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I'm a pop music writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I cover pop, hip hop, punk, rock, dance, and ethnic - well, basically everything you can dance to.

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  • Tuesday, March 29, 2005

    "Making Tracks" in San Jose

    Last Friday I caught the opening night of "Making Tracks." It's like an Asian version "Rent." But instead of HIV, it deals with the deep-rooted Asian American theme of sacrifice.

    I liked it enough to recommend it but wish it wasn't three hours long. Overall, I would give it a "B."

    Here's my report card for the night's performance...

    Singing and talent
    Leads Michael K. Lee (from "The Wedding Banquet: the musical)" and Broadway's "Miss Saigon") and Marie-France Arcilla put their beautiful voices on display.

    It was very relatable as an ABC (American Born Chinese) and it was interesting how much of the story is told from the parents' perspective, as opposed to the child's, like many Asian American tales are like. Also, it was refreshing not to see food scenes. In Asian cultures, they express love with food, so many of these Asian American tales have at least one food scene.

    The main problem, the theater critic (Karen d'Souza) was how they overkilled the parallel stories among the generations. If they edited this down, and maybe flashed back, instead of acting each generation out - this could have been a stellar musical.

    I liked the detail, like how the Taiwanese father mixed up his "he's" with his "she's" (my parents do that because in Chinese there is no differentiation in the language except when written). But, the spoken and sung Mandarin was a little off.

    Their design was ingenuous. I really liked the Angel Island poem inscribed walls. They cast a solemn reminder of the pain and sacrifice their Chinese ancestors faced during their immigration into the United States.

    The program says that they wanted the musical to be rock in order to reach a younger audience but much of the rock was from the 90's, not rock from today. Also, a lot of music was very reminiscint of "Rent" and "Miss Saigon."


    Blogger Enoch Choi said...

    can't wait to see it.

    9:41 PM  

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