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Musicals (Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Others)

Quinnmac000

Well-Known Member
Wait, is that true? Asking, because I am not sure, but this is made by a group called Global Creatures. They did the Walking With Dinosaurs arena shows, and they are also behind the West End production of Strictly Ballroom, and....wait for it...wait for it....Moulin Rouge.
100% sure. Global creatures owns creature technologies and pretty much have been contracted to do a lot of Universal ride AAs. That Kong puppet was actually the prototype.

http://www.creaturetechnology.com/
 

BuddyThomas

Well-Known Member
Advertisement
This is a little mean to post, but it's Halloween, so blah-ha-haaaaa!

My God, is this a bad production, by any standards:

As comparison, here is the exact same number as done on Broadway. Clearly, there is no expectation that an amateur production should be at the level of Broadway, but this is just to give an idea what the original looked like:

 

BuddyThomas

Well-Known Member
Well, KING KONG opened on Broadway tonight. Here is the New York Times review, pasted in its entirety. Ouch:

Review: ‘King Kong’ Is the Mess That Roared
By Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

How to take on a one-ton gorilla? We sent both of our chief critics to “King Kong,” the $35 million, Australian-born musical that opened Thursday night at the Broadway Theater. Far from Skull Island and the wrath of Kong, they huddled to talk it out.

BEN BRANTLEY Hello, Jesse. Though I’m not in a playful mood this morning — having just seen the spirit-crushing “King Kong” — what if we begin this dialogue with a game? Imagine you are on the street, having just left the theater, and are asked by a television interviewer to describe your response in one word. Well?

JESSE GREEN It can’t be printed here, and I’m not even sure it’s one word. (It starts with “ape.”) So I guess I’ll go with “ugh.”

BRANTLEY I understand what you’re saying. Since screaming is such a big part of the show, mine would be “aaaaaaaaargh.”

GREEN We were hoping in reviewing this together that one of us might have something nicer to say than the other one does. But it looks like our opinions rhyme at least as well as most of the lyrics in the show.

BRANTLEY You mean like, “But this is not the end of me / ’Cause this beast is clemency”?

GREEN When I see a musical drawn from a work in another genre — in this case the 1933 movie and its novelization — one thing I look for is the added value. What is gained in bringing “King Kong” to the stage? Certainly not provocative or insightful songwriting. The score is a hodgepodge of soundtrack-style murk by Marius de Vries and a clutch of no-profile songs by Eddie Perfect, whose score for “Beetlejuice” is heading toward Broadway even as we speak. Did you think the music added anything?

BRANTLEY No, but I think you’re missing the point. The only reason for this “King Kong” to exist is its title character. So before we eviscerate the show, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie, shall we briefly praise the animatronic ape (designed by Sonny Tilders)?

GREEN Sadly, I have mixed feelings about Kong himself. Certainly he is the most expressive performer onstage, what with the platoon of puppeteers and voice artists bringing him to life. Only they don’t quite get there. Even aside from his long-waisted baby body, there is something logy and jowly about him; he seems like Khrushchev on Thorazine.

BRANTLEY Yeah, I thought of a (barely) animated gargoyle from the Notre Dame cathedral. Disney casting agents, are you listening?

GREEN The adapters of this “King Kong” seem to have two stories they wanted to tell. One is a morality tale about the evil of trapping a living being in a cheap entertainment scheme. To judge from my own misery in the audience, I’d say this is a theme they mastered.

BRANTLEY And the other theme, would that be the equation of ape in captivity with the oppression of women?

GREEN Yes. A feminist angle is attempted, not very convincingly. When the plucky farm girl Ann Darrow (Christiani Pitts) arrives in Manhattan intent on making it big in showbiz, it’s with an explicit streak of post-liberation consciousness. “At least I’m not some man’s property,” she sings in a song called “Queen of New York.”

BRANTLEY And when Kong — dragged from his native Skull Island to Depression-era New York by the cynical, selfish and typically male showman Carl Denham (Eric William Morris) — has escaped from the theater where he’s been put on exploitative display, she sings a battle hymn of sympathy to him. (“From birth we’ve both been playing a game we cannot win / We’ll never break the lock or ever leave the box the world has put us in.”)

GREEN A car wreck of clichés like that simply can’t put a feminist story across meaningfully. Or any story, really — and that’s a bigger problem than the bad score and sluggish 20-foot marionette. I find it hard to believe that the book is by Jack Thorne, who won a Tony Award last season for writing “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

BRANTLEY Yes, but as far as I can tell, the story — and the music and the gymnastic dancing — are basically just filler until Kong shows up again and looks noble and sorrowful and, occasionally (when Peter Mumford’s lighting is really low), menacing. Didn’t you sense the live performers knew they weren’t the main attraction?

