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Entries in musicals (386)

Wednesday
Dec142016

Judy by the Numbers: "Smile"

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

On January 22, 1964, CBS announced the inevitable: The Judy Garland Show would be cancelled after just one season. Though the network stated that the cancellation was so that Judy could spend more time with her family, the subpar ratings and tumultuous backstage difficulties had made the show untenable for the studio. In fact, less than a month after the announcement - after Episode 22 was shot - Judy ended the longest artistic partnership she'd had on the show when she fired Mel Torme. Musical director replaced and show revamped for the fifth time, Judy still ended the series looking and singing like a million bucks.

The ShowThe Judy Garland Show Episode 22
The Songwriters: Charlie Chaplin (original score), John Turner & Geoffrey Parsons
The Cast: Judy Garland, directed by Dean Whitmore

The Story: The style the show settled on was one with which Judy was familiar, and which had inspired the series to begin with: the concert. Guests were winnowed down to one or two (or none) per episode, sketches were cut, and instead the series focused on producing mini-concerts beamed directly to American living rooms. No longer needing to memorize lines or force interactions, Judy instead used the format to let her talent and the emotion of the songs carry her away, as she did in this bittersweet version of "Smile." Though the show would not go off the air until late March, it left a lasting impression on fans. A fan-led write-in protest was even started to try to resurrect it. The series had an effect on Judy, as well. With her third marriage and her television career over, Judy turned back to tours to spend time on the two things she loved most: her children, and her fans.

Monday
Dec122016

Golden Globe Nominations are in for 2016 

Cheadle, Dern, and Kendrick started this morning off with a bang reading the Golden Globe nominations which gave us lots of surprises connected to Nocturnal Animals, Supporting Actor, and the Comedy/Musical categories in general.

We polled the team on the most "WTF?" inclusions and awful snubs as well as favorite nominations in tv and film. We even ask them to imagine dinner parties and orgies of Globe nominees. We are nothing if not thorough(ly) excited every December.

But ICYMI here are the nominations themselves... 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec112016

"La La Land" Lifts Off in Opening Weekend

What did you see this weekend? I've had the neverending winter cold so I've been totally out of it. Hope you've been enjoying more films than I! This weekend contained a spectacular debut for La La Land which grossed nearly a million in only five theaters. To put it in context that's about twice what Moonlight and Cafe Society were able to accomplish in their similar sized opening weekends which were considered quite strong at the time. It's about four-to-six times what other art house darlings of the year (like The Lobster, Jackie, Love & Friendship, A Bigger Splash) were able to manage in similar sized openings. Most of those films proved to have a ceiling around $9-12 million at the US box office but La La Land seems sure to cross over to mainstream success.

Also worth noting: A great weekend for the musical form in general since Moana stayed up top. 

TOP TWENTY
01 Moana $18.8 (cum. $145)  Review
02 Office Christmas Party $17.5 NEW
03 Fantastic Beasts $10.7 (cum. $199.3)
04 Arrival $5.6 (cum. $81.4)  Review and Podcast 
05 Doctor Strange $4.6 (cum. $222.3) Review
06 Allied $4 (cum. $35.6)  Review
07 Nocturnal Animals $3.1 (cum. $6.2)  Review and Podcast
08 Manchester by the Sea $3.1 (cum. $8.3) ReviewSecond Take
09 Trolls $3.1 (cum. $145.4) NEW
10 Hacksaw Ridge $2.3 (cum. $60.8) Review & Podcast

11 Miss Sloane $1.9 (cum. $2) Review
12 Almost Christmas $1.4 (cum. $40.2)
13 Bad Santa 2 $1.2 (cum. $16.8) 
14 Incarnate $1 (cum. $4.2) 
15 La La Land $855K NEW  Reviewish & How Rare Is It? 
16 Loving $623K (cum. $6.5)  Review and Podcast
17 Edge of Seventeen $620K (cum. $13.8) Review
18 Moonlight $589K (cum. $10.8) Review and Podcast 
19 Jackie $495K (cum. $869K) Review
20 The Accountant $460K (cum. $85)

Saturday
Dec102016

Globe Predictions? Let's Go Out on a Few Limbs...

