Upcoming Boston Opera House Shows Lift the Winter Blues

Posted January 13, 2015 by Cheryl Fenton in Theater & Arts
Shen Yun

The decision to leave the house these days needs more oomph than pizza and a movie. Only something amazing will get you into your puffy coat and Sorels to shlep in this crazy freezing weather. You need inspiration.

Would witnessing 5,000 years of Chinese culture on one stage do? Or how about reaching new understanding of how our musical world was shaped?

If so, the two upcoming shows at the Boston Opera House – Shen Yun and Motown the Musical – will have you braving the hat head and laughing at those 10 tiny degrees.

Shen Yun (January 23 through 25): Imagine 5,000-year-old Chinese culture wrapped in colorful silks dancing with fans, scarfs, swords and intense precision. This is Shen Yun. During its ninth season, you’ll witness incredibly intense energy on stage as dancers weave ancient magical legends with modern tales.

Although classical Chinese dance is incredibly beautiful, it packs a serious punch as one of the most rigorous out there. It’s expressive and demanding, and you’ll be happily exhausted just watching these athletes as they whiz, whirl and launch themselves across the stage. The show’s backdrops are gasp-worthy, and the orchestra is a terrific blend of East and West.

It’s dazzling for eyes and ears, but you should know that behind every movement is a mission. The performance is helping us all connect with a long-lost Chinese culture. Didn’t know you were learning something, did you? Shen Yun is a non-profit organization whose goal is to return this treasure through music and dance. Following the tradition of creating true art through inner beauty and purity, there’s a sincerity during each performance that’s breathtaking. With 5,000 years of story ideas, every experience is different.

Motown The Musical

The show’s serious theme is how Motown crashed through barriers, building a community of music that brought us all together.

Motown the Musical (January 27 through February 15): A premiere performance, this is the toe-tapping story of one man’s dream — Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to heavy hitting music mogul. Played by Clifton Oliver, Gordy launched the careers of a few people you may have heard of – Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye. These people and their musical contributions ring any bells?

The show’s serious theme is how Motown crashed through barriers, building a community of music that brought us all together. They fought the odds to create America’s soundtrack. This is where the fun comes in, wrapped up in insanely good music. Expect 40 classic hits such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown the Musical has a bunch of heavyweights behind it. There are Grammy and Tony Award nominees and winners throughout the behind-the-scenes team, from choreography to set design, costumes to lighting. Most importantly, the big man himself is watching every step – Berry Gordy is one of the producers so you know everything is all right, uptight, out of sight.

The shows themselves are fantastic reasons to get out, but their location isn’t all that shabby either. If you haven’t been to the Boston Opera House, there’s a wow in your future. Originally a 1928 movie palace, this is opulence at its best. Restored in 2004 (to the tune of $54 million), it was shined up to original grand vaudeville condition with retouches on the Carrara marble, paintings, tapestries, gold leaf finishes, grand staircases, silk wall panels and giant chandeliers.

The winter blues don’t stand a chance against all this amazing musical talent. So snap your fingers in the face of Jack Frost and tell him to beat it. You’ve got a show to see.