GREEN Mr. McOnie certainly had them working frantically. During the musical numbers, which feel relentless, the ensemble comes off as a troupe of overstimulated mimes playing charades. But here’s my question for you: Was there anything, aside from Kong’s two or three expressions, you actually enjoyed?

BRANTLEY Not really. I kept hoping a higher camp factor might kick in. When poor Ann is taken to Kong’s lair, and makes quips about his housekeeping and bachelor ways, I longed for the reincarnation of Madeline Kahn, who made such blissful hay out of similar material in “Young Frankenstein.”

GREEN The camp here is all accidental. The Skull Island jungle looks like green spaghetti with phlegm balls. (The scenic and projection designer is Peter England.) But the oppressiveness of the music and the over-intensity of the staging never allow you to laugh at, and therefore enjoy, the ludicrousness of the story.

BRANTLEY Agreed. By the way, if you look at accounts of the Australian incarnation of five years ago, which had a book by Craig Lucas, it featured several more characters, including a love interest for Ann. In this version, there are effectively three central human characters: the agency-seeking Ann; the chauvinist, bad-mogul Carl; and (oh, dear) his put-upon, slow-witted, golden-hearted assistant, Lumpy (Erik Lochtefeld).

GREEN The bevy of previous authors discarded in the course of the musical’s development dodged a bullet here. But Mr. Lochtefeld actually manages to give a sincere and human-scale performance, even if most of what he has to say is maudlin hogwash.

BRANTLEY Yes, even the screams lacked eloquence. Fay Wray, the star of the original, is best remembered for her earsplitting howls of terror when she’s in the big guy’s clutches. But our intrepid Ann is incapable of screaming in fear. Instead, she roars, and that’s what attracts her soul mate Kong to her. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear a lot of Katy Perry power in Ms. Pitts’s scream.

GREEN Perhaps we are mistaken in applying arty standards to the cynical product of an ambitious entertainment company that made its name on animatronic arena shows. Character logic may not matter here as much as the intermission sales of the Kongopolitan (vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and a splash of lime). I looked in vain for the Kong-branded Thorazine.

BRANTLEY Gee, Jesse, it’s enough to make even you long for a margarita, with Jimmy Buffett melodies on the side.

GREEN You are referring to “Escape to Margaritaville,” which until now was my musical theater low point of 2018. Jimmy, I take it all back.

merlin_144970329_a352452c-a1a9-4e10-934e-7c77f7a09f68-superJumbo.jpg
 
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artvandelay

Well-Known Member
Well, KING KONG opened on Broadway tonight. Here is the New York Times review, pasted in its entirety. Ouch:

Review: ‘King Kong’ Is the Mess That Roared
By Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

How to take on a one-ton gorilla? We sent both of our chief critics to “King Kong,” the $35 million, Australian-born musical that opened Thursday night at the Broadway Theater. Far from Skull Island and the wrath of Kong, they huddled to talk it out.

BEN BRANTLEY Hello, Jesse. Though I’m not in a playful mood this morning — having just seen the spirit-crushing “King Kong” — what if we begin this dialogue with a game? Imagine you are on the street, having just left the theater, and are asked by a television interviewer to describe your response in one word. Well?

JESSE GREEN It can’t be printed here, and I’m not even sure it’s one word. (It starts with “ape.”) So I guess I’ll go with “ugh.”

BRANTLEY I understand what you’re saying. Since screaming is such a big part of the show, mine would be “aaaaaaaaargh.”

GREEN We were hoping in reviewing this together that one of us might have something nicer to say than the other one does. But it looks like our opinions rhyme at least as well as most of the lyrics in the show.

BRANTLEY You mean like, “But this is not the end of me / ’Cause this beast is clemency”?

GREEN When I see a musical drawn from a work in another genre — in this case the 1933 movie and its novelization — one thing I look for is the added value. What is gained in bringing “King Kong” to the stage? Certainly not provocative or insightful songwriting. The score is a hodgepodge of soundtrack-style murk by Marius de Vries and a clutch of no-profile songs by Eddie Perfect, whose score for “Beetlejuice” is heading toward Broadway even as we speak. Did you think the music added anything?

