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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:09 am 
Tall Boy

Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:07 am
Posts: 119
A 3-show Billython in Baltimore with the primary purpose to check out the 2 new Billys.

Mitchell was on Friday night so I checked him off my bucket list. It was scary how much he reminded me of Julian Elia's rookie days in Toronto. Mitchell is even smaller than Julian was and that really makes it easy to root for a Billy. This was just his 5th performance and he was plugging along as you'd expect a young Billy to do. He dropped a pan in the kitchen scene. Some songs went well, some needed some work. There was a pretty much scream free but well tapped Angry Dance and some nice moments with Sam Poon in their 2 major scenes together. As I said, some ups, some downs, pretty much the expectation I had for this newbie. And then it happened! Out of the blue came one of the best Electricity's I've ever seen. Mitchell started it off by belting out a great rendition of Elton John's song, and followed with a snap aerial, a spectacular handspring (not a cartwheel) off of Dad's chair, more street moves than is normal, more great singing, and another aerial leading to the spectacular finish. I was dumbfounded that this little guy had pulled off this tour-de-force. The rest of the show went beautifully. There was an emotional Letter Reprise and as he went down the stairs suitcase in hand he had tears flowing down his cheeks. And he absolutely nailed the see ya Michael scene by stopping at the top of the stairs, and turning fully to Michael to deliver his final emotional line to his best friend. It was a 2nd Act for the Ages. I can't wait to see him again. His work is at that trip-inducing level. Another viewing of his Electricity will let me better assess just how street he is. So I guess I have to go to Ottawa now.

I saw Noah on Saturday night. I've reviewed Noah many times and again tonight he gave the nuanced performance you'd expect of the senior (he debuted 1 day before Ben) Billy. One thing was different tonight. In Angry Dance he had always jumped up on the police shields but tonight he stopped short and just motioned to the shields. Mitchell did the same thing the night before. Even Zach Manske did the same thing at his final performance in St. Paul. So this makes 3 straight shows, 3 different Billys, and all 3 stop short of the shields. I don't know what is going on here? I thought that maybe another "wow-factor" moment was disappearing from the tour but on Sunday Drew Minard did jump up on the shields. Whew!

Sunday matinee was Drew's 5th ever show. I refuse to believe that he's only done this 5 times. This magnificent performance is what you'd expect from someone who has been doing this for a year or 2. No stumbles, no confusion, just a beatiful, well thought out job throughout. Great singing, spectacular dancing and unusally intense acting. Like Maria said in her review, I've never seen a Billy study Grandma so seriously during Grandma's Song. His scenes with Dead Mum were spot-on and full of emotion (a tour trait). His Electricity was beautifully sung and wowed the audience with an opening aerial, and tremendous ballet. If he is this good now I can't wait to see what he's going to be like in 2 or 3 months. Off the charts is my guess.

In my Buffalo and St Paul reviews I written about the tour's diminished "wow-factor" moments (no piano flips, no jump rope crossovers, AD's devoid of f-bombs and only a few mild screams, miniature dancing dresses during Express, etc). My reviews have generated some responses and those responding forumites generally (in a polite manner) label me immature for needing these "wow-factor" moments and seem to have rationalized in their own way the mediocritization of the tour. Well, I finally got a prominent voice on my side! None other that Kylend Hetherington came down firmly on the "wow-factor" side of things. He didn't do it vocally or on the forum. More importantly, he did it with his actions. These Billys work so hard and dedicate so much of their lives to this show that it stands to reason they have intense pride in their performances. When their run as Billy is coming to an end they want to go out in grand style. Give 'em something to remember. So it is significant to note that in Kylend's last few performances he did a piano flip each time!!! He hadn't been allowed to do one in months. And the piano flips weren't the whole story. I've seen Kylend perform 7 times and only once did he do a crossover during B2B. He did crossovers during each of his final few shows!!! When it mattered most, when he was saying goodbye to BE, Kylend decided to add 2 "wow-factor" elements to his final performances. Let's hope the 4 current, very proud Billys get the chance to show off their skills to the max and not have to wait for their final performances to do so.


