On Tuesday and Wednesday the latest Cirque du Soleil production, “Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL”, comes to PNC Arena. The production is a rock concert format, and combines the legendary Cirque du Soleil theatrics with and a big dose of dance. If the production is as good as last year’s mind-blowing Quidam, Raleigh is in for a treat.
Tickets are available thru Ticketmaster, with special pricing for groups of 12 or more. The arena club restaurant will be open each night serving a buffet.
Caution: Loud audio introduction
Cirque du Soleil’s touring company of Quidam (KWIH-dam) opened their run in Raleigh tonight, and the show is nothing short of amazing. The acrobatics, music, and production did not disappoint and had the Raleigh crowd standing on its feet throughout the bows.
Quidam is an engaging show that features several sets of solo and small group acrobatic performances. From the classic diabolo (Chinese yo-yo) to the incredible Aerial Contortion in Silk, the show is classic Cirque. I was totally impressed with even the simplest accomplishments, such as the clown’s rolling of a hula hoop across the floor back to himself, but not before completing two complete circles.
The highlight, however, was the act called “Statue”; an incredible display of slowly transitioning 2-person yoga poses. The amount of strength required to do something like this act is unimaginable, to be honest. It is the act that is worth the price of admission.
The production is fantastic. Quidam’s staging features 5 arcing trusses along which trapeze setups travel, allowing for some dramatic entrances for some characters. There are several tricks with the stage, too, but I won’t give that away. The backdrop, however, is a pair of small compartments for the seemingly live band. The roof of the band shells, as it turns out, is the staging area for the 5 trusses.
Quidam is staged in the PNC Arena’s “Twilight Theater” configuration, which means that only the southern 1/4 of the lower bowl is available, and the stage is essentially where the basketball court baseline would be. Third level and the other 3/4 of the arena are curtained off, making the acoustics excellent. Sightlines are outstanding in this configuration, however the best seats are in the lower rows and require a treacherous climb for some to reach the restrooms. (Consider this if you are taking older and less mobile family and friends). Tonight’s performance was surprisingly full, so hopefully more of these performance will return.
Quidam runs through Sunday with matinee and evening performances on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $35.
After a long, 6-year hiatus, Drum Corps International (DCI) corps will be marching again in the Triangle. CrownBEAT features eight corps, including last year’s #8, #9, and #12 finalists. The event will be Monday, July 30, at the Durham County Stadium.Tickets range from $18 to $35. Here is the lineup for CrownBEAT (in reverse order of appearance):
- Boston Crusaders – Boston, MA
- Blue Knights – Denver, CO
- Spirit of Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
- The Academy – Tempe, AZ
- Pacific Crest – Diamond Bar, CA
- Colts – Dubuque, IA
- Teal Sound – Jacksonville, FL
- Mandarins – Sacramento, CA
Additionally, drum corps fans will be happy to learn that the movie theaters at North Hills, Brier Creek, and Crossroads will be hosting “Drum Corps at the Movies: 2012 DCI Tour Premiere”. The show is a season kick-off where the Blue Stars, Bluecoats, Cadets, Carolina Crown, Cavaliers, and Phantom Regiment will be previewing their 2012 shows. Tickets are $15 for this showing.
Remember the days when it seemed Pink Floyd was playing The Triangle about every 8 months? Yes, that was David Gilmour’s band, but still, it was surprising to see that the 1994 Division Bell Tour would be the last of the genuine Pink Floyd music for many, many years.
All of that changes on Monday, July 9, when Roger Waters’ tour of The Wall comes to the RBC Center. Waters can’t sing, and never really could, but reviews of this tour point toward it being nothing but impressive. Tickets go on sale on Monday, November 14.
In related news, did you catch Pink Floyd Week on Jimmy Fallon? More specifically, did you see The Shins’ “Breathe”? Wow!
Link (Video): Roger Waters discusses touring with Jimmy Fallon
Fresh on the heels of Billie Joe Armstrong’s dismissal from an airplane for refusing to pull his pants up, American Idiot, the Broadway musical (based on the Music of Green Day) is coming to Raleigh. The tour stops for eight shows at Memorial Auditorium from January 31 thru February 5. The ticket presale begins today at 10am.
Cirque du Soleil will be bringing its Alegria for eight performances at the RBC Center from July 6 thru July 10. Cirque Club members can take advantage of the presale running now. General Public tickets will go on sale February 28.
