“Blast!”, according to Bruce McCabe of the Boston Globe: “Blast! is an exuberant 15-number show that doesn’t falter while bridging the categories of classical, blues, jazz, rock n roll, and techno-pop music. Blast! stands, blows, pounds, marches, and whirls with panache. It sent a full house into repeated bursts of cheering and applause.”
Richard Christiansen of the Chicago Tribune states: “‘Blast!’ And a truer word was never spoken. A terrific good time… explosive entertainment.”
And the praise keeps on coming for the 2001 Tony Award winner for “Best Special Theatrical Event” and 2001 Emmy Award winner for “Best Choreography”, as the troop entertains dedicated fans around the world, who return to see Blast! again and again.
Blast! is made up of 34 brass, percussion and visual performers who perform with a blend of music and theatre, following the tradition born on athletic fields across the nation. Though Blast! is evolved from the showmanship of outdoor pageantry, don’t think for a minute that this is just another half-time performanc (which can be spectacular in their own rights); this show is stupendous in its creativity, originality and artistry.
To be quite honest, I didn’t know quite what to expect, as it was my first time to see the production. And I can tell you that it seemed that before I had taken my first breath, the lights were up at intermission, I was so entertained. There are drummers drumming, tooters tooting, and flaggers flagging, along with sabres swirling, bells ringing and voices singing. It is a sight to behold. And the sounds, ah, the sounds, not too loud, as I’d feared they might be, but just right and so much talent. Then in the second act, some of the troop came out into the audience with their instruments, giving us surround sound; Amazing!
“BLAST! is wholesome, family entertainment that crosses cultures and generations,” said Kathleen O’Brien, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The musical talent, athleticism and high energy of the young performers is breathtaking. This show is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, celebrating an American tradition in the same way Riverdance stages Irish dance and Stomp plays with percussion. Everyone has a great time!”
There was another aspect of the performance that I found particularly appealing and that was the more comic side of the show. There was a drum show-down, which had the audience in delighted laughter, as well as several other adorable bits. But the best part of the comedy, was the ringing of children’s laughter throughout the auditorium. That’s when you know you are a success, in my book.
As the show ended, with flags twirling, horns blowing and drums pounding, the audience happily honored the cast with a standing ovation and heartfelt applause. As the audience remained standing and the applause continued to ring, the troop began another song, as they filed down the aisles and into the lobby, where they stood to meet and greet the crowd and pose for photos as we left. There was even an impromptu performance out in the lobby. Incredible!
Does this reviewer give this show two thumbs up? In a word; YES!
Blast! is showing Now through October 2 at TPAC in Nashville. For more information, visit the TPAC website.
Performance times are as follows: Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Friday evening at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 1:00 p.m and 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $25-$67 and are available at the TPAC box office at 505 Deaderick Street (downtown) or the new Satellite box office in the Mall at Green Hills, located at the mall’s concierge desk, near J. Crew and Express. Order online by visiting tpac.org or by calling 615-782-4040.
Kevin Nance of The Tennessean raves, “I was helpless in the path of this visual and aural juggernaut, which far outdoes [Stomp and Riverdance] with youthful energy and cocky panache. …I had an absolutely marvelous time.”