s dedication and personality, and Anthony Giunta’s amazing writing, it was just awesome watching him perform! Tommy Batchelor pulled us in, let us experience life through his character’s eyes and then quietly finished. Great, great job Tommy!

Thank You - Kendra Tate, written by Sly and the Family Stone with additional lyrics by Darryl Retter, Brandon Jarrett, and Thommie Retter.

This afternoon was a celebration of all things Billy Elliot related, and Kendra performed a perfect “thank you” song from Sly and the Family Stone with additional lyrics by the above mentioned team too! Kendra and the other cast and musical talents thanked the fans for being there all the time and we thanked them for being the awesome people they are. Kendra’s “Thank You” was filled with enthusiasm and love!

Amazing Grace - Joseph Joubert, orchestrated by Joseph Joubert.

Every once in a while, you are completely transported by a piece of music. It lifts your soul outside of your body and up into the heavens. And that’s exactly what happened to all of us there that day. If any of you reading this have not yet watched the video of this performance, I cannot encourage you enough to do so right away!

Never Neverland (Fly Away) – Tessa Netting, written by Scott Alan.

I should have seen it coming. A smokescreen from Tessa. =) Tessa tricked us all into thinking we’d be listening to her sing a quiet ballad, but instead she came out with a fierce, awesome, incredible (pick your adjective) explosion of energy and song. I can’t do it justice. You just have to watch! And for all of the videos, make yourself reply when you can (need to myself too). They ALL deserve all of our praise on videos they will undoubtedly keep sharing with friends and family for years to come!

Brotsjor – Peter Mazurowski, music by Ólafur Arnalds, choreographed by Chris Lee.

This was awesome! Peter performed a beautiful, spirit-filled organic piece of dance. It was the type of dance we all love seeing from our Billys because they’re all so restrained in a way by the Billy choreography. Watching them show us what ELSE they can do is just so, so cool! And Peter rocks! He really has a great sense of rhythm and movement, and he did a really wonderful job!

Crazy – Giuseppe Bausilio, written by Thommie Retter, Sonny Paladino, and Sônia Melo, backup singing by Makenzi Rae Ficshbach, Ava DeMary, and Maria May.

For those who may still not know, Giuseppe is quite the people person. He is extremely sociable and friendly, really outgoing and kind to everyone he talks to. In many ways, he also seems to be something of a celebrity among the other kids in the cast, especially the girls who all seem to adore him. So it was absolutely perfect and delightful, and really very funny to see him perform a song which highlighted not only Giuseppe’s great singing and dancing, but above all his charisma and crowd-pleasing skills. Watch out Bieber! =)

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters – Kate Hennig, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, with accompaniment from Rick Hip-Flores.

What can you say about Kate Hennig without using the words beautiful, elegant, smart, and incredible?! It’s just difficult NOT to use those words. She’s just so, so, great and her song was soul-filled and exquisite, just like she is!

I Can't Stand Still -- Trent Kowalik, written by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford, with accompaniment from Lauretta Kowalik and Trent’s friend Ben.

There’s a quiet, sweet and bashful kid who lives 14 minutes from me. He has a similar family background as me, Irish Catholic and just South Shore Long Island through and through—which is a good thing! Also, he won the Tony for being astoundingly awesome in the title role of Billy Elliot on Broadway. It was just so cool to see this shy kid explode in energy as he belted out this number, all while showing us that his legendary tap skills are still incredible. Trent grew up watching Michael Flatley move his feet so fast in Lord Of The Dance, and it inspired him to be a dancer. I just know that other kids will grow up watching footage of Trent’s dance moves and be inspired by this Prince Of Dance too!

Sunday Visit at Sunset -- Jake Schwencke, written by Anthony Giunta.


Next we had another acting piece and once again, we were blown away by the talent before us. Jake gave an absolutely killer reading of another beautiful scene by Anthony Giunta. If anyone was worried in the least about the talent behind the upcoming Prize Guys film, rest assured the source material must be fantastic! Bravo again to Anthony Giunta and bravo to Jake for being made of awesome!

Dancing Rainbow -- Olivia Alboher, Lilla Crawford, Makenzi Rae Ficshbach, Brianna Fragomeni, Annabelle Kempf, Kara Oates, Kendra Tate, Kayla Vanderbilt, Danika Yarosh -- Written by Thommie Retter and Rick Hip-Flores, with accompaniment by Rick Hip-Flores.

You know the song already—Reading Rainbow—but you’ve never heard it like this. Re-imagined brilliantly by Thommie Retter, it was a really great number sung loudly and awesomely by so many of the ballet girls! They did a fantastic job, and as unsung heroes of the show, it was great hearing them belt it out with joy and power!

