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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in musicals (252)


Taye Diggs, Triple Threat.

Have you read this good profile of Taye Diggs in the New York Times?  It was written while he was in early rehearsals for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I personally cannot wait to see his take on it. I've been as eager as he has to see him combine all his talents for one role.

As he states:

The role of Hedwig is ‘‘everything I’ve ever wished for,’’ he said. Then he turned, in what seems unusual for him, ferocious: ‘‘This is me telling myself, ‘O.K., bitch, put your money where your mouth is. You’ve been telling agents and your best friends — I told Idina — ‘I want a chance to show everybody everything. I can dance and I can sing, and everybody knows I can act'... They’re going to end up saying something good. ’Cause I’m not gonna mess up all three.’

Taye Diggs is basically 1 of approximately 100 stars (at least) that would have been bigger stars if Hollywood still:

a) ...knew how to make musicals
b) ...made them regularly
c) ...cast them with actual triple threat talents.

A, B, and C don't actually seem like high hurdles to this here movie musical lover -- not given the extraordinarily deep acting talent pool out there and the treasure trove of instructional film school materials at home. By which I mean of course the complete filmographies of Busby Berkeley, Vincente Minnelli, Bob Fosse, Stanley Donen, and so on. One senses sometimes that today's young directors either never went to film school or didn't study the classics to learn some basic tools of the trade... at least not when it comes to the "dead" genres.  


Leo Bird Johnson & Other Casting News

Aaron Tveit considering Grease: Live...Manuel here helping you catch up with plenty of recent casting news! 

Broadway hunk Aaron Tveit (Enjolras in Les Misérables, 2012) is our new Danny Zuko in that live musical version of "Grease" which will also star Julianne Hough as Sandy (sigh) and Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo (double sigh). TFE Best Supporting Actor dream Emmy nominee Teddy Sears is joining CW's The Flash as the original Flash Jay Garrick. And Jonathan Rhys-Meyers will front a The Clash biopic called London Town.

But if you made it this far it is because you’re wondering about that amazing retooling of Melissa Leo’s “Consider” Ad we all love so much.

Yes, while we’ve been suffering through close to five years of post-Oscar Leo ubiquity. I’m glad she’s been getting steady work, but I can’t be the only one who wishes she’d say no sometimes to every woman-in-power-suit role that comes her way. I guess they can’t all be Prisoners-style performances, can they? Well, as HBO continues to ready Jay Roach’s adaptation of All the Way (ie. the play that won Bryan Cranston a Tony), they’ve cast Melissa Leo as Lady Bird Johnson and I can’t believe we haven’t discussed that at TFE. I mean, I don’t subscribe to the “actor needs to be a spitting image” of the real-life person they’re portraying but this is just much too perfect, no? To make the casting news even sweeter, they've cast Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King Jr. which just makes me happy as it means we're not losing all of our Hurt Locker boys to solely Marvel-produced films.

"Consider..." Are you excited about the LEOgend’s chance at a second* Emmy?

She previously won for her guest work on Louie



Little Links of Horror

EW Marisa Tomei joins the cast of Empire as a lesbian billionaire - whoa. Please let her throw down with Taraji
Nicks Flick Picks is also on the halfway mark, year in review beat with a lot of movies I haven't seen (sigh)
Jane Fonda on her summer screenings and returning to work on Grace and Frankie - she got an acting coach!
EW Pride & Prejudice & Zombies photos. Yikes. What's with the lingerie ad costumes? 
Awards Daily thinks Scorsese's Silence might be ready just in time for Oscar. I personally hope he takes his time and we get it next year. I like having breaks from the Oscar regulars or Oscar just becomes too much like the Emmys! 

