Articles by Nicole Zusman
Jul. 20, 2012
Bastille Day Block Party storms Penitentiary
I was lucky enough to attend Philadelphia’s 18th annual Bastille Day Block Party June 14, sponsored by London Grill and Wine Bar. The all-weekend event was held at Eastern State Penitentiary.
Jun. 8, 2012
TrebleMakers impress in concert
Drexel’s very own female a cappella group, The TrebleMakers, held its spring concert June 1 in the Stein Auditorium.
Feb. 24, 2012
fun. explores new grounds with album ‘Some Nights’
“Some Nights,” the newest album by fun., was released Feb. 21, and to no one’s surprise, it amazes anyone who hears it. Opening the album differently than any other I have ever heard, with the addition of a chamber choir, “Some Nights” brings us back to the unique sound in the beginning of the album, which fans will appreciate. “We are Young,” the commercial megahit, leaves fans stunned, as lead singer Nate Ruess hits one of the highest notes attainable. “Carry On” leaves nothing to the imagination. It begins with an abrasive and clearly talented choir and brilliant melodic lines with African tribal accompaniment. This song builds up anticipation for the coming musical parade so that you can’t help but listen to more. The track, “It Gets Better,” doesn’t necessarily live up to its name, if only because it is difficult to follow “Some Nights.” “It Gets Better” just doesn’t stand out as a true fun. song. Instead, the overblazed auto-tune and repetitive percussion set overpower the lyrics and melody, which could have stood on their own. Trending indie pop band fun. released their sophomore effort Thursday, Feb. 22. Entitled ‘Some Nights.’ The band ups the ante with improving talent and sound. Leaving the short-lived hard rock era, fun. brings us into a beautiful, sweet-sounding song called “Why Am I the One.” Anyone with a musical ear would agree that this track showcases the sound of fun. that we have all come to know and love. The track “All Alone” is anything but the melancholy name it portrays. It expresses exuberant sounds with a hip-hop-rock beat behind, yet again, another brilliant fugue. The addition of an electronic synthesizer makes this already complex sound transition into yet more genres than it began with. “All Alright,” has a generic filler vibe that does not stand with some of the other big house hits. However, even the tracks that don’t shine have lots of potential and will garner admiration from dedicated fans. “One Foot” takes on a whole new level, starting with horns and impressively sustained high notes by Ruess, formerly of The Format. This made-for-radio hit is a catchy bounce of ska undertones with a slow, melodic line, making it a sweet mix into the album. Of the remaining two songs, “Stars” does not quite shine, but the bonus track “Out on the Town” ends the album on an emotionally charged note. “Some Nights” reigns above many other albums in today’s music repertoire. Fun. offers impressive lyrics, memorable melodies and fantastic production. It creates a satisfying mix of music that anyone would be delighted to hear. Fun. continues its assent in the music industry with new tour dates, more hits on radio and television, and a recent appearance on “Conan.” So through the words of fun., “Let’s set the world on fire.” Fun. has made something that can stand on its own and say to the world, “Let’s bring some fun back into this industry.”
Feb. 3, 2012
104.5 Winter Jam Rocks Philly
Starting off the lineup, Rivers Monroe brought new life to the stage. This Philadelphia-based band, named after lead singer Mike Rivers and keyboardist/vocalist Mat Monroe, got the crowd pumped up with its peppy tones. Their first full-length album, “Meteors,” is filled with highly marketable radio pop that is, to put it simply, fun to listen to. After this lively opener, the crowd was ready for the headlining acts.
Jan. 20, 2012
Beethoven put in comedic light in Kimmel Center’s ‘Ludwig Live!’
When people hear the words “Ludwig Live!” (the Kimmel Center’s new musical), most wouldn’t believe this zany, almost comical title actually unlocks one of Philadelphia’s best, most unique and fantastic displays of theater in this city.
Nov. 28, 2011
Williams shines as Marilyn Monroe
This week American movie theaters open their doors to release the new Simon Curtis romantic adventure that is “My Week With Marilyn.” The film follows the story of Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) a young playwright striving for the chance to make his name in the movie industry. Along Colin’s journey he comes across some interesting people, ranging from the brilliant director, Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), to the sweet, beautiful Lucy (Emma Watson) to the crowning star of the movie, Marilyn Monroe, played by the incredible Michelle Williams. Through his travels Colin makes his transition from a young, inspiring movie manager to the love interest of the most beloved woman in the world.
