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Leap of Faith: Tony Nominated for Best Musical


Cooper
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This is one of those feel good type plays with a happy ending... When it opens I had flashbacks from the musical "Priscilla Queen of the Desert"... There's a broken-down bus on stage that can't be repaired for a few days, so, the group decides to stay in this small town and set up a tent... On this bus is a religious revival group headed by Preacher Jonas Nightingale (Raul Esparza). The preacher is a charismatic con-man who is out to rip-off these unsuspecting townspeople who are desperate for some miracles... The first local he runs into is "Marla McGowan", (Jessica Phillips) the sheriff of Sweetwater, who demands that he and his group leave. The preacher convinces her that he'll be gone in 3 days. So, on with the show....

 

Lots of lively gospel type singing, excellent dancing, and good acting, especially Raul Esparza.... The plot is very simple and predictable... Yes, you'll see a miracle, someone fall in love and, for a finale, you'll see a scene right out of "Singing in the Rain".

 

Look good for this musical for you'll find yourself on TV and bring along some funny money, they take up many collections.

 

Coop

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I saw a preview and was underwhelmed.... but then by the time they open everything would be whipped into shape. What had underwhelmed me, among other things, was Esparza, who I thought was miscast in the lead. Perhaps he really got it together by opening, but the NY Times critic didn't think so. I wonder if this Tony nomination was more about commerce than art?

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The NY Post had a similar article questioning why "Leap of Faith" received a nomination for Best Musical. It went on to say that the show is having serious financial troubles and needs some big investors to keep it open till at least awards night. I'm sure the nomination will help as the theater was about 75% capacity for this Wednesday matinee. The article mentioned that if the play was worthy of a Best Musical nomination, then why did it receive only 1 nomination.... Although Raul Esparza was not nominated, he did do an amazing job. IMO, he made the show.

 

In addition to Raul's stellar performance, the finale still stands out in my mind. I have never seen a show where the entire cast is drenched in rain. It was amusing to watch how playful the cast members became during their curtain call as they splashed each other as they took their bow.

 

Coop

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Every one is a theater critic as we all have our own opinions on the shows that we have seen. What would make this forum really interesting, at least for me, is to have extended discussions on the shows we see and reasons given to back up our opinions.

So, I will join in with a reservation. I saw Leap in Los Angeles, not New York. Then I thought that Raul was fine in the role, but that the show, at two hours and forty minutes, was too long. Did they shorten it for Broadway? In my version, Brooke Shields played the female lead. I liked her, but most though that she was wooden. So how is the replacement?

One does wonder why they thought that this show was right for Broadway. It does seem dated for a topic.

but then again, with the rise of evangelical conservatism, maybe the time is right. As for a Tony nomination, why not? It's a big production with a known star .

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There are so many good shows on Broadway this season that not all are going to succeed... "Leap of Faith", nominated for Best Musical, will close this Sunday after a brief run... I enjoyed the show and had recommended it to others but the ticket sales just weren't there.

 

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-leap-of-faith-broadway-20120508,0,1028798.story

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One does wonder why they thought that this show was right for Broadway. It does seem dated for a topic.

but then again, with the rise of evangelical conservatism, maybe the time is right.

 

I think one of the big problems with the show is one many (if not all) of the critics made - the same kind of plot (without the specific religious connections) is just too close to classics like The Music Man and The Rainmaker (and its musical adaptation, 110 In The Shade, seen on Broadway with Audra McDonald a few seasons ago), and not nearly as well done. Not that most shows aren't somehow based on, or similar to, something else, but I think in this case the comparisons were not only inevitable, but insurmountable.

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