It's been a while -- too much going on, so little time. Also, been distracted by the NBA and, of course, NHL playoffs. Did anyone see the LeBron shot heard 'round the world the other night? Amazing. And the Cavs still might lose to Dwight Howard and the Magic. Anyway . . .
I wrote about the revival of "Hair" for print and Chris Rawson wrote about the other musicals I saw while in New York, "9 to 5" and "West Side Story," but I'll add my 2 cents on the others here. I agree with Chris in that "9 to 5's" strength is in its familiarity and strong central roles -- it should play well on the road. It felt a little lightweight, but Allison Janney, who I think is more Lauren Bacall than Lily Tomlin, makes everything interesting and Megan Hilty has us all saying, "Hello, Dolly" -- Parton, that is. She was a lot of fun. Any time you can see talented dancers perform Jerome Robbins' choreography makes "West Side Story" a must see. I found the second-act ballet a little distracting, much more so than the Spanish dialogue and lyrics, and it all felt rushed. And inserting "Play It Cool" before the rumble was a big mistake in my estimation -- it works so well afterward in the movie version. But Josefina Scaglione gave Maria soul to go with her beauty and beautiful voice. She was worth the price of admission.
Speaking of stages filled with song, dance and talent ... Pittsburgh's own Gene Kelly Awards are one of the most entertaining evenings of theater this town has to offer. It's a shame that the Benedum Center has to be filled with the deserving performers, faculty and family, because it would be great for all theater lovers to see this one-off showcase of high school's best in musical theater. The Pittsburgh CLO, which administers the event with the University of Pittsbugh, brought in as presenters Shoshana Bean and David Osmond, the stars of CLO's season-opening show, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." It was great to watch their smiling faces, appreciating not only the talent of the young performers in Pittsburgh but this wonderful event; it was clear they'd never seen anything like it outside the Tonys.
I'm sure the new, national event in New York that's to be patterned after the Kellys, for representatives from high schools throughtout the United States, will be pretty spiffy. But they'll find it hard to match the Kellys for energy, excitement and grass-roots support.
While we're talking theater ... remember to visit pgTHEATERnow for the latest and greatest in local theater.