Favorite Musical?

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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby KittyCathy » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:01 pm

Oh, I love so many musicals... My favourite? I don't know... Wicked? Yeah, Wicked, I think.
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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Sep 17, 2015 1:53 pm

With both my birthday and the girlfriend's falling in the next 4 weeks we've got two musical trips coming up! I think she is treating me to Bend it Like Beckham which is a new release! It's her favourite film and she can pretty much recite it line for line so I hope this lives up :lol:. Then I'm taking her to Jersey Boys. I've seen it before and really enjoyed it but she hasn't and it was one of the shows she's talked about wanting to see!
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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:33 pm

Itv doing a live broadcast of Sound of Music for Christmas

Bring back Cromwell! :wink:
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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:51 pm

Watched Rob Marshall's film version of the James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim Broadway dark fantasy musical Into the Woods. Premise: In a world of fairytale characters, many go into the woods wishing for something. Two of those are the childless baker's couple (James Corden and Emily Blunt) who seek to break the witches (Meryl Streep) curse that prevents them having a child....

I haven't seen any other version so I have no idea how the musical is generally but if this collection of songs is anything to go by, the songs are a bit lacklustre and I can't say I had ever heard of one beforehand. The opening song does not work on film, none of the songs are ones I want to listen to again or think "could be in a musical collection CD". There are two good songs, the ending song
major spoiler
"Children Will Listen" The goodbye of the miller's wife is sad
and the clever "Hello, Little Girl" which has various subtexts. The other music works for the musical well enough with the enjoyment coming from the fun the cast have with it, Agony by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen the best of that sort.

The film has good production values, clear sound, good costumes though Pine's Prince Charming does look a little silly. Was able to attract a good cast with the likes of Anna Kendrick (Cinderella), Johnny Depp as the wolf, Tracey Ullman as Jack's Mother with cameo's for Frances de la Tour, Joanna Riding and Simon Russell Beale. Has a sense of humour, mixing the darker old tales with spoofing the newer Disney-like versions, self-awareness at some of the silly things the characters are doing. Also has intresting themes but less successful as they tend not to fully land, for example the main theme
be careful what you wish for
is used well in individual moments but it never quite knits together into an overarching theme.

The Broadway musical has two very different act's so will use that:

Act 1: Starts slowly, lacks cohesion of its many many tales (Cinderella, Red Riding Hook, Jack, Bakers) and lacks spark, relies very much on Blunt and Corden making a lovely couple and the spunky Hood (Lilla Crawford does very well in only second film) to prevent boredom. However as characters get into the woods and interact with each other, the stories knit together into a more cohesive tale and it begins to spark. It isn't more then a good, nice time but the characters click (bar possibly Jack who is such an idiot, he is a danger to society), the stories are fun, I enjoyed the humour, romances are nice but very light. Was helped by the bakers Blunt and Corden making a good couple, getting the comedy right and providing likeable leads.

Act 2: The film comes to what seems like the ending
major spoiler
Cinderella's wedding
and then lurches widely off into a different, less enjoyable, path. The humour is still good but far far rarer, it loses one of the key components of act 1
major spoiler
the baker's relationship
and suffers for it. It contradicts its own messages/themes at times
major spoiler
they talk of understanding the other side aka the giant/witch. Then they help Jack become a multiple murderer by killing the giant
, there are some individual moments but Act 2 generally drags and ending is lacking.

Overall, was a nice enough musical but wonder if it would have been better splitting it into two films.
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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:48 pm

Watched the Playhouse Theatre's 40th anniversary show of Rocky Horror Show with Richard O'Brien himself taking part. Ben Forster and Haley Flaherty played the couple, David Bedella was Frank N. Further with the likes of Stephen Fry, Adrian Edmondson, Emma Bunton, Mel Giedroyc and Anthony Head providing narration. Production values pretty good, sound system good and clear, good costumes, outside scenery is a bit garish but looks good when it shows the indoor backdrops.

