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Musical version of The Devil Wears Prada will have pre-Broadway run in Chicago next summer

Performances scheduled for July 14 - August 16 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre. 

Directed by Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro, music by Elton John, lyrics by Shaina Taub, and a book by Paul Rudnick.

Nadia DiGiallonardo is the show’s musical supervisor. Casting is by Stephen Kopel.

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I have thoughts on things I've been too busy to recap but I have some free time so I'd like to share. 

This afternoon I saw a matinee of the Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof at Stage 42 through 20 at 20. I'm not sure how much more I'd pay for it and still find it worthwhile but it was definitely worth $20. It's just that even as much as I enjoyed it, as a three hour production you do kind of notice some repetitiveness in the songs and where it loses momentum. What's charming in act 1 becomes less charming in act 2 where you feel like, eh, I don't think this needed to be 3 hours. Tevye has too many daughters. I don't care about them all equally. 

The clear standout in this production is Steven Skybell as Tevye. I know it's a big star role for male performers but he's so perfect for this production that I can't imagine his understudy being as good. At this point, his performance is fully lived in and he's fully acting every line and every lyric. All his songs were perfect. The show is a little uneven because even though it sounds wonderful in any big ensemble scenes, it's notable that some actors are more experienced or better at their Yiddish accents or stronger singers. Without going through everyone in the cast, I'd say that Golde has a pretty voice that she uses effectively. I liked the ghost of Fruma Sarah. I wish Fyedke had more to do because that actor was in Di Goldene Kale and I know his voice is gorgeous but he still sounds great in the little he has. "Miracle of Miracles" was sweet but the singing was below average. Both Tzeitel and Motl didn't make a huge impression despite having so much material. The actress playing Hodl was much better and even though her vocals on "Far From the Home I Love" left something to be desired, she played the role in such a way that I didn't want to punch Perchik in the face. So that was an improvement. Generally the older actors carried the show, though I did find Jackie Hoffman a bit of a disappointment. I don't know if she was tired or making a choice but she didn't hit her comedic lines with the panache I was expecting. All in all, in spite of my criticisms, I thought it was a worthwhile experience. Seeing the show in Yiddish really does illuminate things about the text. It brings the sense of tradition forward. It adds a depth to what are otherwise somewhat simple, repetitive melodies by tying them more clearly to the kinds of songs that influenced them. And without going all Bartlett Sher "feminist reading" on the show, I feel like Joel Grey found ways to let the show be what it is and still reflect progressive ideas and make a case for itself as a still contemporary and relevant and vital piece of the musical theater canon. 

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I saw Bat Out of Hell at the end of August. I was going to take my friend because he loves Hedwig and Lena Hall but he was seeing Mockingbird and then I was going to go on a date but I ended up going myself and having a blast. It is a very fun, stupid time. Is it a good show? Absolutely not. But there were a lot of things I enjoyed about it. 

The cast was giving it their all. Andrew Polec was fully invested in the nonsense. Lena Hall and Bradley Dean were champs as the parents. They threw themselves into all the campy comedy. The rest of the cast was solid but Danielle Steers really stood out to me. She sang the heck out of "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and personally, as I love Cher, I loved that she sounds like Cher. She's got that mezzo/alto resonance. Delicious and rarely heard with all the legit soprano and soprano high belting parts these days. Act 1 was a lot stronger. I mean, the plot was nonsense but at least there was the illusion that it was going to resolve somehow and they also put all the songs that mostly fit the plot in Act 1. With Act 2, it was like they threw their hands up. A lot of the songs barely fit. Like, "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" was a STRETCH. Two of those verses were completely irrelevant to the plot. Also, Act 2 has more of the forced Peter Pan stuff and the Tinkerbell plotline DOES NOT WORK. By Act 2 you realize it's mostly love song after love song where people are either declaring their love or talking about their love-related pain or breaking up or getting back together. It's still enjoyable if you like Jim Steinman songs because the cast sings the crap out of them. All the big hits sound great in this show, "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," "Bat Out of Hell," "I'd Do Anything for Love." And special shout out to "What Part of My Body Hurts the Most" which I didn't know and which Bradley and Lena made a feast out of even if that song was unnecessary to the plot. The love story between Strat and Raven is simple enough. Girl meets boy. Girl is an emotional teenager. Tru wuv, with all the angst and infatuation you'd expect from teenagers. It's a little crazy that their plot resolves with her being like, I'm going to age and you're not, and him reassuring her with "I'd Do Anything For Love" that he'll continue to love her as she gets old and he looks 18 forever but whatever. At that point, it was hard to care. The parents' plot makes even less sense. Falco is not a very good villain. It's not totally clear what he wants and why that gets resolved except because. And it's not amazingly clear why he and Sloane keep getting together and breaking up except, I guess they'd rather be unhappy together than with anyone else but also he changes at the end but also that wasn't expressed as an issue in dialogue at all. Again, whatever. I'd say the worst part of the show was the choreography which was just embarrassing. It was like Kenny Ortega high school musical stuff. Like, there was quite a bit of it and I'm sure it's a workout but it's not really the kind of stuff you need professional dancers for. Truly with the emphasis on melodrama and teenagers and the weak choreography, it feels like the kind of show that teenagers would write for their high school musical if they were somehow given access to the Jim Steinman catalogue. 

