As an avid fan of the show Swamp People I was familiar with Zydeco music before attending The Ordway on Friday night to see C.J Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band. This was my first time at a World Music and Dance Series event and had no idea what to expect. Are people really going to sit and watch a Zydeco band and not dance?
As I walked in to find my seat I thought I saw what looked like a dance floor and a diverse audience with people of all ages. I then searched my program for any sort of direction. It does not tell me if I can get up and dance or what is appropriate or not appropriate in this theater. During the opening act a few brave souls danced around what I thought was the dance floor but I was unsure if the staff at The Ordway was okay with this.
As soon as C.J. Chenier hit the stage there was no doubt left in my mind that everyone could and should get up and dance. People actually rushed the dance floor. Unfortunately, I was up in the highest balcony and only was able to watch from my high perch but I would have loved to bust a move to this lively music. My suggestion is to get tickets on the floor level for Dance events if you want to dance. If you are someone who is not up for cutting a rug I would sit up in the balconies.
This upbeat, and fast-paced music was the perfect way to warm up on a chilly winter night. Zydeco music originated from southwest Louisiana where it is warm and it reflects just that. It comes from the Creole culture and much like the culture the music mixed many sounds. Even if it was only for a few hours I felt like I was in the Bayou eating some boiled crawfish and relaxing. I almost forgot that I was not on vacation. Hopefully, this event helped gain a few more Zydeco fans in the Twin Cities because I would love to hear this music more often.
because you should put on those dancin’ shoes
*disclosure: I am a blogger for The Ordway and receive tickets to the shows.
Tony Bennett is truly a master of his craft. I have been a fan of his music for as long as I can remember singing along with classics that stand the test of time. I am not sure why I was 20 years younger than anyone else in the audience but it could be because my generation does not know what a real voice sounds like anymore. We are used to hearing people who have been auto tuned or not singing at all. Remember when Paris Hilton put out a single and Beyonce lip-synced at the Inauguration? Listening to Tony Bennett sing the words, “fly me to the moon,” without a microphone and projecting all the way to the back of the State Theater was a stark reminder of how much talent he possesses. If you ever have the chance to get a ticket to see Tony, do it.
because he melts my cold, cold heart
With a system called rec-i-pro-city, “Chicago” was one of the most entertaining shows that I have attended at The Ordway to date. The Audience was engaged from start to finish, clapping, cheering, and I think I heard a few cat calls. I would suggest front row seats to get up close and personal with some of the dancers and their convenient shirtless costumes. Goodness gracious, if you need an idea for a bachelorette party this would be the show to see.
I now know why Broadway does practice runs of their shows in Minnesota. We are awesome audience members who love a good performance. I cheered along with the other audience members in the middle of songs because I felt connected to each and every character. It was a genuine cast who played their parts much closer to what I saw as the original meaning of what the characters were supposed to be like. Roxy Hart (Tracy Shayne) was not the shy, kind, and nice character that I have seen portrayed in the role before. She wants to be a star and will be ruthless to get to the top. Amos Hart (Ron Orbach) was hilarious, self deprecating, nerdy, and most importantly not boring. I dread the song, “Mister Cellophane” and think it is the worst song in the show. Not this time, I found myself laughing along and enjoying Ron Orbach’s choreography and movements.
The star of the show for me was Matron Mama Morton (Kecia Lewis-Evans) who stole the show with her voice. Mama knew how to work the audience with her tough love and introduced me to a new song called “Class” that I normally overlook.
Another standout performance came from Billy Flynn (John O’Hurley) who is famous for the role of ”J. Peterman” on “Seinfeld”. Other performances of “Chicago” that I have attended missed the boat on this character by putting in someone famous who couldn’t sing at all. When this happens, you lose the magic in songs like “We Both Reached for the Gun” and “Razzle Dazzle” and it ruins the show. This was not the case with John O’Hurley, who delivered a wonderful performance with stunning vocals.
I cannot say enough about the wonderful cast. As an avid theatergoer I have seen “Chicago” several times. This version was different because of a smaller cast, a smaller set, and less props. There was only one part in the whole show that needed a bit more dazzle. Otherwise, in no way did smaller mean less entertaining. In fact, the “Cell Block Tango” was enhanced without the stupid jailhouse props that are usually used. The performers did not have to hide their voices behind any unnecessary props.
I am giving this version a round of applause because the second act did not suck. In the past, after watching the first act with most of the familiar hits in it, the second half seems boring and hard to stay awake during. The characters were witty and the humor carried me the songs that when listening, I usually wonder when they are going to be over and changed it to I don’t want this to be over. The humor of the exit music and the interaction between the characters and the orchestra made the difference. It tied up the show with a big red bow or rhinestone buckled shoes.
“Chicago” will be running from August 7th-12th at The Ordway. You can go to their website to find out how to get tickets to this show and other shows for the 2012-2013 season. Bring all of your friends, your bachelorette party, and your mother to see this show and enjoy it as much as I did. Oh, and get those front row seats too!
Many thanks to The Ordway for letting me participate in Blogger Night.
because don’t you deserve a sure thing?
Every time I hear about a music festival like this I am proud to be a Minnesotan. We get a lot of talent to come to our cold state!
March 2nd-4th The Winter Bluegrass Weekend is happening at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth. Over 3,000 people attended last year.
There are still tickets for the main act on Saturday, Steep Canyon Rangers at 9:30PM. This act is the current touring band with Steve Martin. There are workshops, jam sessions and artists playing all weekend.
See the website for more details HERE.
Because music can make your heart melt.
It’s time to surprise the one you love and get a little bit of romance in your life. If you cannot afford to fly away to Paris for a weekend this will give you the feeling of being there without the strain on your pocketbook.
Minnesota Orchestra is putting on Springtime in Paris this Saturday, March 3rd at 8:00 PM. Sarah Hicks is conducting. It will be french music with flair.
Contact the Box Office for tickets.
See you there!