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Entries in Andrew Lloyd Webber (6)

Sunday
Apr012018

Beauty Break: He is Risen

Did you love Jesus Christ Superstar Live!? John Legend was in spectacular voice as Jesus and kudos also to Tony nominee (and one of my favorite Broadway stars) Norm Lewis as Caiaphas. But the scene stealer of the night was Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon who stole the show as Judas Iscariot. He was a glittering reminder, particularly in disco chainmail in the closing fantasy sequence (since Judas had already committed suicide), that live performing is a unique skill set. Imagine your average movie star trying to keep up that much physical and emotional energy for two plus hours while leaping around a stage and singing at the top of their lungs. If anything Dixon's energy only grew as the night wore on. Just stunning. (I'm not talking about his body, but that too.)  

Though Jesus Christ Superstar! was in some ways an odd dated musical choice for a mainstream family event (it's not remotely 'funny' for one)  it was the best produced "Live" musical since that became an annual thing. The set design and direction were amazing, culminating in a major wow of a finale. Still don't love the Andrew Lloyd Webber score and can't fathom why people doing the orchestrations for Lloyd Webber revivals never think to subvert the oh-so-70s electric guitar sound (also a weird issue with the 1996 Evita movie) but you can't have everything.

Since this particular production had all kinds of gorgeous men in fine voice and equally fine body, let's end this Easter weekend sharing photos of the hottest men to have ever played Jesus in the movies or on television before John Legend's go at it. The gallery is after the jump...

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Monday
Aug282017

Stage Door: "Prince of Broadway"

by Nathaniel R

Though I don't cherish the form I've seen quite a few jukebox musicals in my day. Sometimes they take the biographical route like Jersey Boys. Often they'll sift through the lyrics of some artist's catalogue hoping to yank out phrases and threads from which they can stitch together a frankenstein story. Mammia Mia is either the apotheosis or the nadir of that latter form, depending on your perspective. But what if the jukebox isn't beholden to one composer? Prince of Broadway, which just opened at the Samuel Friedman in NYC, is devoted to the producer Harold Prince who did not write music. So what you have is a greatest hits of, uh, dozens of different composers from a wide range of musicals. If this were a CD it might be called "Now That's What I Call Broadway, Vol. Whatever"

Prince backed a TON of über famous shows in his illustrious career including Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret... you name it! None of the musicals sound alike so there's little hope of cohesion in the show. Wisely Prince of Broadway  doesn't try to create a "story" from these disparate musicals in a career that stretches all the way back to 1950 (Prince is 89 years old and directed this production).What they've come up with instead is much less intrusive even if it doesn't totally work...

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Wednesday
Aug162017

Soundtracking: "Evita"

It's Madonna's birthday!! Chris Feil looks back at one of her biggest soundtracks...

By the mid-90s, musicals were all but dead, even though Disney created their own resurgence in animated form. Madonna’s career however was always heading toward reviving it: she constantly reinvented the game for the music video and her Breathless Mahoney songstress was Dick Tracy’s genre flirtation device. With her divisive performance in Evita, she brought the cinematic musical back into the popular culture and delivered a hit soundtrack in the process.

And I should qualify that for emphasis: a hit soundtrack to a quasi-opera about propaganda and Argentine political figures when the popular music landscape highlighted Alanis, Tupac, and The Smashing Pumpkins. Madonna did that in arguably the least accommodating musical or cinematic climate, and perhaps only Madonna could have done it. Like it or not, much of the film’s success (even musically) is thanks to her star power, no matter how indelible Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s score remains.

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Wednesday
May102017

Jesus Christ, It's time to play "Cast This!" again

By Nathaniel R

Paul Nolan as Jesus in the most recent Broadway revival (2012)This just in: NBC is prepping its fifth live musical for April 2018. Their first Sound of Music was a mixed bag quality-wise but a giant ratings hit. Since then they've had two critical and ratings successes (The Wiz and Hairspray) and one failure (Peter Pan). The fifth will be Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. It's made frequent regular appearances on stages all over the world since its debut in 1970. It even had a Golden Globe nominated film version in 1973 directed by Norman Jewison who was, at the time, a very hot commodity having recently made three best picture players: The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! (1966, not a sci-fi time travelling movie about the current US government), In the Heat of the Night (1967) and the Best Picture nominee Fiddler on the Roof (1971).

No casting has been announced but they're said to be seeking "authentic recording artists." What does that even mean...?

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Monday
Jul282014

1973 Look Back: Biblical Musicals

Our celebration of 1973 continues with Andrew on Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar

In 1970 John-Michael Tebelak was completing work on his master’s thesis project about Jesus Christ at Carnegie Mellon University. Before long he would pair up with musician and lyricist Stephen Schwartz and in May of 1971 the musical Godspell would officially begin playing. Around the same time, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were finalising work on a rock album, a concept musical of sorts, on the last ten days of Jesus' life. The album would be released in the fall of 1970, and one year later Jesus Christ Superstar, the musical developed from the soundtrack, would open on Broadway. By some weird happenstance the fates of the two Jesus musicals would be tied*. Two years later, the two musicals (both moderate hits on stage by that time) saw screen adaptations released in 1973.

One religious stage-musical adapted to the big screen is a curiosity; two religious film musicals – both of them from recent stage hits -  in a single year is fascinating. Two religious film musicals in the same year from recent stage hits which both cover, generally, the same subject? Too intriguing to ignore.

Two Jesus musicals, two very different Jesuses. More...

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Sunday
Apr102011

Links: Haynes, Malick, Madonna, Mitchell

direct this
unexamined/essentials
looks at the entire career of Paul Anderson. No, not that one. The other one, the Paul W.S. Anderson one.
The Telegraph Tim Robey awaits the return of Hollywood's poet Terrence Malick with The Tree of Life and investigates his mystique.
Nick's Flick Picks encounters the first Todd Haynes project he's not totally gaga for: Mildred Pierce. I share his trepidations but like him, am definitely enjoying the details and the actressing.
La Daily Musto John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole) is even using Kickstarter now? It's a whole new world. This is for funding for an animated film.

in less auteur driven news...
Playbill Here's an interesting idea. Andrew Lloyd Webber doesn't think it will ever happen but he wants Madonna, who already played Evita in his world, for the big screen version of his Sunset Boulevard musical.
Movie|Line Remember Josh Pence, who got that SAG nomination for just his body appearing onscreen with Armie Hammer's face on it in The Social Network? Now we get his face: he's got a role in The Dark Knight Rises. Happy endings.
Twitch Film brings you the winners of the Dallas International Film Festival. Congratulates to this one we're hearing about the first time: Jess + Moss.