The Winning Essay – Alex Dreier, Written by Mitchell Thornton.

Mitchell’s great essay was read expertly by Small Boy Alex Dreier! Mitchell told me later how he was a bit nervous having Alex read his essay, but he agreed, as we all did, that Alex was outstanding! Alex is so little and so young, but he read that thing better than a lot of college-age students could have done!!! Mitchell’s colorful essay deserved special attention to each and every word, and that’s exactly what he got with Alex, who pronounced even the hardest words with perfection!

White Swan Pas de Deux -- Stephen Hanna and Abi Stafford, Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, choreographed by Lev Ivanov.

Graceful, charming, beautiful. A blessing to be so close to world-class ballet stars perform right there in front of us. Unless you were sitting on stage as close as Small Boy does at the start of Billy Elliot, you could not be any closer to this amazing dance than we were that day. We’ve been so, so lucky to have Stephen Hanna dance in Billy Elliot, and Abi Stafford was a dream. Together, their dance was truly a dream ballet come true for those of us in attendance!

Dance This Way – Maria May and Ava DeMary, written by Steven Tyler & Joe Perry with additional lyrics by Thommie Retter.

These two are a couple of firecrackers! =) They were really great, and even planted water bottles with fans so they’d have them to drink at one point during the performance—a unique bit of choreography I wouldn’t have seen coming! They also brought two fans to their feet to dance with them briefly too! Great job both of them!

Emphasis – Keean Johnson, choreographed by Erica Sobol, music by Sleeping At Last.

It is perhaps appropriate that Keean’s dance came last, because it was so powerful and fast, a dynamic exhibition of movement and talent, that it added a giant exclamation point on the afternoon! Keean never moved like that as Tall Boy or Michael, but like all of the performances at this Farewell Celebration, the performers showed us what ELSE they can do! Keean was just awesome!

------------

The videos speak for themselves, but I wanted to just jot out these notes, because some of you may choose not to watch all of the pieces, and you really, really should! Watch and enjoy every one of them, and feel the spirit and electricity we felt that day! Many, many thanks to Thommie Retter for putting this all together, which he spent many, many hours working on in between his day and night jobs!!! He’s a very special man, a great friend, and a champion of all of us. He joined us for dinner before the very First Preview on Broadway, and he was celebrating WITH US on the sidewalk after the very last show. Thank you Thommie!!! You’re truly a dream maker!!!

_________________

"Good writers define reality; bad ones merely restate it." -Edward Albee


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:19 pm 
Site Admin
Billy
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:33 am
Posts: 17590
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Thank you for those two excellent posts about the celebration, Sean. They really bring it all back. It was a wonderful event. :D

_________________
Ellen



"I don't want people who want to dance; I want people who have to dance.”
-George Balanchine 1904 -1983


To follow the forum's Twitter at http://twitter.com/BEForum, click on the direct link in Applies to All Forums above.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:03 am 
Billy
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 4060
Location: Rochester, NY
My thanks as well for the review Sean. I think your words speak for most, if not all, of us who attended the Celebration. I too really enjoyed the performers showing us what ELSE they can do. :D

_________________
:/


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:58 am 
Dad

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:05 am
Posts: 1644
Location: Kansas City, USA
angelenroute wrote:
Amazing Grace - Joseph Joubert, orchestrated by Joseph Joubert.

Every once in a while, you are completely transported by a piece of music. It lifts your soul outside of your body and up into the heavens. And that’s exactly what happened to all of us there that day. If any of you reading this have not yet watched the video of this performance, I cannot encourage you enough to do so right away!


Agreed, Sean ! This may have been the single most amazing and impressively-performed piano piece that I've ever heard.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:48 am 
Audience Member

Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:51 am
Posts: 10
I was lucky enough to attend this celebration, and I had an amazing time!!! It was so exciting to see all of the former and current BETM cast members unite to bring us fans so much joy. I particularly enjoyed seeing Peter, Trent, and Giuseppe's performances, and really, I have to say everybody who got up there SHINED! Bravo, BETM! You've done it again.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thommie Retter's BETM Farewell Celebration
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:41 pm 
Billy
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:35 am
Posts: 4060
Location: Rochester, NY
I am sure I'm not the only one who finds it hard to believe a whole year has gone by since this incredible event, which kicked off the final weekend of BETM NY shows. Just revisiting the reviews in this thread brings it all back. Some of the videos of the performances have been removed, but it looks like most of them are still around.

_________________
:/


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron



Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
bmiles v1.1 desgined by CodeMiles Team -TemplatesDragon-.