I'm glad I saw it but I could not recommend anyone seeing future productions (if there are any) at full price. 

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Thoughts on Waitress with Alison Luff, Todrick Hall, Colleen Ballinger, etc.

It was my fourth time at the diner so obviously it wasn't going to be as organic because I could anticipate jokes and story beats but I still found it worthwhile. A great thing about this show is that depending who is playing the roles (especially Jenna) different things get illuminated in the text. Different Jennas emphasize different things even if they're all saying the same lines. 

Mark Evans was completely adorable. He almost stole the show for me. I loved him so much as Dr. Jim Pomatter. It was an interesting choice he made to have Jim's attraction Jenna be so clear from the first moment. All of the doctors have had that to some degree because it's in the script but his overt attraction but a different spin on it. I wouldn't quite call it lecherous but even though he was still awkward and nervous, with this cast I felt like his morality was more questionable. Like Jeremy Jordan's Dr. P definitely seemed to stumble into the affair more while Mark Evan's Dr. P seems to actively seek it out even though he's married. And while their "You Matter To Me" was what I wanted it to be, the way he played the character put a different spin on Jenna not choosing to pursue a relationship at the end. 

I've seen the actor playing Earl before. He's fine but he's definitely a schmuck. And with Alison, I think the Earl needed to be more aggressive. I have this memory of Will Swenson's Earl carrying Sara. The implication of spousal rape or coercive sex is there regardless but I prefer a more overtly aggressive Earl to highlight certain lines and stage directions since there's no physical abuse overtly depicted on stage. 

Alison Luff blew me away. She was fantastic. She's got a combination of Sara's vocal power and facility with the way the score is written and a touch of Jessie Mueller's accent. She has toughness but also humor and I found her to be the most gregarious Jenna. She was also the most flirty with her Dr. P. Sara's Jenna seemed tired and worn out. Alison's Jenna was more overtly angry at the hand that life had dealt her. I really liked that choice.

Colleen was fine as Dawn. I heard some vocal strain and breathiness early on but she managed the rest of the songs relatively well. She does sound untrained though. In her solo, you could hear her undersinging some parts and oversinging others when she felt more confident. It's an unevenness you usually don't hear in trained Broadway singers who know how maintain that breath control throughout a song and don't just sing out on a random note. I felt like the biggest issue was that she was just... fine. Because Dawn is already written as an awkward character, there was nothing for her to add. She gave a standard performance. But any humor was already in the script and I've seen it done better by other Dawns. I feel like she could have added more to a character like Nessarose or Roxie Hart where there's room to put a bit of a spin on it if you so choose.

Todrick was good. He was freer to add little touches to Oggie. He added some runs and put some sass on his line readings. He was completely miscast. He played against type and it was clear. But I still found his performance enjoyable and his dancing was okay though no one is going to live up to Chris Fitzgerald to me. 

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I saw a segment on this on NY1 and... I kind of want to see it.

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Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated actor Gary Busey will play God (in a suit) in the new pop rock office musical Only Human at Theatre St. Clements this fall. The musical will tell the story of Jesus and Lucifer, who, before they were enemies, were co-workers who just couldn't see eye to eye.

Only Human features a book by Jess Carson, and music and lyrics by Mike Squillante, based on a story by Jesse Murphy and Squillante. The production, which will begin October 8, is choreographed by Josue Jasmin and directed by NJ Agwuna. Adrià Barbosa is music director.

Only Human, which will officially open October 21 for a run scheduled through January 2020, 

http://www.playbill.com/article/gary-busey-to-star-in-off-broadway-musical-only-human

http://onlyhumanmusical.com/

If they paper, I will go. 

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I saw Anastasia this week and I was underwhelmed. It wasn't a horrible show or anything, but it was just okay. So many people love the show that I was expecting more.