The IMAX theater in downtown Raleigh (the real IMAX) will close for about a month on Monday in order for it to undergo a huge upgrade. The screen, seats, carpeting, and sound system are being upgraded. The big upgrade, however, is a new projection system that will be especially better for 3D presentations. It will be one of the world’s first such IMAX upgrades.
The remaining schedule this weekend includes Tron 3D showings today and tomorrow at Noon, 2:30, 5:00, 7:30, and 10:00.
With just a month before the the company’s 36th production was to hit the stage, Theatre In The Park director and show star Ira Davd Wood, III (IDW3) received a bombshell; he had to have bypass surgery and would not be able to perform the role of Scrooge this season. Wood turned to his son, Ira David Wood, IV (IDW4), to play the part. He also turned to his daughter, Evan Rachael Wood, to co-direct the production. The result? A fantastic evening of entertainment as it always has been.
IDW3’s Theatre In The Park is one of the most stable local theater houses in the country, and the longevity and camaraderie of the board and the Christmas Carol cast is a testament Wood’s creativity, leadership, and reliability. The news from early November would have been devastating news to many theaters. However this cast and supporters has done what it takes to snap in a new star of the show this season.
Scrooge, as Raleigh residents know him, is the creation of IDW3. True to the story, Scrooge is materialistic and greedy and finds the value of relationships through his encounters with ghosts during a long-night’s sleep. However this Scrooge is hilarious, turning current events, local celebrities, and stuffy characters into jokes that have the house rolling. If you haven’t seen this production before it is a must-see that no national comedians have come close to touching. If you have seen the production, this year’s version is a fascinating experience.
Stepping into a legend’s role has to be difficult, even more so when you are that legend’s son. With only one month of rehearsal, IDW4 smartly played it safe, putting only a few of his own touches on the role. While he doesn’t quite sell the role’s humor or heavy drama scenes as well as his veteran father, he is more agile, has a stronger voice, and seems a little more in touch with popular culture. IDW4 did an admirable job in making Scrooge come to life in a way Raleigh residents expect.
The company is extremely similar to last year’s, including the fantastic David Henderson (Jacob Marley), David Moore (Bob Cratchit), Mike Raab (Ghost of Christmas Future), John Shearer (Ghost of Christmas Present), and more. Most scenes are identical to last season’s production, however the Ghost of Christmas Future scene has been reworked with a Tim Burton feel and sets up a great TSA joke. One wonders if the goth interests of Evan had an impact here.
There were some other great new jokes, including IDW4’s references to his father and his relative youth. The best new joke, though, was delivered by a fever-laden David Henderson, and it regards a second opinion on buying an iPhone (spoilers withheld).
Some that I didn’t remember from the past were also good, such as Grace Goetz (Ghost of Christmas Past) whose enunciation was superb. I also enjoyed “Wilma” (?Blaire Callaghan?, the wife of nephew Fred) who has a voice I could listen to for a full-length production.
There were a couple of weaknesses, as to be expected. We had a difficult time in the first act understanding some of Scrooge’s jokes. It was difficult to discern whether it was due to acoustics at our side seats, the general acoustics in the room, or problems with diction from the stage. Worse, however, was the Marlettes, a Rockettes styled dance troop whose tap routine was an utter mess. Their performance was the first time I’ve ever seen a tap routine that was not met with obligatory applause from the crowd.
The entire production is outstanding, though. The 3-hour journey has much visual variety, excellent musical range, and good pacing. While the Raleigh version has a big emphasis on humor, it admirably delivers the heavy message Dickens intended. As Scrooge realizes the value of his relationships, there is part of every viewer that will kind of miss the old, hilarious Scrooge. However the entire company’s stirring rendition of “The First Noel” is a tear jerker to many, and leaves the crowd appreciating the delivery of a full production that works on many levels to many people.
A Christmas Carol runs through December 15 at Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are available thru Ticketmaster.
On January 22, 2011, New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts will come to Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium. There will be two shows: 2:00pm and 7:30pm. The group has received critical acclaim around the world, performing in over 80 cities worldwide.
Shen Yun Performing Arts presents classical Chinese dance and music in colorful and exhilarating shows. An art form several millennia old, Chinese dance is refreshingly dynamic and expressive. Ancient legends and heroic figures come to life through its leaps, spins, and delicate gestures, accompany with live orchestra
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