Archive for the ‘theater’ Category

Who Dunnit?

I love when the cast of a show decides to film something backstage. Here the Ave Q cast puts on a murder mystery. Only parts 1 and 2 are up, yet.

Avenue Clue

The Music of the Night Fades Away…

After 18 years The Phantom of the Opera touring production is coming to an end tonight Kind of appropriate for Halloween night.

The Phantom Exits

The Phantom Exits

The full story HERE.

Not So Practically Perfect?

A bit of news about the Chicago production of Mary Poppins:

Mary Poppins in Chicago to feature new song

The Chicago production of “Mary Poppins” (which is becoming the first national tour) is to feature a new song by composer George Stiles and lyricist Anthony Drewe, replacing the number “Temper, Temper,” which has been seen in all the other global “Poppins” productions to date.

The new song is to be entitled “Playing the Game,” and, according to producer Cameron Mackintosh, it’s going in all future incarnations of the show (and will probably be retrofitted into the Broadway production at some point). The number is getting its first outing in front of an audience at preview performances this week at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. “We think it tells a better story,” Mackintosh said.

I am wondering if this was done for staging purposes. In this number the toys come to life and the whole nursery “tears” itself apart as it stretches. Touring productions always have to make sacrifices on sets and props. Or perhaps it was just a bit too scary for little kids, though it’s still in the Broadway production. Or perhaps Mr. Mackintosh is correct, and it just helps tell the story better. I hope it comes through Florida in the near future. I really want to see it to compare it to the Broadway production.

Smells Good

We went to the Orlando Fringe Festival again last night and saw Reefer Madness The Musical. The best show I’ve seen there, so far. Great voices, funny & satirical material. Even done on a bare stage with a piano and basic props, it was a great 90-minute show. Check it out. There’s a few more performances of it this weekend.

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Did your show survive the axe?

ABC’s Canceled Shows

Big Shots
Carpoolers
Cashmere Mafia
Cavemen
Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann
Here Come the Newlyweds
Just for Laughs
Men in Trees
Miss/Guided
Notes From the Underbelly
October Road
Oprah’s Big Give
Women’s Murder Club

CBS’ Canceled Shows

Cane
Jericho
Kid Nation
Moonlight
Power of 10
Shark
Secret Talents of the Stars
Viva Laughlin
Welcome to the Captain

The CW’s Canceled Shows

Aliens in America
Beauty and the Geek
Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants
CW Now
Girlfriends
Life Is Wild
Online Nation
Pussycat Dolls Presents: Girlicious
WWE Smackdown!

FOX’s Canceled Shows

Anchorwoman
Canterbury’s Law
K-Ville
Nashville
New Amsterdam
Next Great American Band
The Return of Jezebel James Unhitched

NBC’s Canceled Shows

1 vs. 100
Amne$ia
Bionic Woman
Clash of the Choirs
Journeyman
Las Vegas
My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad
Phenomenon
quarterlife
Scrubs (Picked up by ABC for it’s final season)
The Singing Bee

Spin Me Round

I gotta say this weekend was pretty nice. I worked a few hours on Saturday. With so few people in the building I wasn’t getting interrupted. Hubby worked, too. We met my dad for a late lunch to celebrate my birthday. Our friend, M, called and wondered if we wanted to do anything because she was home all day and board. Then it hit me: The Garden Theater in Winter Garden had opened the night before with a musical. I called and made reservations and we all went on a theater trip: two gay men and a single girl (she’s not a fag hag, just newly divorced).

The show is called The Musical of Musicals: The Musical. Take the classic storyline of “I can’t pay the rent! You must pay the rent!” and do it in the style of 5 different popular composers: Rogers & Hammerstein, Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

All four actors had incredible voices and the show was excellent. I highly recommend it and would tell you all to check it out on one of the two remaining weekends it is playing. One caveat though: If you know nothing about musical theater then a lot of the humor will go right over your head as the vignettes are packed with references and puns about the composers they are satirizing.

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Sunday the Hubby went to work again but I was home all day. I got my online school work done, including two of my latest quizzes. Did some tasks I’ve had on my to do list including getting my LP recording equipment working on my new PC. I can now start dropping the Hubby’s old LP’s to the computer (I had him go through all of them and pick the ones he wanted converted – there’s now a stack of about 100 I have to work on). Using Nero 8’s Wave Studio and Audacity I started making a dent in the pile.

And the first album I converted? A disco album by Eartha Kitt called I Love Men!

