Dancap announces Toronto Musical Theater Tour Season 2012 October 17, 2011Posted by ronannarbor in Broadway Musicals, Broadway Tour, Entertainment, musical theater, Musicals, Travel.
Tags: Dancap 2012, Ontario theatre, Toronto, Toronto Musical Theater Tours 2012
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Dancap announces their 2012 Musical Theater Touring Season in Toronto — Note that Dancap is the up-and-rising direct competitor to Mirvish Productions. Most of its productions are presented at the stellar Centre for the Performing Arts in North York (nee Ford Centre for the Performing Arts). Dancap is particularly known for its longterm sitdown productions such as Jersey Boys.
American Idiot – Dec 28, 2011 – Jan 15, 2012, Toronto Centre for the Arts
In The Heights – Feb 7 – 19, Toronto Centre for the Arts
West Side Story – May 8 – June 3, Toronto Centre for the Arts
Shrek The Musical – March 20 -April 1, Toronto Centre for the Arts
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – July 3 – 22, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
Million Dollar Quartet – July 20-29, Toronto Centre for the Arts
A Christmas Story, the Musical – December 2012, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
Hodgepodge from UM, Tigers, Jackson, etc. October 17, 2011Posted by ronannarbor in Broadway Tour, Entertainment, musical theater.
Tags: The Full Monty, University of Michigan Musical Theater Program, [title of show]
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Yeah, lots going on, and no particular single topic to write on….
Jackson Michigan saw a pretty dandy production of [title of show] this past few weekends. Still waiting for this to have a decent production in the Ann Arbor area now that it’s available royalty-wise. Jackson’s The Fourth Wall presented a critically acclaimed production that hopefully some of you got to see. This is a super show that somehow has just not caught on in the local theater circuit.
University of Michigan musical theater program put on a dandy production of The Full Monty musical which continues this coming weekend. I haven’t reviewed it, not because its undeserving, but because its just one of those shows that doesn’t work as well with a cast of hunky 19 year old boys in the leads, who should be in their 30′s and early 40′s. Not to say that this isn’t a great production — the show looks great, sounds great, and the cast is magnificent (as they should be, given that they are in a professional musical theater training program). But it just didn’t work for me. When Dave complains of being fat and he looks like he weighs about 160 pounds, the realism seeps right out. Mark Esposito’s choreography, however, is something to behold. It’s a great show. Go see it. But unlike the Broadway production, don’t expect to be emotionally moved by it.
The Detroit Tigers had an awesome run of their own, losing in the 6th game of the ALCS to the Texas Rangers. They went much further into the post season than anyone would have thought even a month ago, and they knocked the Yankees out of contention for this year’s title, so they are the darlings of the entire nation right now. Better luck next year, guys, what an awesome run you gave us this year!
UM, as has become usual, folded under MSU’s much better defense; and Denard Robinson just disappeared in a game where he should have been front and center. All for the best, as attention can now be paid to the UM Hockey Team, who are off to a great start for the season, and who have always been nearer and dearer to my heart than the football team will ever be. Go Blue!
Coming up within the next few months?….Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Performance Network, My Fair Lady (tour) at the Fox, Les Miserables (Stranahan, Toledo, tour), Wicked (Detroit Opera House, tour), battling White Christmas’s (tour at the Fox, community theater productions throughout SE Michigan and Ohio – from the Croswell Opera House to Howell), A Christmas Story, the musical at the Fisher (tour), and yet another revision of It’s A Wonderful Life at Encore in Dexter. Busy musical theater season coming up. Look for reviews as we go.
iPhone 4S vs iPhone 4 — should you upgrade? (UPDATE: Camera quality) October 10, 2011Posted by ronannarbor in Apple, Entertainment, Gizmos, Photography, Uncategorized.
Tags: iPhone 4s, iPhone 4S camera, iPhone 4s vs iPhone 4
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SEE UPDATE at the end of this article.
