Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Love Never Ends: Sequel to Phantom of the Opera

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DVD Live on April 11, 2011 @ Sydney's Melbourne Theatre 

Love Never Dies picks up 10 years after the finale to The Phantom of the Opera. It is set in 1907, which we are to understand is 10 years after the original Phantom (which actually took place in 1881, but who cares). It is also the lovechild of Side Show + Barnum + the original Phantom, with hints of TitanticShow BoatCabaret, & RagtimeI was surprised at how well this musical created a nostalgia for Phantom (my very first Broadway show) while still creating a setting all its' own [click HERE is a full plot, including spoilers]. Overall, I was not disappointed, which is a surprising feat for a musical sequel of this proportion. The storyline was engaging, the characters were developed, the songs were sufficient, and the staging was fresh, stylish, & innovative. It's not a show I'd justify buying tickets for, but the Netflix selection was pretty good time. Now, some musical highlights: 

Love Never Dies 
A lovely song. I love it in Love Never Dies almost as much as I loved it in The Beautiful Game. 

The Beauty Underneath 
A weird, Vegas-esque duet showing the eeerrie bond/similarities between the Phantom & Christine's 10-year-old son.

Dear Old Friend
A great quartet about the awkward reuniting dance between Christine, Raoul, Meg, & Mme. Giry.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Michelle Williams // Nellie Forbush

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According to Playbill, Michelle Williams will be playing Nellie Forbush in the cinematic adaptation of South Pacific, which is set to be directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer (American IdiotSpring Awakening). It is rumored that Tony-winner Hugh Jackman is going to be approached to play Emile de Becque & Grammy-winner Justin Timberlake is the hopeful casting choice for Lieutenant Cable. Michelle Williams can do no wrong & is a perfect pick for this role (she would have been perfect as Daisy Buchanan too, but that's it's own thing). Hugh Jackman proved his invincibility in Les Miserables & I think Emile is a complicated enough role that it might be one of the only ones that could actually challenge & enrich him after that life-changing [his & mine] performance. I love Justin Timberlake as Lt. Cable! His artistic endeavors never fail & he clearly has conquered all three of the threats that musical theatre demands. Plus, Lt. Cable is the all-American boy & Justin Timberlake could not embody that sentiment more. South Pacific has a beautiful score & a dramatic war-time storyline that was made for the big screen. I can't wait! I want Miss Saigon next!

WENDY & LUCYMy favorite Michelle Williams movie 

I mean, besides/in addition to Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine,  & Shutter Island
I liked her performances in My Week with Marilyn & Take This Waltz, but disliked those movies overall
I also grew up on Dawson's Creek & have nothing but positive things to say about her Jen Lindley years.}

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Farewell, SMASH.

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SMASH has been cancelled after 2 awesome seasons & I’m probably the only person in America who is surprised by this news. Apparently, the backstage drama of a Broadway production does not hold universal appeal. The Second Season of SMASH (although generally stellar, IMO) struggled from day one, which took place a long 9 months after Season One‘s finale. The show returned to his Tuesday night slot with only 4.5 million people tuning in & a 1.1 rating in the 18-24 demographic. 

 photo f9df0d96-4bf4-4cf2-bbe4-d34b29ff8525_zps7bc5c4cb.jpgEven though those are some bad ratings, I’m betting the cost of production had a huge effect on the show’s downfall. There were a million varying & elaborate sets/settings. Plus, the cost of the cast & production staff was probably much more substantial than the standard television drama. Besides the necessity of choreographers, vocal coaches, etc. on staff, they really did have a lot of A-listers on the show [hello, Jennifer Hudson] that had a hefty price-tag & probably didn’t mind moving on to a more stable, respectable project. Christian Borle won the 2012 Tony Award for Peter & the Starcatcher, which has probably placed him in high demand (an ironic parallel to his onscreen storyline). I love Megan Hilty & am so glad she has gained so much mainstream exposure from this show [she just released her CD It Happens All the Time, was named one of People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in 2013, gave a bunch of interviews, & has concerts scheduled all over the country]. I hope her career continues takes off because of it (both onstage & onscreen).

This might actually be the perfect time for SMASH to end. SMASH was never fated for a long run & 2 solid seasons are better than having a mediocre 3rd dilute the integrity of the entire series. Farewell, SMASH, it was fun while it lasted. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

MEAN Little deaf Queer by Terry Galloway

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When Terry Galloway was born on Halloween in 1950, no one knew 
that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system. 
After her family moved from Berlin Germany, to Austin, TX, 
hers became a deafening, hallucinatory childhood where everything, including her own body, changed for the worse.
But those unwelcome changes awoke in this particular child a dark, defiant humor
that fueled her lifelong obsessions with language, duplicity, & performance.

MY THOUGHTS:I bought this book from Open Books [an awesome non-profit bookstore in River North]. It was in the biography section & I only pulled it off the shelf because of the crazy title on its' spine. I was excited when the back cover told me this MEAN Little deaf Queer also loves theatre! The honesty with which Ms. Galloway told her story was refreshing. She presented herself as well-rounded, imaginable person with human flaws instead of one who simply & primarily coped with a physical incapacity. While reading, there were several times that I forgot that her deafness was the catalyst for the novel because her theatrical experiences, personal relationships, & retelling of family stories were so engaging. This is not to say she did not openly address the unasked questions regarding her deafness. There was a chapter entitled Little-d Deaf where she addressed the hierarchy that exists in the deaf community surrounding the choice to lip-read or sign [for the record, lip-reading is extremely difficult but allows a more universal sense of communication in the hearing community while signing serves as the approachable & universal means of communication in the deaf community. Terry Galloway is exceptionally skilled at lip-reading due to an intrinsic ability & having been self-taught in the skill since childhood, so relied primarily upon lip-reading until she received a cochlear implants later in life.] 

I loved the narrative of this autobiography, but I loved the author’s voice more.
Her writing style pretty much married 
ELIZABETH WURTZEL (Prozac Nation; More, Now, Again; & B***h), 
This story is inspiring, approachable, awesome, & enriching. 
I loved this book & burned through it. You should do the same!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Emma Stone // Sally Bowles

 photo a1355e71-8bda-4e60-b685-f3bb508146e7_zpse10bb518.jpgEmma Stone to Star as Sally Bowles opposite Alan Cumming 
in 2014 Broadway Revival of CABARET

It was announced on April 24 that Cabaret is returning to Broadway with Alan Cumming reprising his role as the Emcee. Anne Hathaway had been in talks to play Sally Bowles, but luckily it looks like she's being replaced by Emma Stone [according to Playbill]. I wish they wouldn't cast a Hollywood actress, but she's better than most. Playbill did a poll of their readers as to who should be our next Sally. The top 10 contenders [in order] were Nina AriandaAnna KendrickCarey MulliganDaisy EaganMegan HiltyJessie MuellerLady GagaSutton FosterKrysta Rodriguez, & Idina Menzel. I do think Ms. Stone will be able to pull off this iconic role, but she won't hold a candle to my favorite Sally ever: Susan Egan (best known as the original Belle in The Beauty & The Beast, & Meg in Hercules). But back to Ms. Stone. I never saw The Help, but I believe the rave reviews. I did like her silly movies The House Bunny &  Easy A. She is known for her raspy voice, which makes sense for Sally, & seems to be developing into a highly respected actress. And apparently she can carry a tune! Here's a little clip from Easy A [her break-out role] that proves it:

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