Wednesday, April 1, 2020

BROADWAY SEASON 2018-2019 – THE MUSICALS

Here you’ll find images from all the musicals, new ones and revivals, which opened on Broadway during the 2018-2019; plus the City Center Encores! and Off-Center series. Some became hits, others closed in a few weeks, but I believe all of them are worthy of celebration. 
PS.: To see larger images just click on them.




BROADWAY MUSICALS 2018-2019





CITY CENTER ENCORES! 2019



ENCORES! OFF-CENTER 2018


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

CAST RECORDINGS OF 2019: A PERSONAL LOOK

In 2019, between cast recordings (new ones and reissues) and movie/television musicals soundtracks, I counted 91 releases. Of course, I didn’t listen to all of them, but I only missed a few.

Before crucifying me for my choices, let me confess that I love the traditional Broadway sound and I have strong difficulties to enjoy other music styles. So, everything that sounds like rock,country or folk hardly have a chance to catch my narrow-minded ears. In order to get an idea, take a look at my 20 FAVORITE SCORES of all time.

Without further delays, here are my choices among the new recordings (I didn't consider reissues). First, the “Jorge’s Place Awards” and then my “Top Twelve" recordings of 2019, in preference order and not including reissues.

If you like this, take a look at my choices of 2018, 201720162015, 20142013 and 2012.  

JORGE'S PLACE AWARDS 2019




TOP TWELVE CAST RECORDINGS OF 2019



Sunday, May 26, 2019

ALADDIN – A Movie Review

Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, David Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen Jordan A. Nash, Amir Boutrous
Creative Team: Songs by Alan Menken, Tim Rice, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul • Choreography by Leah Hill • Screenplay by John August & Guy Ritchie • Directed by Guy Ritchie / 2019
My Rate: 6 (from 1 to 10)

The Plot: Aladdin is a poor young guy who falls in love with a beautiful girl, without knowing that she’s a princess. But he is pure of heart and so is forced by the bad guy, Jafar, to enter the cave where a magic lamp waits to be collected. Inside the lamp there’s a genie and Aladdin’s life is going to change.

The Movie: The 1992 Disney animated movie is one of the best of its genre, with an unforgettable Robin Williams giving life to the fabulous genius. Years later, the movie was adapted to the Broadway stage as an entertaining colourful musical. Now, it’s back to the movie screen in a real-life (well, almost) new version of the original.
Did we need this new version? Maybe not, both the original and the stage musical are better, but when the movie is as amusing and enjoyable as this one is, why not? Okay, Will Smith isn’t Robin Williams, but his genie is funny and he has a good time doing it. At his side, Mena  Massoud is a kind of silly Aladdin, always with an idiotic smile on his face, but he is a nice boy. Better is the beautiful Naomi Scott as the princess, strong and independent, her character is the big change on the story; she’s no longer a princess in need of rescue. But for me the big surprise is Nasim Pedrad as the humorous princess’ maid.
As for the movie, it’s a highly colourful one, a little bit loud and with plenty of action and magic to keep us entertained. It’s also a musical and this time around the big number isn’t “A Friend Like Me”, but “Prince Ali”. Practically, all the songs written for the original are here, but none of the ones written for the Broadway musical. There’s a new song, “Speechless”, but it’s forgettable and not up to the other ones.
I believe that, like me, fans of the original will have a good time seeing it, but keep in mind this isn’t as good as the that one and how could it be? So, keep an open mind and enjoy the magic of it!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

CAST RECORDINGS OF 2018: A PERSONAL LOOK

In 2018, between cast recordings and movie/television musicals soundtracks, I counted 59 releases. Of course, I didn’t listen to all of them, but I only missed a few.

Before crucifying me for my choices, let me confess that I love the traditional Broadway sound and I have strong difficulties to enjoy other music styles. So, everything that sounds like rock country or folk hardly have a chance to catch my narrow-minded ears. In order to get an idea, take a look at my 20 FAVORITE SCORES of all time.

Without further delays, here are my choices. First, the “Jorge’s Place Awards” and then my “Top Twelve" recordings of 2018, in preference order and not including reissues.

If you like this, take a look at my choices of 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.  

JORGE'S PLACE AWARDS 2018




TOP TWELVE CAST RECORDINGS OF 2018





Monday, December 24, 2018

MARY POPPINS RETURNS – A Movie Review

Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Jeremy Swift, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, David Warner, Jim Norton, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury
Creative Team: Songs by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman • Choreography by Rob Marshall, John DeLuca & Joey Pizzi • Screenplay by David Magee • Based upon the novel by P. L. Travers • Directed by Rob Marshall
My Rate: 10 (from 1 to 10)

The Plot: Michael Banks, is now a widower with three little sons, on the brink of losing their home. But Mary Poppins is back to help him and his family 

The Movie: Since I saw the trailer for this movie that I’ve been very excited about it, but I never expected to fell in love with it in just a couple of minutes. But I fell head over heels for it! I know the original is an eternal classic and I enjoyed it very much, but I’ve to confess that, although it had better songs, I prefer this sequel… it’s very rare for that to happen to me!
I think director Rob Marshall did an amazing job recreating the magic of the original and giving it a modern pace that takes us from one scene to another with rhythm, imagination, humour and magic! He has a terrific sense of how a movie musical should work and took full advantage of the means at his disposition. Visually, the movie is amazing and the scenes between humans and cartoons are so real that we forget they are special effects.
It’s true, the characters sing and dance every time they get a chance and I love it! The sequence at the “Royal Doulton Music Hall” is fabulous and “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is terrific and contagious. But there’s more, including a hilarious Meryl Streep giving us “Turning Turtle” and the great Angela Lansbury with the melodious “Nowhere to Go but Up”. The song “The Place Where Lost Things Go” is beautiful and “Can You Imagine That” magically funny.
In the title role, Emily Blunt is perfectly perfect, showing us what a great and versatile actress she is (early this year she was fighting monsters in A QUIET PLACE). I love Julie Andrews, but Blunt made the role her own. At her side, Broadway’s Lin-Manuel Miranda is the nice Jack, a lamp lighter who believes in magic. As Michael Banks, Ben Wishaw is like a lost big kid in need of a miracle and, has his sister, Emily Mortimer is sweet and always giggling. In a change of character, Colin Firth convinces as the bad guy and Julie Walters is funny as the Bank’s house maid. I already mentioned Meryl Streep, she’s at her best here, enjoying every minute of her performance and dear old Angela Lansbury is sweet as over. One last word for Dick Van Dyke, who played the characters of Bert and Mr. Dawes Senior in the original, and here plays, sings and dance as Mr. Dawes Jr. Having him in the cast was a nice touch by Marshall.
I can’t recommend this movie enough! The world is in terrible need of believing in the magic of Mary Poppins and the movie melted my heart, put a big smile on my soul and made me cry of happiness! I don’t know about you, but this is one of the best movies I saw this year! Don’t miss it and let Mary Poppins magic live in you; it’s good to be a child again!