Many of my clients have asked me about the iPhone 4S, and should they upgrade….here is my take:
Second, if you have a 3G or older, absolutely upgrade. You will be amazed what the iPhone 4/4S range can do.
Specifically for owners of the current iPhone 4: This is an upgrade that Apple calls a “refresh” — that is, it doesn’t have a lot of major style upgrades, but it does have significant upgrades “under the hood”. The phone is physically virtually identical to the iPhone4. Here is what you should consider if you are looking to upgrade:
1. The processor is faster. The chip in the iPhone 4 is faster (the same as in the iPad) so that programs, web pages, and other applications will open faster. Ask yourself, though, is your iPhone 4 too slow?? Not a complaint I have heard from anyone.
2. The antenna is improved. If you live, or travel, to an area that the signals are strong, you won’t need the improvement. If you live in (say NYC, SF, etc) you will find that the antenna is much improved, and your signal will be stronger. Note for you AT&T University of Michigan fans — this will NOT mean you will be able to get a signal now inside Michigan Stadium during game day when 115,000 friends are all trying to use their phones at the same time. It will mean your signal will be stronger in general. (For my non-Ann Arbor friends, AT&T signals are pretty strong here in SE Michigan).
3. The camera has been improved to 8 megapixels. What does this mean? Well, your pictures will be much larger, and they will be much sharper with less pixelation (visible dots). For many users, it will mean being able to ditch your compact digital camera and use only the iPhone. For others, it would be a poor substitute. The zoom is digital, and marginal at best. There are no controls for speed, aperture, etc. Even basic compacts have that ability (not that most people use it). What it WILL do is give you sharp front-to-back in-focus shots. No artsy shots here (i.e. no blurred backgrounds in your portraits). Most casual camera users want everything to be sharp and clear so this is a great new feature in the iPhone 4S. I’ll try out my iPhone 4S camera as my sole camera on an upcoming trip and give you my verdict. Personally, I can already predict that it won’t have the quality and features that I usually want in a camera, but I’ll see what it’s like to use it for a few days and nothing else.
4. Siri, new to the iPhone 4s is ONLY available on the iPhone 4s and will not be available in the OS upgrade to older phones. In essence, it’s a much improved voice command system. If you use the current Voice Command on the iPhone, you will find that this does more (not only dial your contacts by voice control, but also set appointments and put them into your calendar). The jury is out on this one. People I know who have tested Siri state that it generally works fine. It can not spell and it makes many mistakes (i.e. it might get the date and time of your doctor appointment correct, but it sure won’t spell the name of the doctor correctly). I personally do not know a single friend of mine who uses the current Voice Command on the iPhone. I don’t know if this will change with the iPhone 4s and it’s Siri program, but I doubt it. Your mileage may vary.
5. The new OS software — this will be available as a free upgrade to all current iPhone users, so this really shouldn’t be a consideration for an upgrade.
6. Your contract — okay, let me warn you up front, the iPhone 4S is a “refresh” as I mentioned earlier. It will, however, come with a two-year contract. That’s not a big deal, and the carriers have allowed upgrades within the year at additional cost with extension of the contract. BUT, if Apple surprises people with an iPhone 5 next summer, say, you will not be able to upgrade as in the past. For many, this is not a consideration. For others it is. There will be a non-contractual universal iPhone 4S released in November for the contract-phobes….but it will come at a much higher unsubsidized cost.
In summary: your desire to upgrade might not be in line with the reality of what an upgrade will actually bring. If you are not in one of the categories listed above that would make an upgrade a sure fire “deal maker” I would say that those with a current iPhone 4 have little reason to upgrade at present, and wait for the next iPhone update.
Personally: I am upgrading to the iPhone 4S and should have mine on Friday. Why? Well, you know I want the latest and greatest, but no, seriously — I am interested in the new antenna and the improved signal. I travel a lot and any improvement in the antenna will be an overall improvement for me. Second? My current iPhone 4 is worn out: there are cracks in the back, and it’s seen better days (although it’s only a year old)…I can pay the 150.00 at an Apple Store to have the back replaced, or I can spend a bit more and just get a shiny new model. I opted for the latter. I have my iPhone in my pocket 16 hours a day, so its been well used, to say the least.
