Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We Will Rock You review by Dillon Head of Brookfield

On October 11, 2013. I had another great opportunity. I was able to attend one of what I believe to be, best Musicals in 2013. We Will Rock You, a musical based off of the greatly known band Queen rocked The Stanley. For the first time in the USA. I believe we were all amazed, speechless, encouraged and even rocked. Ben Elton did an awesome job at creating a show that has brought not only the past, present and future to one show. The story that Elton created was not only a Love Story but also he created an amazing outlook on life whether he realizes it or not. A futuristic and up to date, like 2013 musical. The background of the musical is that, Music is Banned, Computer generated Internet/Cyber-Space Idols have infested the charts, the main and only Idol that's important to the Iplanet is The Killer Queen! She is a nasty, knowledgeable, powerful, manipulative individual who causes The Bohemian's to Rebel. The Bohemian's are created by Individuals, or Believers of Rock Music! Have you ever wondered how Lady GaGa got her name? Well I'll tell you, she got her name by asking Frank Mercury and him coming to her and asking for the approval to use one of his songs as her stage name. Radio GaGa, is not only a great number and song, but it's also a pretty huge part of music history. Also history in general! Based in 2302, Elton's musical is one of the coolest tech shows that I have seen on Broadway! The use of strobe lights, disco balls, lasers, projections and much more stepped the musical to a whole new ground. As main character's Galileo and Scaramouche create this Love/Hate relationship it brings the musical even more character to what it already had. Their story is touching and shows the audience that the musical is not only like a Big ROCK Show but it's also a life lesson. If I were able to see this show again I would definitely take the opportunity. To see if things changed and the show became even more modernized! Thank you to The Bank of Utica for supporting YAP! If you have an opportunity to see this show for its 13th Anniversary in The USA, then I would highly recommend this show.

We Will Rock You review by Julia Lubey of Notre Dame

As the crowd settled into their seats at the Stanley theatre on Friday evening, most did not know what to expect from “We Will Rock You,” that night being the Queen-based musical’s United States premiere.  As soon as the curtain rose, the guitars crashed, and the lights shone, though, the audience was hooked.  Every song had us dancing in our seats, delighted by the superb voices of main characters like Galileo Figaro and Saramouche and the incredible musical talent of the elevated on-stage rock band.  The futuristic storyline hit home with its criticism of “Computer Generated Auto-tuned Pop,” or, “crap,” and the dream of the return of real rock music.  Each joke landed perfectly and made us laugh out loud, without being overacted.  The real heart of the show shines like a star during the remembrance of rock stars gone too early in “No-One but You (Only The Good Die Young),” evoking tears even from those unfamiliar with this style of music.  As the story progressed the music got bigger and louder, ending the show with a jaw-dropping version of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  Everything about WWRY is high-energy and infectious, and it’s impossible not to become deeply invested in the quest of its main characters.  The show might be in the early stages of its North American tour, but there is no doubt in my mind that its reputation will quickly spread far and wide.  Seeing “We Will Rock You” is an opportunity that should not be missed!

We Will Rock You review by Rylee Powers of Notre Dame

A few nights ago, I had the sensational pleasure of being in the audience of the American premiere of “We Will Rock You,” a musical written by Ben Elton and featuring some of the greatest and most beloved hits from one of the world’s best-selling groups of musical artists, Queen. This show was part romance, part comedy, part musical tribute, and 100% rock! Both visually and orally captivating, this show transported its audience ahead in the future to a time when conformity was law, while also leading the audience to appreciate the time not so long ago when music and creativity flowed freely. The show is comprised mainly of musical numbers, but what little dialogue it contains was consistently entertaining and witty. The cast made a point to encourage audience participation in the songs, creating an air similar to that of an actual rock concert, which was heightened by the use of strobe lights, fog machines, a live and visible band elevated above the stage, and multiple spotlights trained out towards and roving across the audience. The renditions of the songs were sung in a classic Queen style, which allowed the audience to recognize and sing along with their favorites. In addition, some lines from the show were updated to match the events of the present, and references to Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears created some hysterical moments. A number commemorating artists who have passed away recently, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Amy Winehouse, as well as those whose talents have been sorely missed for years such as Jimmy Hendrix and Queen’s own lead vocalist Freddie Mercury, surely did not leave a single dry eye in the audience, and strongly affected the cast members, as well. Ultimately, this show was a hit from beginning to end, and far exceeded its promise of “rocking” its audience. 

We Will Rock You review by Devin Kilpatrick of RFA

Imagine a rock concert, but with amazing harmonies, dazzling choreography, and a huge audience. But instead of standing up, jostling for a glimpse of what’s going on onstage, you are comfortably seated with your hands waving to the rhythm of the music. In essence, this is the experience that I had this past Friday at “We Will Rock You!”- a show based off of Queen’s music catalogue.  The performance was a double premiere of sorts: in addition to being the first Broadway Theatre League show of the year at the Stanley Theatre in Utica, it was also the first showing of the musical in the United States.
Even before the show started, I knew that I was in for a different, exciting experience. As opposed to a traditional “put your cell phone away” message, an announcer (very energetically) told us to prepare for the show of our lives, and to not be stupid during the show. A minor detail, perhaps, but it was new and captivating; it set the tone for the whole night. The key word to describing the show is ENERGY. There was never a dull moment on stage! Vivid scenery engulfed the senses. Enthralling choreography wowed me at every step. The pit band was phenomenal –a very interesting component of the show is that instead of the band tucked away in the pit, it was elevated on a platform above the actors, truly highlighting an integral part of the show.

