Friday, July 31, 2009

Seeing Some Old Friends.

First night I got to Tokyo. I went to Ikspiari. Which is the big mall outside of Tokyo Disney and had dinner at my favorite place MONSOON with some old friends from when I was here about a year and a half ago doing Minnie oh! Minnie at Tokyo Disneyland. So good to see them!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Japanese Review

WEST SIDE STORY
Asahi News Paper July 30th, 2009


“WEST SIDE STORY 50th Anniversary World Tour” has opened. Songs and dances performed by the young and energetic cast literally exploded on stage and were truly overwhelming proving the authenticity of this production. Moreover, I was totally impressed by the high level of perfection as a musical, having choreography, music and drama merged into one entity. Based on the opening night performance, I like to seek into the allure of this masterpiece.

The Supreme Performance Exploded on Stage

Unfading Excitement and Thrill Now Vividly Revived!

The Impact of Half a Century Ago

Still Sharply Touches Our heart Today

“Is this musical really created more than fifty years ago?” This is the first impression I had when I finished seeing the performance of “WEST SIDE STORY” this time.

In the West Side of New York City, there are two opposing gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. The Polish-Americans, the prior immigrants, and the emerging Puerto Rican immigrants come to hate each other because of the different skin colors and result in a tragedy. This tragic story still stabs deeply into our heart today. At the same time, reflecting upon the current state of the world where ethnic conflicts are still incessantly taking place, I felt terrified.

In the dark, finger-snaps by the boys ring through. The spectacular “Prologue” depicting the conflict of the Jets and the Sharks solely by dance leads to the meeting of the leading characters, Tony and Maria, and they fall passionately in love overcoming the racial barriers. Then, tragic events begin to happen in a chain reaction and the story develops in a stroke up till the end. Though I know how it ends, I always feel the heightening of tension and find it breathtaking every time I see it, which I believe is the proof how great this piece of work is. I was assured that it is an incomparable masterpiece and the impact of the original production in 1957 has not been lost even today.



Everlasting Allure of Dynamic Dances and

Diversities of Musical Numbers

When we say “WEST SIDE STORY,” we think of the dances. The dances created by Jerome Robbins, the genius, sublimating raw emotions to perfection in a dance form are absolutely overwhelming. A number of his choreographies also known through its film version now even give a sense of stylized beauty. But on stage, they reveal dramatic qualities more clearly and strike us hard with the sense of reality. “To express emotion through dance,” the principle of Robbin’s choreography, is alive in each and every dance numbers. Especially the confrontation dances by the two groups combined with the elaborate and dynamic choreographies in the aforementioned “PROLOGUE” and “THE DANCE AT THE GYM” are both breathtakingly superb.

And the music. The first act is pretty much “Masterpieces on Parade.” “MARIA,” “TONIGHT,” “AMERICA,” and “COOL.” The genuine musical standards come one after another. The composer is, of course, Leonard Bernstein. From a passionate love ballad, the Latin music, modern-jazz type, to a-la-opera, the wide varieties of musical numbers speak eloquently of his extraordinary talent. I could not help but being enchanted by the gorgeous sound of clear-cut melody lines. At the opening night performance, each and every musical number received impassioned applause.

Shifting drastically from the first act where one is intoxicated with the music, the tragic drama starts rolling quickly in the second act. I find the way this drama is structured truly skillful. The dance, music and drama are superbly allocated.

The Young Cast Show Their True Ability

The Classic Revives in the Present

The cast members of “West Side Story 50th Anniversary World Tour” in Japan are young and unknown chosen by audition, yet surely did fight a good fight. “Reckless act owing to youth” being the essence of this musical, the current cast added the reality to it. Especially, Ali Ewoldt who played Maria shone with her agile acting. After her lover, Tony, got killed, she went on to face the final scene with a firm stance, which I found admirable. Also, bold and lively songs and dances presented by Oneika Phillip playing Anita, the lover of the Sharks’ leader, were spectacular. (Both Tony and Maria are double-cast.)

