From the moment the cast ran out onto the stage at DPAC to thundering appause Tuesday night I knew I was in for a treat. There is a good reason Hadestown has won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score – the show is FANTASTIC!!
The touring production of Hadestown is every bit as magical as the original Broadway production.. The show is anchored by a phenomenal cast that make each iconic role their own and leave everything on stage. I also loved loved loved that the band was on stage and the fact that a trombone played such a prominent role in so many of the musical numbers. That trombone player was amazing by the way!!
No spoilers here, but of course it is widely understood that Hadestown is the retelling of the acient Greek myth of of Orpheus and Eurydice where Orpheus must travel to the Underworld to try to rescue his lover from the clutches of Hades. It uses modern stagecraft and music blending New Orleans jazz, funk, Caribbean rhythms that put a fun rhapsodic and modern spin on this old tale.
I loved everything about this production, from the set to the lighting, but the music and cast are the main focus and truly shine as they bring this tragic myth to life. Levi Kreis is wonderful as Hermes, giving of a Squirrel Nut Zippers type vibe as he entrances the audience with his wit and humor as he plays the fleet-footed narrator guiding souls to the underworld.
Both Kimberly Marble and Kevyn Morrow are splendid as Persphone and Hades too. But for me Morgan Siobhan Green’s fierce but troubled Eurydice and Nicholas Barasch’s youthful and earnest Orpheus shine brightest when they are on stage. Of course their romance is cut short as the young lovers are torn apart by the dangers in the world swirling around poverty and inattention all the while the quarreling gods wrestle with control and fighting their own personal vices and jealousy.
Hadestown is a magical journey to hell and back again that seems so timely given all the things going on in the world right now. It was great to be back at DPAC and experience such a wonderful show after the uncertainty of the past two years. In the end, this wonderful production will leave you with a positive outlook beleiving in the transcendent power of music and love and the ability of both to touch the soul and perhaps even make our turbulent world a better place in the end.
I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to going to the movies again in 2022! Just before the holidays I had a chance to check out the new Paragon Theaters in Parkside Town Commons in Cary following their $2 million in rennovations to the exisitng theater. This is now my new favorite place to see a movie! (I went to see Spiderman, which by the way was fantastic!)
Paragon provides the ultimate moviegoing experience with a delux movie projection setup with their Extreme Theater featuring a 65 foot tilt screen with laser projection and Dolby Atmos Sound. They also have really cool ammenities like comfy seating with luxury zero gravity recliners and special Lux Box VIP areas. The Lux Box seats have privacy wings, adjustable heating & cooling controls for the seats, and individual retractable tables. It was so fun to be able to kickback and put my feet up in the recliner while enjoying a cold beer while I watched a movie!
This theater is the perfect date night spot w/ a full kitchen and bar. From the Lux Box seats you can enjoy full-service mobile ordering using your smart phone for in-theater dining for a private and luxurious movie experience. There is even a bowling alley and arcade making it a great destination for birthday parties and family events!
If you’re like me and just getting back out to movie going you’ll be happy to know they also follow and exceed Cinema Safe protocols and have installed a HEPA hospital grade filtration systems throughout the theater!
The new Paragon Theater in Cary is super easy to get to from downtown & North Raleigh and an easy drive using I-540. You can find the showtimes for everything playing at www.ParagonTheaters.com.
If you are looking for a last minute date idea today or simply just want to have a great time and see what just may be the best musical out there, I highly recommend snagging some tickets for the final day of Ain’t Too Proud at DAPC. This amazing musical follows the journey of The Temptations from their humble beginnings on the streets of Detroit and Motown Records to becoming a household name as one of the most iconic acts over the past five decades. The musical opened on Broadway back in March 2019 and only recently launched its national tour and we are extremely lucky that Durham is one of the first stops! We saw the show this past Friday and LOVED it!
Ain’t Too Proud is without a doubt one of the best shows I have seen at DPAC. From start to finish it is two and a half hours filled with amazing vocals and choreography delivered by a superb cast. The show does an incredible job of including so many of The Temptation’s hits without it feeling forced. The production is the perfect balance of musical-biopic performance and narration seamlessly hitting all the highlights of this dynamic group’s compelling story without shortchanging its rich history and the obstacles they had to overcome as individuals and as a group.
