‘7’ the Winner! The Brazilian Musical Comes of Age — Part Three: The Critics Agree!

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REVIEWS OF MÖELLER & BOTELHO’S 7 – THE MUSICAL, ONE OF THE FINEST MUSICAL-THEATER PIECES EVER TO HIT THE BRAZILIAN STAGE

"Seven Curses" from 7 - The Musical
“Seven Curses” from 7 – The Musical

Intermission Feature

    “With their considerable knowledge brought to the area of musical theater, the team of Charles Möeller and Claudio Botelho has, for the first time, forged a path toward that of the musical as stage spectacular with 7 – The Musical. This new work— with a book by Möeller, lyrics by Botelho and music by Ed Motta — follows the example set by Stephen Sondheim, with a play that is more erudite and adult than traditional popular American musicals have been…

    “As always, Claudio’s lyrics, sung as well as they are, sound so impeccably right for the dramatic situation at hand… Charles’ direction strongly guides the large cast along, favoring behavior according to character type, as dictated by the text, and is especially efficient when dealing with massed ensembles.”

Barbara Heliodora, O Globo

    “With the premiere of 7 – The Musical, Brazilian musical theater has reached full maturity. Its parents – Charles Möeller and Claudio Botelho – have been carefully nurturing it, with affinity and gratitude… but with the launch of their 15th joint venture, [they have] presented to the public their most ambitious project yet, one that is 100 percent by their own hands. If before the team had bent itself backwards [to do justice to] the grand masters of musical theater, this time it has started from scratch: the elegant songs of ‘7’, a good portion of which are semi-operatic in tone, were written by Ed Motta specifically for this staging. This is musical theater in its natural state, with songs that serve the narrative to perfection – the lyrics by Botelho, musical director of the show, side by side with Motta’s music, are both touching and thrilling, but are there to advance the plot…

    “From the looks of it, the tale that’s being told reveals the ease with which Möeller, the author and director of the text, has in uniting subject matter with lightness of touch. The excellent cast assembled for this production sings about the absence of love, and the fate that drives them to the play’s ultimate realization: that moving forward is better than looking backward. Rogerio Falcão’s lovely but somber sets cause an immediate impact in their recreation of first a forest, then several balconies, along with allusions to the familiar landscape of the Lapa Arches.”

– André Gomes, O Dia Newspaper

Alessandra Verney (Bianca) & Raul Veiga (Herculano) abroadwayeaqui.com.br
Alessandra Verney (Bianca) & Raul Veiga (Herculano) http://www.abroadwayeaqui.com.br

“The show argues the case for what a Brazilian musical can be. The production… reveals its national identity by means of elements found in the universality of its themes. Inspired by confabulated tales of witches and witchcraft, in traditional narrative recollections, they are transferred to a Rio of the imagination where snowflakes begin to fall. The characters relive the archetypes previously conferred on them by the Brothers Grimm, singing as if they had stepped out of a Sondheim musical. There’s nothing more Brazilian, by the spirit of playfulness present throughout – with the needless necessity of labeling itself ‘native’ in origin – than to prove that an Anglo-Saxon matrix can receive a treatment that celebrates, by sheer force, this very identity.

“Ed Motta’s music, with inventive and dazzling lyrics by Claudio Botelho, boasts a refinement and rhythmic variance that adjusts itself to the evolution of the dramatic context. With complex but no less melodious harmonies, Motta’s score is attractive to the point that, upon leaving the theater, one wants to hear it all over again from the start. The musical direction, the arrangements, the conducting and musicianship establish a sonorous quality that gives full weight to the beauty of this score… Director Charles Möeller, in his most ambitious assignment yet, orchestrates each individual detail, creating compositions and frames of great beauty, and leading the surprisingly competent cast with sureness and ease.”

Macksen Luiz, Jornal do Brasil

“It’s difficult to associate Ed Motta who debuted in the record market in 1988… with his theatrical debut as the sophisticated composer of 7 – The Musical. Ed wrote the score (the lyrics are by Claudio Botelho) and provided the musical direction (together with Botelho) of the team comprised of Möeller & Botelho on their 15th joint production. The melodic refinement is in complete harmony with Ed’s recent repertory of works.

“What is surprising – and most reassuring – is the composer’s ability to place his music at the disposal of the theater. Ed wouldn’t fare too badly on Broadway, with such numbers as ‘Dance Around the Dead Man,’ ‘My Friends the Cards,’ ‘Oh, Look at Me,’ ‘If This Pathway’ (with echoes from the children’s song ‘If This Street Were Mine’) and ‘My Heart on Your Heart.’ Motta’s music has a sullen and somber quality that manages to provide the dark tone called for in Möeller’s script, [which is] made up of references to the stories of the Brothers Grimm, along with various allusions to witchcraft.”

