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I Just Got Stung By The Best Stinger of All… STING.
Michael J. Herman  -- Mr. Motivation -- The World's Biggest Motivational Force Michael J. Herman -- Mr. Motivation -- The World's Biggest Motivational Force
Granada Hills, CA
Saturday, February 10, 2024

Message In A Bottle US Debut

I Just Got Stung By The Best Stinger of All… STING.

By Michael J Herman, Critic-At-Large

It is difficult to put into words the astounding experience of Message In A Bottle, the Broadway-bound dance experience at The Pantages Theater through Sunday, Feb 11. With only 7 performances February   7-11 this is a theatrical dance event unlike anything I've ever seen and one that should not be missed!

Sting's music is the voice of several generations and his lyrics echo through the caverns of our lives. The artistry with which the songs weave this quilt is nothing less than mesmerizing.

The music comes alive.

The dance makes you want to jump.

The inspiration radiates throughout your entire body.

You will know every song and you will know every lyric. The incorporation of multi-media and astounding sounds that fill every crevice of The Pantages will inspire any theatergoer!

Using the iconic music of Sting to tell the choreographed story of a displaced family and their individual journeys through the cataclysmic horrors of violence, poverty, crime, and imprisonment, Message In A Bottle (MIAB) digs deep into the psychological turmoil that society brushes aside.

Making us look at ourselves as a species and ask the question, How can we do this to each other?, and yet we do every day, MIAB confronts humanity's cruelty in a beautifully abstract polemic.

MIAB powerfully confronts the very deep crimes of humanity while demonstrating the singular best dance exhibition on stage anywhere ultimately revealing our most basic emotion... that is love. Period!

With a cast of only 16 on stage, I was certain there were 40 or 50.

The choreography creates the illusion of a Ringling Brothers circus. three rings? No, more like 6 or 7 on stage all at once. Every dance step was a phantasm. My eyes could not decide where to look or where to focus.

Why not? Because every performer on stage (without exception) was an absolutely stunning master of movement and artistic expression. Without equivocation, the best I've ever seen. Combining every kind of dance imaginable from Hip-hop, to Jazz, Ballet, Swing, acrobatics, aerial stunts, and much more, the story of human survival as sung by Sting's original music with Sting's vocals was a rollercoaster of a performance.

However, this is no whitewash. There was a problem and it's a big pet peeve I've articulated in other critiques. At times throughout the performance, certain dance performers were in the dark. Not in a shadow, but in the dark. Either this was an error in staging and choreography, or it was an intentional creative decision.

Either way, it's a blight on the stage direction and one I believe should not have been made. While to many it may be insignificant, I sympathize with the dancer who sweated and sacrificed only to be minimized while delivering top-tier efforts. Everyone should have their day in the spotlight, or at least their message in the bottle.

Kudos must go to the incredible mind of its Director and Choreographer Kate Prince, who originally approached Sting with this concept and besides creating a masterpiece and surely her career opus, brought the singer-songwriter to tears when he saw her original presentation.

This is not only a piece of theatrical and dance superiority, but a cultural missive to those who hurt, and a biting indictment by those who have been victimized, but a wonderful addition to Broadway In Hollywood's consistency and a beacon of hope that yes, we can do better.

Sting's lyrics echo through time and pose serious questions that have not yet been answered, but it's possible that Message In A Bottle is a start. One can only hope so.

Michael J. Herman is Critic-At-Large at Luxury-Media Group.

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