Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Cannons, fireworks, a bird @ Blossom & previews of "different" upcoming events

Where can you sit in a covered amphitheater, with near-perfect acoustics, surrounded by the wonders of nature, be startled by cannon shots and see a wonderful fireworks show while listening to one of the greatest orchestras in the world?  The answer:  Blossom Musical Festival!

The venue’s July 5 and 6 program, RHAPSODY IN BLUE, showcased the extraordinary conducting skills of Roderick Cox and featured SYMPHONIC SUITE from “On the Waterfront,” RHAPSODY IN BLUE, the SUITE from THE FIREBIRD (1919 revision) and FESTIVAL OVERTURE:  THE YEAR 1812.

Written by Leonard Bernstein, the score for “On the Waterfront” has the gritty sounds of conflict and an intensity of tension.  It’s the world of prize fighters and dockworkers, the violence of gangs with the underbelly of a love story. 

Strains of Bernstein’s “On The Town” and “West Side Story” pepper the audience engaging score.

Handsome young conductor Roderick Cox became so physically engaged in the music to the degree that the intensity of score emanated from his tall muscled body.

RHAPSODY IN BLUE, a jazz-style concerto, a work for piano solo and jazz band plus strings, was beautifully interpreted by the orchestra and award-winning pianist Aaron Diehl, whose delicate touch and emotionally involving playing brought a deep depth of feeling to the piece. 

Barely caressing the keys, the light fingering of the difficult score, brought about strong audience response. He rewarded the assemblage’s extended standing ovation with a very seldom seen mid-concert encore.

Just before the piece started, a yelp from the stage and sudden movement revealed that a bird had tried to land on the shoulder of a violinist.  She jumped ,the bird tumbled to the ground, rolled to the lip of the stage, was quickly scooped up by a patron in the front row, eliciting cheers from the audience.  The quick thinker carried the avian over to an usher who gained more applause when he set the bird in flight.  Only at Blossom!

The program ended with the enthralling SUITE from the FIREBIRD, Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score, based on a Russian folk tale, which had been arranged as an orchestral suite to be performed without dancers.

The program ended with cannons firing, fireworks shooting into the air during and after Tchaikovsky’s FESTIVAL OVERTURE:  THE YEAR 1812, and the audience shrieking well-earned approval. 

Tchaikovsky once said of the piece, a musical commemoration of the victory of Russian forces over Napoleon at the gates of Moscow, “It will be loud.”  And he was absolutely right!  Loud, in the best sense of the word.

Capsule judgment:  Cleveland Orchestra’s July 5 and 6 concert was an encompassing delight.  The orchestra performed masterfully under the disciplined baton of Roderick Cox.  Aaron Diehl brilliantly interpreted Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE and the cannons and fireworks ended an evening of memorable music.


Besides the more traditional theatres, there are offerings that should be considered for your summer enjoyment.  How about . . .

800-1141 or clevelandorchestra.com

SOUTH PACIFIC (August 25—8 PM) – Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic Broadway show presented in concert in collaboration with Baldwin Wallace University’s Music Theatre Program.  Performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Andy Einhorn and staged by Victoria Bussert.


FOR GOOD:  THE NEW GENERATION OF MUSCIALS, VOL.4 (July 17 Alma Theatre) -- In partnership with The Musical Theater Project--From the cutting edge BE MORE CHILL to the contemporary KINKY BOOTS, musicals produced since 2000 have awakened audiences to new possibilities for America's great art form.  Hosted by Nancy Maier and Sheri Gross the production features singers Bridie Carroll and Eric Fancher.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS (July 25-27 Alma Theatre) -- Jason Robert Brown’s classic musical about love, loss and the moments we wish we could do over. (Presented by The Passion Project.)


SHADOW OF THE RUN Chapter 1:  WanderLust (July 25-28 and Aug 1,3,4 show times begin at 6pm and starting every 20 mins with the last group starting at 10pm)

A 90-minute immersive experience in which audience members are put in the middle of the action where their experience is determined by the choices they make. With 19 Actors and only 14 audience members per show it's a very unique approach.
Takes place in and around historic downtown Bedford (meet at 50 South Park Street)
Length: 90 minutes.  Restrictions: 18+ (16+ if accompanied by a parent)
Note:  The performance takes place over multiple buildings that require standing, walking and use of staircases.
Cost: $40  Tickets must be purchased in advance online at www.shadowoftherun.com.  There will be no door sales.

Free admission
For times and places go to http://www.cleveshakes.com

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (July 19-August 4) -- A respectable nobleman lives in the idyllic Italian town of Messina.  He shares his house with his lovely young daughter, his playful, clever niece, and his elderly brother. What ensues is Shakespeare at his creative best!

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens (outdoor performances)
714 N. Portage Path, Akron
ohioshakespearefestival.com or 1-888-718-4253 opt.1

MEASURE FOR MEASURE (July 26-August 11) -- Intrigues, disguises, and amorous plots propel this twisted, comedic adventure to its unexpected conclusion.

On the grounds of Blossom
http://www.porthousetheatre.com or 330-929-4416 or 330-672-3884

THE MUSIC MAN (July 25-August 11)— The “Seventy-Six Trombones” musical story of a fast-talking salesman who arrives in River City, Iowa to con the townspeople and hurry off with their money, but he doesn't count on falling for the town librarian in the process.  (See this classic at Porthouse before its scheduled fall Broadway revival.)

convergence continuum
convergence-continuum.org or 216-687-0074
Thursday-Saturday @ 8

TOM AT THE FARM (Jul 12-Aug 3) -- After the sudden death of his lover, Tom travels from the city to a remote farm for the funeral, and finds a religious family who know nothing of his existence. Tom is threatened by the deceased’s brother and is drawn into a brutal, sexually-charged game.