Now through January 16, Pretty Woman: The Musical is playing at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music. Last night I attended the show, after having recently watched the movie for the first time ever and loving it! Did the musical also blow me away? Read on for my thoughts.
The first musical I attended was Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing, and it took place during the show’s 1995 revival when it came to the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia between February 25 and March 5 of that year. In 2017, I saw Hello, Dolly! when it was revived again—this time on Broadway with the incredible Bette Midler. It is the greatest musical I have ever seen. Not only was Bette fantastic in this role which seemed tailor made for her, but the crowd that night was electric. It felt as if I was at Woodstock, Live Aid, or some other seminal moment in music history. The magic was palpable, and I’m thrilled that I had the chance to see Bette in her role of a lifetime, for which she deservedly received a Tony Award. Bette’s Hello, Dolly! broke the Broadway record for best first-day ticket sales, the box office record at the Shubert Theatre 12 times, and it shattered The Shubert Organization’s all-time record 10 times! Running from March 15, 2017 through August 25, 2018, this triumphant revival is now showing at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.
Mean Girls—the record-breaking new musical comedy produced by Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson, Sonia Friedman, and Paramount Pictures based on the hit film – opens on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus at the Academy of Music on Tuesday, November 19, running through December 1. The Mean Girls First National Tour features Philadelphia native, Mary Kate Morrissey.
Last night, Come From Away, Broadway’s Tony award-winning musical made its debut in Philadelphia. Running from October 22-November 3, Come From Away is an incredibly moving, powerful, and satisfying show that had the audience crying, laughing, and clapping along throughout its tight runtime of one hour and forty minutes. Come From Away is about 7,000 stranded passengers whose airplanes were forced to land in Newfoundland on September 11, 2001 because of the terrorist attacks that took place. While the subject matter is sad, this musical is not a downer. Sure, there are some somber moments but, overall, the music is upbeat, increadly melodic, and infectious as can be. It was met with a well-deserved and thunderous standing ovation at the end, and the entire audience left the theater smiling from ear to ear. It is an excellent production of a wonderful musical that no one should miss.
Disney’s Aladdin, the musical, is currently at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Performances run until July 1, and I highly recommend that you go. I went to a performance last night and the nearly sold-out crowd ate it up from beginning to end. Having watched a clip of this show from the Tony Awards a few years back, I knew that the Genie was going to be the star of the show and he was. Michael James Scott, who plays the role of the Genie and was the understudy for the Genie during the original Broadway run, is fantastic. Just watch him sing and dance to “Friend Like Me” and you’ll be blown away by his stamina and unending charisma. He’s the heart and soul of the show and made it a blast to watch.
William Shatner, even at 87-years-old, seems to have boundless amounts of energy. He’s always working on something new and exciting. Right now he’s on a tour where he’s visiting cities and, following a screening of the classic film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Shatner is participating in a live-on-stage Q&A with audiences. My father and I attended the Philadelphia screening at The Academy of Music, and it was an excellent event.
A couple days ago I saw my favorite musical, Beauty and the Beast, for the fourth time. The first time was on Broadway in 1999, the second was at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, followed by a production at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia several years later. This time, once again, I returned to the Academy of Music. As expected, it was as brilliant and spine-chillingly good as the previous three times I’ve seen it. But let me take a minute to explain why I love this musical so much.