‘Candide’ by Huntington Theatre Company

Courtesy of Wall Street Journal

As I’ve said before, I’m interested in getting more involved in the Boston theater scene (seeing, not acting), and for my second play this year, I chose to see “Candide” downtown at the Boston University Theatre. This was the opening show for the Huntington Theatre Company, one of the biggest companies in Boston and one that has a lot of programs for local artists. I haven’t seen this before, and I hadn’t heard any of the music (although apparently some of the numbers are quite famous, like “Glitter and Be Gay“).

It definitely wasn’t my favorite musical of all time, but I did love being able to laugh at the theater, since normally I gravitate to more serious fare. The cast was great, but the standout, for me, was Laura Molina as Cunegonde, especially in her centerpiece number, ‘Glitter.’ Her voice was quite good, and there were some opera elements to the music, which didn’t bother me in the least. Maybe I’m getting more used to the opera after all?

Another notable feature was the set design; there were so many different inserts and ways that the set kept pulling back to reveal itself. It was some of the most beautiful work I’ve seen outside of Broadway, which brings me to the direction of Mary Zimmerman. She truly did a magnificent job with this work that could be considered outdated to some who don’t like older musicals. Bernstein’s composition can be a bit repetitive and unmemorable, but Zimmerman makes you remember the characters through the humor both in the lyrics and book and the inherent cynicism of Voltaire’s original book.

And, my friend Steph who came with me to the show pointed out that Kristin Chenoweth did a version of ‘Glitter’ that’s here on YouTube. It’s just such an adorable song, perfect for someone bright and bubbly like her. Take that, Lea Michele.

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