My favorite part of the show was the Swan Lake performance. I was impressed that they had some serious choreography for that!

I saw the movie when I was a kid but it definitely was not in my regular rotation so I don't have any nostalgic or emotional connection to it.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo · Reason: typo

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I think your feelings are on point. I just watched a bootleg of the original cast, pre-Bway, and while I liked them and liked the songs, the book didn't elevate the material at all. I think people got excited about the show because of how much it resembled the movie, Christy Altomare in particular. But it's no big shakes. Wish I could say it was a good show, though.

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3 hours ago, DisneyBoy said:

I think your feelings are on point. I just watched a bootleg of the original cast, pre-Bway, and while I liked them and liked the songs, the book didn't elevate the material at all. I think people got excited about the show because of how much it resembled the movie, Christy Altomare in particular. But it's no big shakes. Wish I could say it was a good show, though.

I'm glad it wasn't just me. I felt like a grinch for not loving it since everyone else seems to. Like I said, it wasn't awful. It was fine. But it definitely wasn't OMG AMAZING which is what I was expecting.

The cast, the songs, the sets, the costumes - everything was good and it's obvious that a lot of effort went into putting the production together (meaning it didn't look like a slapped  together community theater production with a $5000 budget). It just wasn't the kind of theater experience that I would pay to see again. If someone were to ask me whether they should see this show, I would say only if you got free/super cheap tickets or if you really loved the movie (and even then maybe not since they made a lot of changes from the movie).

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@ElectricBoogaloo I can't remember if I commented on Anastasia back when I saw it. I was lucky enough too see the original cast in its entirety, I think, besides Ramin. I do have a deep affection for the movie. I watched it all the time when I was younger (it was one of my few VHS tapes) and I still think some of the more notable songs that made it into the show are very solid musical theater songs. 

I think the show struggled with the adaptation of the book (which I personally feel was due in part to their legal issues. That is, I think they changed things to make the show something distinctly different from the movie which was based on a play, etc. etc. Because there were things that worked so much better in the movie that were pointlessly changed). I get the new replacement villain but that was handled very poorly and his new songs were boring and stopped the show cold. I dearly loved the performances of the original cast. John Bolton is so winsome, even if he was totally different from Kelsey Grammer. And Christy, particularly on Journey to the Past sounded SO much like Liz Callaway and as others have noted, she's a sweetheart at the stage door and with fans. Derek is... not hard on the eyes. But yeah, lots of book problems that could have been solved with a sharper writer who had a greater deftness with the subtleties of human emotion (the music box is handled so much better in the movie) and had a better sense of history and how to integrate everyone's backstories. 

With the wide stage of the Broadhurst, it was also weirdly directed with characters either hanging out center stage or far to the right or left. They didn't move around the stage very organically. But that could have been forgiven if the show didn't have a bit of a cheapness. Aside from the beautiful costumes, the sets and especially the use of projections, screens, etc. did not have the air of a Broadway show.

I still enjoyed myself as a fan of the movie but more for the moments that captured the sense of the movie. It was definitely an uneven viewing experience. 

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On 9/28/2019 at 8:29 PM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I'm glad it wasn't just me. I felt like a grinch for not loving it since everyone else seems to. Like I said, it wasn't awful. It was fine. But it definitely wasn't OMG AMAZING which is what I was expecting.

The cast, the songs, the sets, the costumes - everything was good and it's obvious that a lot of effort went into putting the production together (meaning it didn't look like a slapped  together community theater production with a $5000 budget). It just wasn't the kind of theater experience that I would pay to see again. If someone were to ask me whether they should see this show, I would say only if you got free/super cheap tickets or if you really loved the movie (and even then maybe not since they made a lot of changes from the movie).

Yeah - I didn't care for how they defanged Dimitri, who I thinks just works better as a sort of bad boy who butts heads with Anya and gradually falls for her and redeems himself. Here...he was more of a good guy from the start. It was boring. The spark wasn't there in the relationship.

Anya was so painfully obviously Anastasia, to the point where it felt silly to drag it out...even though I realize that's the plot of the film. And the performance I saw in the bootleg was overly earnest. I liked how Christy channeled Liz and gave her all...but she like radiated an "I LOVE THIS JOB!!" vibe that made it impossible to see her as a character as much as an actress loving her job. But you didn't see Christy so...maybe you can share if the actress you saw disappeared into the role or not.

I couldn't grasp the point of the new villain character. He was so dull. I would have rather seen Rasputin camp it up. They both only really got involved in the narrative at the very end of the show. I figured if they were going to rewrite things, they would have given the villain with more to do throughout the whole story. Nope.

