But I honestly think I would not have liked it much in any event: the schtick seems prehistoric, sort of like watching Barber of Seville, where it seems as though every staging has schtick that's been around since 1816. Show Boat isn't that old, but this staging makes it feel that old. It is....just painful, in various ways.
Two of the comic characters talk, all the time, as though they have sandpaper in their throats. Apparently this is supposed to be funny. A third sounds like Kristen Chenowenth, or maybe I mean Jean Hagen's character in Singin' in the Rain - you know, the one whose voice and pronunciation are so bad that she can't possibly be in a talking picture?
I did not care much for the songs, which are....okay, but not much better than that, though it was nice to hear Old Man River in its intended context. The book and lyrics are not much better, and of course you can see the major plot points coming a mile away whether you've read the synopsis or not.
Lastly, the whole damn show is amplified. I understand why, but I don't have to like it:
- So the dialog can be heard
- To bring the non-operatic voices up to approximately the volume of the operatic voices
All of the principals wear body mikes. They are always on for dialog; they are on for the smaller voices when they are singing. The big-voiced singers (Morris Robinson, Heidi Stober, Patricia Racette, and maybe others) sound amplified when they're singing because of ambience microphones, which are used to help balance out the quality of sound.
Considering that part of the reason for doing a show like this in an opera house is that Broadway houses don't use full orchestras and don't use singers who can, you know, sing, maybe SFO should only be hiring singers with operatic voices when it does musicals.
As far as I can tell, pretty much everybody reviewing this show loved it, so you may take me as the token grump, since I couldn't even get it together to enjoy this show as a period piece.