BRANTLEY No, but I think you’re missing the point. The only reason for this “King Kong” to exist is its title character. So before we eviscerate the show, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie, shall we briefly praise the animatronic ape (designed by Sonny Tilders)?

GREEN Sadly, I have mixed feelings about Kong himself. Certainly he is the most expressive performer onstage, what with the platoon of puppeteers and voice artists bringing him to life. Only they don’t quite get there. Even aside from his long-waisted baby body, there is something logy and jowly about him; he seems like Khrushchev on Thorazine.

BRANTLEY Yeah, I thought of a (barely) animated gargoyle from the Notre Dame cathedral. Disney casting agents, are you listening?

GREEN The adapters of this “King Kong” seem to have two stories they wanted to tell. One is a morality tale about the evil of trapping a living being in a cheap entertainment scheme. To judge from my own misery in the audience, I’d say this is a theme they mastered.

BRANTLEY And the other theme, would that be the equation of ape in captivity with the oppression of women?

GREEN Yes. A feminist angle is attempted, not very convincingly. When the plucky farm girl Ann Darrow (Christiani Pitts) arrives in Manhattan intent on making it big in showbiz, it’s with an explicit streak of post-liberation consciousness. “At least I’m not some man’s property,” she sings in a song called “Queen of New York.”

BRANTLEY And when Kong — dragged from his native Skull Island to Depression-era New York by the cynical, selfish and typically male showman Carl Denham (Eric William Morris) — has escaped from the theater where he’s been put on exploitative display, she sings a battle hymn of sympathy to him. (“From birth we’ve both been playing a game we cannot win / We’ll never break the lock or ever leave the box the world has put us in.”)

GREEN A car wreck of clichés like that simply can’t put a feminist story across meaningfully. Or any story, really — and that’s a bigger problem than the bad score and sluggish 20-foot marionette. I find it hard to believe that the book is by Jack Thorne, who won a Tony Award last season for writing “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

BRANTLEY Yes, but as far as I can tell, the story — and the music and the gymnastic dancing — are basically just filler until Kong shows up again and looks noble and sorrowful and, occasionally (when Peter Mumford’s lighting is really low), menacing. Didn’t you sense the live performers knew they weren’t the main attraction?

GREEN Mr. McOnie certainly had them working frantically. During the musical numbers, which feel relentless, the ensemble comes off as a troupe of overstimulated mimes playing charades. But here’s my question for you: Was there anything, aside from Kong’s two or three expressions, you actually enjoyed?

BRANTLEY Not really. I kept hoping a higher camp factor might kick in. When poor Ann is taken to Kong’s lair, and makes quips about his housekeeping and bachelor ways, I longed for the reincarnation of Madeline Kahn, who made such blissful hay out of similar material in “Young Frankenstein.”

GREEN The camp here is all accidental. The Skull Island jungle looks like green spaghetti with phlegm balls. (The scenic and projection designer is Peter England.) But the oppressiveness of the music and the over-intensity of the staging never allow you to laugh at, and therefore enjoy, the ludicrousness of the story.

BRANTLEY Agreed. By the way, if you look at accounts of the Australian incarnation of five years ago, which had a book by Craig Lucas, it featured several more characters, including a love interest for Ann. In this version, there are effectively three central human characters: the agency-seeking Ann; the chauvinist, bad-mogul Carl; and (oh, dear) his put-upon, slow-witted, golden-hearted assistant, Lumpy (Erik Lochtefeld).

GREEN The bevy of previous authors discarded in the course of the musical’s development dodged a bullet here. But Mr. Lochtefeld actually manages to give a sincere and human-scale performance, even if most of what he has to say is maudlin hogwash.

BRANTLEY Yes, even the screams lacked eloquence. Fay Wray, the star of the original, is best remembered for her earsplitting howls of terror when she’s in the big guy’s clutches. But our intrepid Ann is incapable of screaming in fear. Instead, she roars, and that’s what attracts her soul mate Kong to her. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear a lot of Katy Perry power in Ms. Pitts’s scream.

GREEN Perhaps we are mistaken in applying arty standards to the cynical product of an ambitious entertainment company that made its name on animatronic arena shows. Character logic may not matter here as much as the intermission sales of the Kongopolitan (vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and a splash of lime). I looked in vain for the Kong-branded Thorazine.

BRANTLEY Gee, Jesse, it’s enough to make even you long for a margarita, with Jimmy Buffett melodies on the side.

GREEN You are referring to “Escape to Margaritaville,” which until now was my musical theater low point of 2018. Jimmy, I take it all back.

