Thursday, December 17, 2015

On Broadway -- Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games


Michael Flatley, Photo: Brian Doherty for Rapa Investments
Lord of the Dance: Don't Try This at Home....
By Lauren Yarger
If you haven't been able to catch Michael Flatley's last appearances with Lord of the Dance this fall on Broadway over at the Lyric Theatre, take heart. You might be ale to clog your feet over to your local box office for the pleasure as the show has recently announced a national tour.

Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games kicks off its US tour  in Florida followed by stops in Washington DC, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, among others (see schedule below).

Meanwhile, the Broadway engagement runs through Jan. 3. Flatley is the creator of Lord of the Dance which brought Irish Dance to the attention of theatergoers more than two decades ago. This version, "Dangerous Games" adds holographs, special effects lighting, dancing robots (giving the production a video-game feel) as well as world champion acrobats and Irish dancing to a score by Gerard Fahy.

The show reminds me a bit of Cirque du Soleil -- it's mostly visual, set to great music. There's a story in there -- basically good verses evil -- but it's not always easy to follow. Flatley proteges James Keegan, Morgan Comer and Fergal Keaney play the Lord of the Dance, who battles the evil Dark Lord (Tom Cunningham, Nial McNally and Zoltan Papp). A Little Spirit (Jess Judge) travels through time to help him.  Also dancing through the story are Saoirse (Erin Kate McIlravey, Nikita Cassidy, Caroline Gray), Morrigham (Andrea Kren, Brea McGaffey), Erin the Goddess (Sophie Evans) and a fiddlers (Giada Costenaro Cunningham, Valerie Gleeson).

The dancing is amazing. The number of taps per second astounds. Many years ago, inspired by one of the first Irish Dance shows, Riverdance (created and choreographed by Flatley), I purchased a video to learn how to do some of the dance moves. I remember struggling quite a bit to get my legs and feet to go to exactly the position my instructor demonstrated, and with each new step, I questioned my commitment. Finally, having mastered the eight steps, my instructor explained that we were now ready to put them all together. He demonstrated and said, "and that's one" as in the dance count of one.

"One?" I yelled incredulously at the TV monitor. All of those steps, it turned out were what I was supposed to be doing with my body, legs and feet on just the first count. I could only imagine the heap I would be in if there were eight or 12 counts of steps to accomplish to actually move from the spot on which I was standing. I quickly packaged up the VHS tape and gave it to a choreographer friend who said she'd always wanted to learn Irish dancing and that was the end of dreams of clogging across the family-room floor.

So I enjoyed, with personal empathy, the amazing footwork involved on stage at the Lyric. The precision is impressive. It's entertaining, if a bit drawn out and hard to follow, and Flatley himself joins the cast at certain performances to show that he still is at the top of his game as well. In 1998, at the age of 39, he exceeded his first Guinness World Record of 28 taps per second set in 1989 with a phenomenal 35 taps per second. My feet are VERY happy I gave that dance instruction tape away.

The New York engagement runs through Jan. 3. Tickets are $57.50 - $147.50: www.leisureconnect.com/lordofthedance.html; 800-745-3000; Box Office, 213 West 42nd St.

Full schedule of Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games’ U.S. Tour is as follows:

Friday, February 19th, 2016
Sunrise, FL (BB and T Center)

Sunday, February 21th, 2016
Atlanta, GA (Phillips Arena)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
Boston, MA (Citi Wang Theater)

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Uncasville, CT (Mohegan Sun Arena)

Friday, February 26th, 2016
Washington D.C. (Eagle Bank Arena)

Sunday, February 28th, 2016
Philadelphia, PA (Wells Fargo Arena)

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
Detroit, MI (Palace of Auburn Hills)

Wednesday, March 2nd 2016
Chicago, IL (Chicago Theater)

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
Independence, MO (Silverstein Eye Centers Arena)

Saturday, March 5th, 2016
Dallas, TX (Verizon Wireless)

Sunday, March 6th, 2016
Houston, TX (Revention Music Center)

Monday, March 7th, 2016
Cedar Park, TX (Cedar Park Center)

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016
Loveland, CO (Budweiser Events Center)

Friday, March 11th, 2016
San Diego, CA (San Diego Civic Theater)

Saturday, March 12th, 2016
Phoenix, AZ (Comerica Theatre)

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
Los Angeles, CA (Microsoft Theater)

Thursday, March 17th, 2015
Las Vegas, NV (Coliseum at Caesar’s)

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

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All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

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Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

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Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

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Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

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I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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