To playwright Scott Phillips, life is meant to be funny, even when it doesn’t seem like it.
While recent improvements did little to directly change the attendee experience for shows at DeVos Performance Hall, they helped usher in a record-setting season for Broadway Grand Rapids.
That’s because the $350,000 in behind-the-scenes renovations approved two years ago made it possible for Broadway Grand Rapids to lure in bigger shows. The first of those larger performances, “Phantom of the Opera,” played its sold-out, 16-show run over two weeks in May.
Shortly after rising Motown star Little Stevie Wonder found stardom in 1963, he discovered early on that hitting the textbooks was just as important as hitting the stage.
Amidst a string of now classic R&B singles, a teenage Wonder was enrolled at the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing. While he graduated from the now defunct school in 1968, Wonder would pen some of his biggest hits while earning his diploma.
ONCE is the epitome of a true complex romance, as a Dublin street musician, debating on giving up his singing dreams, meets a beautiful young woman who takes strong interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights, but their unlikely connection turns out to be much deeper and more complicated than expected.
Ah, yes, the glory days. Life as a high-school teen was all about cliques, young love, pimple-ridden faces and the drive to fit in with the snide popular kids at any cost. Sounds abysmal, doesn’t it? Film director Michael Lehmann dramatized this confused chunk of life in the black-comedy tale of Heathers.
Kinky Boots seems to have it all. It’s got Broadway dazzle with a modern edge, joyous drag queens and outrageous footwear — it also champions a message of hope and acceptance.
The production, a six-time Tony Award-winner, centers on protagonist Charlie Price as he inherits a floundering shoe factory after his father’s death. The cause seems hopeless until Charlie runs into drag queen Lola and her glamorous backup troupe, the Angels. The queens introduce Charlie to the niche market of drag boots and create a fabulous new line.
Strangers to opera might say it’s about singing, but anyone who has actually watched one will tell you it’s about so much more. The piercingly high notes and booming bass tones take audiences on a journey — both to a specific time and place and to the particular emotions of individuals.
From its thunderous opening chords to its plummeting chandelier, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera doesn’t run short on spectacle. Dazzling stage effects, sensuous costumes and an imposing score have made this the longest-running Broadway musical.
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