Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Rachel Chavkin. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Rachel Chavkin. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 7 April 2018

In Conversation With... Rachel Tucker | An Evening with Jason Robert Brown | Interview


If you google 'busy people' Rachel Tucker will surely come up. Always working on something new and exciting, Rachel is one of the hottest things both in London and New York. Set to star in the one night only An Evening with Jason Robert Brown concert at the Palladium, Rachel sat down to discuss everything about the concert and gave us an exclusive on what's next for her across the pond!


What’s the rehearsal process been like for this concert?
I haven't actually started yet! I've been rehearsing on my own but we do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then the show Wednesday night cause Jason's coming over. We have the scheduling and it's like 10-5.30 so it's gonna be... intense. We have a piano rehearsal with Jason on our own and then all together and there's back-up vocalists and singers and stuff, so, it's gonna be very intense. I'm really excited!


You’ve performed some of Jason’s songs before, can we expect to hear those or new ones in the concert?
Actually a bit of both. I have, what is called my 'handbag song' which I love and it's Stars and Moon that I sing at any given opportunity. It's my favourite classic Jason Robert Brown and... I don't know if I should say what else I'm singing or if it should be a surprise?!

How about a clue?
Okay well there's another old one and two more modern ones...

Very vague!
Okay so one is a really new, updated one that he wrote for a girl in a wheelchair, actually, a 13 year old girl. He wrote it very specifically so I'm really buzzed about that and singing some really lovely, brilliant songs.


Who or which song are you most excited for the audience to hear?
I'm a massive fan of Betsy Wolfe and Norm [Lewis]. I sang with Norm in New York on the Pulse charity single we did over there with Seth Rudetsky. Norm is just fabulous, and Betsy, I just can't wait to hear her sing live and to sing on the same stage as her!

Just to hear it all put together and to hear the best of Jason's work. He's chosen what he wants us to sing so we've had no say in it, he's chosen specifically what he wants to hear... I mean we've a little bit of a choice but it's very much his show and his showcase and that's what's so special about it; to be able to actually do what it is that he would love to be showcased.


If you could be in any Jason Robert Brown musical, which would you choose?
Goodness me! I would love to play the wife in Parade who sings You Don't Know This Man which is a fab song. What else? I love The Last Five Years- there's so many and they're all so good. I'd love to do Bridges of Madison County cause it's so beautiful. He's just so talented and his music stretches so far and into different genres and I love how much he pushes the musicians and the singers at the same time, it's really wonderful.


Why should people come to this concert?
I mean I just cannot wait to hear his stuff played with a 60-piece orchestra- the BBC Orchestra- that for me is just going to be so exciting. I've always been a huge fan ever since I first heard his music and I think the selection of stuff you'll hear with this orchestra and Jason playing -and I'm sure introducing songs and saying how and where they came about- it's going to be electric! It's gonna be like nothing anyone's every seen before, or heard before and it's live, live in London! Come from far and wide and get tickets cause it's gonna be one in a million!

While we’re talking I thought you'd like to plug your upcoming NY concerts?! 
Yeah! So 54 Below, I'm very, very excited to go back in August, in summer so maybe more people can get out and over. I mean I haven't even started thinking about the show but I wanna do a real mixture of my favourites and some new stuff. I've had a lot of experience this last 4/5 months with new music and being sent stuff and learning stuff for auditions that I've just fallen in love with. All this new stuff that I would never have heard; so I'd really love to show that. Yeah I feel very excited about new stuff that has landed on my lap so I'm really excited to put a show together of it!


Sounds very exciting! Will you be coming back or are you planning on staying over there?
I don't know! I've been auditioning like crazy there and here and nothings solid yet so I don't know!? There's a big question around that!

I am doing the Williamstown Festival which is in New York over the summer, so, this is an exclusive!... It's a brand new musical that's happening now called Lempicka! I don't know if you know it?

That's amazing! Yeah it has the song Woman Is in it right? [side note: go listen to Woman Is because it's stunning!]

Yes, a beautiful song! So I'm doing the production of it, playing one of the parts with Carmen Cusack. I don't know who else is involved but it's a brand new piece and I'm really excited. So that's July/August at the Williamstown Festival that I'll be doing that! Then my gigs at 54 Below so a summer in New York!

