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Entries in musicals (174)

Friday
Jun212013

"The Last Five Years" & "Hedwig" Jitters

I've seen a lot of theater since moving to NYC in January 1999 (wow. so long ago!) and four have stuck with me and become my informal holy trinity quadrilogy of modern showtunery: The Light in the Piazza (Adam Guettel), The Wild Party (John LaChiusa), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell & Stephen Trask) and the one I've listened to the most and feel the most proprietary about: The Last Five Years (Jason Robert Brown). 

For reasons which mostly have to do with equal parts scheduling problems, lethargy, and a case of "what if the lightning is no longer in the bottle?" worry, I did not see the recent revival of the latter. But my trip to The Last Five Years's original run with Norbert Leo Butz (brilliant) and Sherie René Scott (always a treat) is one of the definining theatergoing moments of my life. I loved everything about the musical in which you watch a 20something couple's troubled relationship told backwards (Hers) and forwards (His) in time as they both monologue/sing to the audience. They only ever sing together once when the stories meet in the middle.

When news broke that it was going to become a movie I wondered how they'd possibly get around the two character theatrical conceit but they've announced that for the film version they'll be singing to each other and the songs will be adjusted to accomodate this major change. My greatest worry is the casting since total two-handers require both hands to work.

Two time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz originated the role. Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan (pictured in Bonnie & Clyde on stage) will reinterpret it for the screen

Though noone is likely to replace Sherie René Scott in my heart Anna Kendrick is very talented, has good comic timing, and sings well, so I'm not worried about "Cathy". What worries me is "Jamie". Jeremy Jordan (from the late Smash) gets the tricky husband part. Jamie is super cocky, super talented, super charming, and secretive. All four of those traits ostensibly defined Jeremy's role on Smash but he was terrible at playing the "charming" part and just came across as a complete asshole whose career was handed to him on a silver platter but he just had to be all bratty about it anyway. In order for this musical dramedy to succeed he'll have to give the performance of his life and remember not to push the cocky assholism (it apparently comes naturally!) and work very hard on the charming part, the part that might draw a woman to him in an initially loving and supportive relationship. 

I did not see Jeremy Jordan onstage in Newsies (did you?) so perhaps he was charming in that but when I saw him in Bonnie & Clyde The Musical he had the same problem... the "run away with me" charm necessary for any successful take on Clyde Barrow was mostly absent and he just seemed angry. Maybe it's an age problem (Jordan is 28) but he's so bratty for lack of a better word. I hope to be converted since I love this musical so much it's like a part of me, but I am, as of yet, not a fan. If you are please talk me into reconsidering in the comments!

While I wait I will just stare at this NSFW photo (after the jump) to try to generate warm feelings for Mr Jordan...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun202013

Leo, Lists, Ladies, and Link Love

French Toast Sunday 5 best summer movies? Confession: I have never seen Crooklyn but always wanted to. 
Gawker on Cher's wiggy performance on The Voice 
The Local did you hear this story about how a French teacher an 11 year-old class Saw? WTF? At least pick a classic horror with artistic historical merit.
Guardian the next Star Wars sequels are looking for a teenage female lead? Whoa. I guess Hunger Games and Twilight are even more influential than they appear to be

Variety Miss Saigon is returning to the boards but I'm personally still curious as to why the movie version has never happened?
My New Plaid Pants the three things you need to see from the Anchorman 2 trailer
Los Angeles Times Show Tracker the women of Mad Men speak about the impending end
Film Flare awww, I had totally forgotten about "Elizabeth Taylor" on Sex & the City 
The Cinematic Katzenjammer Shailene Woodley cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (ahem, 5). What, no Mary Jane? Seems odd to cut her just as her star is rising
Empire speaking of which. Here's more on her Hunger Games which is called Divergent
Hark, A Vagrant! takes on The Secret Garden 

On Leo...
Awards Daily asks why Leonardo DiCaprio is so often ignored by the Academy (brought on by The Wolf of Wall Street trailer). I know he has many devout fans and I am often criticized for not adoring him wholeheartedly these days but I disagree (and muchly) with the notion that his work has improved with age. I still think he has beautiful moments in several of his recent star turns but as a whole from film to film he is not pushing himself and is deeply repetitive in his acting choices (not just in the surface role similarities I've mocked like his run through The Dead Wives Club).

But I harbor no illusions that the Academy shares my opinion of his gift...

