Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The hottest selling ticket for this spring season is for Bernarda Alba, the new musical by Michael John LaChiusa with direction and choreography by Graciela Daniele. This duo has worked together before with hot results. Ticket sales to the general public started on January 22nd and it is sold out for the limited run - snatched by Lincoln Center subscribers and cultural mavens. Speculation is that it will extend, but in the meantime, the Have Nots are scrambling. One hopes that there at least will be a cancellation line.
In November, I saw LaChiusa's See What I Wanna See at the Public Theatre. His work is not easy. It is challenging; at once thoughtful, demanding and joyous. His music forces questions but uplifts the spirit. LaChiusa's work has been compared to opera - and some is performed in opera houses. Later this spring, the divine Audra McDonald is debuting another new LaChiusa piece with the Houston Grand Opera. Similarly, Adam Guettel's A Light in the Piazza, another Lincoln Center production, has been accused of being an opera by Broadway purists. Sondheim's works have been produced in opera houses - the New York City Opera did a stunning production of A Little Night Music, the Chicago Lyric Opera did Sweeney Todd starring the magnificent Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel, etc. In December 2005, The Metropolitan Opera debuted a world premier of the new opera An American Tragedy (much lauded previously by me), which many considered to be very Broadwayish. But in the 2002 OperaNews article Genre Confusion, he himself considers opera and musicals to really be in the same genre - it is all musical theatre - some is more high brow, some is more low brow. My point is that while it is enjoyable seeing a chorus line doing high kicks in an old school book musical or your feet might be dancing at a jukebox musical, you may come away with just a bit more joy in your soul when you're seeing a work that challenges your mind and your heart.
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