The dream! Will Woman Is be one of your songs then?
Yeah it will be actually! The stuff from the show is just amazing. I'm really really chuffed to be on it and the creative team is great. The lady who directed The Great Comet, Rachel Chavkin is directing it so the creative team is amazing and it's nice to be involved in something new, so come and watch!


How exciting is all of that!? A huge thank you to Rachel for chatting with me, be sure to book your tickets for An Evening with Jason Robert Brown on Wednesday 11th April

Interview by editor, Olivia Mitchell

photo credit: Danny Kaan


Thursday, 15 November 2018

Hadestown, National Theatre | Review


Hadestown
Olivier Theatre, National Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 14th November 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Folky, emotive, excellently performed and ever relevant, the National Theatre's production of Hadestown is a grand triumph. The folk opera by Anaïs Mitchell started life in 2006 as a small concert which then became an album and gained a cult following. A fully formed, off-Broadway production came from the genius team of Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin who have continued their partnership for this new production which they are taking to Broadway after its run at the National.

Despite a number of iterations, the story has always remained the same and the music, scarily relevant. We follow the story of Orpheus who could charm anyone with his music and Eurydice, the woman who falls in love with him, but he loses as he tries to lead her out of the underworld. 

This show is wonderfully smart and sharp in the way it twists the original stories to feel current whilst still maintaining their mythic feel. Orpheus and Eurydice aren't magical spirits but a young boy and girl facing famine and the trials of life in a failing world. Hades, ruler of the underworld also rules the mines and offers his people "freedom" by giving them jobs but also imprisoning them behind a wall. Why We Build The Wall must be one of the most topical numbers of the show and it's hard to believe it wasn't written more recently. The parallels with the state of the USA are undeniable.


The sleek but intricate set of Rachel Hauck, takes the tale to a Depression-era bar, where André De Shields as Hermes, narrates the show and introduces us to the meaning's behind what's to come whilst accompanied by a life, bluesy band who are dotted around the stage. His rich voice transports the audience to another world.

The operatic nature comes from the recitatives which pepper the show and provide lyrical pauses from the sometimes repetitive songs. The cast do an absolutely outstanding job of performing the beautiful music, providing spades of emotion. The pureness of the show and performances within it moved me to tears several times and the man next to me must have exclaimed "wow" after at least 90% of songs. 

Reeve Carney has a soft-rock vibe to his Orpheus, with his spiked hair and calming voice showing Eurydice would have been drawn to him. Eva Noblezada is on another vocal level with her performance; her voice is supremely clear and the effortless way she delivers every line is truly magical to behold. Every word that leaves her mouth is infused with feeling and the way she idly carries herself round the stage makes her the perfect counterpart to the equally cool, Orpheus. Their sweet duet, All I've Ever Known is a magical moment.


Reminiscent of The Huger Games' President Snow and the USA's President Trump, Hades is played menacingly by Patrick Page. The weight of his words and performance cut close to home and his growling bass voice enchants everyone who hears it. What's most scary is the way he also reveals a tender side which is mesmerising and terrifying at once. Hey Little Songbird is an example of the way he can wrap someone around his finger; he seduces Eurydice before telling his wife later that the girl means nothing to him. As his half-drunk, half-lonely wife Persephone, Amber Gray gives a masterclass performance. Her high energy moments are contrasted perfectly with moments of sadness which seep out of her and cover the audience in waves.

Chavkin has worked with every performer, set piece, musician and lighting moment to create a show which has us lingering between despair and hope. The sharp choreography from David Neumann works fantastically with the revolves of the Oliver stage and bring an equally frenetic and still mood to the piece.

This is a production all about balance and the entire cast, crew and creative team have done an astounding job of highlighting the pain and beauty which inhabits our world. Mention goes to the Fates (Rosie Fletcher, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Gloria Onitiri) and Jordan Shaw who all caught the eye throughout with their supremely grounded performances.

Hadestown is painfully relevant and beautifully moving. It's a production which will surely be remembered by all who see it, and should be seen by all.

Hadestown runs at the National Theatre until January 26th 2019

photo credit: Helen Maybanks