Written by Patrick Chavis
“the reproduction of sound with little distortion, giving a result very similar to the original.”
The term “high fidelity” is really a phrase created by Audiophiles (intense music fans) who are looking for the most authentic and high quality sound they can find. For many that means vinyl, since it was the musical standard for a long time. Even now, unlike a lot of its contemporaries, the vinyl record is making a huge comeback. This idea of authenticity in music and in life became clearer to me after watching the Curtis Theater’s production of High Fidelity : The Musical. It was a completely different experience from the movie. Which isn’t to criticize the film, but the stage production works even better.
In High Fidelity we first meet our main character Rob (Jeff Lowe), a former DJ and now record store owner who is currently receiving one of the coldest breakups imaginable from his most recent girlfriend Laura (Hallie Mayer). What follows is a conversation between the audience and Rob as he takes us on a journey through his life, and (because he’s a DJ) his story revolves around his Top Five List.
Rob’s stories come in different genres. All of them have their weaknesses and their advantages. However, after seeing this show, High Fidelity always was a musical. While the movie talks about the music and elicits a sense of nostalgia about music and it’s devotees, it kept you detached from the music and more focused on the mixed bag of former relationships –some interesting, some not. The musical keeps the past relationships in the story but correctly keeps the focus on the main point, which is the relationship with Laura because the true message in High Fidelity is that there are copies, and very good copies, but there’s nothing at all like the real thing.
This is a fun night of theatre. Everyone on stage was giving their all to make you feel at home. Even before the show the crew is walking around the record store, treating audience interaction as part of their daily routine. The show begins naturally –progressing as though you’ve always been there and that you are just another person in the shop.
The casting is key in this show and for the most part it hits the nail the head. Jeff Lowe makes enough vocal mistakes to not quite be considered a perfect fit for the role, but man is there enough fire in his performance to pull it off. Lowe is able to hold his own in a very complicated show:singing, dancing, and transitioning back to regular acting in a very admirable way. The gangster flash back scene when he blasts a cap (aka a bullet) in his rival Ian’s head was one of the funniest things I’ve seen,period! Going to see that one moment might be enough of a reason to see this show all by itself. That being said, the stand out really was one of the side characters. Brian Pirnat plays Dick, one of the shy geeky characters at the shop. Pirnat, with all his anti-social awkwardness, didn’t hit a wrong note the entire night. The rest of the cast is talented as well and they all sing particularly well together.
The biggest issues comes from the sound side –some glitchy sound issues, and the singing from the main cast is a bit too pitchy at times for my taste.
Side note- I’ve read though a lot of PlayBills since I’ve started reviewing theatre shows, but I think this was the most creative one I’ve read. Courtesy Joey Anaya (Barry)
“Joey Anaya is a creative professional out of Whittier, CA. He finds difficulty in writing a 100-word bio that effectively rides the line between pompous and self-effacing. He wonders if by reading this, one would grasp the love he has for the performing arts. Sometimes, he’s unsure his varied performances on stage and in film can be used typify his character, define who he is as a man, and encapsulate his existence on this planet. He’s done things. He’s met people. He’s been places. In closing, without a doubt, it can be said that Joey Anaya is.”–Joey Anaya
If theres a Top Five for best bio, this is somewhere on the list.
The show runs until June 14th
Misa Moosekian plays Marie – High Fidelity Audition UCI Graduate
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-Great story better then the film version.
- Natural audience interaction even before the show begins.
- Live Music
- Fantastic Casting
- Some glitchy sound issues.
- Singing from the main cast is a bit too pitchy at times
A well casted and performed musical that reaches the level of great professional theatre with only a few minor performance & technical issues.
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