I also thought they short-changed the grandmother/granddaughter scenes, which were some of the best parts of the movie.

The whole ballet scene felt like filler. I didnt like the circular set or the digital screen either.

When I watched the bootleg of Newsies, which was another show everyone was raving about, I was very disappointed. It happens. People hype a show up even if it has obvious problems.

Sad fact is that most of the musicals I've seen live were entertaining in part because I usually got a good deal on tickets. I can't imagine paying full price and walking out of a theatre feeling like I could have skipped the show and purchased some really expensive groceries for supper instead. But I'm a very picky guy. I walk in hoping to fall in love. I usually don't.

Edited by DisneyBoy

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I was just re-watching Into The Woods, the original production, and I couldn't figure out how Bernadette Peters pulled off her quick change before the end of act 1. You can clearly see in the video that she has a full witch makeup on with the nose, the warts and the droopy cheeks. I can understand taking off a wig, cloak and maybe some gloves, but how does she make her face morph like that what appears to be 10 seconds? I assume it's a mask but wouldn't that still have to be glued onto her face?

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On 10/1/2019 at 4:21 AM, DisneyBoy said:

I was just re-watching Into The Woods, the original production, and I couldn't figure out how Bernadette Peters pulled off her quick change before the end of act 1. You can clearly see in the video that she has a full witch makeup on with the nose, the warts and the droopy cheeks. I can understand taking off a wig, cloak and maybe some gloves, but how does she make her face morph like that what appears to be 10 seconds? I assume it's a mask but wouldn't that still have to be glued onto her face?

In actual performance, it's a double who enters for that one scene (hooded, her back to the audience most of the time, and speaking in that croak that could be anybody), to be replaced by the actual Bernadette at the crucial moment. But for the videotaping, they cheated and used the magic of editing (stopping and resuming) to let her play the whole scene in a way that wouldn't be possible in real life.

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On 10/10/2019 at 9:47 AM, Rinaldo said:

In actual performance, it's a double who enters for that one scene (hooded, her back to the audience most of the time, and speaking in that croak that could be anybody), to be replaced by the actual Bernadette at the crucial moment. But for the videotaping, they cheated and used the magic of editing (stopping and resuming) to let her play the whole scene in a way that wouldn't be possible in real life.

OMG thank you. Makes total sense.

When I first watched the taped version, I knew it was Bernadette as the old witch, but I guess I assumed she just had a fake nose on and was otherwise glammed up under the hood. It was only when I recently watched that I paused it and noticed she had full makeup as the crone and then looked flawless seconds later.

I kind of like that they used the magic of video to get it to appear she fully transformed on stage. Why not?

It takes me back to when I first learned that they used doubles in Phantom of the Opera. When I saw the production back in the day, I had no idea and I could not for the life of me figure out how the Phantom and Christine descended into a trap door and about 4 and 1/2 seconds later were suddenly at the very top of the stage on the tilting ramp. For some reason I thought they got on some really fast elevator in the wings to take their place at the top of the stage, and continue singing somehow without losing their balance and falling over or having to catch their breath. It being pre-recorded audio with doubles makes a lot more sense, but the mind just doesn't go there.

Clearly, I'm pretty easily wowed by stage trickery. But I have to say of all of the quick changes I've seen, one of the ones I was most disappointed by was Cinderella's spin into her ball gown in the recent Broadway show with Laura Osnes and Carly Rae Jepsen. Having her start to transform in front of the audience then duck out into the wings and pop back in completely changed didn't work for me. It's one thing to ask your actress to literally tear her costume open in front of everybody and just hope she does it fast enough that no one sees her obviously putting in the work to do the quick change herself...and another thing entirely to then also remove her from stage and just have her walk back in in a different outfit. Seriously, how dumb. Either just have her walk off stage like it's a High School production and then come back on in her new outfit or keep her on stage and have people passing front of her so that she can do the quick change without the audience seeing it all happening.

Did anybody else find that very weird?? It was like they were going for it confidently and having her do the quick change where everyone could see it happen but then lost confidence and decided she should also run off stage. I know technically it's so that she can be in the better constructed ball gown that she'll have to wear for the next 20 minutes or so, but still... Cinderella's dress transformation is a highly anticipated moment in any telling of Cinderella. I felt they could have done better. The pumpkin was nice though.

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I have more to say but I'm feeling lazy so I'll just note that I saw the Met Opera's production of Porgy and Bess and it's not very good. There were some high points but it didn't reach the heights of opera or musical theater and instead ended up in some leaden, tedious place in the middle. I regret not seeing the recent Audra/Norm revival instead. It's a show that needs a much stronger director to guide you through the mess of Yikes! that is the book. But putting aside the problematic elements, it just felt flat and slow through most of the night. 