Mauro Ferreira (The Blog Notas Musicais – “Musical Notes”)

Rogeria (Odette), Marya Bravo (Madeleine) & Gottscha (Elvira)
Rogeria (Odette), Marya Bravo (Madeleine) & Gottscha (Elvira)

“The use of the Gothic tale of Snow White… in parallel with, or as a basis for, the intriguing book by author Charles Möeller, resulted in the unusually notorious universe of Nelson Rodrigues, our best-known transgressor of dramaturgy, with all that we’ve grown accustomed to in his works, from its mythical aspects to the suburban phase [of development]: a woman scorned and ill-resigned to her fate; a wandering and womanizing husband (nothing less than a certain Herculano!); as well as whores, prostitutes, and conniving clairvoyants. It’s a veritable bubbling cauldron of melodramatic ingredients: hate, jealousy, revenge, knives literally ripping apart impetuous hearts…

“The tone is of a tragicomedy, a grandiloquent and solemn one at that, with tidbits of comic relief and humor of a typically carioca nature…The musical direction and reduced orchestrations are worthy of Ed Motta’s original score, as are Claudio Botelho’s lyrics, unbeatable as usual in this context.”

Afonso Gentil (Theater Critic associated with APCA)

Creative Team:

Book and Direction: Charles Möeller
Music: Ed Motta
Lyrics: Claudio Botelho
Musical Direction: Ed Motta and Claudio Botelho
Musical Supervision: Marcelo Castro
Arrangements / Orchestrations: Delia Fisher
Musical Preparation / Conductor: André Távora Kacowicz
Assistant Directors: Paula Sandroni, Tina Salles
Sets: Rogério Falcão
Costumes: Rita Murtinho
Scenic Design: Beto Carramanhos
Choreography: Renato Vieira
Sound Design: Marcelo Claret
Lighting: Paulo César Medeiros
Public Relations and Press: Marcia Niemeyer
Production Directors: Aniela Jordan, Beatriz Secchin Braga, Monica Athayde Lopes

A show by Charles Möeller and Claudio Botelho

Original Cast (2007 Season – João Caetano Theater – Rio de Janeiro)

Alessandra Maestrini – Amelia
Alessandra Verney – Bianca
Eliana Pittman – Rosa
Gottsha – Elvira
Ida Gomes – Old Stepmother
Marya Bravo – Madeleine
Rogéria – Odette
Zezé Motta – Carmen
Tatih Köhler – Clara
Raul Veiga – Herculano
Jonas Hammar – Alvaro
Cristiano Penna
Fabrício Negri
Jules Vandystadt
Rodrigo Cirne
Tuto Gonçalves

2008/2009 Season Cast (Carlos Gomes Theater – RJ)

Alessandra Maestrini – Amelia
Alessandra Verney – Bianca
Eliana Pittman – Rosa
Janaina Azevedo – Elvira
Ida Gomes / Myriam Thereza – Old Stepmother
Ivana Domenico – Madeleine
Marina Ruy Barbosa – Clara
Rogéria – Odette
Zezé Motta – Carmen
Jarbas Homem de Mello – Herculano
Pedro Sol – Alvaro
Betto Serrador
Marcel Octavio
Otavio Zobaran
Stein Junior
Tuto Gonçalves

2009 Season Cast – São Paulo (Sérgio Cardoso Theater)

Alessandra Maestrini – Amelia
Alessandra Verney – Bianca
Eliana Pittman – Rosa
Ivana Domenico – Madeleine
Janaina Azevedo / Renata Celidonio – Elvira
Malu Rodrigues – Clara
Rogéria – Odette
Suzana Faini – Old Stepmother
Zezé Motta – Carmen
Jarbas Homem de Mello – Herculano
Pedro Sol – Alvaro
Beto Serrador
Daniel Nunes
Marcel Octavio
Otávio Zobaran
Tuto Gonçalves

Orchestra:

Alexandre Brasil / Omar Cavalheiro – bass, guitar
Alex Freitas / Levi Chaves – alto sax, flute, clarinet
Gabriel Guenther / Marcio Romano – drums, percussion, vibraphone
Pedro Mibielli / Anderson Pequeno / Tomaz Soares – violin
Thaís Ferreira / Luciano Corrêa – cello
Vitor Gonçalves / Marcelo de Castro – piano, keyboard

(With gratitude and acknowledgement to Charles Möeller, Claudio Botelho, Ed Motta, and Tania Carvalho)

Copyright © 2014 by Josmar F. Lopes

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