I think it's as simple as this: Leading Men who are considered beautiful always have to fight harder for Oscar love. That's all there is to it (well, that and them preferring five other people each time he's missed out). Paul Newman and Jeff Bridges, two of the best screen actors of all time, didn't win until their 60s and Leo isn't nearly that good! Plus he's only 38 years old. Leo has the same amount of acting nominations as Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp and the similarities are instantly noticeable, aren't they? Good looking marquee value men who are often viewed as STARS first, ACTORS second (whether or not that's an accurate description). I have no doubt Leo will eventually win -- and I think nominations will be much easier to come by in his 40s after whatever hiatus he plans to take -- but I think if it doesn't happen for him with Wolf, he'll have to wait until at least his mid40s and possibly much longer as many desirable leading men have had to in the past. I'm not sure why everyone expects the rules to be different for this one actor. The question of why not yet is as simple as the male dominated Oscar's completely obvious binary gender standards: they usually like to award female actors for being young and hot and, to some extent, new; and they usually like to award male actors for their bodies of work when they have stood the test of time (and are less sexually threatening).

 

 

This Sunday...
Oooh, I totally wanna watch this. Oprah is talking to four black actresses on their unique struggles in Hollywood on her new network. (Do I even get this network? I do not know)

Alfre Woodard (that's enough right there!), Viola Davis (YES), Phyllicia Rashad (makes sense) and Gabrielle Union (Bring it!) which is a classy lineup, don'cha think?

Also
The Film Experience on facebook. You haven't "liked" us yet. Rectify!

Tuesday
May282013

Stage Door: Showgirls with Kinky Boots

I'll be out of the country for the Tony Awards this year on a much needed vacation but before they arrive I thought I'd share with you my final theatrical experiences of the season, the first of which is way Off Broadway (though close to Broadway geographically)  and the second is one of your major Tony contenders.

Both of them adapted from movies because that is what gets financed these days!

Elizabeth Berkeley (Nomi Malone) and Rena Riffel (Penny/Hope) in Showgirls (1995)

Showgirls: The Musical is playing Wednesdays and Saturday nights at XL Nightclub. I raced to see it with friends since I love the movie so much. Plus I was fascinated that "Penny" herself, excuse me, "Hope" ("no one wants to fuck a Penny!"), the actress Rena Riffel, is reprising her role for the stage. She's self-aware enough to embrace Showgirls infamy as a career (she's also the star of the straight to DVD Showgirls 2: Penny's Revenge) the way C list stars of certain sci-fi programs end up as geek convention regulars hawking their wares. It's a honest living! I totally wanted to hug her or at least let her sign my ass or something. What a good sport! [more on Showgirls and "Kinky Boots" after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May282013

"Tell me about it, stud."

Monday
May272013

R.I.P. "Smash"

Smash, age 2, passed away on Sunday May 26th, 2013 at an undisclosed location at NBC after airing its final two-part episode "The Nominations" and "The Tony Awards". Few were there to mark its passing due to its long and quite unamusing terminal illness. Smash's difficult short life was plagued by self-sabotage, and two unfortunately common showbiz ailments: Actress Dysmorphia Disorder, in which everyone pretends that a gifted actress is NOT awesome so as to place another lesser being on a pedestal, and the no less deadly Audience Prosopagnosia in which a piece of showbiz believes it is performing for a different audience entirely than the one it's got.

Smash, television's first and now only Broadway musical series, was born on February 6th, 2012 to stubborn scarf-aficionado Theresa Rebeck but wrestled away from her and placed in the care of foster parents who, from all filmed evidence, had never set foot inside a Broadway theater, never witnessed a Tony Awards telecast and prefer American Idol Results Shows to Broadway Musicals. 

In its final death rattle on Sunday night, Smash continued to exhibit all of its usual signs of self-loathing and  mental illness: oh look another "Cute" moment about leaving your cel phone on during live theater!; oh look a lame subplot suggesting the show's best actress should chuck aside her showbiz career the second she's earned it; oh look, more encouraging of absolutely unprofessional behavior to get your way in your profession as if everyone working in musical theater is a complete sociopath and everyone else is okay with this!). In its final two hours of life Smash drifted in and out of consciousness and lucidity forgetting it was a musical and then remembering and even breaking the fourth wall (during one bizarre gay flirtation) on the way to its "Big Finish", a cute reminder that McPhee & Hilty did always sound good singing together, despite all the rest.

In the tradition of all self-immolating entertainments, Smash will be buried with the careers of several of its participants though these names are as yet undisclosed and mourners are asked to withhold petitions calling for Katharine McPhee, Jeremy Jordan, and Joshua Safran's entombment. Smash is survived by Megan Hilty (aka "Ivy Lynn"), actress, Christian Borle & Debra Messing (aka "Will & Grace" "Tom & Julia"), actors, and presumably by Anjelica Huston, diva, who survived Jack Nicholson and is rumored to be indestructible.