Daniel Radcliffe – A Step Up From Harry Potter

By Mark|August 25, 2015|Music|

daniel radcliffe

When someone mentions Daniel Radcliffe they immediately get the image of the young wizard, Harry Potter. After all, we saw him grow up in each new Harry Potter film and watched his talent grow along the way.

However, Daniel Radcliffe has moved on to different roles in both films and in theatre. One very notable production is the play Equus, where he has literally thrown off the wizard robes to reveal his “naked” talent. Strutting around a stage naked is not something one would equate to the cute little boy we knew as Harry Potter. But Radcliffe plays the part and he plays it very well.

The play itself was written in 1973 by Peter Shaffer. The story is about a psychiatrist who takes on the case of a young man and his pathological and very religious obsession with horses. Shaffer got the idea from an actual crime that occurred in Suffolk, England, where a teenager had blinded several horses. The play is meant to create a fictional account of what may have led up to this person’s actions.

Daniel Radcliffe plays the role of the troubled teen, Alan Strang, the main character of this story. Its a dark and psychosexual tale that Radcliffe plays amazingly. He makes you forget who he is and other roles he is known for, and makes you believe in the character he is portraying. Here we witness the child actor we knew make that transition into the young man who has the talent to break past that barrier that many child stars confront in their careers, which is transitioning from child roles to adult roles.

Equus, which has been running for nearly 30 years now, seems to be the catalyst needed to help Radcliffe break away from the role of the young wizard. Gone is the wand and glasses, and in its place a leather jacket, 2 day shadow and a cigarette.

The role has definitely had a hand in raising the young actors confidence levels. He even made those grumbling critics take notice with audiences that loved his role in this dark play. Many can now see that he is someone with true potential and talent.

From the very first line of the show Daniel Radcliffe draws you in. He addresses the audience, making everyone feel as if they are part of the show itself. He makes you believe he has some serious mental issues with this darker personality. We also can see that the actor himself has a range and depth that was unexpected by many. In the play he changes emotions so quickly it can be dizzying. He goes from sullen teen angst to childlike innocence on a dime, and there are times when he can actually be quite frightening.

We truly get to see Daniel Radcliffe as we have never seen him before in this Broadway performance of Equus!

Famous Broadway Performances of All Time

By Mark|August 18, 2015|Music|

phantom-of-the-opera

We’ve had a look at famous theatres, so let’s take a look at some famous Broadway shows! The list of long running shows numbers in the hundreds. I’ve chosen the top 4 longest running shows for you here:

Phantom of the Opera

As I mentioned earlier, the Phantom of the Opera is the longest running performance on Broadway, opening in 1988 and still running to date. With over 11,000 performances, this is a show that keeps bringing them back and entices new visitors alike. However, the show originally started out at London’s West End theatre two year before this. In 2012 it celebrated its 10,000 performance on Broadway.

The music for this show was written by the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber and it was based on “Le Fantome de L’Opera” a French novel that was written by Gaston Leroux. The story itself has a tragic romantic theme; A beautiful opera singer becomes an obsession to a musical genius that cannot show his face due to disfigurement and is hidden away beneath the catacombs of the theatre. His obsession causes him to eventually kidnap the woman and force her to stay with him.

Chicago

Chicago’s story is set in Chicago’s era of prohibition and is a musical adaptation of a 1926 play, also entitled Chicago, that was written by Maurine Dallas Watkins, a reporter who used real crimes and criminals that she had reported on in life. The satire focuses on corruption with the criminal justice system and how some criminals are idolized to the point of celebrity status.

It was in 1975 that the original production opened its doors on Broadway’s 46th Street Theatre. It ran until 1977 with 936 performances. Chicago was once more revived in 1996 on Broadway and then a year later in the West End. It has gained the status of longest running musical revival and comes in 2nd as the longest running Broadway show.

Cats

Cats was the very first Broadway show that I saw and has remained my favourite to this day. Andrew Lloyd Webber also composed the music for this performance and the play itself was based on a story by T.S. Eliot. The story is about death and rebirth and follows a tribe of cats, called the Jellicles. In the story they have to choose a cat who will be the one to rise to “Heaviside Layer” or cat heaven for lack of a better description, and be reborn.