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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:38 am 
Billy
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Posts: 8308
Location: Rhode Island, USA
Thanks to all for the Baltimore reviews. Seems we had quite the contingent of "superfans" from the Forum there.

muck912 wrote:
I've reviewed Noah many times and again tonight he gave the nuanced performance you'd expect of the senior (he debuted 1 day before Ben) Billy.


Just to set the record straight though on the above comment -- Ben is actually the senior Billy, having debuted on June 30th in Louisville. Noah debuted the next day (July 1st).

http://www.theskykid.com/billy-elliot-m ... lys-debut/

Noah currently has 1.5 more performances as Billy than Ben, however.


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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:02 am 
Small Boy

Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:07 pm
Posts: 58
@muck912 Ben did the flip off the piano Saturday afternoon which I thought was interesting since he didnt at the Wednesday performance.


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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:14 am 
Billy
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:35 am
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Location: Rochester, NY
muck912 wrote:
In Angry Dance he had always jumped up on the police shields but tonight he stopped short and just motioned to the shields. Mitchell did the same thing the night before. Even Zach Manske did the same thing at his final performance in St. Paul. So this makes 3 straight shows, 3 different Billys, and all 3 stop short of the shields. I don't know what is going on here? I thought that maybe another "wow-factor" moment was disappearing from the tour but on Sunday Drew Minard did jump up on the shields.

What is going on here has been mentioned in various reviews over the past year starting with my reviews in Rochester. It is purely a safety issue. If you watch how the barricades land when they fall you can predict this yourself. If the sections in the center are lying flat on the floor then Billy runs across them and jumps on the shields. Often the barricade sections fall such that one piece overlaps another. In these cases Billy stops short and does not run across them. I gather the thinking is that if they are not flat on the floor then Billy might lose his footing if he steps on them. Why this happens so often on the tour (seems like at least 50% of the time), I don't know. I don't think the problem ever happened in NYC, Chicago, or Toronto.

Also Ben did a piano flip at the Saturday matinee this weekend. Sorry you missed it.

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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:36 am 
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Billy
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Location: Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
I noticed in the Baltimore shows that I saw that the whole part with the riot shields was much closer to the front of the stage than I had seen it before. I don't know if this was due to restricted space or not, but it did affect the overall look of the dance. And while I've got it on my mind, I also noticed a difference between the choreography for Noah and Ben (and I assume this may be noticeable with other Billys as well). When the flats that make up the hut and the sign are being moved around the stage by the men in their "melee," Noah, actually rode on top of one, which I have seen done by some other Billys, but Ben did not. I thought at the time that it must have to do with the relative size of the boys as to whether they do this bit or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:01 pm 
Michael
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:41 am
Posts: 1757
Location: Rhode Island
Thank you all for the wonderful reviews. I really wanted to be in Austin and Baltimore to get to see the new billies and to meet up with some forum members that I have yet to meet in person, but distance and $ dictated waiting till Kansas City for a week end Billython. The reviews of Drew and Mitchell were so wonderfully detailed and exciting to read.
It is amazing that they are so very good right from the "get-go". I can,t wait to see them
Thanks again for taking the time to write such detailed reviews. For those of us who could not be there it is a special gift to read these reviews.

Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:22 pm 
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Billy
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Location: Malverne (Long Island), NY
Friends, I've just arrived back (around 1:30 AM this morning) from a 4-show Billython in Baltimore. My head is swimming with things I want to tell you, but above all else, I need to mention right away how incredible Drew Minard is. Like ohmygod.

Find a way, somehow, somewhere to see this kid. He's that amazing!!!

The cast and the Tour itself are in GREAT shape and I look forward to telling you so many little tidbits about the weekend.

It's New Year's Eve and I have a lot to do, friends coming over and a house still messy from Christmas, but will try to post notes ASAP. Wishing all of my fellow fans, as well as all the cast and families who visit our forum too a fun-filled New Year's Eve and a blessings-filled 2013!!!