There are numerous standout moments throughout the show with each cast member getting their moment to shine at center stage. Each performer making up the five-member group truly captured the essence of The Temptations member they were portraying, but not in just singing style – they also had the perfect balance of personality and ego that each member was famous for that fed the dynamic of the original members of the group.
Marcus Paul James is wonderful as Otis Williams, the founder of the Temptations and narrator of the show, but each of the five leads puts on a memorable performance in their own right. The choreography for each number it top notch and the vocal talent of the cast will make you feel like you are seeing the original Temptations perform. The energy and talent each cast member pours into their role is amazing.
Whether you are a long-time fan of The Temptations or hearing their music for the first time, Ain’t Too Proud is a musical everybody can enjoy. The touring production is filled with so much talent and storytelling that is executed to perfection that you just might want to try and catch it the again the next time it rolls into town!
Winter may be around the corner but Jimmy Buffett fans will find plenty summer vibes to enjoy when they see “Escape to Margaritaville” – the 2017 musical now running at the Durham Performing Arts Center through this Sunday. This musical is not a biopic about Buffett, instead it’s more of a rom-com set-up to deliver a healthy dose of all your favorite Buffett songs set to a storyline inspired by his music.
The main story centers around carefree singer-songwriter, Tully Mars (Chris Clark) working as the resident musical entertainment in the Tiki bar at the “it looked better online” Margaritaville Resort on an unnamed Caribbean island. His laidback life consists of singing his songs and romancing one female tourist after another during their brief visits to the island, and happily saying goodbye to each woman after her short stay has come to an end. His side-kick is Brick (Peter Michael Jordan), the bartender who proves to be a loveable character but not nearly as smooth with the ladies as Tully.
Two women on a bachelorette getaway from Cincinnati, Rachel (played by Sarah Hinrichsen), an all too serious environmental scientist, and her friend Tammy (Emily Qualmann) who is just days away from an ill-advised marriage to marrying a real jerk arrive on the island and end up flirting with Tully and Brick and that’s where the sparks begin to fly. But is it really meant to be or is it just another short lived vacation island romance?
Although all of the actors did a phenomenal job in this production, the two that stood out the most were Qualmann, who played Tammy, and Jordan, who played Brick. Although they both had only supporting roles, their performances were the ones that really stole the show form me, they had the most chemistry on stage and I found myself more invested in their story than those of the leads.
For all the clichés, there are some truly funny moments including a tap number involving the ghosts of dead insurance agents. In the end, what really makes this show work is the excellent choreography and dancing by the ensemble cast and the fact that the story doesn’t take itself too seriously. Escape to Margaretville provides a fun laid-back island themed evening embodying the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle depicted in his music.
Get ready Raleigh! Ashley Christensen’s log awaited BB’s Crispy Chicken opens this Saturday, October 30th at 11am. This fast-casual style restaurant features crispy chicken breast sandwiches, salads and wraps along with fanastic sides like sea-salt brined french fries, pickled cabbage slaw, cheese curds and your choice of 13 homemade sauces.
The pricepoint for the sandwiches ranges between $6.50 to $8.99. They will also have a limited adult beverage menu (starting in a few weeks) and have a selection of desserts and milk shakes including the current seasonal offering of a pumpkin mapel shake!
The Raleigh location is located on Wake Forest Road in the “Midtown East” shopping center in front of the Raleigh Wegmans. But don’t worry, there are also plans to open locations in Durham and Cary by end of spring 2022.
I had a chance to get a sneak peek at the Raleigh location and menu this week during their media preview and everything was delicious. Honestly it was the best chicken sandwich I have ever had. I think this new venture by AC will be a huge hit!
The Raleigh location opens this Saturday, October 30th at 11am and will be open seven days a week 11am to 9pm. To learn more about BB’s and keep tabs on additiona locations planned in the future follow them on instagram at @bbs.crispychicken.