Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Year, New (and Old) Shows

2011 so far has been insane -- in one of the best ways possible -- and one of the things that has blown my mind is all of the great shows I've had the privilege of seeing in this new year. Since I haven't really had time to recap them all, I just thought I would share some of the highlights from the past couple of months and some of the videos from them that are (thankfully) up on Youtube for all to enjoy.

This past weekend, Kerrigan and Lowdermilk finished their "You Made This Tour" with a final performance at (Le) Poisson Rouge. While I didn't get a chance to make it out for their last hurrah, I have been rather obsessed with the following two performances from their other "You Made This Tour" gig:

The Spring Standards singing "Berkeley":

Lewis Grosso, Aaron Bantum, and Sarah Safer singing "She's the Best"(music by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, lyrics by Adnan Ahmed [age 9]):

With the recent release of his first songbook, Ryan Scott Oliver celebrated with a concert at Joe's Pub packed with old and new favorites, fun anecdotes, and a whole lot of talent. A couple great ones from that night:

New song "Agnes" sung by Alex Brightman:

Katie Thompson singing "To Do":

I know I've been talking up Joe Iconis' Things to Ruin lately, but I also loved letting loose at his Friday Night Commotion at The Laurie Beechman before the run. A lot of newer songs made an appearance, with a few that are still stuck in my head:

Krysta Rodriguez singing "Broadway, Here I Come!":

Jeremy Morse singing "Kevin":

Aside from Joe & Company, one of the most raucous nights of music I've had lately was attending a concert of The Civilians' new show, Pretty Filthy, at Joe's Pub about the porn industry (my friend even won a prize for thinking up a porn title based on Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, so it was the show that kept on giving). Michael Friedman's music is so astute and conversational -- it's really a joy to watch. There aren't any videos available from that evening, but here is a video of Greg Hildreth singing another song from Pretty Filthy, "Impossible Girls," which was performed at the concert that also took place recently (fair warning: Not Suitable For Work):

Also, be sure to check out some other videos from the concert at their Youtube channel because there was an awesome assortment of writers in that show. One song in particular I've always loved is Gaby Alter's "Deep in February," sung here by Catherine Brookman:

...And all of this only begins to scratch the surface. If you really want to get in on the experience of some of the new musical theatre happenings lately, you can also watch, in full, streaming concert footage from Drew Gaspirini's Joe's Pub concert here or David Henry Hwang, Kevin So, and Kevin Merritt's concert of their new musical Great Wall here.

On another note, even with all of the new concerts and shows in development, I actually saw a couple of the latest Broadway musical offerings (the first time in a while) and just have to comment on how funny it is that a lot of things out there (even the newer musicals) are so much in the traditional musical realm. I have to admit it was almost a little jarring last night seeing How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with so many huge dance numbers and such elaborate sets, when I had become so accustomed to minimal staging and small casts. There was something very reassuring in it, though -- to see to see how things have changed and to see how the tradition is still being carried on and paid homage to. Most of all, I was really happy to see that a musical that first was released in 1961 can still feel joyous, that satire and wit can still assert themselves in song, and perhaps most importantly (especially with How to Succeed), that talent can still find energy and passion in material years down the road. Having that as a little takeaway, I'm excited to see the future of these new writers who constantly bring their talent and passion in droves are continuing to share their music, bring houses down, and, hopefully, endure.

...Even if it means I go broke in the process of following their work.

I know I missed out on a lot of shows/concerts too. Anyone else see something awesome recently worth sharing?

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