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Jeremy Jordan solo concert at Carnegie Hall last night. I thought the program was a bit forced with the inclusion of the NY Pops selections and Jeremy went for some sleepier arrangements than I would have liked in Act 1. And he sang some things that didn't fit his voice that well. Like, I'm never going to be that excited by a real tenor doing Soliloquy (sorry). But I still had a good time. A cold was also settling in and by the end of the night, my hearing was actually muted (it felt like I had wool in my ears) so that might have affected my opinion because I know that boy can wail. One of my favorite parts of the night was actually a medley of standards (Mona Lisa, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, etc.). He sounds surprisingly good as a crooner. He can be very intense when he sings so it was fun to see that banter in between songs. He forgot his lyrics a few times. He's such an adorable chipmunk. 

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Lempicka, a new musical about aristocrat-turned-artist Tamara de Lempicka, will head to the West Coast in a spring 2020 run at La Jolla Playhouse.

http://www.playbill.com/article/lempicka-musical-will-play-la-jolla-playhouse

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members of the original award-winning Broadway company of The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! will reunite to film the show for television in front of a live theater audience. The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! will air on Nickelodeon this December. The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage! cast will include Ethan Slater as SpongeBob SquarePants, Gavin Lee as Squidward Q. Tentacles, Danny Skinner as Patrick Star, Brian Ray Norris as Eugene Krabs, Wesley Taylor as Sheldon Plankton, and Christina Sajous as Sandy Cheeks. The ensemble will include Kyle Matthew Hamilton, Katie Lee Hill, Curtis Holbrook, L'ogan J'ones, Jai'len Josey, Kelvin Moon Loh, Lauralyn Mcclelland, Vasthy Mompoint, Bryonha Parham, Oneika Phillips, Jon Rua, JC Schuster, Abby C. Smith, Robert Taylor Jr., Allan Washington.

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Breaking-Ethan-Slater-Gavin-Lee-More-Will-Reunite-to-Film-SPONGEBOB-for-Nickelodeon-20191017

I think it's most of the original cast besides Lilli Cooper.

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So I just watched the film of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers....and yipes! What a plot! Seven horny guys up on a mountain kidnap bunch of women for 6 months and use an avalanche to prevent their families from rescuing them, and of course the women fall in love with them. And we've been complaining about Beauty and the Beast why...? What a mess. I don't even know how audiences back in the day sat through it without completely hating the men in the story for being nutjobs.

Cool that they're restaging SpongeBob to film it. It drives me crazy how many shows come and go without getting filmed. I thought there was some online channel like Broadway live or something that was trying to film more shows, like She Loves Me for example. Are they planning on filming anymore? Did the business model prove profitable?

I went to see The King and I with Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe when it was broadcast at the local cinema. I hope they keep doing that kind of thing. Is that ever coming to DVD?

Now that I'm starting to doubt they're ever going to bring it back to Broadway, I'm really wishing that they filmed the London premiere of Dreamgirls.

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9 hours ago, DisneyBoy said:

So I just watched the film of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers....and yipes! What a plot! Seven horny guys up on a mountain kidnap bunch of women for 6 months and use an avalanche to prevent their families from rescuing them, and of course the women fall in love with them. And we've been complaining about Beauty and the Beast why...? What a mess. I don't even know how audiences back in the day sat through it without completely hating the men in the story for being nutjobs.

Short answer: fantastic dancing, plus Millie makes it clear that the kidnapping was not reasonable behaviour and banishes them from the house.

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I felt so badly for Millie. I mean she really rolled the dice by getting married on a whim, and she lost out big. Suddenly she has to train all these idiots in how to behave decently? What happened to their Maw and Paw? How were they raised?

I'm all for singing and dancing and I love old musicals and accept that they reflect different sensibilities....but a jaunty two-step can't erase the hugely messed up behaviors of the lead characters.... especially when they're forgiven by their victims, cause wimmenfolk be contrary y'all!

The plot proves that what the men did works. Just kidnap a gal that smiles at you, no matter how much she cries and screams "no", because she'll come around and she likes it, fellers. She likes it.

....how is this one of IFA's best movie musicals?

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26 minutes ago, DisneyBoy said:

I felt so badly for Millie. I mean she really rolled the dice by getting married on a whim, and she lost out big. Suddenly she has to train all these idiots in how to behave decently? What happened to their Maw and Paw? How were they raised?

