Follow Us  
Hot Town, Cool Shows: Two “Fantastic Voyages” Worth Taking
Post Feedback | Printer-Friendly | Send Article to a Friend
July 11, 2008 - by Griffin Miller

Featured Listings
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House Photos Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House· A sophisticated, elegant steakhouse with generous portions o...

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House Photos Guy's American Kitchen and Bar· Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant...

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House Photos Da Marcella· A Mediterranean taverna in the Theater District...

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House Photos Lucille's Bar & Grill at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill· One of New York's newest and most exciting nightclubs with l...

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House Photos La Rivista featuring Broadway Joe Steak· Celebrity and sports hangout serving some of the best prime ...

The hands of the clock swing around and strike mid-summer madness:  when long-standing Broadway cast members hop on touring company buses and new actors step up to the proscenium plate to deliver original twists and turns on that singular roller-coaster ride known as The Great White Way.  But two current Broadway shows defy this tradition.  To wit...


If you’re into cutting edge theatre – and here I mean productions destined to keep Broadway alive and thriving well into the future –– I highly recommend the brilliant 2008 Tony-winning musical for Best Book, Passing Strange. (For the record, Passing Strange was winner In the Heights’ hottest competition for Best Musical Tony, having scooped up Best Musical awards from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and Drama Desk in the weeks leading up to the Tonys, as well as an Obie last season when it was raking in Off-Broadway accolades at The Public Theater.)

Like Spring Awakening in 2007, Passing Strange has a powerful contemporary rock score by a musical maverick, in this case Stew, who created the show with Heidi Rodewald in collaboration with director Annie Doresen. Stew, whose wit is as potent as his staggering autobiographical storyline (you may recall his Salvador Dali Groucho mask from his close-up at the Tonys), was probably been best described by Spike Lee who called him “An unstoppable force of energy, music, and mayhem.”

As for star-gazers (and in New York who isn’t – I mean really!), Passing Strange is proving to be one of the City’s most powerful celebrity magnets, attracting everyone from Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman to Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Clare Danes, Ruby Dee, Marilyn McCoo, Audra McDonald, Robert Redford and Diana Ross among others––many others. And the list continues to expand as show biz notables show up at the Belasco Theater – unannounced –– at any given performance. [For a taste of this terrific production, along with a bevy of critical kudos, visit Afterwards, get thee to Telecharge and book your tickets ASAP, because Passing Strange is a show you will definitely want in your personal “seen it/loved it” archive.]


As a rule, when I go to the theatre I take notes: assorted impressions, occasional quotes, inspired turns of phrase, to inject into whatever column, story or blog I have on my agenda. Pen and notebook are standard and sometimes I toss in a penlight. These tools of the trade, however, were rendered useless during my visit to CIRQUE DREAMS Jungle Fantasy thanks to six-year old Alexandra, my matinee date du jour, who decided that they cluttered her enjoyment of both the show and my lap.

And so, I gave over to the wishes of an adorably active tyke who sat – no exaggeration – spellbound for two hours and 20 minutes –– with only one restroom break.

Surprisingly, CIRQUE DREAMS’ most mesmerizing qualities come not from any hyper-groovy-techno bells and whistles, but rather from the show’s creativity: in terms of set, a jungle backdrop made up of puffed up fantasy trees and animated foliage; and costume-wise, a wondrous menagerie of sparkling and/or feathered creatures that runs the gamut from ostriches (my personal favorites) to frogs and owls (oddly reminiscent of the ones in little Ricky’s school play on “I Love Lucy”), to unicorns, lions, lizards, and so on. I also loved the unexpected appearance of the black-light illusions that marked the arrival of Act II (night vs. Act I, which was set during the day).

The performers, however, were what truly transported Alexandra – and the rest of us –– into another dimension: acrobats, jugglers, contortionists, vine swingers, balancing experts, clowns, soaring aerialists and even one woman, Stefka
Iordanova from Bulgaria, who rises through the air supported only by her hair. (Alexandra, who studies gymnastics, was especially taken with the man in the wheel who rolled across the stage with theatrical abandon.)

There is no real plot to speak of except that of an “Adventurer” – Marcello Balestracci – who finds himself immersed in a magical jungle world presided over by Mother Nature (Jill Diane), who more or less leads her charge from one “scene” to another. Ms. Diane’s lovely singing voice, accompanied by Jared Burnett, who plays the rather cryptic role of Soultree Violinist, draws in the young ones while providing a sweet musical backdrop that captivates adult theatergoers as well. (Diane’s original songs were created for the show by Jill Winters).

will be playing at the Broadway Theatre (recently home to The Color Purple), through August 24th.


Related Articles
Most Popular Articles on CGNY
Click Here to open the calendar
Click Here to open the calendar

Nightlife Listings
Theater Listings


 · Theater
 · Culture/Museums
 · Sightseeing
 · Galleries

 · Nightlife
 · Family Fun
 · Places to Eat
 · Shopping in NYC

 · Activity Planner
 · Discounts
 · Hotels
 · Maps

 Advertising |  Add a Calendar Event |  Bookmarks |  Company News |  Contact Us | Jobs @ City Guide
 Suggest a Listing

 For More Content Visit: Concierge Choice Awards | Promenade Magazine | NY Metro Parents Magazine
Bar Bat Mitzvah Book | NYC Activities | NYC Dining | NYC Discounts | NYC Events
NYC Museums | NYC Shopping | NYC Theater

Contact us. All Materials Copyright 2014 Davler Media Group, LLC
View Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

HBO Shop Coupon - Buy More, Save More
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Coupon - 20% Off General Admission, Space Shuttle & Guided Tours
NBA Store - $10 Gift Card With Spalding Basketball Purchase
Dave & Buster's Coupon - Times Square - New York City - Free $20 Game Play
Click Here for More Discounts...
· Far East Eats: Our Favorite NYC Asian Restaurants
· This Week in NYC
· Being Berry Gordy: Josh Tower Talks Motown the Musical
· Little Italy's Annual Feast of San Gennaro Begins September 11
· Making Pottery Art: The Robert A. Ellison Jr. Collection of French Ceramics (ca. 1880-1910) - Metropolitan Museum of Art Through August 18, 2014
· Nine Museums to Visit in New York City
· A History of New York City Skyscrapers
· Mind's Eye-Frank LLoyd Wright Building: Inside and Out - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on August 13, 2014
· Bon Voyage! A Guide to Getting Around NYC by Water
· Yankee Stadium Tours: A True Blue Yankees Experience
Click Here for More News...
Click below to contact our NYC Experts for suggestions on group activities & more:
buy tickets | find savings | set your itinerary
East Village
Financial District
Greenwich Village
Little Italy
Lower East Side
Midtown East
Midtown West
Theater District
Times Square
Upper East Side
Upper West Side



 Forgot Password?