I had heard the Rocky Horror audiences tended to be different, first time I had seen it "live". From the TV screen, it can be hard to hear but it works when people play off it, Fry and Giedroyc were excellent at doing that directly while Bedella and to a lesser extent Forster were happy to play on it indirectly at times. Multiple narrators was a bit odd but only time it didn't work was when they turned up during songs, that tended to be distracting.

In terms of songs, well sung generally but they lack energy (let alone strong sexual energy) and zip, I prefer the film and the CD I have to this production in that respect. Only "eddie" and and "Floor Show" have real energy to them but the production has good choreography. Where I preferred it to the film is that the characters felt better, a bit more comedy, they clicked as a group and even the muddled ending didn't hamper it too much. It just felt a bit more fun in the second half whereas the film really begins to drag after Eddie's song, felt they landed the ending better as well but the ending still less then great.

The cast were pretty good: David Bedella wasn't the strongest singer in the world but he was certainly a charismatic force of nature, make-up helped as well. An enjoyable presence at the heart of the show. Haley Flaherty and Ben Forster both had good comedy, Dominic Andersen as Rocky struggled a little as a singer but had the right body, good comedy, a good actor and some impressive psychical tricks. Kristian Lavercombe was arguably the best singer as Riff Raff and had a presence about him, Jayde Westaby was a good singer as Magenata and the intro lady but didn't ever seemed to quite get the tone right.

A fun, flamboyant show.
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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:16 am

Watched the 2004 film of Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Loyld Webber and Joel Schumacher with Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler in lead roles. My memories had been a good looking, nice music but safe, lacking in sizzle version which wasn't quite fair as it turned out.

Use of the Phantom's "future Paris" opening is cleverly used by the film and the moment the opera house changes from decrypt and dust covered to the splendour of it in its heyday, that is quite moving. The film looks good but not spectacular, has lured quite a support cast of Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver, Simon Callow, Ciarán Hinds while the lesser known Jennifer Ellison gives a strong singing voice. The side cast provide the humour and good support and the Phantom of the Opera has a ton of really good songs (Think Of Me, Phantom of the Opera, Music of the Night, All I Ask of You, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again and The Point of No Return). Ending phase feels a bit of a mess.

The problem is that the three leads (Patrick Wilson plays Raoul) are good actors and singers but they aren't great ones. They do sweetness and sadness very well (like end of all I asked of you) but there is no romantic chemistry between the three of them, bit of a problem for a love-triangle, and while it aims for sizzle the only hint of that comes from Alexandra Byrne's choice of costumes for Rossum twice and one moment from Rossum. Rossum does good individual scenes but struggles to build a sense of depth about Christine's feelings for the Phantom and is a good singer, Butler never has the dark charisma or dominance the Phantom needs. The song where he lures Christine to his layer for example, it is a nicely sung but he might as well be doing it at a recital, no woman would be lured by the way Butler sings it.
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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun May 08, 2016 11:45 am

Watched 1990 musical Aladdin (set in an Ancient China where everyone is white) or I watched up to the genie (Barry Bostwick) where his annoying (though some technically impressive movements) humour finally made me turn off. Cheap sets but that works, songs work well enough, Susan Egan was impressive in a poor role as Princess Mei Ling, Richard Kiley had flair as the evil magician. The genie is annoying and Brent Sudduth is underwhelming and erratic as Aladdin which means film drags at times.
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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:16 pm

Watched Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of Jason Robert Brown's work The Last 5 years. Premise: Actress Cathy Hiatt (Anna Kendrick) has just been dumped after five years by writer Jamie Wellerstein (Jeremy Jordan) and the story looks at the good+bad times of that relationship.

They use lighting to reflect the changing times but that doesn't always solve the confusion when it time jumped though most of the time it was clear enough. The major songs don't work, it is far better at the side songs like The Schmuel Song, sometimes the musical does odd stuff
Cathy seems to turn down proposal by saying she is always late... then gets married.
. Yet it can also be quite human, Cathy's battle with her trade while Jamie's attitude towards things, including the lies he tells himself, can be intresting. Jeremy Jordan is the best of the two cast, both are able to do humour and pep but Jordan has the stronger singing voice and able to do the more tragic numbers.
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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:43 pm

Fox have been doing the odd musical show of late and watched their adaptation: The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again. Victoria Justice and Ryan McCartan as the couple, Laverne Cox as the Dr, Staz Nair as Rocky and Tim Currie as narrator.

