Wednesday, August 25, 2010

London Journal - Musicals, musicals, musicals

Because of Broadway and because of Hollywood, I think everyone instantly thinks 'New York' and 'L.A.' when it comes to celebrities, theatre and the stage. London is known for it's historical buildings like Westminster Abbey, the National Gallery and the houses of Parliament. It's got tourist attractions like double-decker red buses, furry hatted guards and the Royal family. Steeped in history, this is a city full of museums.

But it has it's theatres.

When emerging from Leicester Square tube station it's impossible not to notice the glittering, flashing signs advertising The Lion King, Oliver!, The Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, Grease, Thriller, Le Miserables, Avenue Q and so, so much more. when I first arrived I knew going to the theatre was something to put on my list. I was lucky enough to be included in the attendance of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice but this wasn't a play of my choosing. When it came down to it I honestly couldn't think of what single show was to get top ranking. I can tell you that any time I saw Sister Act advertised it just didn't catch my eye. I adored the film, but the musical just didn't have any appeal, until a few weeks ago.

I was reading the Metro and caught sight of an article in the celebrity section. Trying to keep track of which celebrities are in London seems a bit silly as they've all been here, they all come here and they're all probably going to be here again. I'm not the star-struck kind of gal (I swoon and babble incoherently for Canadian celebs like Tegan and Sara, Esthero or Rick Mercer.) and most celebrity to'ing and fro'ing is of very little interest to me unless they are a particularly iconic person in my memory.

As a child I was raised by women who were crafty, boisterous, fun and a little bit mad in the most delightful way. I used to think that, if the women in my childhood life were going to hang out with famous people they would get on like a house on fire with Bette Midler, Rosie O'Donnel, Goldie Hawn and Whoopi Goldberg.

Whoopi is in town and Whoopi is, for a very limited time, performing as the Mother Superior in the stage play of Sister Act in London. Last night I was in attendance and I gotta say, it was brilliant. Whoopi really was a star although a very humble one. The costumes were magnificent and the sets were unbelievable. I was stunned at their complex beauty and it did, in a little way, make me want to do set-design. Or costuming. Or both.

Either way, the entire thing was inspiring and I'm utterly chuffed that I saw it. I'm sure there will be other musicals and this one wasn't even the first I've seen in London, but this definitely felt like it was a once in a lifetime sort of show.

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