View attachment 325335
Ouch.
 

Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Well, KING KONG opened on Broadway tonight. Here is the New York Times review, pasted in its entirety. Ouch:

Review: ‘King Kong’ Is the Mess That Roared
By Jesse Green and Ben Brantley

How to take on a one-ton gorilla? We sent both of our chief critics to “King Kong,” the $35 million, Australian-born musical that opened Thursday night at the Broadway Theater. Far from Skull Island and the wrath of Kong, they huddled to talk it out.

BEN BRANTLEY Hello, Jesse. Though I’m not in a playful mood this morning — having just seen the spirit-crushing “King Kong” — what if we begin this dialogue with a game? Imagine you are on the street, having just left the theater, and are asked by a television interviewer to describe your response in one word. Well?

JESSE GREEN It can’t be printed here, and I’m not even sure it’s one word. (It starts with “ape.”) So I guess I’ll go with “ugh.”

BRANTLEY I understand what you’re saying. Since screaming is such a big part of the show, mine would be “aaaaaaaaargh.”

GREEN We were hoping in reviewing this together that one of us might have something nicer to say than the other one does. But it looks like our opinions rhyme at least as well as most of the lyrics in the show.

BRANTLEY You mean like, “But this is not the end of me / ’Cause this beast is clemency”?

GREEN When I see a musical drawn from a work in another genre — in this case the 1933 movie and its novelization — one thing I look for is the added value. What is gained in bringing “King Kong” to the stage? Certainly not provocative or insightful songwriting. The score is a hodgepodge of soundtrack-style murk by Marius de Vries and a clutch of no-profile songs by Eddie Perfect, whose score for “Beetlejuice” is heading toward Broadway even as we speak. Did you think the music added anything?

BRANTLEY No, but I think you’re missing the point. The only reason for this “King Kong” to exist is its title character. So before we eviscerate the show, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie, shall we briefly praise the animatronic ape (designed by Sonny Tilders)?

GREEN Sadly, I have mixed feelings about Kong himself. Certainly he is the most expressive performer onstage, what with the platoon of puppeteers and voice artists bringing him to life. Only they don’t quite get there. Even aside from his long-waisted baby body, there is something logy and jowly about him; he seems like Khrushchev on Thorazine.

BRANTLEY Yeah, I thought of a (barely) animated gargoyle from the Notre Dame cathedral. Disney casting agents, are you listening?

GREEN The adapters of this “King Kong” seem to have two stories they wanted to tell. One is a morality tale about the evil of trapping a living being in a cheap entertainment scheme. To judge from my own misery in the audience, I’d say this is a theme they mastered.

BRANTLEY And the other theme, would that be the equation of ape in captivity with the oppression of women?

GREEN Yes. A feminist angle is attempted, not very convincingly. When the plucky farm girl Ann Darrow (Christiani Pitts) arrives in Manhattan intent on making it big in showbiz, it’s with an explicit streak of post-liberation consciousness. “At least I’m not some man’s property,” she sings in a song called “Queen of New York.”

BRANTLEY And when Kong — dragged from his native Skull Island to Depression-era New York by the cynical, selfish and typically male showman Carl Denham (Eric William Morris) — has escaped from the theater where he’s been put on exploitative display, she sings a battle hymn of sympathy to him. (“From birth we’ve both been playing a game we cannot win / We’ll never break the lock or ever leave the box the world has put us in.”)

GREEN A car wreck of clichés like that simply can’t put a feminist story across meaningfully. Or any story, really — and that’s a bigger problem than the bad score and sluggish 20-foot marionette. I find it hard to believe that the book is by Jack Thorne, who won a Tony Award last season for writing “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

BRANTLEY Yes, but as far as I can tell, the story — and the music and the gymnastic dancing — are basically just filler until Kong shows up again and looks noble and sorrowful and, occasionally (when Peter Mumford’s lighting is really low), menacing. Didn’t you sense the live performers knew they weren’t the main attraction?

GREEN Mr. McOnie certainly had them working frantically. During the musical numbers, which feel relentless, the ensemble comes off as a troupe of overstimulated mimes playing charades. But here’s my question for you: Was there anything, aside from Kong’s two or three expressions, you actually enjoyed?

BRANTLEY Not really. I kept hoping a higher camp factor might kick in. When poor Ann is taken to Kong’s lair, and makes quips about his housekeeping and bachelor ways, I longed for the reincarnation of Madeline Kahn, who made such blissful hay out of similar material in “Young Frankenstein.”

