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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:12 pm 
Michael
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:41 am
Posts: 1757
Location: Rhode Island
Let me add my thanks to you Bill. Your reviews were wonderful and give us a taste of the Jacksonville shows. Reviews from forum members are the next best thing to being there.

Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:27 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6810
Thanks! The next review will come mid week - Tuesday night's performance in West Palm Beach, and the pre-show session with Tommy Batchelor.

Then I will pass on my thoughts about both of Wednesday's shows.

After which my US Billython ends until (possibly) Schenectady, and definitely Hartford. In between I will try to catch shows in London - in the hopes I finally see Tade!


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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:49 pm 
Small Boy
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Just returned from a week-long visit with relatives in St. Augustine, Florida (which is just a hop, a skip and a pirouette away from Jacksonville), so I took in a couple of shows at the Moran Theater...and was fortunate enough to see two Billys that were new to me.

First a word about the Moran. As kport mentioned in his great review of the venue, it’s big. I couldn’t believe the size of the orchestra pit. It’s huge...and that’s a problem in an otherwise good theater. It was just impossible to get the close-up vibes you normally feel in the first few rows if you’re still 50 feet from the curtain. God knows what people in the last row do. The Hubble telescope comes to mind. And as kport mentioned, it certainly doesn’t help when the theater has hundreds and hundreds of empty seats.

Thursday, Feb. 28

Billy: Mitchell Tobin

Normally, Small Boy tries to jump as high as he can to get the sucker Billy has just snatched from him. Not tonight. Not when he’s trying to retrieve his treat from one of the smallest Billys (if not the smallest) to ever take the stage. But what Mitchell Tobin lacks in height, he more than makes up for in heart.

This was his 20th performance as Billy – hardly a veteran – but he performed with the confidence of one. His acting is persuasive and emotional – especially during both Letter scenes. He was loud and full of rage when he needed to be during Angry Dance and vulnerable when he needed to show that, yes, he was still a child in pain.

One of the more memorable occasions on this night came during Born to Boogie. Patrick Wetzel was doing his skipping-while-tap-dancing shtick when Mitchell emerged from behind the piano with his own rope to better Mr. Braithwaite’s efforts. And did he ever. Lightning-fast skipping with cross-overs and great tapping. Flawless. Patrick and Mitchell were both loving it...looking at other with big smiles...playing off each other. The audience loved it too...with loud applause that began long before the scene ended.

As was mentioned in another thread, most Billys seem to do 16 or 18 rotations at the end of Electricity. Tonight, Mitchell decided to do 20.

This is a Billy who punches way above his weight and far above his height. Will look forward to reading the reviews of his performances next week in front of a hometown audience.

Friday, March 1

Billy: Drew Minard

Is there anything that remains to be said about the amazing dancing talent of Drew? This was a night of multiple treats that began in his very first scene. In lesser hands, the choreography written for Billy in this scene could come off as little more than hopscotch. Peter Darling clearly wrote this with the idea of showcasing the swan within and Drew certainly rose to the challenge. Amid the childish steps, he offered up a preview of the grace and sense of movement we would see so much of as the story unfolds. Long before Angry Dance, and Drew’s accomplished tap, you realize you’re looking at a Billy of extraordinary ability.

So I was surprised at how quiet the crowd was. Granted the Moran was far from full. But the applause at the end of Drew's explosive Angry Dance actually ended before Drew got up and brushed himself off. After a performance like that, he deserved better. Fortunately, the audience seemed to wake up after the break.

One of the night’s highlights was Dream Ballet. It was the most perfectly synchronized display I’ve ever seen. Flawless and moving. Sometimes, you can see Chris Howard adjusting his pace slightly to match a Billy. Not tonight. They shared the Zone, utterly and completely.

Having read previous reviews, I knew Drew’s Electricity would be something special. And of course, it was. Some Billys, especially those just a few months into their roles, are still a bit tentative with the demands of this piece. Not Drew. He was in total command of his movements. Great acrobatics and stunningly perfect fouettes and pirouettes. You may see more spins, but you won’t see them done any better.

Random notes:

Kport has highlighted that Jacksonville is real Bible-belt territory. So I was half expecting gasps of horror or even walk-outs following the cross-dressing scene or Michael’s kiss. But I’m happy to report there was nothing to report on that front at either performance.

The only whoops of the Thursday show came when Dad and George came out with the ballet girls to begin Solidarity. Either Rich Hebert missed his mark...or his chair did...because when it came time to sit down and hear how Billy hasn’t been coming to boxin’, Rich kind of missed most of the chair. It, along with Rich, fell sideways to the floor. It speaks to the professionalism of all on stage that everyone carried on with the scene’s complicated script and choreography while Rich scrambled to pick himself up and right the chair. Just another day at the office.