This is an adaptation that has some nice idea's, like the opening with Ivy Levan's usherette was fun and Kenny Ortega had intresting cinema based idea's but like the rest of the film, something would mess it up. In the opening case, Levan's singing didn't seem up to the job. The production had flickers of something but always managed to make everything flat. This was a Rocky Horror show without an ounce of energy reaching the audience, without making the songs catchy and so on. Ortega also seems to have tried to encourage the cast to go over the top and it leads to moments, particularly in action scenes, where it is too much. In fairness to the production, it does better then the film with the mess of the ending but it can't get emotional power.

There are some things one expects from Rocky Horror: 1) Humour. It does have that with Justice in particular but also Cox, Nair and later McCartan providing good comedy but the production never builds on it, 2) Narrator and Crowd: Currie's narration was awful, the crowd scenes I can see why they tried to do them but it always felt forced and fake. 3) The element of surreal strangeness. Cox being a transgender lead in this is welcome but within the play itself, there isn't that element of strange. Dr. Frank-N-Furter's version of strangeness is just "wears slightly revealing dress and assertive", the sweet transvestite song is a little odd with a woman wearing a dress singing it. 4) Sex. Fox to be fair doesn't seem to have attempted to de-sex it, that Ortega manages it is down to a bad production. When Time Warp, I Can Make You A Man, Sweet Transvestite has less sexual energy then 90 year old nuns singing Ave Maria, something has gone wrong. Time Warp has very vigorous pelvic thrusts (for example) and that is meant to provide said energy but it just isn't sexy.

5) Strong songs. Songs with energy, sex and in "I'm Going Home", tragedy or in this case: lots of bleh. On paper, they had fine singers with only Levan (who was good in the ending reprise) and Adam Lambert's Eddie failing their songs but something was wrong. It felt like the songs had been recorded elsewhere and the performers played it safe, the songs were technically fine but when inserted into the show, it lacked oomph of any kind, it felt disconnected to the show. There was also the issue of the chorus, they are abysmal, a vortex that sucked any potential and providing negative energy every time they were involved. There were only three good songs: "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me" despite a messed up chorus with Justice providing some sexual energy (the only song in the entire production) and good support from Magneta (Christina Milian) and Columbia (Annaleigh Ashford). The erratic Fanfare+Don't Dream it and the ending reprise also worked more or less.

In terms of the cast, the stand out was Annaleigh Ashford who nailed the attitude of Columbia and gave a charismatic performance and, after a shaky start, Nair who provided comedy as Rocky. The two really bad ones where Currie who was painful and Ben Vereen as Dr. Everett von Scott. On the others: Cox was good when playing off people and particularly with Justice, provided comedy but went over the top when she had to monologue, a decent singer (particularly when Cox went low) but didn't make songs come alive. Cox also lacked the force of charisma that the role needs, needs to really stand out and pull you (and the couple) in but Cox couldn't do that. Justice has a good singing voice but was guilty of the "safe" apart from one song, seemed to have a knack for comedy and built good rapport with others, McCartan played the very 50's man for awhile and was erratic at that, at times he got it right and was amusing, other times it didn't click, was better in second half when role changed and got to play comedy. On the lesser roles, Milan tended to be over the top, Reeve Carney as Riff-Raff started well, amusingly creepy but could hog the screen at times.
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Re: Favorite Musical?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:48 pm

Watched Tim Burton's Nightmare before Christmas which I remembered fondly from childhood. Visually lovely, full of clever little touches that I appreciated but it all left me feeling a bit cold. I was never lured in, didn't warm to the characters, it just didn't click. In terms of music, only the evil characters songs "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" and "Oogie Boogie's Song", which seems great for any singer with patter, stood out.
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