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Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971 Original Broadway Cast)
Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971 Original Broadway Cast)
5 used & new from $69.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 Minutes of Infectious Energy, October 1, 2005
I was not fortunate enough to see the original production of this musical version of Two Gents--and in fact was not fortunate enough to know it even existed. But I had the wonderful opportunity to see the recent summer revival in Central Park, and I can understand why those who saw the original still remember that evening over 30 years ago.

While by no means one of the great musicals of all time, Two Gents was quite possibly the most wonderful time I have ever had seeing a theatrical production. It surprised even me. Some of it, I'm sure, had to do with the unpretentious outdoor setting of Central Park, which was far less stuffy than any theater on Broadway and which in itself made for a good evening. But what really took me aback was the energy of the entire production. You're not here to read about the performances so I'll spare you, but the music was fantastic. Funky, toe-tapping...after waiting on the huge line in the Park that morning to get tickets, it was a perfect reward. There were very few numbers that I found boring, and those few were quickly followed by another string of excellent songs until the next little lag came about.

Most of the music is pure fun ("What Does A Lover Pack?", the title song, "Thurio's Samba"), while a few numbers are a little quieter ("Love's Revenge", "Who is Silvia?"--the latter being quite beautiful, actually). There is even a hysterical political satire number ("Bring All the Boys Back Home") that was originally written in the Nixon era but could just as easily have been written yesterday.

Some small minuses: A few of the vocal performances are lacking, at least in comparison to the revival I saw, but they do not hinder enjoyment of the music. Also, among the clever lyrics there are some iffy ones that may sound utterly stupid unless you see the actual production--not that they are out of context, but some are meant to be quite simple, which you pick up on more when experiencing a performance.

Bottom Line: Unless you are extremely picky about musical theater, I doubt that you will not have a good time listening to this cast recording. This show does not pretend to be anything more than it is--a fun romp, a little diversion. I saw this show only weeks after seeing the original play being performed by a hilarious and excellent Shakespeare company, and I actually preferred this version not only because of the music but because the already simple play works so much better in the simple world of musical theater. I was thrilled that I found this cast recording and can now re-live the fantastic show over and over each time I listen. Oh-so-brilliant highbrow theater, no; a giddy and groovy time that you can enjoy with just a pair of headhones, yes.

The Phantom of the Opera (Two-Disc Special Edition)
The Phantom of the Opera (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Gerard Butler
Offered by 5_star_sales
Price: $17.89
28 used & new from $0.50

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start a journey through a strange new world, February 17, 2005
This is probably not a movie for the extremely cynical. So it's no wonder why many critics, especially having already established a dislike for Lloyd Webber and Schumacher, did not give this masterpiece the credit it truly deserved. One of the most beautiful films I have ever laid eyes on, "Phantom" is not meant to be analyzed--it is meant to carry you off your feet in one sweeping blow. It is meant to be viewed by an audience prepared to let themselves enter another world more lush, more strange, and more unbelievable than their own--and it seems most audiences embraced the experience. Like the sets and costumes, for which this film was at once praised and frowned upon, the melodic score surrounds every inch of you and settles itself in your head for at least a good week afterward.

Moreover, there is a heart at the center of all the gold leaf and curtains--in short, Schumacher has stuck with the formula that made the show a mega-success over the past two decades. Like the show, not every detail of the film is perfect, but the overall experience can be described as nothing short of breathtaking. Don't look for trendy, frentic camera work here: the film knows its larger-than-life source material, and so is done in a big, bold, Old Hollywood fashion--and the result is a very successful adapation of the world's most successful show to date. There is no doubt that Lloyd Webber's "Phantom" is a people-pleaser.

I saw this movie with very picky had a great big smile on his face as he walked out and the other, although laughing during the film at some parts that seemed overly fantastic, had to admit it was wonderful and now wants the soundtrack. As for myself--even being a big fan and once "purist" of the stage show for many years did not stop me from loving this movie (as you can see).

This film must be seen, if only for the visual wonder of it all...but most will come away with much more.

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