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Ashley Judd, Pulp Queen

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Entries in musicals (431)

Friday
Mar092018

Stage Door: "My Fair Lady" through the Years

by Nathaniel R

Tony season is (nearly) upon us so we're reviving the Stage Door column toward the end of March. But before we start reviewing shows, a history lesson.

Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Dolittle

My Fair Lady began its classic life in 1956 as a Broadway musical. No, that's not quite right. It began its life as George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, which premiered way back in 1913, over a century ago! That play inspired the stage musical by Lerner & Loewe. On March 15th previews will begin for the latest Broadway revival. Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) headlines as Eliza Dolittle, with Harry Hadden-Paton as Professor Henry Higgins, two time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz (♥︎) as Eliza's father, and showbiz legend Dame Diana Rigg (The Avengers, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Game of Thrones, etc...) as Higgins' mother. 

This will be the sixth major incarnation of the hit musical. Let's recap...

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Monday
Feb262018

Interview: Greta Gerwig on what kind of filmmaker she's going to be

by Nathaniel R 

Greta Gerwig directing the prom scene in Lady Bird. Look, she's even dressed for the occasion!The first time we spoke to Greta Gerwig in 2013 for Frances Ha it was over the phone. Her voice was so animated it felt like an in person interview. She was learning the accordion because of that seismically magical moment in the French film Holy Motors and revealing to me that she didn't think being an "actor-for-hire" in other people's work would be her path. Little did I know -- though perhaps she did -- that the exquisite Lady Bird was coming. In between she wrote and starred in Mistress America (2015) and gave what is arguably her best performance in Mike Mills 20th Century Women (2016). The rest is of course current celebration and future history: Lady Bird proved a mainstream breakthrough as a writer/director. It's up for five Oscars including two for Greta Gerwig herself as a writer and as a director.

This time, speaking in person, that familiar voice is just as lively but her laughter even more infectious. She radiates as much joy from talking art in real life as she often has creating it onscreen as a performer.

When I ask her her how the accordion is coming, she admits she's "rusty" and that it hasn't been a movie that inspired her lately but 'certain books' though she leaves them unnamed. Whatever feeds your soul as an artist, that's where you go.

on set directing Timothée and Saoire in Lady Bird (2017)

I reminder her about that comment about acting for others not being her path and she says "I know..." in a goofily apologetic way, like she always knew where she was heading but just hadn't told us.  Our interview is after the jump...

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Wednesday
Feb212018

Soundtracking: "All That Jazz"

by Chris Feil

These days we don’t get many musicals brave enough to buck genre comforts and form as Bob Fosse’s autobiographical All That Jazz. The director/choreographer transplants himself onto Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider), a highly regarded and sexually cruel master of the stage on his way to untimely demise. It’s a masterpiece to shame other masterpieces.

There’s a reason that the film isn’t remembered for its songs - musical pleasantry is low on his priorities, as the film is an uncompromising character study of the visionary creator’s weakest impulses...

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Wednesday
Jan172018

"The Greatest Showman" is Another Musical Hit. Is Hollywood Watching?

by Nathaniel R

The Greatest Showman is the second consecutive original movie musical to become a big hit. A sign of more to come?

The Greatest Showman will be crossing the $100 million mark today at the box office. It's become a hit with  little fanfare  if you think about it.  Oh sure it had the mainstream attention you get on opening weekend when you have big stars in your movie but beyond that did the media really take notice? It wasn't in most of the awards conversations that turn the volume way up on others movie this time of year. The only awards traction it received was for Best Original Song which is hardly a bankable business -- except, perhaps, in the case of soundtrack sales.) 

But long story short: it's a hit and showing legs in US theaters in that its percentage drop each week is way below the industry norms. The same was true of Moulin Rouge! which arguably kick-started the reemergence of the then-dead genre at the beginning of the century. The musical genre has, it should be evident to everyone, a loyal fanbase. But is Hollywood paying attention...?

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Friday
Jan122018

Interview: Jamie Bell on falling in love with Annette Bening and his "Billy Elliot" reunion

by Nathaniel R

Jamie Bell has been famous since he was 14 years old. His debut film Billy Elliott (2000) about a young boy who discovers a passion for dancing that puts him at odds with his blue-collar community, became a global sensation. The charming film earned over $100 million (on a $5 million budget), received 3 Oscar nominations multiple BAFTAs, and eventually spawned a similarly popular stage musical which took yet more prizes.

The film also earned its young star the BAFTA for Best Actor in February of 2001. And, seventeen years later, here we are again. Jamie Bell is BAFTA nominated for Best Actor for his latest movie Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool. The romantic drama, now in limited release, is about the last days of Oscar winner Gloria Grahame's (Annette Bening) life and the young unknown actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) she falls in love with, and whose life she essentially takes over moving into his parents home (where they're both mothered by Julie Walter). 

I had the opportunity to speak with Jamie Bell a few times this season at events which was a gift since the actor is so charming and his talent somehow still undervalued 17 years later. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool should change that as his best performance yet. Our interview is after the jump..

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