I'm all for singing and dancing and I love old musicals and accept that they reflect different sensibilities....but a jaunty two-step can't erase the hugely messed up behaviors of the lead characters.... especially when they're forgiven by their victims, cause wimmenfolk be contrary y'all!

The plot proves that what the men did works. Just kidnap a gal that smiles at you, no matter how much she cries and screams "no", because she'll come around and she likes it, fellers. She likes it.

....how is this one of IFA's best movie musicals?

IMO something like Carousel is even more messed up with the whole slap/kiss confluence. In Seven Brides, at least although the brothers act like dolts, other than the kidnapping they are basically kind and respectful with the brides.

Millie puts up with a lot, but she isn't afraid to speak up for herself, and she puts Adam in his place repeatedly. She makes the best of each situation as she comes to it -- she decided she was better off marrying Adam than working in town, so she married him. She found the brothers uncivilized and she made them behave. She didn't want to be stuck looking after 7 men all by herself and she influenced the 6 younger brothers to look for wives of their own. (In the story the movie was based on, it was actually Millie who masterminded the kidnapping; in the movie she is innocent of that crime.) When the brothers arrive with the kidnapped brides, Millie kicks them all out of the house so that the women will be safe and secure (and to punish the brothers for doing it). The movie is pretty clear that Millie is tough and capable, and she gets what she wants in the end.

It's impossible to defend the idea that kidnapping a woman will yield you a willing bride. However the movie does mitigate this idea to the extent possible by punishing the men for the kidnapping (making them sleep in the barn) and making sure that the women are safe and protected so that when they interact with the men it's clear it's because they want to (and that Millie would help protect them if they didn't want to). 

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....so wait...the source material is worse? Millie suggests the kidnapping scheme?!

How did this musical even happen? Who made this into a show and who bought tickets for it and who smiled about the whole thing never once seeing the inherent problems with it? It boggles my mind.

I watched through Jesus Christ Superstar this weekend. I hadn't seen the movie in a really long time so it was interesting to re-watch the whole thing in one sitting. The film has a lot of problems, but I really love the boldness of the production design. Having also recently watched the film version of Fiddler on the Roof, I find Norman Jewison's approach to both pictures similar. I just wish Jesus Christ Superstar had better use of colour because the film is very washed out. The landscapes are great, as they were in Fiddler, but unlike Fiddler there was no reason to limit the colour palette as much as they did. I like how they mixed in modern touches like the tanks and the machine guns, but I kind of wish they found a better balance between the biblical story and modern perspective of what that story can be. At a certain point, it stopped feeling like they were doing something interesting with a classic story and instead just kind of started to repeat the classic story.

I didn't realize the original production was so controversial to people back when it first came out, but I was reading through some New York Times articles and apparently people picketed the show on Broadway for overly humanizing Jesus and Mary Magdalene and not sticking to the script so to speak. I actually thought that Jesus was kind of boring in the movie and could have been more humanized. They hardly went out on a limb with his characterization.

I'd also forgotten that Judas was the narrator, much in the way Che Guevara was the narrator in Evita. I actually saw a lot of similarities between JCS and Evita.

Apparently the woman who played Mary Magdalene was part of the original cast of the stage show. Her website didn't say whether it was the London cast or the Broadway cast, but that's still cool. So few original cast members ever make it into the film versions of these musicals.

To be honest, I think I prefer the Fiddler movie.

Edit: Does anybody think this Sunset Boulevard movie starring Close is really going to happen?

Edited by DisneyBoy
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Casting has been announced for the upcoming Broadway production of Company!

Joining the previously announced Katrina Lenk as Bobbie and Patti LuPone as Joanne, are Matt Doyle as Jamie, Etai Benson as Paul, Christopher Sieber as Harry, Jennifer Simard as Sarah, Christopher Fitzgerald as David, Nikki Renée Daniels as Jenny, Terence Archie as Larry, Greg Hildreth as Peter, Claybourne Elder as Andy, Kyle Dean Massey as Theo, and Bobby Conte Thornton as P.J.

The role of Susan has yet to be announced.

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/BREAKING-Matt-Doyle-Jennifer-Simard-Christopher-Sieber-and-More-Join-COMPANY-Cast-Announced-20191021

I'm familiar with the score of Company but not the show so much so I can't sort all of this out with the gender flip. However, I do like all the names I recognize so, yay! It's not like there was a question of me seeing this after Patti was announced.

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Just watched the Sparkle remake with Whitney....and boy are they lucky they got her. Easily the best part of the movie. Such a waste we never got Whitney in a real deal movie musical. Wasn't she trying to get Deena in a Dreamgirls movie...but wanted them to change things so Deena would sing one of Effie's anthems?

