aka The Frazzled Mom
A musical about the making of the Empire State building? Who would have thought there would have been enough for a story, let alone musical numbers? But that’s exactly what Empire is about.
A fun, entertaining musical the family could enjoy. That being said, this is NOT historically accurate, so please don’t go hoping that it will be. Go in it for the entertainment, fun and enjoyment – what musicals usually bring. And, once back home, feel free to explore the actual history behind such a beautiful building.
The opening number, Heyday, featured a chorus number, lots of dancing and great harmony. By the end of the number, I could only imagine the amount of energy expended from tap dancing. The story moves from the decision to hire an architect, through to the final completion of the building. But in between, we meet not only the architect, Michael Shaw, but also “the guy” that gets things done: Frankie, who actually is a woman trying to make her way in a male dominated world. From the very start, you could see how she’d struggled from previous project to project, always with the pressure that if things didn’t work out, she’d be the one to blame, regardless of whose fault.
We meet more characters, from the secretaries to the workers. More specifically, we’re introduced to Ethan O’Dowd, an Irish immigrant, and his wife, as they celebrate the arrival of their first baby. I think we know where that story is going…
Regardless of the predictability, the musical is fun and the actors are talented. The music and the costumes were on par with the time. The chorus girls from the Stork club were adorned in black and gold flappers, reminding me of the era of the Great Gatsby. One of my favorites.
Stephanie Gibson, who portrays Frankie Peterson, has a voice that can belt out powerful notes. It reminded me a little of Wicked. She may not be quite up there with Idina Menzel, but she’s getting there.
Caleb Shaw’s Irish accent felt a little shaky at first, but he caught his stride both in his voice and his dancing.
Tony Sheldon and Joe Hart were cute as the gentlemen behind the idea and funding of the skyscraper. Have they built anything before? Nope. But that doesn’t stop them. Why? Because they have moxie. 😉
Seriously, some of the guys that played the workers made dancing look so easy. Even though I KNOW it isn’t. Some did flips, as if gravity wasn’t an issue. Super fluid movements through the air, landing like cats on their feet.
The first half was roughly an hour and thirty minutes long, with the second half being about an hour or a little more. It’s a long musical, for me, when it’s about a skyscraper. I received tickets for free. Otherwise, I’m not sure if I would have checked out what Empire was about.
That being said, the singers/actors, dancers were great. The story was so-so, and I could have done without some of the songs, but there were some good ones in there, too. Overall, the musical was entertaining. And it was nice that it kept with the diversity of the crew that built it. Seriously, read the history on the building. It’s very interesting.
For further information on Empire the Musical, be sure to visit their website.