A trip down the memory lane with Passing Strange

Drama, art, music and other similar types of performing are not just a recreation or hobby but is now a status and lifestyle, defining the very base of a man’s life. Broadway is one of the most popular and refined forms of music and drama that the world ever has.

One such Broadway theatrical that marked its place and credibility as an art piece is Passing Strange. Filmed in the years 2004 and 2005 in the famed Sundance Institute, it is one of the most well scripted and shot of the contemporary rock musicals, although the play’s music is not strictly rock. It is about the life of an average middle class African American who through his music tries to paint the general condition of their lives. It is ideally a metafictional act that through the various shades of emotions, both humor and grimness shows the truth.

The play is set in several places, basically the life of the protagonist by the name of ‘Youth’ in Europe. The play is based on the book by the same name by Stew who is also the lyricist. It released in the year 2008 in the Broadway Theater and was welcomed by high comments and reviews.

If we go into the basic background of the play, we find stark similarities between ‘Passing Strange’ and ‘Othello, The Moor of the Venice’, the world famous play by the iconic Shakespeare. In fact, Stew says the former was a direct influence on his play and that the core concept behind the rock musical came from one of the lines in Othello,

“My story being done,

She gave me for my pains a world of sighs;

She swore, in faith ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange …

The musical pieces are ranging from rock to gospel, Jazz, punk and many more. The play has won a Tony Award for the best book and had a total of seven nominations for various categories. Some other accreditations are the Best Musical Director (Rodewald), Audelco Award for Best Musical, Best Performance (Daniel Breaker) and the Best Director (Annie Dorsen) etc.

The plot of the play is an interesting follow up full of engaging twists and turns that help any stick to it throughout. It opens in a middle-aged Los Angeles Christian society where the hero of the paly, Youth is seen as a young baptized follower. However, with the onset of his teen years, he gets attracted by the doctrines of Zen Buddhism, a fact that his mother, an ardent Christ follower is unable to accept. The Gospel bad in the Church reminds him of rock and is again ‘slapped’ by his mother indicating the growing dislike among the people for the genre of music.

The nest part of the play is set in Berlin and is a continuum of the life and process of self-identification for Youth. The song list in the play is particularly a great asset and includes numbers like We Might Play All Night, Blues Revelation, Everything’s Alright, We Just Had Sex and many more.

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Broadway; your personal guide to the world of Broadway theatricals

There are no second thoughts about the fact that art and drama have been an integral part of the human civilization right from the beginning of it. Be it the crude forms played in a village theater group or the highly refined and polished forms in any professional studio, the basic need for such means of leisure is felt universally and in fact is no more ‘just another way’ of entertainment. The modern day drama or play is indeed a complex and interesting process that involves apart from the obvious skill of acting, several other skills such as music, dances, sound and light management, make up and many more such.

The birth of Broadway is one of the most iconic steps, a milestone to be precise in the world of art and drama today. It is indeed one of the most prestigious and touted platforms today that actors from all over the world consider a pilgrim!

The Broadway is a region of the New York City, the neighborhood of Manhattan to be specific that houses 40 of the very professional performing theaters in the country. It runs from the Bowling Green area in the south to the Inwood located at the north. It stretches the entire borough and is univocally, the central seat of the American society of dramatization and related performing arts.

Although the present day scenario sees a very position of these performing arts and then places that stage them, it was not the case always. In fact, the city did not have a theater until the 70s and the actors Walter Murray and Thomas Kean opened the first theater that seated around 280 people in the famed Nassau Street. It was later, probably a decade later that the industry started flourishing and with it, paved for the popular theater culture.

The small theater by Murray and Kean was the first Broadway Theater in the city and their debut play; The Beggar’s Opera was run for a mere five times and was organized by British ballad opera by John Gay. It played its first ever show on the 3rd of December 1750.

Over all these years, the number and style of plays staged in these 40 theaters in the Theater District of Manhattan, that the world better knows as Broadway has changed substantially. From romantic tragedies an classical plays by famous playwrights like William Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill and man more to the more chic and uptown plays of the recent years that address the various political and social concerns, the journey is certainly an upright one!

It is one of the most common tourist trends in the New York city to visit the street and see a play in one of the Broadway theaters or even the Off-Broadway ones (theaters outside the 11 Block, Broadway borough). TKTS is a ticketing booth system spread across different locations in the city like Lower Manhattan, Times Square, Duffy Square and Brooklyn. The discounts, lotteries or ‘rush-hour’ tickets all attract common people and make the overall sell of the theaters high.

A brief discussion on the top 5 Rock musicals ever

From time immemorial, music has been an integral part of all our lives. Be it a happy occasion like a wedding or a sad one like a martyr’s death, expressing your feelings through the happy or soulful melody of a song is a tradition that is age-old and continues to persist even today, in a better form that is. With the change in the lifestyle of the people, the different genres and styles of music have also undergone a drastic change. The music that was once a pure expression of the soul, often produced with the use of simple and crude instruments, has now transformed into a full form of performing art, which with the aid of other avenues like dance and drama is a lifestyle statement today.

Musicals are one of the most popular ways of entertaining oneself today and also a great marriage between the various allied art forms such as drama, dance, music, art, direction and the more commercial ones such as production, marketing etc. There are so many different types of musicals or music dance-dramas that a seeker would ideally be lost amidst the huge selection! Of these several types, Rock Musicals are highly popular among both the young and the old alike and have a very ardent fan following. Some of the most famous and coveted rock musicals of all times are discussed as under.

