Archives pour la catégorie Broadway Shows

Jason Robert Brown et Carrie Manolakos au Subculture – 2018-01-22

C’est la deuxième fois que j’ai la chance d’assister au spectacle mensuel de Jason Robert Brown à New York.  Chance, car les billets s’envolent rapidement.  Auteur / compositeur fabuleux de spectacles musicaux sur Broadway (The Last 5 Years, Honeymoon in Vegas,  The Bridges of Madison County, 13 …), Jason Robert Brown poursuit sa résidence au Subculture, singulière salle de spectacle sur Bleecker St à New-York.  C’est avec un réel plaisir qu’il nous présente sans prétention des pièces de son vaste répertoire (et parfois de nouvelles chansons), le tout interprété en compagnie d’un(e) artiste de Broadway.

L’invitée de ce lundi 22 janvier 2018 était la très talentueuse Carrie Manolakos qui a notamment joué dans la comédie musicale « Mama Mia » sur Broadway.  Carrie Manolakos a également fait sensation sur Youtube avec la reprise de « Creep » du groupe Radiohead que je vous invite à écouter :

Carrie Manolakos and Jason Robert Brown

C’est en toute simplicité que Jason Robert Brown fait son entrée sur scène accompagné de ses fidèles musiciens, les « Legendary Caucasian Rhythm Kings ».  Alors, que l’introduction d’une pièce a connu un petit dérapage, il a tout simplement décidé d’arrêter le tout afin de reprendre du début comme si on était entre amis, chez lui.

Jason Robert Brown , Todd Reynolds (violin), Gary Sieger (guitar), Randy Landau (bass) – Non sur la photo: Tomoko Akaboshi (viloniste invitée) et Jamie Eblen (batterie)

Généreux, il laisse beaucoup de latitude à ses musiciens pour des solos ainsi qu’à son invitée Carrie Manolakos qui a eu l’occasion d’interpréter l’une de ses compositions intitulée « I Should Have Told You ».

Carrie Manolakos
Carrie Manolakos

Excellent pianiste, il nous a offert un hommage à son père en interprétant en piano solo « On The Sunny Side of the Street » (à lire sur son blog).

Jason Robert Brown au piano

De toute évidence, Jason Robert Brown adore être sur scène entouré de ses musiciens et de ses fans.  Encore une fois, il s’agissait d’une soirée musicale remplie d’émotions laissant dans nos têtes des chansons qui nous habitent et nous accompagnent tout le reste de la soirée, et même plus.

A surveiller, la sortie du prochain CD de Jason Robert Brown en mars 2018!

Sutton Foster sera son invitée en février.  En entendant ce nom, je me suis dit que les billets seront vendus très rapidement. Effectivement, mais une deuxième représentation a été ajoutée le même soir, samedi 24 février 2018. Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, il reste quelques places debout.

Un merci tout spécial à la direction du SubCulture pour les autorisations photos.

Quelques photos réalisés lors de cet évènement:


Voici quelques liens pour découvrir Jason Robert Brown lors de vos prochaines visites à New-York.

Le SubCulture :

Le blog de Jason Robert Brown:

Quelques liens vidéos sur Youtube :

A Song About Your Gun (Jason Robert Brown)

Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale Record « One Second and A Million Miles »

The Last Five Years @ Town Hall 9/12/16 – « Still Hurting »

Finalement un lien vers ma chronique sur la dernière représentation de Honeymoon in Vegas

Honeymoon In Vegas Last Show on Broadway

The Nederlander Theatre

In this Broadway musical adaptation of the movie « Honeymoon in Vegas », Jack Singer goes to the “Forest of the disappointed mothers” to get relieved from his mother’s curse to “Never get married”.  In a harsh Broadway reality, it seems that nothing happened to save this excellent musical from closing, not even a plea or visit to the “forest of the disappointed producers -1”.

