6 January 2003 | barbarella70
The real thing
Forget the flashy camera work and in-your-face editing style of Chicago and Moulin Rouge or even the much ballyhooed stage treatment of The Producers (also by Susan Stroman) -this is by far the best musical on stage or screen we have right now. Contact takes three different stories, sets them to various styles of music (pop, classical, swing, etc.) and shows us what some performers live and breathe for: to dance. Bravo for their effort and passion! The effect is inspirational and breathtaking.
This is the last performance of Stroman's fantastic, Tony award winning diamond-in-the-rough and contains some of the best dancing you'll see right now. Filmed at the Vivian Beaumont in Lincoln Center, Boyd Gains (who quit the show before this was taped) won a Tony as the lonely director in the third and best segment: drunken and depressed, he begins a midnight walk and is drawn into a jazzy, after-hours swing club where he becomes obsessed with winning over a beautiful woman armed with a Grace Kelly hairdo, a sexy yellow dress, and a pair of legs that never stop. This performance doesn't contain the original cast but they're just as good and still make Contact a sexy, emotional tour-de-force of energy that you cannot tear yourself away from.
Notice how the television cameras circulate around the stage and capture all the breathtaking physical movement without the needless cuts and irritating zooms that permiate most music videos and the aforementioned movies. You just need d*** good dancers and some catchy tunes, throw in a few simple-yet-stylish sets, low lighting, a common thread to link the stories together -how people try to overcome fear and succumb to their need to be loved- and then let us see what's really there instead of hinting at it. It's a magnificent piece of theater that is not the least bit damaged when seen on a tv screen. Hopefully a DVD will be released soon. Don't miss it!