Slate thinks Rolan Emmerich's Stonewall looks too much like a cheap musical
Playbill reminds us that Magic Mike (2012) is being made into a stage musical. What isn't... but still I'd totally forgotten
Business Insider here's an area you never see covered: the weapons department on a studio picture. Terminator Genisys in this case
Comics Alliance new pics from Batman vs. Superman. One of them seems to have Superman surrounded by a bunch of zombies so....
Twitter cracked me up when looking at that picture 

Yes No Maybe So
Queen of the Desert trailer has arrived, asking the question "Who the hell is Gertrud Bell" - I can't give it its own post because there are too many trailers these past couple of days. But you should YNMS in the comments if you're in the mood. So jealous of Robert Pattinson when he's holding those lion cubs. Awww. 

Show Tune To Go
Showtunes to Cherish For All Time

These couple of weeks have all been about City Center productions for me. Every summer they do these amazing staged readings. Last week I saw Jonathan Groff and Ana Gasteyer do William Finn's "A New Brain" which is a terrific underperformed musical. (Gasteyer as it turns out was born for the musical stage, SNL aside). Next up is Sutton Foster doing "The Wild Party" so naturally I'm quite excited.  

In between those two shows, as you may have heard, Ellen Greene reprised her "Audrey" role in Little Shop of Horrors this week at a staged reading at City Center.  Jason went. I went. Joe Reid was wayyyyy up front (I was green with envy and confused since I bought my tickets the second they went on sale!). The New York Times Ben Brantley raved. Everyone was there. Or everyone will pretend to have been there years from now when people are still talking about this. 

Ellen, who is now in her sixties, was in fine form and wearing her original costumes no less. She was a shameless ham, milking her every line, pose, and big notes for maximum audience pleasure. Whenever a singer with a gargantuan voice has a signature tune that they've sung for decades the tunes always get a little more affected every time, possibly to keep them entertained. (Have you heard Jennifer Holliday do "And I'm Telling You" lately? It's just a series of abstract vowels and growls now, it's so weird.) Ellen nearly took "Suddenly Seymour" there but still brought the house down. "Somewhere That's Green" on the other hand was just so tender and yearning and funny... my god the goosebumps. That voice can still send shivers all over you of aural pleasure, innate empathy, belly laughs. She's a treasure.

FWIW Jake Gyllenhaal played Seymour and he was very funny when ad-libbing (it's a staged reading with limited rehearsal time so some flubbed lines allow actors to embellish or get the audience on their side) and his voice ain't half bad either. 

Ellen Greene's standing ovation was so epic and rumbling I feared the balcony would collapse and kill us all. Which would, come to think of it, be a fitting end for this grim comedy. The movie (be very grateful that her performance was preserved for all time) granted Audrey and Seymour a happy ending but they die in the musical. And then they sing their warning tale.

Whatever they offer you, don't feed the plant!

Picking a favorite song from this musical is impossible, I've listend to it so often over the years, but "Skid Row" is the one that doesn't get any attention that I cherish so here that is. 


CAST THIS: Clueless, The Musical

Manuel here still recovering for a wonderful Pride weekend which I'm greedily extending for two more days with Bette Midler tonight and Fun Home tomorrow. Needless to say, movies and musicals, and movie musicals are on my mind. Thankfully, Amy Heckerling is here to tide me over, stoking Clueless fandom by letting us know she's finished writing the book for a stage musical adaptation of her 1995 film (though dampening the excitement a bit by confessing it's a jukebox musical to be directed by ??, of Rock of Ages fame). And so, since she acknowledged casting would be a big hurdle before we see "As if!" being uttered on stage, I thought we could help her out brainstorming names for the central three performances.


Click to read more ...


Mothers & Imagination

The Film Experience is proud to turn the site over to Ann Dowd for the day. Enjoy...

- by Ann Dowd

As I’ve said I did not grow up in an environment where acting was a viable career choice. I remember once when I was a teenager seeing Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet and having to go to bed afterwards … from grief! Can you imagine? I had not read it and when I saw the tragedy happening I said  “NO NO NO” I just knew that there was no way Romeo would not get the message that she wasn’t dead, that she was just sleeping. But when it went in that direction — I just was “THIS CANNOT BE TRUE”. I had to go to bed. My mother said “That’s it — No more movies! That’s the end of it.” 

