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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
The Ten Commandments broke the first commandment of a new musical which is memorable music. The second commandment, lyrics, veered between simplistic and ludicrous. The actors certainly turn in some memorable performances, but its sad to so much talent with so little to exploit in the U. S. premiere of this new stage version of the Biblical story of Moses
This version takes the sibling relationship of Moses and his adopted brother Ramses, the Pharaoh, as its emotional linchpin There's some energetic choreography by Travis Payne, special effects that are more loud than special and well-paced if unremarkable direction by Robert Iscove.
The broad strokes of this pop musical leave little room for nuances. Val Kilmer has considerable stage presence as Moses and knows exactly how to use his husky pleasant voice. More in the tradition of Rex Harrison than Michael Crawford, Kilmer's voice is perhaps the one best suited to this at best pleasant and for the most part forgettable score. He's surrounded by outstanding vocalists: Luba Mason as his adoptive mother Bithia, Michelle Pereira as his birth mother Yokebed, Kevin Earley as brother Ramses, Nita Whitaker as an exotic Ziporrah, Lauren Kennedy as Princess Nefertari, Ipale as Pharoah Seti and Adam Lambert as the slave Joshua who gives an awesome rendition of "Is Anybody Listening?" Thhis is the show's best song, yet, like all the others, it lacks the power and sorrow of the familiar spiritual "Go Down, Moses."
The Ten Commandments is produced by BCBGMAXAZRIA Entertainment which leads to an interesting question as BCBG, a chain of upscale boutiques featuring Max Azria's designs, has a shop in the mall housing the Kodak Theatre. Whatever, the costumes on those Eqyptian princesses could have segued with sensuous colorful ease to a Tango millonga. This reviewer would love to have those Red Sea waters part long enough to liberate them into her closet.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co. >Click image to buy.
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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