Saturday, February 5, 2011

Solidarity forever

Last night, through a series of random events, I saw the musical Billy Elliot. Yes, it won all kinds of Tonys and yes, people gush about it but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's all it's cracked up to be. I mean, people go nuts over Mamma Mia on Broadway too and I can't handle that one at all.
But I saw Billy Elliot, without any expectations really.
And it blew me away.
To say it was one of the best musicals I've ever seen is quite the understatement. Not only was everything about the actual production flawless, but I've never seen dancing like that on Broadway before. I mean, I saw Movin' Out, the Billy Joel musical and it was all dancing and it was extraordinary, but this was different. Half of the cast was made up of children and they were so incredible I was just constantly floored.
But more than anything, the song Solidarity, which I'd heard so much about, was one of the most profound things I've ever seen on stage. The way that the contrast between hard and soft, light and dark, rough and gentle...unbelievable.
If I had to complain about anything, it would be that certain songs were undeniably Elton John songs, to the point that they might as well have been on his albums. But he made up for it with the way that the music from Swan Lake was woven into the score. The cast was awesome, the show was moving and the entire time, I felt like my guts were being ripped out. One of the marks of a successful show is when the audience is connected to what's going on on stage. I was immersed in this show.
I wonder what people think of this show when they're not creative types. I mean, so much of this show is this pseudo-existential kind of journey through the mind, thought process, and dreams of a creative boy that's finding his outlet. I was that boy. Hell, I still am that boy. So I wonder what people think of this show when they're not creative types. I don't know that they would appreciate it to the fullest.
I will say this. What they performed on the Tonys made no sense to perform there and while it makes complete sense in the context of the musical, it wasn't so much a standalone moment. But I think there aren't as many stand alone moments in this show as there are in others. It's woven together in such a way that context is everything and in that, I find it a little more exciting.
It was a tremendous show and I'm so glad that I randomly got to see it. It ranks up there among the most profound shows I've ever seen. Right up there with Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake and Hair.

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