GREEN The camp here is all accidental. The Skull Island jungle looks like green spaghetti with phlegm balls. (The scenic and projection designer is Peter England.) But the oppressiveness of the music and the over-intensity of the staging never allow you to laugh at, and therefore enjoy, the ludicrousness of the story.

BRANTLEY Agreed. By the way, if you look at accounts of the Australian incarnation of five years ago, which had a book by Craig Lucas, it featured several more characters, including a love interest for Ann. In this version, there are effectively three central human characters: the agency-seeking Ann; the chauvinist, bad-mogul Carl; and (oh, dear) his put-upon, slow-witted, golden-hearted assistant, Lumpy (Erik Lochtefeld).

GREEN The bevy of previous authors discarded in the course of the musical’s development dodged a bullet here. But Mr. Lochtefeld actually manages to give a sincere and human-scale performance, even if most of what he has to say is maudlin hogwash.

BRANTLEY Yes, even the screams lacked eloquence. Fay Wray, the star of the original, is best remembered for her earsplitting howls of terror when she’s in the big guy’s clutches. But our intrepid Ann is incapable of screaming in fear. Instead, she roars, and that’s what attracts her soul mate Kong to her. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear a lot of Katy Perry power in Ms. Pitts’s scream.

GREEN Perhaps we are mistaken in applying arty standards to the cynical product of an ambitious entertainment company that made its name on animatronic arena shows. Character logic may not matter here as much as the intermission sales of the Kongopolitan (vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and a splash of lime). I looked in vain for the Kong-branded Thorazine.

BRANTLEY Gee, Jesse, it’s enough to make even you long for a margarita, with Jimmy Buffett melodies on the side.

GREEN You are referring to “Escape to Margaritaville,” which until now was my musical theater low point of 2018. Jimmy, I take it all back.

View attachment 325335
Oh it was written by Jack Thorne? That would explain any lousy plot (I am not over how awful the script for Cursed Child is, that thing was awful for the Harry Potter brand).

The Kong animatronic does look impressive though.
 

BuddyThomas

Well-Known Member
Oh it was written by Jack Thorne? That would explain any lousy plot (I am not over how awful the script for Cursed Child is, that thing was awful for the Harry Potter brand).

The Kong animatronic does look impressive though.
I thought Harry Potter was supposed to be amazing.....? I haven't seen it because the price for that one is total highway robbery....well, these days, the price for most of them is crazy, but for this, you have to pay the crazy price twice to see both parts, and there are no discounts. But it was not that great?
 

Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I thought Harry Potter was supposed to be amazing.....? I haven't seen it because the price for that one is total highway robbery....well, these days, the price for most of them is crazy, but for this, you have to pay the crazy price twice to see both parts, and there are no discounts. But it was not that great?
Apparently the special effects are amazing. The plot was awful. Apparently Rowling just created the overall premise (so she isn’t off the hook either here), but if I want to watch a Harry Potter show, I’ll just stick to the first two Potter musicals (the third is 5 1/2 hours and I do not have time for that lol).

Spoilers below if you’re interested:

Bellatrix and Voldemort have a daughter

Lots of time turner plots, one of them leading to Cedric Diggory- a character who had no malice in his heart- going evil

The ability to brew Polyjuice Potion in an insanely short amount of time (I know that is insanely specific, but it bothered me)

Ravenclaw’s colors being like the films’ colors, and not the books’

The idea that Ron & Hermione’s daughter wouldn’t have been raised in a non-prejudiced household, considering everything Hermione went through in the books

Ginny Weasley somehow being the only character true to her book version

- Harry is incredibly out of character in this thing

If I had read it recently, I could probably provide more examples, but I think Thorne only had a vague idea of what the characters were like in the books, and had seen the movies a couple of times.
 

BuddyThomas

Well-Known Member
So THE PROM opened tonight and it is a New York TImes Critics' Pick - great review below.

‘The Prom’ Review: Bringing Jazz Hands to the Heartland
By Jesse Green
Nov. 15, 2018


16theprom1-superJumbo.jpg

“The Prom” begins when a theater critic for The New York Times writes a pan so poisonous that the show he’s reviewing dies on the spot.

That’s ridiculous. It could never happen.

At any rate, it won’t happen now, because “The Prom,” which opened on Thursday at the Longacre Theater, is such a joyful hoot. With its kinetic dancing, broad mugging and belty anthems, it makes you believe in musical comedy again.

These days, that takes some doing. How, after all, with so much pain in the air and so many constraints on what’s allowed to be funny, do we find the heart and permission to laugh?

