Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Woman Crush Wednesday: Karen Olivo

Karen Olivo in: Tick... Tick... Boom!, In the Heights,
and West Side Story
This past weekend I discovered this amazing new musical- maybe you've heard of it. It's called In the Heights, and it's by this genius Lin-Manuel Miranda...

Ok, yeah, I know it's not a new musical, and Miranda is certainly not a random guy! I finally listened to it a few days ago and fell absolutely in love! And of course one of the side-effects of my finding new favorite shows is I often develop a new crush. So my newest girl crush is Karen Olivo.

She played Vanessa in the original Broadway cast of In the Heights, but she also famously played Anita in the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story. Olivo has an incredible voice and acts with this powerful stillness that undeniably draws you in. Oh, and she's gorgeous!

So check out some of my favorite clips from her theatre career!

"It Won't Be Long Now," In the Heights
She's a good percentage of the reason why I have been listening to that show on repeat for the last three days.

"Come to Your Senses," Tick... Tick... Boom!
While Broadway fans may know her best for In the Heights and West Side Story, they may not have seen clips from her turn in NY City Center's ENCORES production of Tick... Tick... Boom. This all-but-forgotten musical written by Rent's Jonathan Larson took place just last June. Yet again, she played opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda. And I'm totally ok with that. (The quality of the video isn't great, but that's what happens with bootlegs, right? But just listen to her earnestness!)

"America," West Side Story
Because Anita IS America, y'all! Part of the reason why I love her so much in this role is due to the choreography and the costume decision. The choreography in the first WSS revival underwhelmed me completely, and I definitely wasn't a fan of the short-hair they gave Anita in previous Broadway productions and the movie. But this totally remedies those! Her long hair shouldn't make me this excited, but it's just so perfect, don't you think? Oh, and of course she won the Tony Award for her role.

Currently, Karen Olivo is helping out with Chat4Charity, raising money for BC/EFA by taking phone calls from and autographing memorabilia for fans. Check out her Chat4Charity page here.

I hope to see her back on Broadway very soon! Can you tell why?

Sally Henry // Twitter: @BwayGinger // Facebook:

Photo credits: NY City Center; Joan Marcus; Joan Marcus

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Springtime for Broadway: Top 3 Spring-Themed Broadway Songs

Spring is just around the corner- or if you're way down South like me, it's officially here to stay. Goodbye snow (or in my case, half-hearted cold), hello butterflies and flowers! And what better way to embrace the new life-giving season than brush up your Broadway music? Fortunately of course, there is a Broadway tune for literally everything.

Below, check out the short list of the top musical songs with the name "spring" in the title!

Springtime for Broadway: Top 3 Spring-Themed Broadway Songs

1. "Springtime for Hitler"- from The Producers (2005 film)
     Music & lyrics by Mel Brooks

2. "Younger Than Springtime" - from South Pacific (2008 Broadway revival)
    Music: Richard Rodgers
    Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein

3. "Spring, Spring, Spring" - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954 film)
    Music: Gene de Paul
    Lyrics: Johnny Mercer

BONUS: This might go more into the summer category, but here's a performance of "The Lusty Month of May" from Camelot.

And here is the real irony: the recent and popular Broadway musical that actually has the word "spring" in the title has no song. Spring Awakening fail.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Also on Singular Sensation...

WICKED Flies into The Fox Theatre to Win the Hearts of Atlantans

No, I Wouldn't Rather Be an Actor, but Thanks for Asking 

YouTube's Best Broadway Gems

Top 10 INTO THE WOODS Criticisms Every Theatre Fan is [Not-So] Secretly Thinking

Disney Nerd Heaven

Sally Henry // Twitter: @BwayGinger // Facebook:

Monday, March 2, 2015

WICKED Flies into The Fox Theatre to Win the Hearts of Atlantans

It's Wicked season in Atlanta, y'all.

I don't know about you, but whenever Wicked tours to my city, my Facebook newsfeed is FULL of pictures of people at the Fox Theatre with their BFF. Oh the puns are a good time too. If I had a dime for every post that says, "Having a WICKED time at the Fox Theatre..." And we're fortunate enough to have the show in our city for a whole three weeks, so it's not by any means slowing down! But it's the one biannual time that everyone comes together and celebrates the beauty of Broadway.

Read highlights from my review for BroadwayWorld below (aka, what I thought about the actors, because as we know, the actors are the only part anyone cares about), and be sure to check out the whole thing here!

If crowd appeal is any indication of a show's worth, Wicked is a multimillion-dollar treasure. WICKED's second national tour, "The Munchkinland Tour," flew into the Fox Theatre on Wednesday, February 18 to play a 3-week engagement, marking the show's fourth engagement at the historic Atlanta venue. Not surprisingly, this production did not disappoint.
As Elphaba in the first act, Alyssa Fox, replaced by Emily Koch in Act II, barely scraped by vocally due to allergy issues. In her first song of the show, "The Wizard and I," Fox ended with a slightly pitchy landing, and not surprisingly, completely botched the final notes of "Defying Gravity." Bless her heart. Besides vocals, Fox executed the role with an earnestness that could not be ignored. Thus did she endear herself to the audience.
I dearly hope that when Elphaba standby Emily Koch received word that she would take over the iconic role for the remainder of the performance, she at least mentally burst into a rousing chorus of, "This is the Moment" from JEKYLL AND HYDE. Whatever her response, Koch absolutely blew the audience away with her strong, dynamic voice. Particularly during "No Good Deed," her final solo, Koch explored the notes in her own unique way, prompting me to think, "Ok, well now you're just showing off!" And yet, her enthusiasm and clear adoration for the whole show made her impossible not to love.
As the peppy, sorority-girl-on-steroids, G(a)linda, Carrie St. Louis went through the motions of the giddy blonde, but seemed to be portraying someone else's role. At times, her mannerisms distinctly resembled Laura Bell Bundy's Elle Woods from LEGALLY BLONDE, and at others she appeared intent on not copying Kristin Chenoweth's Glinda. Such a display led to a portrayal threaded with emotional dishonesty, though St. Louis nailed the Schwartz score with delightfully consistent ease.
With a chiseled torso and hair shaped to form a "fohawk," (to borrow a short-lived term from the early '00s) Ashley Parker Angel's outer appearance perfectly suited the "genuinely self-absorbed and deeply shallow" rich-boy Fiyero. And yes, he rocked those famous tight white pants. However, his soaring, albeit effeminate vocals did not convince me that he was or could ever be in love with Elphaba.
I have no doubt that the beautiful storytelling woven through Winnie Holzman's script, Joe Mantello's direction, and the incredible songs by Stephen Schwartz will cause this show to run on Broadway forever and tour even longer.
WICKED plays Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theater February 18- March 8th.

Sally Henry // Twitter: @BwayGinger // Facebook:

Photo credit: Joan Marcus