They were so many great moments in this show that it’s simply incomprehensible that it closed after a short run of 3 months. From Buddy Rocky (David Josefsberg) a bigger than nature Las Vegas crooner, to Sapphire de la Tour (Katie Webber) playing harp with her breasts, Jack’s haunting mother Bea materializing here and there during the show (i.e. popping out from a store counter at Tiffany’s) or one of the ensemble girl just saying “Vegaaass”.  Of course the main characters, Betsy’s (Brynn O’ Malley) and Jack’s (Rob Mc Clure) were so loveable and moving: him unable to commit because of his mother’s curse, her waiting patiently for him to pop the question. He finally does (sort of) and they decide to go to Vegas to get wed. But voilà, enters big casino’s boss Tommy Korman (Tony Danza) who sees Betsy as the re-incarnation of his dead wife and comes up with a wicked plan to make her his.

Composer Jason Robert Brown

There are exceptional musical numbers composed by Jason Robert Brown (2 Tonys for Parade and Bridges Over Madison County) with big band arrangements by Don Sebesky (3 Grammys). “Betsy’s getting Married”, “A little luck”, “When You Say Vegas”, “The Invitation” and “Out of the Sun” are a few that come to mind. These songs stick with you after the show (a rare quality) and out of the blue you find yourself humming these silly tunes for no reason at all while you are in line at the grocery cashier.

Tony Danza was brilliant as Tommy Korman, the mischievous casino’s boss.  His interpretation of “Out of the Sun”, a song about his late wife who died of skin cancer (“I might have saved her with a higher S.P.F.”) was inspired and hilarious.  My favorite musical number was “A Little Luck” which he sang beautifully with his soft baritone voice, complete with a tap dancing routine. The first time I saw the show earlier in the week, I realized how much Tony Danza genuinely loved to be a part of this show. I noticed he stayed in the wings when the show was over, listening to the big band finale with a big smile on his face, while other performers were gone to their dressing room and the crowd had already left the theatre.

Tony Danza and fans

The last performance on Easter Sunday, April 5th, was very emotional for everyone.  Extra kisses on the cheek from Betsy (Brynn O’Malley) to Jack (Rob McClure) in the first number “I Love Betsy”, made it difficult for him to sing it for the last time and for both of them to hold their tears.   There was impromptu friki-friki “hands in the pants” moves by Mahi (Catherine Ricafort) which made Jack jump a little bit higher than usual.  I suspect there was real alcohol in Betsy’s drink in Hawaii.  We were treated to a special appearance by composer Jason Robert Brown who played the piano with the band in the 2nd act’s instrumental opening.  As the audience cheered him on, he took the ukulele and played the intro chords to the next song while the big band was moving off stage.  At the end of the show, Rob McClure and Brynn O’Malley brought Mr. Danza back on stage for a last and well deserved standing ovation.

Sadly enough, actors greeted their fans for the last time after the show, outside the theater as they had done for the last 3 plus months.  It seemed especially hard for Mr. Danza who first went straight to his limo but changed his mind and came back for autograph, pictures and exchange a few words with fans who praised him for his performance. He seemed to be touched by all the attention, but nothing could really cheered him on.

As I took a walk by the Netherlander theatre the next morning, moving trucks and crew members were already at work dismantling the set.  I guess all is left of this delightful show, is a forest of disappointed fans, staff members and actors.


Check these links (while they last) for show excerpts and interviews:

Official musical montage:

« When You Say Vegas » | Honeymoon in Vegas

The Making of the Cast Album | HONEYMOON IN VEGAS

A little luck – In Performance | Tony Danza (New-York Times)

Honeymoon in Vegas: Conversation & Performance with composer Jason Robert Brown at the piano and members from the cast Tony Danza, Brynn O’Malley, Rob McClure.

(For die hard broadway fans and musicians this video runs 1h50 long but so informative!)

“I Love Betsy” sung by Rob McClure at 19:40

“Out of The Sun” sung by Tony Danza at 54:30

“Anywhere but here” sung by Brynn O’Malley at 34:30

“When You Say Vegas” sung by Jason Robert Brown at 1:45:40

When You Say Vegas – Jason Robert Brown with Charlie Rosen’s Broadway Big Band

-1 According to a recent New-York Times article, 75% of Broadway productions never achieve profitability.  There must be many disappointed producers left in this forest…