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 Post subject: First Reviews - Crosswell
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:41 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6760
A first-rate review of this show:

https://a2view.com/2016/06/12/billy-ell ... se-review/

And some happy news for The Crosswell:

Quote:
Oh, and if you somehow missed the news today, Croswell Opera House received a 2.5 million dollar donation last night at their annual fundraiser Great Big Night. And that is Great Big Wonderful News for this beloved theater which will keep it soaring well into the future.


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 Post subject: Re: First Review - Crosswell
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:56 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6760
I think this reviewer was not feeling well:

http://www.examiner.com/review/youthful ... cal-adrian


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 Post subject: Re: First Review - Crosswell
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:26 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6760
This is more like it:

Quote:
But the Croswell has come through with flying colors, putting on its stage a first-rate, excellently performed and well-thought-out production of this very difficult musical.


http://www.lenconnect.com/entertainment ... production


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 Post subject: Re: First Reviews - Crosswell
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:54 am 
Ballet Girl

Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:02 am
Posts: 308
I will do my best to control myself in this review, as I know the powers to be of the Forum, frown on negative reviews, and may chose to censor my feelings. The fact remains, I drove three hours this past Sunday to see the Crosswell's performance of BETM, and I could not have been more disappointed.

I don't know if the reviewers in their back grounds, had seen the show in some other venue. And I hope my standards, or the bar I've set for the show, remains too high given my experience with this musical. This is not to suggest that this company's heart was not in the right place. I just found it total lacking in energy and emotional spirit, such to the extent, I was embarrassed for certain scenes, particularly recalling so many memories of those I have seen over the years in a dozen different venues.

Starting with "Stars Look Down," and "Solidarity," the numbers were totally lacking in any feeling of confrontation, with the male voices either under miced, or deliberately designed to sound like a small male choir singing certain church hymns. These two number simply left me cold, and wondering what message they cared to present to their audience.

If those of you fans of this show could imagine Ms Wilkinson singing almost the entire first act with a mic which failed her throughout, and delivering occasional cracking sounds through the audio system, I'm sure you would have felt as denied as I was. Throughout "Shine" it actually appeared as though she were lip syncing. I was sitting up front and could barely hear her, and I have no idea what effect it had with those sitting further behind me. It was such a shame for that number.

Given the explosive energy we've experienced throughout the "Angry Dance," I just have to say that the Crosswell's interpretation of this iconic final scene of the first act, was nothing less than flat and lacked any measure of real frustration which Billy delivers in response to his circumstances.

Gabe Omlor as Michael was, indeed, the saving grace of this show, with Hannah Buck as Debbie, also giving us reason to smile. Gabe is truly a petite little guy, but his humor, his acting and stage presence was so refreshing in comparison to what else I had experienced throughout the day, it at least allowed me to drive back to Central Indiana, feeling some joy for the hours I spent on the road.

No sense in my saying more for fear of being in trouble. Having seen Drury Lane's presentation of BE, and reading reviews of so many of you praising regional productions you had seen out east and south, I felt particularly denied at the Crosswell, feeling apologetic in saying so, and in writing a review reflecting those feelings.

Colin


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 Post subject: Re: First Reviews - Crosswell
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:20 pm 
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Billy
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:05 am
Posts: 3691
Location: Malverne (Long Island), NY
cws8998 wrote:
I drove three hours this past Sunday to see the Crosswell's performance of BETM, and I could not have been more disappointed.

Colin, you are of course welcome to your opinions as long as you are not unnecessarily maligning child performers. In that respect, I think your review is fine.

I do want to say though that as a regional production that you drove three hours to get to, it was not your region. You drove out of region to get to this local regional production, and it looks like the most expensive tickets were just $35? Am I seeing that correctly on the website? If so, I think this should be respected. They're not trying to come off as a Broadway tour or overcharging for tickets. They're just exploring the show on a local level with a local cast, I would guess (haven't read up on it). Your opinions are totally acceptable, but it's an extremely difficult, complex show, and I'm sure the effort is there in spades if you look for it.

