joy magnetism: Words by Rice, building by Piano

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Words by Rice, building by Piano

Magnet #1050 - Times Square/42nd Street

I once fell into the N/R/W/Q subway tracks in the Times Square/42nd Street station. This is not that magnetpost.

I'm just using it for today, because I just got back from Times Square, and seeing the Sir Tim Rice and Friends performance.

I've been looking forward to this event, mostly because of my obsession with watching all of those (very late to the U.S.) BBC/BBC-A, Andrew Lloyd Webber reality shows casting parts in the West End's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Sound of Music, then Wizard of Oz, and now Oliver! So when I didn't see any of Rice's work with ALW on the program, I was a little sad.

But, it was quickly explained by the funnier than I'd have expected Tim Rice, that the evening was being devoted not so much to him, but to Disney on Broadway's songbook. Being a Disney fan, color me sooo not disappointed!

And it was so much fun!

After Sir Tim did a tongue-in-cheek reading of all the not-so-great NYTs reviews of Disney shows, we were treated to fantastic numbers sung by seven original cast members of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, AIDA, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, and King David (which you've likely never heard of, but the two numbers from it were fabulous, so I hope we will hear of them again).

The first song was Be Our Guest, and all I could think of was that it sure did not sound like when my sisters and I play Wii Disney Sing It. And for the whole song, all I could think was man, I bet that dude would rock out on Wii. What? It's true.

From then on, it was quite amazing watching these Disney vets as they performed their songs without sets, without costumes, with a two-piece musical accompaniment...and still they managed to place us in every single show. Maybe because it was on such a small stage, and we were all so close up, but it was truly uncanny how I felt like I was watching Belle and Mary Poppins and Rafiki and Ariel, and shoot, even Tarzan. In street clothes.

And now I finally understand what ALW and all the judges were trying to teach all those reality contestants - how to act out a song, feel the emotions, connect with the words. I had pooh-poohed that criticism, before but honestly, I got a little goosebumpy listening to several of the songs tonight. I guess that's how the pros do it.

But wait. There's more!

Last week, I used a magnetquote by architect Renzo Piano, where I surprised myself with all of the Piano museums/additions I'd been to. Tonight's NYTs Arts & Leisure Weekend event was held at TimesCenter, at Piano's New York Times building just off of Times Square.

I've been to TimesCenter before, but hadn't realized just how ingeniously multi-use they've managed to make this building. While I was sitting in the audience of a state-of-the-art, 378-seat auditorium, through the stage backdrop glass, I was able to see New York Times employees leave their office space across the indoor courtyard, dinner patrons dining at the gorgeous Montenapo Restaurant, and a chick shopping at supercool Muji.

All that, and, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the incredible performances of Sir Tim Rice's merry band of friends.

Pretty. Damn. Cool.
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