Jul. 1, 2011
FreshDance ends term on high note
This year, Drexel was lucky enough to present the talented freshman dance team, FreshDance. This group of girls has marveled their peers for the second term in a row after their first successful concert, “New Beginnings,” this past winter. To top off such a fantastic term, the girls ended with a bang: the freshman dance show, “Forward Motion.” “Forward Motion,” a series of intricate dances, holds a hidden meaning. With talent and grace, the girls wowed the audience with their technical knowledge, obvious passion for the show and the music within it. Directors Miriam Giguere and Mina Estrada wanted this show to be different by giving each dance its own identity, standing as a challenge to the dancers and bringing the audience to tears. Their performance tells a story and the dancers pose as the storytellers, weaving their journeys through their brilliant chorography and melodic tones.
May. 20, 2011
DU band wows audience
The only words to describe Wild Rompit are best said by the lead singer Blair Ollendorf: “Wild Rompit is three words, INFIDELS, CHEESECAKES, BOYS NIGHT OUT.” I can’t tell you what he means exactly, but after interviewing with this up-and-coming band, I think it is a perfect way to describe the group.
May. 13, 2011
Players make a comedic commotion
Many people say that life is a stage and we are the actors. For “Noises Off” by Michael Frayn, this idea is exactly the case. “Noises Off” is a hilarious British farce filled with complete chaos and enough hilarity to get you rolling in your seat even before the first scene is over. It begins as if the show presented to the audience is the actual play they paid to see; in reality it is “a show within a show.” In the beginning of the play, the audience hears a director, also in the audience, screaming out cues and directions for the actors. At this point the comedy truly sets in, because the audience realizes exactly what they are watching.
Apr. 29, 2011
New creative team has potential
“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” is a musical that many people may call the most expensive disaster in theater history. Opening on Broadway after many halts and delays this past February, “Spider-Man” flooded with excited fans, waiting to see their favorite highflying superhero, Spidey, take the stage in a musical spectacular. To everyone’s dismay, this highflying spectacular was actually a lucrative mess of horrible music and an even worse plot. “Spider-Man the Musical” has been on Broadway for only a few months and has already managed to win the title of “worst musical Broadway has ever seen.” Broadyway’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” debuted in Nov. 2010 but was stopped after numerous injuries and bad reviews. The show is set to open again in June.Within its short life, this monstrosity has generated numerous lawsuits for injury, set malfunctions and harsh critic reviews. As Glen Levy from Time Magazine stated: “The injuries suffered on stage can now be matched by the vicious words penned by some of the country’s most notable critics, who could wait no longer to make their feelings felt.” This quote and many others like it only begin to unfold the disaster behind “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” Along with the numerous damages and faults, the show is also set to a monotonous musical score and was put under the poor direction of Julie Taymor (“The Lion King,” “Across The Universe”) who left after four months of previews. To be fair to the “Spider-Man” production and the people behind it, it is not easy to turn this once award-winning movie into a Broadway masterpiece, but replacing the movie script with a weird twist of the comic book and a mash up of rock music and Greek mythology was definitely not a smart move. This first version of the musical begins with four geeks reciting the comic book version of “Spider-Man” to the audience. If this were not enough of a mistake, adding Arachne to the script definitely was. Arachne, one of the main characters in the show, represents the Greek mythological story about a weaver who angered the Greek god Athena and soon became the world’s first spider. Her character, like many others in the show, only adds to the randomness and chaos created by Taymor. On top of all of this, a mash up of comic book characters and movie characters create a plot that not only confuses and bores the audience, it simply does not make any coherent sense in the sequence of the story. Luckily for “Spider-Man”, there is always a silver lining. Recently, Broadway has decided to revive this quickly dying show, essentially starting again from square one. First off, they got rid of the original director and replaced her with well-known Broadway artists and directors renowned for their brilliant shows and music. This creative team includes Broadway director Philip William McKinley, noted “Spider-Man” comic writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, musical consultant Paul Bogaev (“Tarzan,” “Aida”) and sound designer Peter Hylenski (“Elf,” “Rock of Ages,” “Shrek”). Another addition to the show was more rock music, constructed by the creative minds of Bono and The Edge of Irish band U2. On top of this, a new cast was hired and a new plot has, thankfully, been written. The flying will remain at a minimum and the costumes and set design will continue to stay spectacular, yet more soundly safe. Under all of this mess, there may be hope for “Spider-Man” the musical when previews resume May 12, and when the show officially opens June 14. Replacing this wreck of a production with a newly improved show may not only bring positivity into a previously tarnished reputation, but it may become one of Broadways biggest turn-arounds. If the team behind “Spider-Man” makes these changes, this laughable catastrophe may somehow become a miracle for Broadway and will be able to wow audiences like so many shows before it. It has the power to be brilliant – and if the new staff is smart enough, they can make this show famous for transforming from one of the most expensive failures to one of Broadways biggest triumphs.