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 Post subject: Re: First Reviews - Crosswell
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:55 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6760
When I posted my review about the Mendham production, I prefaced it by stating that I had left all my preconceptions of what a BETM show should be like, and was determined to view it with a completely open mind. As a result, I was able to compose a favorable review that praised all of the strengths without making any comparison to a full blown professional production.

I have been in discussion with several Forum members about 'classifying' upcoming regional into categories such as School, Amateur, Community, professional non-Equity, and Equity. I think we can all decide that, for ourselves, by examining a venue's website. Even ticket prices are a clue. I do not want to 'filter' anyone's choice.

The important thing to remember is that this show is a huge challenge for anyone to put on. It is bound to stretch amateur theatres to their limits (two have had their licenses pulled). We should cut them some slack, and look for the things to praise. Recently, a show was unfairly panned (in my view) by a newspaper critic, and the show never really recovered. I think, in that case, the show billed itself a little too high, with predictable results. I was terribly sorry that children, who worked so hard, were no doubt hurt by this.

What I am suggesting is to approach every show with an open mind. I will always try to comment on the positive (but when Billy is played by a girl, all bets are off!) If one is looking for a show of the quality of a professional one, perhaps the ones that are forthcoming are a mere handful. But, in my humble view, any show can be enjoyed, if one goes prepared to greet it at its own level. BETM is a powerful story. Is there really only one way to see it?


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 Post subject: Re: First Reviews - Crosswell
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:16 pm 
Billy
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Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:02 am
Posts: 8276
Location: Rhode Island, USA
Well said Bill.

I agree with all your points, but especially..

"The important thing to remember is that this show is a huge challenge for anyone to put on. It is bound to stretch amateur theatres to their limits..."
"If one is looking for a show the quality of a professional one, perhaps the ones to see are a mere handful. But, in my humble view, any one can be enjoyed, if one goes prepared to greet it at its own level."

But I think creative teams, when deciding to seek the license to put on this show, need to go into it with eyes wide open about the resources required -- especially the talent of the Billy or Billys. Realistically, if they are non-Equity and have to rely on only local talent, and/or don't have the time or training resources to properly and adequately train their Billy (s), they should probably decide not to do this very complex show, rather than to tone it down to the point where the choreography is very diluted or the boy (s) selected are not of the proper age for the role.


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 Post subject: Re: First Reviews - Crosswell
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:04 pm 
Billy

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:54 pm
Posts: 6760
Quote:
Realistically, if they are non-Equity and have to rely on only local talent, and/or don't have the time or training resources to property to adequately train their Billy (s), they should probably decide not to do this very complex show, rather than to tone it down to the point where the choreography is very diluted or the boy (s) selected are not of the proper age for the role.


I think two found that to be the case. But I applaud any who try their best. After all, isn't that what BETM is about?


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 Post subject: Re: First Reviews - Crosswell
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:33 am 
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Billy
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Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:33 am
Posts: 17579
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Thanks for this very interesting and insightful discussion.

First, let me say that angelenroute hit the nail squarely on the head in his response to Colin's review. It has always been the policy on this forum to make sure that any comments about the child performers be focused on the positive aspects of their performance. That is because they are children, not adults. Beyond that, we have no problem with discussing negative aspects of any given production.

As far as productions go, I completely agree with kport and porschesrule's comments about what one can reasonably expect from local amateur non-equity productions (as opposed to true "regional" productions, which, while not completely composed of professional performers, are several rungs up the ladder from local amateur productions).

If anyone attends one of these local productions expecting to see a show on the level of a professional production, disappointment is bound to ensue. But if you go in with a heart and mind that say, "These are people who love theatre and love this show so much that they want to share their efforts with their community, and that's a wonderful thing in itself," then you will begin to see why BETM is magic, no matter whether the production is put on by a local community theatre, a regional company, or a professional one.

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