Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hairspray Live: fun v/s criticism

Last night was my first experience actually watching one of the live musical events, well, live. I tuned into "Grease" well after it had started. And last night, I wouldn't have been in sync with everyone else had my DVR decided not to record the show. (Seriously, why do I always fall the Direct TV website when it tells me my program is set to record!?) I jumped in at around 30 minutes, and although I was a bit taken aback by the jarring Darren Criss moments, it only took a few scenes before I realized I was grinning from ear to ear.

I love "Hairspray." I auditioned for the original production, although a really snippy comment I made about "I Think We're Alone Now" being from the 60s when I was asked if I had a song from that decade ended my callback. And the first time I saw the Broadway production was on September 11, 2002. My dear friend Kerry and I had decided that we should go to the biggest event in town on the anniversary of 9/11. A bit of a, "we ain't scared" move on our part. (Even though I think we were both a little scared.)

The whole "event television" glee led me to Twitter, something I rarely do these days, where I gladly partook in the social aspect of  #HairsprayLive.  It was fun to realize with the rest of the twitterverse that Derek Hough could sing, and that Dove Cameron (unknown to me, at least) was amazing as Amber. There was the realization that Rikki Lake (the original film Tracy) and Marissa Jaret Winokur (Broadway Tracy) were making cameos.  Things became especially exciting when Jennifer Hudson tore up "I Know Where I've Been" nearly breaking Twitter in the process.

It was fun!! It was wonderful These were the things I said before I went to bed all happy inside.

Then I woke up and got on the internet. I wondered what I might see, so I started reading some reviews. Reading the Hollywood Reporter's review...a site/publication I love and respect, made me so sad. And glad that I'm not a critic. Sure, I know I'm a people pleaser to a fault. And I tend to write less about things I don't like, but to criticize the show for relying too heavily on its supporting players in one breath and then chastise supporting player Ariana Grande for 'holding back" in the next? Ugh. Vitriol for vitriol's sake.  At least that's my opinion.

That review caused me to question my own fun. Some of the lighting was a bit dim for the screen. Harvey as Edna probably did work better on stage. Garrett, while dreamy and can certainly move did have some issues vocally. Heck, even that last note Jennifer Hudson sang, although stratospheric, might, upon further examination, not have been an actual note. Blasphemy, I know.

Criticism certainly has a place, but I felt I needed to be a voice for the people who still enjoy to be entertained, an antithesis to the vultures eagerly awaiting a disastrous moment to justify a negative tagline that's been marinating/canned for weeks.

Check out JHud's powerhouse performance! Timely and powerful.

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