Hopefully, this will give you some guidance as you decide if you need the newest model. For the most part, I say no. But there are exceptions.
UPDATE: 10/25/11 CAMERA QUALITY
On a recent trip where I did not take my camera and relied solely on the iPhone 4S, I can unequivocally say that the phone alone, even with 8 Megapixels, is NOT a suitable substitute for a decent digital camera. Photos taken directly out of the camera without any zoom are clear and basically sharp. You can not crop these photos or blow them up or they instantly become pixilated. In general, straight out of the camera, shot is fine — don’t mess with it for size or crop.
Transfer of photos is what it is: I refuse to use iPhoto, being a creature of habit with Bridge and Photoshop. so I transfered the photos through eMail, one by one, to my home desktop. It took half hour and most of the camera battery to send the 15 shots to my desktop computer. This won’t be a problem if you transfer using iPhoto or through iTunes. I imagine it would be a problem if you turn on Photostream and rely on iCloud.
Other quirks: If you open the camera from the lock-screen and then try to use the + volume control as your camera shutter, it freezes up the iPhone. Don’t do this. Open your camera application as usual from the iPhone itself, not from the lockscreen. Apple is apparently aware that this can be a problem on cameras. Wait for a patch.
To zoom in, you need to pinch the screen (as if you are making the photo bigger) and it will bring up the zoom controls. These are quirky and it takes several attempts to zoom in. In general try NOT to zoom in. Zoom is 100% digital, and while it brings your subject closer, all it is really doing is zooming in digitally and pixilizing your shot.
So, to summarize: straight out of the camera, full size photos = usable and generally sharp, capture detail well. Zoom is worthless. And you can NOT use the iPhone 4S alone as your sole camera if you are in way at all interested in photography and not just simple snapshots of friends.
For comparison purposes:
Straight out of the camera, no zoom, interior, generally well-lit: result – pretty good
50 percent zoom, and then cropped for central 50%: result – unusable
Tags: Jersey Boys, Jersey Boys tour
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Okay, granted, the Wharton Center is a bit late in the game with the Broadway tour of Jersey Boys which has been traveling around the country for years now…but the production currently appearing in East Lansing is as fresh as ever, with a fine cast.
Lead by Joseph Leo Bwarie (in the Frankie Valli role) and a very strong Preston Truman Boyd (as Bob Gaudio), the entire cast looks and sounds terrific (For the record, Michael Lomenda and Matt Bailey round out the quartet). The women are as strong as the men in this cast, and the vocal sound is top notch across the board. In fact, when Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons come to life in their big numbers, they sound better then the REAL Frankie Valli and company. Bravo.
The tour also has the virtue of having to adapt its sound system into hundreds of theaters in the past few years, hence they have it down to an art, and it sounds fantastic in the Wharton Center. No dead spots here. It sounds great.
The audience ate up the show. The cheering, clapping, and shouting start early in the evening, and raise to fever-pitch by show’s end by which time the audience is standing and dancing along.
If you have never seen Jersey Boys, it’s terrific as a show — the music is interwoven into a smart script that never gets too “musical” but never strays far from the roots of theater. The direction and choreography are sharp and work well in both more intimate as well as larger numbers. It’s a show that has found its popularity among those who don’t usually like musical theater. No tap-dancing and magic tricks here. Just pure, theatrical magic.
By all means, go visit these Jersey Boys…the show is as fresh as ever, and that’s saying a lot when its been as well-traveled. To quote Frankie, it just keeps “going and going like the Energizer Bunny”. You should go see it, too. If you’ve seen it before, you already know how terrific the show is, and this cast will win you over. If you’ve never seen it before, you are in for a treat.