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Special: ‘Gigi’ pre-Broadway engagement review

 

Verdict
9.0


 


Posted 19/01/2015 by

 
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I remember it well and it was not a bore. A re-imagination on Gigi by creators Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Don’t underestimate the work Heidi Thomas and her team had to put in. Gigi has been a very sincere sympathetic piece, however it felt very dated. Heidi Thomas had the difficult task to rejuvenate/revamp Lerner’s and Loewe’s masterpiece but also to preserve it’s charm and sincerity. Thomas pulled it off, and made this re-envisioning of Gigi way more subtle. Director Eric Schaeffer, with a 12 million dollar budget to his disposal did a wonderful job.

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Vanessa Hudgens portrays the title role and is the heart and soul of Gigi. Very familiar herself with being a resolved tenacious determined and gutsy individual, refusing the limits that are imposed on women in our day and age, she excels as Gigi. Hudgens’ life and career draws some parallels with Gigi’s and that makes her performance even more captivating. Don’t think because of this fact Hudgens has to ‘act’ less. Hudgens might be one of the most aspiring actresses of our time not getting the credits she deserves. She is kind of like a new breed Marilyn Monroe, she has an unique kind of ‘aura’, an electric stage presence that doesn’t come along very often. Her ‘scene’ stealing ability is unmatched, but she also possesses the ability to switch it off and let her co-stars shine. Her vocal range is forceful and susceptible. Hudgens nails the snobbishness and youthfulness of Gigi splendidly and transcends just like her character in the admirable woman she will become. She handles that transition delicately and splendidly.

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However, it’s not an one-woman show, the entire cast is superb. Victoria Clark (Mamita) might be the most pivotal piece, her experience is prominent visible and is pivotal for Gigi’s mood. Her comical timing and delivery is impeccable. This being said it’s impossible to not talk about Corey Cott (Gaston Lachaille). Cott is charming as bachelor Gaston, but it’s his comical timing and delivery that stands out. Clark and Cott also possess powerful vocal dexterity abilities and they get to showcase that in some solo sequences. Howard McGillin as Honore Lachaille might be the performance that demarcates itself from it’s counterpart. This Honore Lachaille is clearly more nuanced and less flamboyant than it’s counterpart. As a whole, the entire 29 piece ensemble makes up for a very entertaining show and it’s especially the mood that makes it such a great show. Gigi is a well-balanced constitution.

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The choreography of Bergasse doesn’t lean that much on clean tight choreography but it contains energetic vibrant and intimate cozy compositions. The songs of Gigi are still timeless but it’s the contagious radiant enthusiasm of the essemble that makes it such a delightful ride. Tony Award winning designer Catherine Zuber did a stunning job with the glamorous gowns she designed for Gigi On Broadway. Design wise it’s the scenic vision of Derek McLane that really is a visual treat. The architectural exteriors, the warm, cozy and colorful exteriors and the flashy accesoirized set pieces makes the end result so eye-popping and breathtaking. Zuber’s and McLane’s artistic brainwaves really come together in an eruption of balanced visual candy-crushed design.

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Revamped, energetic, intimate, fun, vibrant, transcending and elegant. It might not be the most ambitious and pretentious musical you can find on Broadway this season but it’s definitely one of the most sincere ones. Entertainment for old and new generations. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to see it again on Broadway.

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Cinematoracle

 
Cinematoracle
Breaking through cinema one movie at a time. Aesthetics above all, Antonioni, Malick & Godard are the G.O.A.T.s. I have a gargantuan soft spot for Vanessa Hudgens. Benoit Debie = THE cinematographer. Don't make war, make art.