The choreographies by Jerome Robbins were faithfully recreated by Joey Mckneely, who also directed the show. By his precise directions, he gave more depth to the dances putting importance on the dramatic elements. However, he did not keep it as a mere replica of the original production. Instead, he added a modern taste into the set and the costumes, and ventured to eradicate the look of the 50’s, which I found quite unique. By

trimming off anything unnecessary, he emphasized the seriousness of the drama in a simplified way. His straightforward direction supported by the good and straightforward acting of the cast proved to be successful. The veteran conductor Donald Chan presented the excellent performance by the orchestra, handling the changes of speed freely and beautifully. In its magnificent sound existed the real thrill of a musical.

This summer, a number of musicals have been invited to perform in Japan one after another, but this one proves to be truly “the Classic.” A half century has passed, yet its majestic presence still outshines all others. And when you see it live on stage, you will fully realize that the true value of this musical can only be appreciated when seeing in a theatre. It is the origin of the musicals. Don’t you dare miss it.

Written by Kaoru Nakajima (Music Critic)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Japanese Playbill

Check out the pics of the playbill they made for us for JAPAN.

Click album to see more:
Japanese Playbill

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yawn!

Being Jet Lagged and performing....SUCKS! So TIRED! We had our Nagoya opening tonight. It went well besides the fact I wanted to go to sleep right on stage!

Here's to SLEEPING through the night!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Last Night Bullfight

After 3 flights, 2 lay-overs, and a bus ride....over 25 hours of travel I have made it safe to Nagoya, Japan. It's so weird but I feel like I'm home. I kind of missed it.....I never thought I would think that. But everything is so familiar and I now remember how much I love the Japanese. I am excited to not be jet lagged....it is like 6am right and I've been up since 5am. Can't sleep! We have rehearsal this morning. I think I'm gonna be a wreck ;) Anyway, its fun to be back.

My last night in Madrid before this crazy travel day I went to a Bullfight. It was interesting. Very gruesome and sort of sad to see the bulls get killed. Here are some pics and some video I took of the event. Check out the Album:
Bullfight -Madrid, Spain

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Going Back to Japan

Tomorrow we leave for Japan. Thought I would never go back. Madrid was a blast. I had the opportunity to explore alot of Spain and I was impressed. From Barcelona to Segovia. I loved it all. Our 2 week lay-off was fun but now I am ready to get back to work and the gym ;)
I am aslo excited to see some old friends. YATTA!!!!

Look Who's Turning 7?!?

My home girl Alyssa is turning 7. Alyssa is my niece. I love her to death. She is so sweet and funny....and beautiful. I am so lucky to be her uncle.

Today is her birthday but she had a party last week. A Hannah Montana Birthday. Check out the pics. She is so adorable in these pictures. Thanks for sending them to me sis. Can't wait to hang out with her. Alyssa let me know what you want to do when I come visit next. k?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALYSSA!
Alyssa the ROCK STAR
Alyssa at her first concert...at the "Water Cooler Arena."
Alyssa posing for the paparazzi
Alyssa cashing in
Alyssa and her FANS aka mom, dad & bro

FB Status: Bianca Seminara is leaving us :(

So one of our Shark girls Bianca Seminara was let go right after our last show in Madrid. It was very sad news to hear indeed. In order to be PC and not share too much of my personal feelings I will say what was shared with me and what I heard. They needed someone to cover Anita and all the Sharks girls and had to hire someone else to do that. In doing so they had to let someone go and that was unfortunately Bianca.

She is a very beautiful, sweet, and talented girl. I will miss her smile the most. Everytime she would pass me no matter when or where she would smile ans brighten my day that much more. I wish her the best in her next endevour in moving to NYC. We will miss you B.

Keep Smiling!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Barcelona!