Sean

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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:52 pm 
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Grandma
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 1180
Location: Columbia, Maryland, USA
See ya Billy!

I saw the last two evening shows in Baltimore - both were terrific - Saturday night I saw the "old" pro Noah, and on Sunday evening I finally saw Mitchell! It was great having the show so close to home, and it was fun seeing some forum members and fellow super fans making the trip to Baltimore! Thanks for coming! And thank you to the entire BE company for spending Christmas with us! Looks like there were a few other forum members present that I did not get to meet... I am sorry our paths did not cross, however many, many thanks for your reviews as well!!!

So, what more is there to say about Noah? Not much really - everything I said before holds true - I love his Billy, and he seems to be such a sweet kid. The word "soulful" comes to mind when I think of Noah as Billy - He gave another great performance Saturday night in spite of the most subdued audience I have encountered in Baltimore. I think Noah woke them up with his powerful Angry Dance because they were much more engaged for Act II! Sam was Michael once again, and he is very funny - does all kinds of little things in the early part of Express that are unexpected and funny and very in character. A great evening and a great show!

So, I finally managed to catch Mitchell at the last show in Baltimore - and yes, it was worth waiting for this little ball of fire - Mitchell is tiny, as has already been noted - where other Billies are on the cusp of adolescence (if not already there), his Billy is truly still a little kid and completely believable as an eleven year old. His voice sounds very young too, so he brings out all these motherly instincts in me, and I am sure, in many others as well, both on and off the stage! And yet, he is a fearless performer - dancing his heart out from start to finish. As was mentioned previously by muck912, his Electricity was phenomenal - his singing and dancing - wow! Hard to believe he is so new to the show. As with Drew, he plays the scene with Grandma more seriously, and I like this effect. And his letter scenes were positively gut wrenching. He and Sam made quite a team and Express got tons of applause, even during the middle of the dance. The ending was so very poignant - I think even more so for me, because it was my last show, and for now at least, I do not know when I am going to see it next.

Let it be known to one and all, that the Tour is doing great things at the moment, and the four boys at the helm and the entire cast are terrific and worth seeing - so, if the Tour ventures near you (or even if it does not!), check it out!

Signing off for now from Baltimore,
maria

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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:04 pm 
Billy
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Location: Rhode Island, USA
Thank you, Maria for sharing your thoughts on the show in Baltimore. Your review included very fitting remarks for the close of 2012.

maria wrote:
Let it be known to one and all, that the Tour is doing great things at the moment, and the four boys at the helm and the entire cast are terrific and worth seeing - so, if the Tour ventures near you (or even if it does not!), check it out!


Well said.

A happy, healthy and prosperous 2013 to the BE cast/crew and to all the members of the Forum.


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 Post subject: Re: Baltimore Reviews
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:22 am 
Miner
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Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:39 am
Posts: 430
Location: Boston, MA
I'm just getting home from a vacation that started with the Austin Billy-thon, so there's still something of an afterglow from that event. I'm still unwinding from all the activities, family and otherwise, so I'm not doing any parties tonight, but instead relaxing with some adult beverages while the BETM OCR plays (what else?) 8-)

It's great to hear of all the wonderful things in Baltimore and I'll add my thanks to those who are reporting on the initial stages of our two fabulous new Billys. I'll also add a note about my Maryland relatives who I finally persuaded to see BETM after missing it on Broadway when they were in NYC in May 2011 and then didn't attend the Washington DC stop. Finally, they got to see it in Baltimore with Ben. Even though half (2) of the group weren't thrilled with it, the other half were extremely appreciative of my recommendation and requested any other suggestions for any other good touring Broadway shows I know. Can't say I have any others besides BETM. ;-)

From the aunt that wasn't enamored because she couldn't understand the accent comes this testament to the skill of the actors: "The cast is from England, right?" Umm....no. :lol:


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