Earth Kitt

Next up: The soundtrack to Grease 2!

Grease 2…bad,bad,bad,

Christmas Massacre

I just got back from seeing Sweeney Todd. Before you read on, I just want to let you know that these are the thoughts of a guy whose all-time favorite Broadway show is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I’ve seen a letter-perfect recreation of the Broadway show back in the late 80’s; I’ve listened to the score several thousand times and know it by heart; I even played the part of Toby in a small production that had me killing someone four times a night. With that said, let’s proceed…

First off, let me say that ST is an F-ing incredible movie. As I waited for the film to start, I had to tell myself to be objective about it: This was not Tim Burton trying to film the Broadway version…It is simply his retelling of the story. And film and stage are quite different beasts. The atmosphere is so depressing it’s amazing. You only see the sun shine twice in this film. But the characters seem so at home in the gloom you would think England really did look like that back in the 1800’s. Many of the songs made it to the movie, though most shortened by a verse of two. It’s was also odd not to hear the crowd singing along during the God That’s Good number. Only the main characters sing…there’s no Greek chorus moving the story along. In fact, The Ballad of Sweeney Todd is only heard in sections of the score.

The best staged number was A Little Priest when Ms. Lovett figures out what to do with Sweeney’s victim. It was actually quite creepy the way they looked outside the windows and the passers-by pay them no heed as they are discussing the heinous acts of baking they could do.

I did have to adjust to Todd and Lovett being played and sung by younger actors, and having an actual child playing the role of Toby…not an adult with an adult singing voice. Helena Bonham Carter probably had the weakest voice but played the character wonderfully. The Worst Pies In London must be sung with more force than she did.

But all the actors were wonderful, the few that there were. Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall were both great as the villains (but is Sweeney the villain, too?). I was a bit annoyed at how fatalist they made Johanna be. Not a happy girl at all.

On to the gore….yea gads! It was amazing! Pretty much the level of gore you saw in Tim Burton’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow film. There was one person in the theater I kept seeing their hands fly up in front of their face whenever a throat was slit. This is the only reason this film got an R rating.

For the Sweeney enthusiests, you will notice the musical numbers left out of the movie, most of the ones left in are shortened, and one number, Todd and Anthony’s duet, Johanna, moved a few scenes early. There were also small story changes but it stays true to the plot of the musical.

The only thing in the film that I would have done differently……(wait for it)…..was the abrupt ending. I’m talking even more abrupt than the musical’s ending (but, then again, the Ballad of ST number and the Greek chorus wrap the musical up for you at the end). So as not to spoil it, the few additions I would have done to the film are listed at the very bottom of this post. If I wasn’t a fan of the musical I would have no gripes at all. But comparing it brings up the little things I’ve mentioned. But don’t get me wrong…this film will become my all-time favorite musical film version…and I’m hoping it’s out on Blu-Ray, not HD-DVD when it makes it out of the theaters.

And another thought…this film will do well, but because there is no happy ending I see that hurting its total gross. Most critics love it, and the Johnny Depp fans and musical fans will gladly help it be a success. Hell, I will be seeing it again soon with the Hubby (I had a half day today so went straight to the Pleasure Island Theaters and saw it). But it is not feel-good Holiday fare, and definitely not a date movie…unless you are Goth.

If you’ve never heard the musical soundtrack or seen the musical, go see it…as long as gore doesn’t put you off. And once you’ve seen the film I suggest you then purchase, or at least borrow, a copy of the 2-disc original Broadway recording and let it fill in the full story for you. Maybe I’ll come listen with you…and bring along my razor.

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Read no further if you don’t want anything spoiled!

My additions to the ending would be this: Show Toby witnessing Todd killing Mrs. Lovett; allow Todd to finish singing the entire verse before being killed; and show us Anthony and Johanna in some form…in the musical they come rushing in right after Todd dies with the police with them…that would have been good, or at least them leaving the city together.

Your Parents Named You What?

Some parents must hate their kids…or want them to grow up to be strippers. Case in point: the name of an actress I saw at a local theater:

Cherish Glaze

I could think of some naughty lines for that one. I guess lucky for us the search term “Cherish Glaze” does not pull up any explicit photos.

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Classes are almost done. My astronomy final is tomorrow and I can honestly say I learned something. That the Earth is so insignificantly and infinitesimally small that we don’t even rate on the Universe’s Scale of Importance. My Server 2003 final is next Wednesday (one more class tonight). After that there’s just one semester left! My mom said she is going to throw me a graduation party when I’m done.

