Hi everyone. This is Janet from Illinois. I used to be on this site a lot back in the days of Rev. Bob. I so appreciated everything on this site and I still love it. I’m not really sure why I stopped checking in much. It may have been the rise of Facebook and some Neil Diamond Facebook groups that I joined. Jean reached out to me on a Facebook group where I posted about my trip to NYC to see A Beautiful Noise. She mentioned I might find this site interesting. I wrote that I have long loved the iaisnd site. I decided to share my post here in case anyone is interested in my thoughts on A Beautiful Noise and Neil Diamond. It is quite long, but you can obviously skim it if you have any interest. I think A Beautiful Noise is a wonderful show and the New York critics were very unfair. The Boston critics “got it” and happily the general public “gets it” and enjoys the show immensely. I hope the fantastic word of mouth will be strong enough to carry the show through a very long run.
“My grand adventure ended yesterday and what an adventure it was. I drove 1,944.9 miles from Peoria, Illinois to Albany, New York where I boarded a tour bus bound for the theater district in New York City. I had a ticket to see “A Beautiful Noise – The Neil Diamond Musical” on Broadway. Adding in the miles on the bus I figure I traveled about 2,225 miles roundtrip to see the original cast of “A Beautiful Noise” on Broadway and as I wrote previously the experience was worth every one of those 2,225 miles.
The last time I was in New York City was 1987 when my parents and I went to see the original cast of Les Miserables on Broadway. That was an unforgettable experience that I cherish to this day. Now I have another unforgettable experience to cherish. “A Beautiful Noise – The Neil Diamond Musical” is phenomenal, incredible, outstanding, fantastic…. Pick your laudatory word to describe this wonderful show and it will fit. I heard most of them when I boarded the bus following the show. The reaction was unanimous. Everyone loved the show and was so impressed by everything about it.
The cast was amazing led by Will Swenson and Mark Jacoby playing a younger Neil Diamond and a present-day Neil Diamond respectively. Both men were so good at bringing Neil to life. The rest of the cast was equally good with the ensemble (called “the noise” during rehearsals) doing a stellar job singing and dancing. The band/orchestra is magnificent and the arrangements of Neil Diamond’s songs are so well done. I don’t have words to describe the power of the ending of the show moving from an incredible version of Shilo to a combined version of Brooklyn Roads and America that is so effective. We then moved to a version of “I Am…I Said that blew me away. And there was more to come after that emotional high point. The lighting and staging and sound of the show were absolutely wonderful.
I have been a huge fan of Neil Diamond since the late 60’s. I saw my first of 34 Neil Diamond concerts in 1972 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. That was the most incredible concert experience of my life. When the lights flashed on at the beginning of the sermon in Brother Love I was totally blown away. At that moment I was hooked for life. The Neil Diamond concert experience was unlike any other concert I have ever attended. He never let me down. He always gave his all. I would love to know how many thousands of miles I have driven over the years to get tickets to Neil Diamond concerts and then to go to the concerts. I spent more than one night camped outside the Chicago Stadium waiting to try to get great seats when tickets were going on sale in the morning. One time I was 4th in line and I still didn’t get great seats. Some things never change. The quest for good tickets was all part of the fun of being a huge Neil Diamond fan.
What a ride it has been. My parents and my brother also liked Neil Diamond and we went to many concerts together. They are all gone now, but what wonderful memories we shared of Neil Diamond outings. Given my history I did wonder how “A Beautiful Noise” could possibly meet my expectations and yet it did in every way. I want to thank the producers, the cast, the musicians, and everyone involved in staging “A Beautiful Noise.” You all did a wonderful job honoring the life and music of Neil Diamond. Well done, my friends, well done.”