Technology plays an enormous part in “We Will Rock You!” Powerful strobe lights, gargantuan speakers, and a massive LED board are critical components of the production. Costuming in some cases seemed a little oversimplified; however, all of the clothing was of appropriate sartorial taste. The set pieces were chosen based on simplicity so that attention was not drawn away from the actors and actresses on stage. All of the technical, supporting aspects of the show melded together to form an excellent environment in which I was able to lose myself in for the entire duration of the show.

Admittedly, plot is not “We Will Rock You” ‘s strong point –the show is very “American Idiot”-esque in that it is really a cabaret of songs as opposed to a “drama.”  I won’t spoil the story for you, but you can rest assured the ending is very predictable. However, despite this shortcoming, there was never a point at which I felt the show was lacking something. The actors and actresses sang their hearts out. It was quite a powerful moment for me when the female lead quivered with emotion while she sang Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” Every single performer, from the smallest extra to the male lead, was full of energy and more than happy to please the audience.  As I left the theatre after the “Bohemian Rhapsody” curtain call, I had a huge grin on my face. I was “Rock”ed to the core by the stellar performance I had just witnessed.

I strongly encourage EVERYONE to go and see “We Will Rock You” at the Stanley Theatre this weekend. Bring a friend, bring a date, and come see this “Killer “Queen”” production!

We Will Rock You review by Francesca D'Ambro of New Hartford

Stomp your feet and clap your hands for We Will Rock You, America! Premiering in our very own Stanley in Utica, the British show revives the legacy of the beloved band, Queen. The musical envelopes around the dynamic duo, Galileo and Scaramouche, against the conforming world of music production and advancing technology under Killer Queen. Despite her vindictiveness, the "Radio Gaga" diva put on a phenomenal performance, as did the entire cast and crew. Cover upon cover from Queen were most definitely brought to the table with hypnotizing sets and execution. I laughed, cried, and found myself head banging to multiple numbers. I highly recommend this show to anyone who wants to have a good time. Congratulations to Ben Elton for arranging a beyond memorable show that made it across the pond on its 13 year anniversary. Thank you to The Bank of Utica and YAP for giving me this rare opportunity and I look forward to the Broadway Theater League Season!

We Will Rock You review by Noah Haar of Mt. Markham

The US premier of the musical We Will Rock You by Queen and Ben Elton was a night of both spectacular highs and unfortunate lows. Despite its highly successful run in Great Britain, the musical failed to make any sort of distinct or memorable impression on me other than confusion. However, there were a number of positives that I’ll address before moving on to my concerns and criticisms regarding the show. First and foremost, the level of musical talent that appeared on stage was simply outstanding. Strong performances from Brian Justin Crum as Galileo Figaro, Ruby Lewis as Scaramouche and Jacqueline B. Arnold as the villainous Killer Queen really gave the production great musical merit. The actors would have made Queen proud (if they had happened to be in the audience) as they belted out such hits as “Another One Bites The Dust”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and of course “We Will Rock You”. Another of the production’s strong points was the detailed and beautiful sets. Although the strange projection screen became a bit of an annoyance after a while, other locations such as the Hard Rock Café and Graceland were truly masterpieces of set design. The set pieces, in many cases, were designed to look semi-dystopian and this came across very well, meshing nicely with the overall plot of the play.

However, despite the obvious positives of the production, there were undoubtedly quite a few negatives. The biggest flaw in the entire musical, in my opinion, was the plot itself. Not only did the story fail to capture my interest on any level it was simply convoluted, confusing and basically directionless. It was particularly hard to immerse myself in a future in which no one knows what music is how the cast would follow dialogue about how clueless they were about music with rambunctious rock and roll numbers, which had rarely had any connection to the plot. The entire production had an air of, “Okay let’s stop the dialogue and sing another Queen song! This is their show after all.”  Another problem I faced during the course of the musical was trying to connect in some way to the characters. Alas, they remained stereotypical archetypes and not much more. The acting was sub-par at best and I began to cringe at the constant song lyrics spewed by Galileo. I suppose the audience was supposed to find the “love/hate” relationship between Galileo and Scaramouche cute or endearing, but it quickly entered the realm of tiresome and cliché. Not all the acting was horrible however. I genuinely enjoyed the zany antics of Ryan Knowles, who played Buddy, although it seemed as if even he realized what a ridiculous show he was acting in and wearied of it by the finale.

In closing, We Will Rock You had some great voices, awesome set pieces and cool lighting effects, balanced by a wandering and meaningless plot and a deficit in the acting department. If you are a Queen fan I would absolutely recommend this show, the musical talent is genuine and the songs are sung in true Queen fashion. If you are not a Queen fan though, you might be better served by finding a play that actually makes you feel something beyond confusion.