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Sunday, August 22, 2010

[part of it all]

Yesterday, I finally had an opportunity to see [title of show] at Los Angeles' Celebration Theatre (and it was fabulous).  I have been a fan of the show before (the real life) Hunter, Jeff, Susan and Heidi ever brought the show to Broadway and I was incredibly bummed when the show closed too soon; it was absolutely one of the Broadway shows that I was hoping I would get an opportunity to watch.  Unfortunately, when it ended, [title of show] only played 102 regular performances and 13 previews on the Broadway, but I am happy to report that it lives on in regional productions.

[title of show] really is a show for anyone who has ever had a dream to create.  Sure, its a show about "two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical" but at closer inspection, its not just about writing for musical theatre.  At its core, [title of show] has incredible heart fueled predominantly by the (characters of) Hunter and Jeff as they struggle to create a show for the NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival).  When you sit back and watch the show take shape, you see a show that is funny, well constructed and tells a good story with four pretty solid characters who truly bring their own personalities and contributions to the story (which is a good thing because they are based on the real-life Hunter Bell, Jeff Bowen, Susan Blackwell and Heidi Blickenstaff).  Its more than just a show about writing a musical, its a show about friendship, dreams coming true, the creative process of giving life to an art form and just the right amount of humor and emotional strife.  However if you aren't a musical theatre geek, some of the inside-musical-jokes may be lost on you.  Don't get me wrong, I think it will still be funny even if you aren't an insider, but will be even funnier if you are well, "in the know."

I have been listening to the cast recording of [title of show] for over two years now but first discovered it while bored one day at work and perusing the musical theatre annals of YouTube.  When I came across the first two or three episodes of the [title of show] show, I thought it was super campy and quirky and "at first I'll admit I was a little bit, WTF," but somehow it hooked me.   The chemistry between the four actors was apparent and it became hard to differentiate between the characters' personas and the real life personas in their series of vlogs.  Jeff was more of the straight-laced guy who seemed to keep everyone more (or less) grounded, Hunter was determined and focused, Susan was super quirky but hilarious and Heidi was the legit professional "Broadway actress." These vlogs were to me, brilliant on so many levels.  As I said, they were super campy and yet totally funny but SO smart!  How? Well thanks to YouTube, the [title of show] show was a totally free, grass roots marketing and publicity campaign that really did grow the brand, brought awareness to the show and it took off.  The [title of show] cast had complete autonomy on how they wanted to be portrayed, how often and when they posted their vlogs and each episode coincided with a number from the show.  BRILLIANCE, says I.  The [title of show] show could also be viewed as a companion piece to the actual [title of show] (musical show).   Either way, it will make sense if you (carefully) listen to [title of show] and then watch the [title of show] show. See what I mean? Brilliance.

As a minor PS, I have to again discuss that [title of show] also has one of my favorite ballads ever in it.  I won't be repetitive because I wrote about A Way Back to Then in a previous post (so if you are so inclined, you can read it here).  This song is (in many ways) about me and hearing it live (though I didn't love the performer's voice who sang it when I saw the show) it was still emotional because not only does it describe me, but many-a geeked out theatre fans out there too. 

I recently re-watched this (see below).  When it was closing, the folks at [title of show] reached out to their fans and 600 of us participated in this project - big time Broadway folks and regular peeps alike - all of whom loved and supported [title of show]; I think I'm in good company.  See if you can find me:

I heart [tos]!
If you have an opportunity to see [tos] in your town, do it! 


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