1. This is Spinal Tap: it is univocally, one of the most popular rock musicals ever made and was first staged on March 2 1984. Directed by Rob Reiner, the musical has a star studded actor line-up including famous names such as Michele McKean, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest etc. the Musical is based on the iconic British hard rock and metal band, the Spinal Tap. The course of the lives of the individual band members and the way they form the band and their musical conquests are portrayed in the musical in a humorous manner and hence, falls in the category, Mockumentary.

2. The Blues Brothers: the musical was directed by John Landis and was forst played on the 20th of June 1980. A star cast that flaunts names such as John Belushi, Ray Cahrles, John Candy, Carry Fisher and Dan Aykroyd, the Blues Brothers is definitely one of the most liked of all musicals of the era.

3. A Hard Day’s Night: a Beetles lover could never abstain from this classic rock musical that stars Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Wilfrid Brambell, Bridget Armstrong and Deryck Guyler and directed by Richard Lester. Based on the British band the Beetles, A Hard Day’s Night was first released on the 1st of January, 1964 and is categorized as a Comedy, an Ensemble film etc.

4. Hedwig and the Angry Inch: it is one of the more recent rock musicals that throw the limelight on homosexual characters in the society. It was released on 27 July 2001 and was directed by John Cameron Mitchell.

5. The Commitments: released on the 28th of August 1991, this Alan Parker directed musical is highly appreciated for its quality and artistic superiority. It stars Robert Arkins, Angelina Ball, Andrew Strong etc.

Blackjack: Field of Gold

Many online casinos offer a very simple side bet, although elusive (only seen it or heard of it being played in a handful of casinos state-side), and one that yields very favorable house odds is called Field of Gold. The side bet is a fixed amount, and since it’s tallying up card value, Aces are always counted as one here. And that’s really it, there are no wacky wheels or anything on this one, it’s just straight payout based on the value of your first two cards. Here’s the rundown:

The highest payout is Ace/Jack suited, which bring in 25:1. Don’t stop reading yet, I know 25:1 on a blackjack side bet isn’t the greatest “high-end” payout, but when you see the overall odds and potential combinations for victory, you’ll become a believer. Anyway, the odds of getting this in your hand are just under 0.3%. in a standard, six-deck game. This leaves you with a 7.4% return if it hits.

Next is a pair of bullets, which wins 10:1 on your bet, and carries a 0.57 percent chance of occurring. So, doing the math again, there’s a 5.7% average return on this part of the side bet.

The rest of the returns are minimal, but so plentiful that it significantly helps your return odds for each hand.

A total hand value of 3 or 4 pays off 3:1, and has a 3% chance of hitting. A value of 9 or 10 pays 2:1, with a favorable 10% chance. A straight blackjack wins 1.5:1 (sounds familiar), and the odds of that (which you already should know) are about 4.4%. And finally an 11 or 12 value wins 1:1, and carries a percentage of 13.5.

How does that all boil down? Let’s break it up by deck. The overall house edge in a one-deck casino game here is 6.6%, which is extremely favorable for a one-deck side bet. And as the decks increase, your odds improve. Two decks is 6%, four decks is 5.75%, five decks is 5.7%, six decks is 5.66%, and an eight-deck game brings the house edge down to 5.62%.

So, if you can locate this side bet at any of the online casinos, it’s well worth the gamble for any number of decks. It also forces you to count your value each time, which isn’t a bad habit to work into your blackjack discipline anyway.

Blackjack: Lucky you

Here’s another side bet with a few nice payoffs but a rather uninspired name, called Lucky Lucky. Don’t ask me where that came from, but one indication might be that the game is commonly found more in Canada than the U.S. (kidding).

In this one, like many others, the payoff is based on the combination of your first two up cards and the dealer’s first up card. Like a stingy slot machine, your best payoff in this one is in the form of three sevens. Let’s go through some of the statistics. I do have to say, after taking all of them into account, the overall house edge is an extremely favorable 2.6%, making this one of the best side bets to try your hand at…if you can find it.

The top payoff gives you back 200:1 on your original bet, and it hits if the combination of the three cards is three suited sevens. The odds are 0.0016% of this coming up, though, with only 80 possible combinations in the decks. Next on the list is a 100:1 payoff for getting 6,7,8 in a row, suited. The odds on this one actually climb proportionately to the payoff, and land at 0.017 percent.

The next two are the same as the first two, only without the suited requirement. The 777 one pays off 50:1, with a probability of hitting at 0.03 percent. The 678 pays 30:1, and will hit 0.26% of the time.

Now, here’s where you actually start to see where the 2.6% house edge comes into play. The rest of these payoffs make the entire side bet extremely favorable to the player, as you’re getting paid off much of the time, whether it’s those high odds or just enough to keep you coming back.

A suited 21 pays off 15:1, with the odds of hitting at 0.53 percent. Even an unsuited 21 pays 3:1, and you’ll see those a nice 8.1 percent of the time.

Rounding out the bottom are any combination of 20, and any combination of 19, both paying the player 2:1 on their bet. The 20 has a 7.5 percent chance of coming up, while the 19 is slightly lower at 7.2 percent.

Overall, this is a very winnable and sustainable side bet, and a nice compliment to regular play.