Later when I became an actor she was less than thrilled. I think deep down she saw it coming, mothers are smart that way, but I know she hoped the desire would fade and I'd stick with medicine. She felt that it was such an unstable life.  But she’s wildly supportive now. She’s on board now. I love her to bits.

Of course it will be different for my children if they are interested since they grew up in the environment. My husband is also an actor and he's the chair of the acting department at CAP 21. It’s a musical theater school, a great school. I'm not teaching at the moment because I'm not able to commit to a schedule but one of my favorite things was to teach Chekhov and Tennessee Williams. I hope to do it again because it’s a lovely thing when you’ve been at acting for awhile and you can understand enough of what the students are going through and be of use to them.  

My oldest boy doesn’t have an interest in acting. My girl, who is 17, does. My littlest one came into the world singing and dancing. Living in New York our children are exposed to a lot: Music, plays, books. We remind them that there are other ways to negotiate the world besides technology. Keeping your imagination alive and well is a big thing in our house. 

Previously: Playing Patti on The Leftovers and Falling in Love with Acting 
Next: A Few Key Roles



Get Ready for a Third Round of 'Pitch Perfect'

Margaret here with breaking news: Hollywood loves money, water is wet and Pitch Perfect 3 is officially in the works.

Pitch Perfect 2 is still in theaters, and presumably since it's nearing a $300 million worldwide take (which would be more than respectable even without its vastly profitable soundtrack tie-in), Universal has just announced that they've staked out July 21, 2017 for the threequel. 

Critics were less than enthused about the second installment, but heaven knows if they can squeeze three movies out of The Hangover and Meet the Parents then there's no harm in in making room for movies starring and produced by women in the franchise club.

Screenwriter Kay Cannon is in talks to return for round three, and while there's no word on whether Elizabeth Banks will be back to direct, it has been announced that both Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick are on board.

See how ecstatic she looks? 

The question is... how? Considering how inevitable another sequel seemed, it was strange to see the Pitch Perfect 2 screenplay consistently cutting off potential avenues for a sequel.

Of course, the most sensible (read: boring) solution would be to repeat the premise with a new slate of actors and have the original stars cameo in mentorship roles. But it's early yet, and we can hold out hope for a dramatic creative swerve. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a gritty game-change chronicling the harsh reality of post-college a cappella life, where the gang reunites to busk in the big city by night while by day they try to break into an unsympathetic industry. Featuring lots of shaky-cam, naturally. In what direction would you steer the Pitch Perfect series?


Musical News & Tom Hardy in London Road

Manuel here. I’m still drunk on showtunes after last night’s Tony Awards (so glad I finally bought my tickets to Fun Home yesterday, anticipating its various wins!), so what better way to keep the mood going than continuing to talk musicals!

And while I could point out NBC’s The Wiz cast Stephanie Mills (the original Dorothy) as Auntie Em, or that Paul Dano’s Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy opened to respectable reviews this weekend, or that we should all be actively anticipating that Dolly Parton TV movie musical, "Coat of Many Colors," or that Spike Lee’s Chiraq (a musical comedy adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata set in Chicago) has cast Jennifer Hudson, Kanye West and Dave Chappelle (with rumors of Common joining the cast), I realized I needed to talk about London Road which opens this Friday in the UK:

London Road, which includes Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy in its ensemble cast, is an adaptation of the award-winning National Theatre production about the arrest of Steve Wright, an Ipswich man who was convicted of murdering five sex workers in 2008. Rufus Norris's film uses the dialogue from the real townsfolk who were interviewed by author Alecky Blythe as they came to terms with the fact that a serial killer had been living in their community.

I mean, you had me at “Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy” but it sounds like a fascinating show (anyone catch it in London?) and an intriguing film adaptation. Check out the trailer below:

There’s no US date set for this yet, but I can’t be the only one looking forward to seeing Tom Hardy sing (he must sing though the trailer gives me no indication that he does), can I? It just makes me confident that more challenging musicals may make it to the screen. Last Five Years already made it, but what other unorthodox musicals do you think would be well-suited for the screen?