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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Lessons from the success of "It"

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Entries in musicals (408)

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
Jun282017

Yes No Maybe So: "The Greatest Showman"

by Nathaniel R

A big moment in Trailerville has arrived! We have the first taste of the second annual Pasek & Paul musical / Christmas Oscar hopeful. Yes, we're pretending it's a franchise now post-La La Land. After the jump let's obsessively break down the first trailer for the Hugh Jackman party known as The Greatest Showman. We'll do it the way we sometimes do it when we're really excited about something since I maybe just watched this 7 times in a row but who's counting?

Curtains up. Hit the lights... 

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Monday
Jun192017

"Frozen" Gets a Cast for the Stage

Full casting for Broadway hopeful Frozen has been announced. The names have been trickling out for months but now it's all official. The out of town tryouts begin in August in Denver (so if you live there, do report back!). It's quite a high profile gig for all of the cast members none of whom have been Tony nominated and many of whom are in early stages of their careers.

This image, headshots for the two leads Caissie Levy and Patti Murin, is going around and though accidental I couldn't help but giggle a little. Do they share a hairdresser and colorist? Hopefully the differences in the stage sisters will be easy to read via acting and costuming. It's going to be weird to have it on Broadway where Wicked, which Frozen rips off so liberally from, is a Broadway mainstay. We'll see. One assumes Disney will add songs by already EGOTed team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez to the second half or that's going to be one lopsided stage musical with all the songs sung before intermission! [More on the cast after the jump.]

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Saturday
Jun172017

Disney Princess Medley

In case you need a pick me up...

Bonnie Milligan and Laura Osnes duel and duet with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Mulan but the funny peaks with  Aladdin and Pocahontas. 

Monday
Jun122017

Tony Awards 2017: Key Moments, Interesting Stats, Winners List

by Nathaniel R

Last night the American theater community, and a boat load of adjacent stars (hello Tina Fey & Scarlett Johansson) celebrated Broadway triumphs at the 71st Annual Tony Awards. As expected the revival of Hello Dolly and Dear Evan Hansen owned the evening with 4 and 6 wins respectively. Composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are now halfway to the EGOT in less than half a year having picked up the Oscar for Best Original song for La La Land back in February. But the peak of the evening was Bette Midler's very funny, quite enthusiastic and extremely long acceptance for Best Actress in a Musical (the biggest lock of the evening going in). It's the first time I can recall a performer ignoring the orchestra trying to play her off so insistently that they finally gave up. Her speech had a whole and even better second act as if the orchestra's interruption was just a particularly noisy intermission! 

Kevin Spacey began his hosting job with a very strange and anxiety ridden number about competing with the memories of Tony hosts like Neil Patrick Harris, James Corden, and Hugh Jackman...

Whoopi Goldberg made a cameo with an "in the closet" joke, which played very strangely given that she was standing right next to a man who's famously been inside one his whole career. For his part, Spacey relied heavily on his rather amazing if also dated impersonation skills trotting out his super Johnny Carson and Bill Clinton mimicry for mini-skits within the show. He also leaned into his past and present personal career peaks with American Beauty, Usual Suspects, and House of Cards jokes and cast reunions.  But, alas, not a host for the ages even though he seemed like a smart choice on paper.

Glenn Close presented Bette Midler her Best Actress prize

Backstage before commercial breaks Crazy Ex Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom brought the theater nerd funny and maybe she should host in the future! More after the jump including a complete list of winners...

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