Anyway, I don't know why the movie focused so much on the downfall of the Sister character (or why she was named that in the first place). I did not expect her husband to be murdered and her to end up in jail. Really dark and frankly more interesting than what was going on with the other characters. Jordin Sparks was extremely green and dull. But then most of the songs were dull as well. It's like a broken-down version of Dreamgirls. Weird.

Edit: Just remembered she was in Cinderella. That's pretty legit movie musical stuff right there.

Edited by DisneyBoy

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Two tracks from the Max Martin musical "& Juliet" have been released so far (not to be confused with the Britney Spears musical Once Upon a One More Time which will be opening in Chicago next spring):

Baby One More Time

Roar

Full list of songs used in & Juliet:

Quote

1. “Larger Than Life”
2. “I Want It That Way”
3. “… Baby One More Time”
4. “Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely”
5. “Domino”
6. “Show Me Love”
7. “Blow”
8. “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman”
9. “Overprotected”
10. “Confident”
11. “Teenage Dream” / “Break Free”
12. “Oops! … I Did It Again”
13. “I Kissed A Girl”
14. “It’s My Life”
15. “Love Me Like You Do”
16. “Since U Been Gone”
17. “Whataya Want From Me”
18. “One More Try”
19. “Problem” / “Can’t Feel My Face”
20. “That’s The Way It Is”
21. “Everybody”
22. “As Long As You Love Me”
23. “It’s Gonna Be Me”
24. “Shape Of My Heart”
25. “Stronger”
26. “F**kin’ Perfect (Explicit)”
27. “Roar”
28. “I Want It That Way (Reprise)”
29. “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”
30. “One More Try (Original Version)”

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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Boy was Little Mermaid Live weird. Shaggy as Sebastian? Moana as a redhead Ariel? And most of the show was just replaying clips from the movie so what the hell was the point? And why was the audience screaming like they were at a taping of Oprah's Favorite Things giveaway? Lame.

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I just re-watched Yentl for the first time in years. It's not quite as slow as I remember it being. But there is a general boredom that creeps in. Some of the songs are rather meandering. "Papa Can You Hear Me?" is good and the ending is spectacular, but everything in the middle kind of blurs together. And Barbra is not a very good actress in it. There's so much comedy and drama to mine from someone in disguise as the opposite gender, yet I feel like she's putting less effort into it here. Too many moments where she just stares and looks pretty without necessarily emoting something. I feel like we had a much wider range from her in Funny Girl. Mandy Patinkin's character is a bit underdeveloped unfortunately, but he really delivers where he can. He's a great actor. Barbra definitely does a great job as a first-time director, but I still feel like the film focuses entirely too much on her character. It might have been nice to have a subplot in there somewhere considering how long the movie is. Either that, or really get into the heads of the other two main characters.

Apparently earlier drafts of the script had Mandy and Barbra sleeping together at the end of the movie before she leaves for America. For those of you who care about the plot of this movie, would that have made it better or worse, IYO? I kind of found his turnaround a little too fast after learning the truth. Them sleeping together might have been a bit more than was necessary, but I kind of get why they were inclined to head in that direction.

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6 hours ago, Silver Raven said:

13-year-old Laurel Griggs has died.  No cause of death in the article.  She was on Broadway in Once and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

https://twentytwowords.com/snl-and-broadway-actress-laurel-griggs-dead-at-13

Apparently it was from an asthma attack.

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Broadway-Star-Laurel-Griggs-Suffered-Asthma-Attack-Before-She-Died-Age-13-564725892.html

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Today was the first show of the Sacramento fall/winter season, A Christmas Story.  It wasn't something that I was really interested in seeing, but it's part of the season ticket, so I went.  Every one of the performers had an outstanding voice, including the boy Ian Shaw, who played Ralphie. The boy who played Randy, William Colin, was an excellent dancer.  And Briana Gantsweg, who played Mother, and Christopher Swan, who played the father, were both outstanding.

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I've been mildly tempted to get a ticket for Evita. But yeah, at those prices I'm good with my decision to pass. Sorry. I know Lupone and Patinkin are 100% not ethnically correct for their roles but if I'm going to see Evita I need a cast who can bring it vocally. I'll be curious to read the reviews/word of mouth about the split role. Having a young Eva sing Buenos Aires certainly changes things. Solea seems to shine more as a pretty, light soprano and not as a belter. And as an actress, she feels very distant and remote. 

