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Our critic D. L. Groover attended last night's performance of I Capuleti e I Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) and pronounced it "sung and conducted with passion." All of the main cast members in Opera in the Heights' production of Bellini's take on Romeo and Juliet are making their debuts in their roles. Camille Zamora and Julia Ebner appear for the first time ever as Giulietta (Shakespeare's Juliet) while Sarah Heltzel and Brandy Lynn Hawkins take on the trouser role of Romeo. Yes, you read that right, Sarah and Brandy Lynn will be Romeo. "That's the way Bellini intended the role to be," Oh! Artistic Director Enrique Carreón-Robledo tells us. "It's to give the impression that this is a very young man, young to the point that the voice isn't low enough to be a tenor and at the same time maturity from every standpoint. This is not the typical Romeo. In this case, Romeo is not the young boy that is just another member of the family. He is the leader. He is presented as a full-fledged soldier that has incredible authority and maturity. These two singers, they are both mezzo-sopranos, are really fantastic in that sense. It's hard sometimes to accept that a woman is playing a man, but in the realm of sound, which is where this opera lives first and foremost, they have each done an excellent job at impersonating a young man."
Oh! presents I Capuleti e I Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 2 p.m. November 18. Through November 18. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights. For information, visit the Oh! website or call 713-851-5303. $10 to $55.
Check out our review of Les Misérables and our interview with Andrew Varela.
The reviews have come in and the 25th-anniversary production of Les Misérables in Houston courtesy of Gexa Energy Broadway, is a smash. Our critic D. L. Groover said "Time hasn't dimmed the power of Les Mis ... The mega-musical grabs you from the first scene of the fast-paced Prologue and never shakes loose." He went on to say, "As a juggernaut of contemporary musical theater in all its grandeur, this 25th anniversary production, with its sterling showbiz know-how, enlightens, elevates -- and superbly entertains." Kinda sounds like he liked it, doesn't it?
Broadway veteran Andrew Varela has switched roles for this version -- on Broadway he played Jean Valjean, the man who spent 19 years in prison for stealing food; now he plays his nemesis, Inspector Javert, who has dedicated himself to locking Valjean in prison again. Even though 60 million people have seen this musical, Varela (who's been on national tour now for two years) says all the shows are selling out. "From the very beginning you know that the show is different because they've reorchestrated it, they've relit this show. We have state-of-the-art high-definition projectors that take the back wall of the stage and turn it into another actor. For a show that's as epic as this one, the projectors allow you a cinematic quality that's never been done before."
Dream the dream at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Through November 11. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, visit the Hobby Center's website or call 713-315-2525. $50 to $150.
Katharine Shilcutt, D. L. Groover and Margaret Downing contributed to this post.
800 Bagby St., Houston, TX
1703 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX
1 Hope Blvd., Galveston Island, Galveston, TX
615 Louisiana St., Houston, TX
1370 Southmore Blvd., Houston, TX