Happy World Theatre Day everyone! 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of celebrating our love and appreciation for the theatre community on March 27th. This World Theatre Day was particularly exciting because for the first time in quite a while where people would have been able to be in a theatre and watching a live performance. I love seeing everyone’s posts with photos and videos from current projects, past favourites, and so much hope and joy for the future of our industry.
As I mentioned in my last post, the pandemic has allowed us to look for theatre in different spaces than we were used to and this weekend I ended up taking in some theatre in ways I certainly wasn’t expecting!
I am a HUGE fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I make sure I’m in front of the tv by 8:30 every Friday night, watch as many franchises as I can, suffered through the Season 1 filter several times. This is dedication, dear reader. The Rusical episodes are some of my favourites; usually quirky takes on Broadway favourites with the added flair which can only come from the art of drag. The Rusical for the current season was called Moulin Ru!, a parody of Moulin Rouge! which is currently running on Broadway. The great thing about the Rusical episodes is that almost half of the show is taken up with the final performance so you essentially get to watch a shortened version of the show they’re parodying with hilarious lip-sync performances and impressive staging and choreography. In this case it was the basic plot of Moulin Rouge! however the songs were all parodied versions of some of RuPaul’s hits with hilarious results like “Don’t be jaloux de ma gelee.” This production really stood out amongst its predecessors because of the production value (the costumes were gorgeous) as well as the impressive performances by this year’s queens. Lady Camden and Deja Skye had standout performances for me and Lady Camden definitely deserved her win this week! I can’t wait to see what Leland (the composer), RuPaul, and their team come up with next!
The other musical I took in this weekend is Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. When I first saw that they were going to redo this classic, I must admit that I was skeptical. Of all of the movies to get a reboot in the past few years I figured that this one was the one which needed it the least. Mr. Spielberg proved me wrong and I couldn’t be happier about it. The film was fabulous, it blended the new with the familiar into an absolute delight to behold. I love how the beginning shots not only firmly established the place of the film but the time as well. The destruction of apartment buildings to construct Lincoln Center raised the stakes for the characters as well as giving the audience (especially if you’ve been to Manhattan) a firm location for where the Sharks and the Jets frequently rumble. The casting was spot on in every respect. Again, I must admit that I was concerned about Ansel Elgort being able to sing some of the most iconic songs in the Broadway songbook but once again I was delightfully proven wrong. With the performances of Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler, I was spellbound. (Special shout-out to Ariana DeBose on her Oscar win! Absolutely well deserved). I also love how West Side Story stays as faithful as it does to its Shakespearean source material; while there are classic shots like the fire escape/balcony scene, I really enjoyed Tony taking Maria to that beautiful church for the handfasting scene. I had also forgotten just how many of the songs I absolutely adore from that musical, and how different some of them feel now that I’m older and have fallen in love. That’s one of the great things about theatre; as you grow and change your relationship with the work does too. The choreography was familiar and yet somehow felt new, Rita Moreno was delightful, and I was so taken with the story that I gasped as Chino fired his gun. Even if you’ve seen the original movie lately, give this version a watch. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
This World Theatre Day I’m going to bed overjoyed; I’m thankful for the televised and filmed theatre I was able to watch and I’m looking forward to the live performances to come. I’ve even booked tickets to see Pipeline at Soulpepper theatre for later in April thanks to their World Theatre Day deal on tickets! All of this means more writing and talking about theatre to come, and nothing could make me happier.