I'm going to try to save my money to see Oklahoma! this month instead. I'll fully miss Tootsie. I don't think anything else is on my radar that's closing in January. 

I've got my tickets for Caroline, or Change. I'm holding off on Linctix for Flying Over Sunset. I don't think they'll sell out based on the cast/subject matter and I'd prefer to pick a date when I feel like going. I'm waiting to see how Six and Company sell. I'm indifferent to the rest of the new shows. Maybe I'll try the Tina and Moulin Rouge lotteries but I have no luck with digital lotteries.

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https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Betsy-Wolfe-and-Matt-Bogart-Will-Star-in-Developmental-Reading-of-Original-New-Musical-INDIGO-20191111

Who knows if this will go anywhere but it sounds like the kind of show that has at least a 75% chance of failure but could also make me cry in spite of myself if it's even slightly competent given the subject matter. It's a confusing bucket of ingredients.

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Saw the new touring production of Les Miserables. Man, I haven't seen the stage show since 2001 so a lot of things were different! I noticed some little bits incorporated from the movie, like the bishop welcoming Valjean into the after life, etc. Anyway the show was great though I still think "I Dreamed A Dream" works way better after Fantine starts prostituting herself.

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Thoughts on the Oklahoma! revival currently playing Circle in the Square. 

I think I had the original cast except for Laurey (Sasha Hutchings instead of Rebecca Naomi Jones), Ali Hakim (Chris Bannow instead of Will Brill), and Ado Annie (Chelsea Lee Williams instead of Ali Stroker). I was only really curious about how Rebecca would have played Laurey as the other actors did a fine job but Sasha's performance wasn't as lived in. There were some vocal weaknesses (shaky high notes, flat notes), she notably had less of an accent than anyone else, and her performance just didn't have as much depth. 

Anyway, on to the show. On the whole, I really enjoyed it. I didn't think it was just trying to be edgy for no reason. For the most part, I thought the choices illuminated the text in a smart way. For people who say they hate Oklahoma! but they love this, that feels stupid. This is Oklahoma! This is 100% Oklahoma! Like Once on this Island, this is a show I performed when I was younger so it's in my body. Nothing's radically different about this production. 

In general, the cast was great. My standouts were definitely Damon as Curly and Mary Testa as Aunt Eller. Will and Ado Annie were great comic relief. I didn't think Patrick Vaill gave as incredible of a performance as word of mouth would have you believe but I think he did a fantastic job with the part as the director wanted it to be portrayed. 

The show tries some things. There's a few moments with green lighting. There are times when they turn out all the lights so it's pitch black (besides the exit signs) and then eventually there is some camera work with screens/projections. But that oddly didn't feel that out of place to me. It wasn't like it was suddenly The Blair Witch Project. It still felt like a pretty traditional Oklahoma! I'd say the biggest changes are the emphasis on Jud who is definitely more sympathetic in this production. Laurie is more openly indecisive and not just really wanting to be with Curly but doing a slap slap kiss thing and playing hard to get. And they make a big deal of the "trial" at the end. The one decision I absolutely hated was the dream ballet. They should have just cut it. The orchestration was noisy and unpleasant and the choreography was inexplicable. It just felt like a complete waste of time. It was not enjoyable to sit through and communicated nothing about any of the characters. I just watched a girl do a SYTYCD routine in an oversized T-shirt and booty shorts. Why?

I would recommend this for anyone really. Oklahoma! purists and otherwise. I feel like the more difficult ask is not the few tricks they employ but whether you're okay with a more stripped back version of the show. Just as many actors as necessary for all the roles (no ensemble), minimal dancing, more countrified vocals. 

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So I saw the touring production of Aladdin at my theater and happy to say that I think it was just as good as the Broadway production! There were a few differences in terms of special effects, and I will agree with my mom that the Broadway one is more elaborate. Plus, it's hard to measure up any Jafar against THE OG Jafar Jonathan Freeman. 

The carpet sequence was still breathtaking.

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Anybody catch the live performance of the Spongebob Squarepants musical on Nickelodeon?  The show was better than I thought it would be!  And the cast really did get into their cartoon characters.

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On 12/8/2019 at 3:36 PM, Spartan Girl said:

The carpet sequence was still breathtaking.

I’m still bitter that the carpet was broken the night I saw the show. Aladdin and Jasmine sitting on a bench at the back of the stage really does not have the same impact. 

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14 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I’m still bitter that the carpet was broken the night I saw the show. Aladdin and Jasmine sitting on a bench at the back of the stage really does not have the same impact. 

Yeah, I told my mom about reading about that and she couldn't believe it.  She offers you condolences.

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