Jake Kitchin and Sam Poon have both grown considerably in their roles since I last saw them in September. Both have added their own unique touches to the roles and appear much more confident in how the role of Michael should be played.

This was my first time seeing Molly Garner as Dead Mom. She’s got a nice voice, but I must say I miss Kat Hennessey’s take.

And it was nice to see Brittany Nicholas back as a Ballet Girl. It must be so tough for the younger cast members to leave Billy Elliot, so it's great when they're able to come back.

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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:10 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6810
tomtorfan wrote:
Just returned from a week-long visit with relatives in St. Augustine, Florida (which is just a hop, a skip and a pirouette away from Jacksonville), so I took in a couple of shows at the Moran Theater...and was fortunate enough to see two Billys that were new to me.

First a word about the Moran. As kport mentioned in his great review of the venue, it’s big. I couldn’t believe the size of the orchestra pit. It’s huge...and that’s a problem in an otherwise good theater. It was just impossible to get the close-up vibes you normally feel in the first few rows if you’re still 50 feet from the curtain. God knows what people in the last row do. The Hubble telescope comes to mind. And as kport mentioned, it certainly doesn’t help when the theater has hundreds and hundreds of empty seats.

Thursday, Feb. 28

Billy: Mitchell Tobin

Normally, Small Boy tries to jump as high as he can to get the sucker Billy has just snatched from him. Not tonight. Not when he’s trying to retrieve his treat from one of the smallest Billys (if not the smallest) to ever take the stage. But what Mitchell Tobin lacks in height, he more than makes up for in heart.

This was his 20th performance as Billy – hardly a veteran – but he performed with the confidence of one. His acting is persuasive and emotional – especially during both Letter scenes. He was loud and full of rage when he needed to be during Angry Dance and vulnerable when he needed to show that, yes, he was still a child in pain.

One of the more memorable occasions on this night came during Born to Boogie. Patrick Wetzel was doing his skipping-while-tap-dancing shtick when Mitchell emerged from behind the piano with his own rope to better Mr. Braithwaite’s efforts. And did he ever. Lightning-fast skipping with cross-overs and great tapping. Flawless. Patrick and Mitchell were both loving it...looking at other with big smiles...playing off each other. The audience loved it too...with loud applause that began long before the scene ended.

As was mentioned in another thread, most Billys seem to do 16 or 18 rotations at the end of Electricity. Tonight, Mitchell decided to do 20.

This is a Billy who punches way above his weight and far above his height. Will look forward to reading the reviews of his performances next week in front of a hometown audience.

Friday, March 1

Billy: Drew Minard

Is there anything that remains to be said about the amazing dancing talent of Drew? This was a night of multiple treats that began in his very first scene. In lesser hands, the choreography written for Billy in this scene could come off as little more than hopscotch. Peter Darling clearly wrote this with the idea of showcasing the swan within and Drew certainly rose to the challenge. Amid the childish steps, he offered up a preview of the grace and sense of movement we would see so much of as the story unfolds. Long before Angry Dance, and Drew’s accomplished tap, you realize you’re looking at a Billy of extraordinary ability.

So I was surprised at how quiet the crowd was. Granted the Moran was far from full. But the applause at the end of Drew's explosive Angry Dance actually ended before Drew got up and brushed himself off. After a performance like that, he deserved better. Fortunately, the audience seemed to wake up after the break.

One of the night’s highlights was Dream Ballet. It was the most perfectly synchronized display I’ve ever seen. Flawless and moving. Sometimes, you can see Chris Howard adjusting his pace slightly to match a Billy. Not tonight. They shared the Zone, utterly and completely.

Having read previous reviews, I knew Drew’s Electricity would be something special. And of course, it was. Some Billys, especially those just a few months into their roles, are still a bit tentative with the demands of this piece. Not Drew. He was in total command of his movements. Great acrobatics and stunningly perfect fouettes and pirouettes. You may see more spins, but you won’t see them done any better.

Random notes:

Kport has highlighted that Jacksonville is real Bible-belt territory. So I was half expecting gasps of horror or even walk-outs following the cross-dressing scene or Michael’s kiss. But I’m happy to report there was nothing to report on that front at either performance.

The only whoops of the Thursday show came when Dad and George came out with the ballet girls to begin Solidarity. Either Rich Hebert missed his mark...or his chair did...because when it came to sit down and hear how Billy hasn’t been coming to boxin’, Rich kind of missed most of the chair. It, along with Rich, fell sideways to the floor. It speaks to the professionalism of all on stage that everyone carried on with the scene’s complicated script and choreography while Rich scrambled to pick himself up and right the chair. Just another day at the office.