This Monday morning very bright and early Don Cheadle, Laura Dern, and Anna Kendrick will announce the 74th annual Golden Globe Predictions. Though the media likes to take easy shots at the Globes each year, if you look through their history of awardage their ratios of great decisions to bad ones is about the same as any organizations. What's more they definitely afford themselves the opportunity to be more daring than Oscar does with their doubled categories. The Comedy/Musical categories are sometimes wasted on star-f***ing it's true (The Tourist anyone?) but more often than not it allows for "lighter" fare which, let's face it, can age better than biopics or message movies to have its day in the sun.

Don Cheadle (Miles Ahead), Laura Dern (The Founder), and Anna Kendrick (Mike & Dave...) will announce. Only Cheadle might show up as a nominee...

What might be nominated this year? We've never claimed to be good at predicting the Globes but let's all ponder the possibilities together after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec082016

Exactly How Rare / Precious is "La La Land"?

With La La Land opening tomorrow (go see it) we must discuss it's already combed over reception from film critics and awards pundits and the like. When La La Land took the Best Picture prize from the NYFCC last week, certain pockets of people were outraged. Suddenly it was a "safe" movie, middlebrow, something utterly and completely common. 'Boy meets girls. Boy loses girl. UGH Romantic Dramas, am I right?!' Awards season backlash and contrarianism is a real thing though people try to pretend it's not each and every year and consider their motives solely pure. I know I've been guilty of it myself. I trust exactly no one in the entire talking-about-movies ecosphere who claims they haven't. Awards season is like politics; It affects everyone, even or especially those who rage against it and claim it to be meaningless to them. File that type under "the lady doth protest too much".

Naturally I was quick to jump to La La Land's defense whenever this happened. This was not because I love it (which I do...but keeping it 100 it's not a Moulin Rouge! level masterwork or anything) or even because I am a die hard warrior for the musical form. No, I bristle solely because this stance is ridiculous. La La Land is absolutely the furthest thing from a "safe" or common movie. And how uncommon it is, after further research, was stunning even to me!

Some lists before the revelation... 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec072016

Judy by the Numbers: "The Judy Garland Christmas Show"

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

Full disclosure: I am in the middle of finals hell, wherein I have to write roughly 45 pages and grade exactly 48 exams before I can finally collapse at home for the holidays. So this episode is an especially selfish choice on my part. Since it's been a rocky year, I thought the best choice would be to post the entire episode, so that we could come together over a warm Christmas computer and spend the holidays with Judy.

The ShowThe Judy Garland Show Episode 15
The Songwriters: Various, arrangement by Mel Torme
The Cast: Judy Garland, Mel Torme, Liza Minnelli, directed by Dean Whitmore

The Story: Call me a sap (and I am), but I cannot watch Judy Garland sing "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" while she and her children watch fake snow fall out of a studio set window. In a season that seems to demand yearly special televised events, The Judy Garland Christmas Show ranks as one of the most special Like every episode of The Judy Garland Show, there are some nasty rumors that have risen to the level of legend: that Judy and Mel were fighting, which caused her to flub his name and two song lyrics, that Judy refused to rehearse, that she was high, etc. But somehow the backstage antipathy doesn't diminish the near-camp joy of Judy and co. sitting around a mid-century fireplace singing the songs that she made famous. Much of it has to do with her kids: as the Luft siblings and Liza make appearances, their improvised bits may be stagey, but their affection for their mother is real. Gaffes, bad jokes, and creepy Santa dancers notwithstanding, The Judy Garland Christmas Show remains a classic staple of holiday television.

Wednesday
Nov302016

Judy by the Numbers: "I Like Men Medley"

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

So it may not look like it offhand, but today's episode marked another big shift in the rocky history of The Judy Garland Show. After producing seven episodes, firing most of the staff, kicking Jerry Van Dyke to the curb and reformatting the show, Norman Jewison exited as planned after the 13th taped episode. He would be replaced by Bill Colleran, a producer from Your Hit Parade.

The ShowThe Judy Garland Show Episode 13
The Songwriters: Various, arrangement by Mel Torme
The Cast: Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, produced by Norman Jewison

The Story: (My favorite part is the surprise boas at 3:00.) Though Jewison wasn't able to improve the unsteady ratings of The Judy Garland Show, the episodes he produced would set the established characteristics of the show at its peak. More cinematic production, the movement away from sketch comedy, and an emphasis on music and a variety of guest stars all defined Jewison's tenure on the show. The Peggy Lee medley exemplifies all of these qualities, but also points towards the show under Colleran's stewardship: two cabaret singers belting standards. Colleran would transition the show towards a concert format. But before he could complete that transition, it was time for Christmas.

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