The show made its first appearance in 1981 in the West End, then opened a year later on Broadway. Cats has won quite a number of awards over its time, such as the Best Musical awards for both the Tony and Laurence Oliver Awards ceremonies. It ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, and comes in as the 3rd longest running show for Broadway to date. This show has been performed across the globe and in over 20 different languages.

The Lion King

This is a musical adaptation of a 1994 Disney film with the same name. Its well known for its music by Elton John and for its actors who are dressed as animals alongside very large hollow puppets. Its first show debuted in 1997 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minnesota as was a hit from the start. It then premiered on Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre in the later half of 1997. The show still runs today at the Minskoff Theatre and has run over 6,700 performances. The Lion King comes in as the 4th longest running Broadway show.

The story follows the life of a young lion who is meant to be heir to their kingdom, but has to deal with a treacherous uncle who wants to rule for himself. Being outcast upon his father’s death, the young lion prepares himself to take back his rightful place as King of the lions and oust his uncle out as the one who caused his father’s death.

As you can see from these few examples, Broadway shows cover a range of ideals and situations that affect us in everyday life, expressing these themes through song, dance and acting. I’m pretty sure that we can look back centuries and find similar themes played throughout civilizations through their own form of art.

Manhattan’s Broadway

By Mark|August 11, 2015|Music|

Broadway Theatre

Before I get into theatres around the world I wanted to point out the difference between a Broadway Theatre and an Off Broadway Theatre.

Broadway Theatres tend to show the more mainstream commercial performances. The theatres themselves tend to have no less than 500 seats.

Off Broadway Theatres, as well as the category of Off Off Broadway, tend to have no less than 100 seats but no more than 499. Off Off Broadway Theatres usually have under 100 seats. The shows that are shown here tend to be mostly non profit performances.

Broadway Theatres can be found all over the globe, but the most famous are those on New York City’s Broadway. This street runs from North to South across all of Manhattan and is one of the oldest streets to be found in the city. This several mile long street holds many renowned sites. However, there is one small strip that often comes to mind when Broadway is mentioned, the area between 42nd street and 53rd street. This strip is known as he home of the theatre industry of America and is set out as the Theatre District, or “The Great White Way”. It got this nickname originally because it was one of the first strips in America to be fitted with electric lighting. The nickname stuck due to the millions of lights found along Broadway’s billboards and marquees that light the night sky up.

The Theatre District itself is home to about 40 of the largest professional theatres that hold an ever changing variety of shows that includes musicals and plays. It is widely believed that the productions found on New York’s Broadway are the best in the world and attract millions of visitors every year.

Many Broadway shows tend to run for years, as long as they continue to draw in patrons both new and old. The Phantom of the Opera is the longest running show in the history of Broadway productions, having opened for the first time in 1988. The show is still running to date and has performed over 9,500 shows. It also recieved the Best Musical award at the 1988 Tony Awards ceremony.

Special theatres from across the globe

While New York hosts many famous theatres, there are other wonderful and unique theatres to see around the world. Here are a few examples:

Austria’s “The Seebuhne on Lake Constance – The theatre is actually a floating stage that holds 7,000 seats. It is set-up on Lake Constance’s shoreline and has created some phenomenal stage designs that appear to be rising from the waters. It is generally used for larger scaled musical and opera performances that are run during the area’s Bregenz Festival.

England’s “Shakespeare Globe” in London – This theatre is actually a reconstruction of the famous Globe Theatre playhouse that existed during the Elizabethan era and was constructed in 1599. However, a fire destroyed the theatre in 1613. It was then rebuilt a year later only to be demolished again in 1644. It wasn’t until 1997 that the newly reconstructed theatre became open to the public.

Greece’s “Odeon of Herodes Atticus” in Athens – This theatre sits on the southern slopes of the well known Acropolis and construction was finished on the theatre in 174 AD. Athens has been running a festival for over the past 52 years and the Herodeon has played a part in the festivities, hosting a variety of dance, music and theatrical performances.

Australia’s “Sydney Opera House” in Sydney – Sydney’s Opera House is renowned as one of the world’s most famous landmarks. Designed by Danish architect, JornUtzon, the theatre first opened its doors in 1973 with several venues for performances being able to run at the same time. It is also the busiest of the performing arts sectors across the globe, hosting more than 1,500 shows every year and bringing in around 1.2 million people.

These are but a few of the hundreds of performing arts theatres that can be found across the globe.