Jake Kitchin and Sam Poon have both grown considerably in their roles since I last saw them in September. Both have added their own unique touches to the roles and appear much more confident in how the role of Michael should be played.

This was my first time seeing Molly Garner as Dead Mom. She’s got a nice voice, but I must say I miss Kat Hennessey’s take. go

And it was nice to see Brittany Nicholas back as a Ballet Girl. It must be so tough for the younger cast members to leave Billy Elliot, so it's great when they're able to come back.


Great review, although I am sorry to read that your audiences were diminished, too. All I can say from observation is that those who were there absolutely enjoyed themselves. That is what matters. I just feel sorry for the many who didn't avail themselves of this opportunity. Then again, I didn't go to the Daytona 500, so who am I to quibble?

If WPB is well supported, then I am sure that Clearwater/Naples/WPB will cover things. I went to see the Vienna Choir Boys on Feb. 11 at the same hall in Clearwater. Their first concert on their US tour. A complete sell-out. Just that concert alone covered the costs of bringing the entourage to the US.

Which begs the question: why a week in Jax and two days in Clearwater? Calendar clash?

(I must get into this business!)


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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:17 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6810
Oh my goodness!

In my review of Saturday's performance, I suggested that the teen star was seen sauntering off in the direction of Hooters.....

....I suppose it depends on one's interpretation of 'teen star.....'!!!

http://instagram.com/p/WaW4XSmruU/

Is that George's hat??????


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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:42 am 
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Billy
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:05 am
Posts: 3702
Location: Malverne (Long Island), NY
tomtorfan wrote:
This was a night of multiple treats that began in his very first scene. In lesser hands, the choreography written for Billy in this scene could come off as little more than hopscotch. Peter Darling clearly wrote this with the idea of showcasing the swan within and Drew certainly rose to the challenge. Amid the childish steps, he offered up a preview of the grace and sense of movement we would see so much of as the story unfolds. Long before Angry Dance, and Drew’s accomplished tap, you realize you’re looking at a Billy of extraordinary ability.
Loved this, Tom! Well written, well said!
tomtorfan wrote:
The only whoops of the Thursday show came when Dad and George came out with the ballet girls to begin Solidarity. Either Rich Hebert missed his mark...or his chair did...because when it came to sit down and hear how Billy hasn’t been coming to boxin’, Rich kind of missed most of the chair. It, along with Rich, fell sideways to the floor. It speaks to the professionalism of all on stage that everyone carried on with the scene’s complicated script and choreography while Rich scrambled to pick himself up and right the chair. Just another day at the office.
I bet he never does that again!


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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:08 am 
Dad

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:05 am
Posts: 1645
Location: Kansas City, USA
kport wrote:

It is interesting to note that Ben no longer leaps into Dad's arms, but hugs him instead. He does do the chairlift, however.


Wonder if this is the first time they've ever changed this from a "leap" to a "hug" ? There have been other Billys I've seen who were about Ben's size who nevertheless did the leap into Dad's arms. Maybe Rich was nursing a sore back from that fall off his chair and they decided to give him a break !

I remember visiting with Greg Jbara after a show in New York a few years ago and he asked me if I'd seen Tanner Pflueger when he was in New York filling in for Tommy Batchelor (who had been out with an injury). I told him I hadn't and Greg said he was sorry I'd missed him, as he mentioned how talented he was. Tanner was rather stocky, and Greg went on to say, "The first time we rehearsed the scene where Tanner (as Billy) runs and jumps into my arms, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck !"

So I guess Dad - as well as the older Billy in the Swan Lake scene - probably appreciate those shows where Billy is a bit on the lighter side !


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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:47 am 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6810
Todd, the impression I received is that Ben plays the role now with a slight edge of teen angst. Perhaps he feels the flying hug no longer fits. Moments later he sits on Rich Hebert's shoulders, so he cannot be too heavy for that!

I noticed that Ben did not leap on the clear police shields in Clearwater, but he did in Jacksonville.


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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:26 pm 
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Billy
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:33 am
Posts: 17597
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
There might be any number of reasons that the leap into Dad's arms didn't occur, just as the reasons for the piano flip being in or out vary, etc. , so I suggest that we wait and see if it's in or out in West Palm Beach before drawing any conclusions.

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 Post subject: Re: Jacksonville Reviews
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:45 pm 
Billy
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Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:02 am
Posts: 8308
Location: Rhode Island, USA
kport mentioned in a review from this past week that he was awed by the combination of the singing voices of Noah and Sam. For those who'd like to hear more of Sam's singing prowess, he has a section on his website featuring songs he has recorded. It's a truly angelic voice:

http://www.sampoononline.com/listen.html


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