2004–2005 preview : From Gladiateur to Mamma Mia !

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So ? How was your sum­mer ? Per­son­al­ly, I spent a lot of time watch­ing the Olympics. I just love gym­nas­tics and div­ing. And if there is one bet­ter thing than the inven­tion of musi­cal the­atre, it’s def­i­nite­ly the inven­tion of Lycra.

Any­way, sum­mer is over and the new sea­son is about to start. After a glo­ri­ous sea­son of Belles-Demoi­selles-Gone-With-The-Wind, what to expect in 2004–2005 ? I have picked a few musi­cals that have raised my inter­est. It doesn’t mean they might be good. It means they might be inter­est­ing for var­i­ous rea­sons. So here’s my selection :

Bel­ly­dance Super­stars and the Desert Roses
Runs Oct 1–2
I nev­er thought I would be inter­est­ed in see­ing a bel­ly dance show some day. But read­ing the press release left me in awe. Names and bios are so invit­ing. See by yourself :

Amar has found­ed the “Bel­lyqueen” com­pa­ny (Note : I have a bel­ly, I behave like a queen, can I apply ?).
Ansuya is a fit­ness teacher in Miami.
Bozen­ka has danced in front of Madon­na (Note : me too, in a few days, in the pit of Paris Bercy for the Re-Inven­tion concert).
Jil­li­na has worked with the “Lol­la­palooza” and the “Sahlala Dancers”.
Petite Jami­la plays bagpipes.

I just love their names and their jobs ! It sounds sex­i­er than “Hi ! I’m Yvonne and I’m a jour­nal­ist.” Next time I meet new peo­ple, I will try a line like “Hi ! I’m Sushibaya, I’m a Sha­lalala Bel­ly­god­dess Danc­ing Queen and I play harp­si­chord”. Maybe I’ll have more friends and most impor­tant­ly : more dates.

Glad­i­a­teur
Starts Oct. 1

The first Big French Musi­cal of the sea­son (BFM). Spar­ta­cus sings and dances. Will it be as bor­ing as it seems ? Prob­a­bly. But see­ing sexy calves can make my day.

Chan­tal Goya au pays des rêves
Runs Dec. 18–22
For those of you who don’t know who Chan­tal Goya is, let me explain. She used to be a BIG star in the ear­ly 1980’s, singing songs for kids, about rab­bits who kill hunters (so un-PC), rice-eat­ing pan­das and friend­ly dogs who go shop­ping. I used to love her. At some point, my moth­er even told me “You like Chan­tal Goya more than your own moth­er”. Now Chan­tal Goya is back for her grown-up audi­ence who doesn’t want to grow up and takes us to “the Coun­try of Dreams”. At her age, I real­ly won­der what her dreams and wish­es are. Is she still like “Oh look at this shoe, kids ! If we all wish very hard, we’ll make this shoe fly !” ? Or is she more like “My shoes are killing me. I wish I could go to bed right now” ? I just can’t wait to have the answer.

Don Juan
Starts Feb. 24
The oth­er BFM of the sea­son, a musi­cal with gyp­sies, fla­men­co gui­tars and a lead who sings “Give me some plea­sure”. My favourite thing about Don Juan is prob­a­bly their site (the Cana­di­an one, not the French one). Through the site, you can send a vir­tu­al rose to some­one you love. Depend­ing on the rose you choose, the mes­sage is dif­fer­ent (“I love you in silence”, “I love you, do you love me ?”, “It’s love at first sight”…). It’s roman­tic but best of all, it’s free. Now if only the Chica­go site could offer the same ser­vices, that would be fun. I can already pic­ture the mes­sages : “Can we skip din­ner ?”, “Not guilty”, “Into your head”, “Go to hell”, “Run into my knife”. Less roman­tic but more realistic.

Bag­dad Café
Starts March 11
For once on a Parisian stage, there will be a musi­cal where the female lead is not por­trayed by an anorex­ic 18-year old girl. Amen. Fat women rule.

Mam­ma Mia !
Runs June 21 – July 3
France will prob­a­bly be the only coun­try in the world where Mam­ma Mia ! gets such a short (but planned) run. I have to con­fess : I can’t wait to see it again. Yes, I love more “intel­lec­tu­al” musi­cals such as Sondheim’s Sun­day In The Park With George or Jason Robert Brown’s Parade. But I have to admit, I had a won­der­ful time when I saw Mam­ma Mia ! in Lon­don. Why wouldn’t I ? I could only relate to these famous songs say­ing sim­ple but oh-so-true things such as : “He’s a love machine (Oh, he makes me dizzy)”, “You’re a teas­er, you turn’em on”, “Is there a man out there ?”, “I’ve been cheat­ed by you since I don’t know when” or “The win­ner takes it all, the los­er has to fall”.
I thought my life was Miss Saigon-like. But it’s more Mam­ma Mia-like. Oh well.