Of course, it won’t be the one I want. Mine would involve hot, well-oiled bodies and some hot sweaty money sex. Not something I want my mom to be attending.

Great Balls Of Fire

I went and saw Return To the Forbidden Planet last night at Theater Downtown. The Hubby was still out of town and wasn’t thrilled about seeing it because he had never heard of it and he avoids sci-fi.

Me…I have been wanting to see this show for years.

If you take the movie Forbidden Planet (which is based on Shakespear’s The Tempest), throw in Shakespearian dialog (actual and made up), and then add a bunch of 60’s rock and roll numbers that all fit into the story, you have Return To the Forbidden Planet. I know the show ran for sometime over in Tampa and each performance they had a different old time rock group playing the music.

Well, TDT is a non-profit theater so production values are shoestring but I really enjoyed it despite the flaws. I even bought one of the t-shirts – a deal for just $10. If you are in the Orlando area or nearby, go and catch this production. It runs next weekend and then a special Halloween performance. And some of you will enjoy the two young, blond twinks who wear skin-tight silver lame pants with ample “packages” in the show.

RTTFP

Friday!

It’s Friday and I’m running around like mad again, but I get tomorrow off! Yea! We are going to hit Busch Gardens in the morning and then travel over to the St. Pete Pride festival, weather permitting!

So I leave you all with this link to interviews with the cast of Young Frankenstien. (I can’t wait!)

Of Orphans, Receptions, Beggars, Divas, Knights, and Wizards

Work was another whirlwind day. Class was uneventful, so it was pleasant. Rain moved in while I was in class and was glad I had my umbrella as I walked back to the car. I called Mark and found out he had gotten together with some of the “girls” we met on the cruise. I met them at the Greens & Grill by the snobby mall. We had an awesome time just shootin’ the shiz-nit. The really good part is we nailed down the night we wanted for this season’s Broadway Across America series at the Bob Carr. Yeah, the theater is far from first class…but it’s the only place close that has Broadway touring shows. God, Orlando is so starved for culture….we got to get it where we can.

Well, let me go through each show and tell you what comes to mind for each one.

Annie

OK, this will probably be the clunker in the series, but I still want to see it. I am so hoping they have Joan Collins as Ms. Hanigan!

The Wedding Singer

I’ve never seen this movie, and the show did not run for too long on Broadway, but I’ve heard several numbers on XM’s showtunes channel and they were cool. The “Come Out of the Dumpster” song got a chuckle out of me.

My Fair Lady

I know I blogged about this ages ago, and I go off on a rant often…but I hate the ending to this musical! The music is wonderful, and I hope there’s some great star playing Professor Higgins or Eliza, but the ending will grate on me. The ending to the original play, Pygmallion, is just right. Having Eliza go back to Professor Higgins is just so…obnoxious! He treated her like sh*t and she comes back because Lerner and Loewe needed a happy musical ending? I think not.

The Drowsy Chaperone

This is one show I can’t wait to see (actually, the final three are the ones that got us to buy season tickets). I only wish it had been with the original cast. The interesting thing about this show is the storyline could not be told on the CD soundtrack. I listened to a Downstage Center podcast interviewing the man who created the show (he’s also in it…or was), and he said they tried 6 different times to put this show down on a CD so people could understand and enjoy it. I am intrigued and can’t wait to see it for myself. The hubby’s niece saw it in New York and raved about it. My mom saw it and didn’t like it – but my mom seems to hate everything, pretty much (It’s not a grouch factor but more of a clueless factor – she just doesn’t get a lot of stuff she sees).

Spamalot

The second show in the “Triple Crown”. I love Monty Python, and I’ve heard this soundtrack. Some funny, funny stuff. I’m curious if M. will like it because he’s never watched Monty Python.

Wicked

Yes…If I had to say which show really sealed our decision to buy tickets, it was this one. I’ve wanted to see it since I saw Idina Menzell sing Defying Gravity on the Tony’s – it sent shivers down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t get to see her or Kristen Chenowith on Broadway perform it, but that’s OK. I will finally be able to say I saw the show. And the info says the show is 2 hours and 45 minutes! I’m sure I won’t look at my watch once during that time, I’ll be so enthralled. I really want to see how they stage it all. I’ve read the script (yes, I know all the spoilers in the show) but I want to see how certain effects are done that are described. But then there’s the phenomenal score, too. And I’ll bet you a dollar there will be people attending dressed up like Elphaba and Galinda. No, not me, you bitches. LOL!!!