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Janelle Monae's Breakout Year

One of my favourite artists of the decade. I've had the pleasure of seeing her live twice. I would've loved to see more of her in Moonlight. Loved that role and loved seeing her. -Roger

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Entries in musicals (354)

Wednesday
Nov162016

Beauty & The Beast's First Full Length Trailer is Zzzz

Why are they pretending its not a musical but simultaneous reminding you that it is EXACTLY like the animated film it's based on? Cognitive dissonance! We'll save a Yes No Maybe So until the second trailer since we already YNMS'ed the teaser

Beauty and the Beast on Broadway is one of the only stage shows I ever walked out of at intermission. It was painfully faithful to the movie to the point where it felt like the actors were robots dutifully mimicking the exact same line readings as the movie so as not to disturb the audience who had seen the movie a bajillion times. But if you don't bring anything new, why do you exist? Hopefully a second trailer will reveal that they didn't just make a new movie as carbon copy in which the only difference is actors where drawings used to be. 

Saturday
Nov122016

Rank the "1 and Done" Oscar-Winning Actors

Did you catch the out of focus Yul Brynner robot in the background of a darkly lit scene in last week's episode of Westworld? That charismatic movie star had a lot of success in action films (see also the original Magnificent Seven) but he won his only Oscar race for a musical, The King and I. Which brings us back around to our "One and done" discussion. We featured the actresses who'd won Oscars for their one and only nomination a week ago and it was so fun we decided we should do the men this weekend. The "One and Done" club includes men, too, and even a few more of them. (As with the women I left out those who would otherwise qualify but for a second round via the Honorary Oscars)

Give us your top ten among them in the comments!

LEAD
A few differences worth noting that differ from leading actresses. Only 9% of leading actresses win from their sole nomination. For men, it's quite different with around 21% belonging to the 1 and done club...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov092016

Judy by the Numbers: "Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

Sometimes, magic happens. When the production team of The Judy Garland Show invited a budding Broadway star to film Episode 9, nobody could foresee the titanic future of the 21-year-old singer. With just one album under her belt - admittedly Billboard Top 10 album - she was perhaps slightly less famous than her co-guest stars, The Smothers Brothers. But when Barbra Streisand sat down to sing a duet with Judy Garland, it was impossible to ignore that something titanic was happening.

The Show: The Judy Garland Show Episode 9
The Songwriters: Various, arranged by Mel Torme
The Cast: Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, The Smothers Brothers, directed by Norman Jewison

The Story: Barbra Streisand was invited on the show just as her star was rising. Already a well-loved New York cabaret singer, Streisand had stopped the show playing a put-upon secretary in her Broadway debut, I Can Get It For You Wholesale. That second-banana-star-turn brought her a Tony nomination and a lot of attention. Jule Styne started working on a musical for her, she recorded an album that charted, and her television dance card filled up as she made the rounds on a rotation of variety shows.

None was quite like The Judy Garland Show, though. Streisand has noted that Judy seemed nervous to perform, but onscreen that nervousness translated as excitement over the chance to share the stage with Streisand - a feeling that Streisand clearly shared. However, once they began singing together, the nervousness melted away. In its place was the musical meeting of giants - two of the greatest belters of the 20th century, singing signature standards together in harmony.

Look, there's a lot I wish I could write about this, but everything I say is going to fall short. Certain moments in music defy description. Aren't we lucky to have witnessed this one?

Wednesday
Nov022016

Judy by the Numbers: "Country Medley"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

Despite the upheaval caused by firing most of the crew only a few weeks before, change was slow to come to The Judy Garland Show. Producer Norman Jewison made incremental changes, first giving writers free reign to make jokes about Judy, then bumping up the presence of guests and side acts, before eventually dialing them back. This show was one of the last to feature Jerry Van Dyke, Dick Van Dyke's younger brother who had acted as comic relief for the first few episodes but was critically panned for poking fun at Garland. Already a third of the way through its eventual 26 episodes, The Judy Garland Show was still very much a work in progress.

The Show: The Judy Garland Show Episode 8
The Songwriters: Various, arranged by Mel Torme
The Cast: Judy Garland, Jerry Van Dyke, George Maharis, The Dillards, directed by Bill Hobin 

The Story: All of this experimentation meant strange and wonderful things appeared on the show. For instance, who would look at Judy Garland's career and think, "needs more bluegrass?" Yet, the eighth episode guest stars were bluegrass group The Dillards, best known for their recurring role as The Darlings on The Andy Griffith Show. While this episode heavily featured The Dillards playing on their own, Judy and the rest of the cast joined them for a large production number near the end of the show which blended - sometimes well, sometimes uneasily - bluegrass, big band, jazz, and folk music. No matter how many changes were pushed through, The Judy Garland Show was never dull.

previously on Judy by the Numbers

Sunday
Oct302016

Oscar Horrors: Johnny Depp Is Empty in “Sweeney Todd”

Boo! It's "Oscar Horrors". Each evening we look back on a horror-connected nomination until Halloween. Here's our new contributor Jorge Molina...

(Before I dig in, I want to make a disclaimer that this is an article discussing “Sweeney Todd” and its lead performance as a stand-alone piece, and not in comparison to the original Broadway musical. Sorry, purists. Yes, I KNOW the sing-talking is off-putting…) 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) is, in many ways, the perfect marriage between the talent behind it and its source material. Of the gothic tale of murder and revenge, and Tim Burton’s signature visual style. Of Sondheim’s characters, and the quirks which both Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter built a career around. Of Sweeney Todd’s cold-blooded quest, and Depp’s cold-blooded performance, which earned him a Best Actor nomination.

Click to read more ...