Barcelona was great. I had an amazing time there. The apartment was right on the beach and it was really nice. I love the beach! It made me miss home....MIAMI! So, funny story...being naked is not illegal in Barcelona so I saw alot of boobies and some naked people. Shocking at first but by the end I was completely naked....hahahaha just kidding. Uh, I am not ok with being naked in public. Don't worry....the pictures are clean. Highlight of the trip would have to be the beach, The Magic Fountain, and the day we rented bikes to explore the city. AMAZING!

Here are some pics. Check out the Album:

Barcelona, Spain

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jason Freakin' Amazing Mraz!

I just came back from a Jason Mraz concert here in Madrid. It was a great experience. I love his music and he was even more amazing live. I had a great time. Here is a clip of a video I took of some if his set. More to come......also stay tuned for my Barcelona pictures. Vacation is treating me WELL!

From Jason Mraz Concert -Madrid, Spaim

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Break

Heading to Barcelona tomorrow morning and will not take my computer with me. I will be free of any media for about 4 days. I can't wait to take this trip. I am excited to just chill and hang out at the beach with out any distractions. Pictures to come of course.

Hasta Luego!

Go Alyssa!

My niece Alyssa had her first piano recital and was adjudicated by the National Piano Guild Assoc. Not sure what that means but I hear she was a HIT!

I am so proud of you Alyssa. Keep it up and I can't wait to hear you play piano in person.

I love you.

Uncle,
Tony

Adventures with Chad and Kendall!

So Kendall, Chad and I have been hanging out alot this week. Here are some pictures of our adventures. Check out these albums.

Running around Madrid w/ Chad & Kendall


Avila and Segovia Bus Tour

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Running with the Bulls -Pamplona 2009

I got to Pamplona at midnight, partied all night, waited until the bulls ran at 8am then stayed up until our bus left back to Madrid at 4pm. It was a long day but an amazing TIME. Check out my Videos and pictures of my experience. One of the most memorable times of my life. I would do it again and again!

click here to view album. First 4 in album are really cool videos. Watch them in the HQ format for better quality. ENJOY!
Runnning With the Bulls -Pamplona, Madrid


Sunday, July 5, 2009

On your marks...get set....VACATION!

WE had our last show in Madrid! So that means...VACATION!!!! It feels good!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day at the ZOO/Aquarium of Madrid

We went to the Zoo/Aquarium for one of our cast member's birthday(Chad). About 7 of us came along.....and it was a BLAST! I had such a great time. I call this the Disneyland syndrome. I feel like when you go there you get transported to your childhood and you feel like a kid again. That's how I felt when I went to the Zoo Aquarium yesterday. I loved every second of it.

Here are some of the pictures that were taken. I can't take any credit for the picture taken. Oneika took my camera and went to town taking over 250 pictures of the beauty that was found at the Zoo Aquarium yesterday. I am only sharing about 75 in this album and a video of THE SHARKS. Take a peek.
video
Zoo Aquarium de Madrid

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm Yours

It looks like my 2 week vacation is panning out really well. I have Running of the Bulls the 1st week. Barcelona the next week and the day we get back...guess who I'm going to see in concert in Madrid?
I really like him and his music. I am so excited! For some reason it seems cooler to be going to a concert here in Spain then if I were to see him in the states. I am so STOKED!

I was obsessed with this song last summer. It was my ringtone forever.
I'm Yours:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

To Run or Not To Run?

I'm planning my 2 week vacation and in the first week I am going to Pamplona. I just got a bus ticket to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls Festival. Since there is really no place to stay, I am leaving the night of the 7th with others from my cast and meeting a friend from the states there and staying up all night long until the running starts around 8am. Then leave that same day at 4pm. It's going to be a very very long day.

BUT the question is...should I run WITH the bulls or just watch on the side. Every year between 200 and 300 people are injured during the run although most injuries are contusions due to falls. The last death was in 2003 from a head wound from falling down but the last death directly from a bull was a 22 year old American who was gutted in 1995. OUCH!

I think I might just stand on the side and take pictures or maybe run BEHIND the bulls. lol. We will see. Should be an interesting experience.