As in many classic musicals, the authors of “The Prom” begin by holding a distorting mirror up to the theater itself. The show shut down by the horrible critic is a bio-musical about Eleanor Roosevelt that naturally features a hip-hop number. Its stars, Dee Dee Allen and Barry Glickman, are narcissistic gasbags who mistake their exhibitionism for humanitarianism.

Career rehabilitation for widely mocked middle-aged divas is no easy matter. How can Dee Dee (Beth Leavel) and Barry (Brooks Ashmanskas) “appear to be decent human beings” without giving up a shred of self-love?

Their friends aren’t in much of a position to answer. Angie (Angie Schworer) has been stuck in the chorus of “Chicago” for 20 years. Trent (Christopher Sieber) is a superannuated cater-waiter who can’t stop reminding everyone that he went to Juilliard and had a flicker of fame in a ’90s sitcom called “Talk to the Hand.”

Still, they come up with the solution: celebrity activism.

It would be enough for a show like this to maintain a cruising altitude of giddy. The authors — book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, songs by Mr. Beguelin (lyrics) and Matthew Sklar (music) — have on their combined résumés both “The Drowsy Chaperone,” that peerlessly inane 1920s showbiz spoof, and “The Wedding Singer,” an underrated musical comedy about an entertainer so humbled he winds up in a dumpster.

But working with the director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw, who staged “Chaperone” as well as the current “Aladdin” and “Mean Girls,” the team behind “The Prom” has attempted a more difficult gymnastic maneuver. As in many of the greatest Golden Age musicals, they latch onto a subject of topical importance, using its gravity to anchor their satire and their satire to leaven its earnestness. In full “Hairspray” mode, they mostly succeed.

The subject in this case is heartland homophobia. A quick Twitter search leads Dee Dee and Barry to the perfect object for their insincere concern: a 17-year-old lesbian whose high school won’t let her bring a girl to the prom.

Prom lesbians.jpg


(The theater executive Jack Viertel came up with the idea after reading about several similar cases, including one in Mississippi in 2010.) Dragging along their exasperated press agent, the four vain actors hitch a ride to Indiana with a bus-and-truck tour of “Godspell,” hoping to rekindle their careers by wowing the “Jesus jumping losers and their inbred wives” into submission.

“We’re gonna help that little lesbian,” Barry sings, “whether she likes it or not.”

Like segregation in “Hairspray” — or, for that matter, racism in “South Pacific” — anti-gay intolerance offers a comfortable target and a teachable moment. Sincerity can be dangerous for comedies, though, burning away laughs and landing everyone in a lake of treacle.

If that problem is mostly avoided here, it is at a slight cost to depth and texture. Emma, the girl at the center of the storm, turns out to be a perfectly adjusted young woman with no satirical qualities except in her wardrobe. (The hilarious costumes are by Ann Roth and Matthew Pachtman.) Though smartly played by Caitlin Kinnunen, and provided with intolerant parents we never meet, the character as written is something of a blank.

That seems strategic to me. The lovely romantic ballads Emma is given to sing, with titles like “Dance With You” and “Unruly Heart,” are completely anodyne — or would be if it weren’t for the context, which turns them into breakthroughs.

But the other Indianans are blurrier, as if the authors couldn’t quite decide how much ribbing they could take. The local teenagers might as well be from “Bye Bye Birdie” — and they evolve from antagonists to allies with the scantest provocation. Even the school principal (Michael Potts) turns out to be unflappably noble; more surprising, as Dee Dee discovers, he’s a fan of hers and yet straight.

Prom pic 2.jpg

That leaves as the show’s only villain that fallback monster, the overworked single mother. Mrs. Greene (Courtenay Collins) isn’t even allowed a first name. She leads the P.T.A., knows very little about her own daughter (Isabelle McCalla, lovely) and, perhaps most damningly, shops at Dress Barn.
Other than that, the comic focus is squarely on the interfering, elitist New Yorkers, and here “The Prom” excels. Ms. Leavel is, as always, scarily brilliant at portraying self-involvement and making that passion big enough to justify belting about it. As the title character in “The Drowsy Chaperone” she had but one showstopper, which won her a Tony Award; here she has two.

Mr. Ashmanskas is likewise playing a variation on flamboyant characters he’s mastered before, but at such an extreme level as to leave mere earth behind. His auto-da-fey stylings — twinkle-toes pirouettes and pursed-lip mincing — ought to be offensive but somehow wind up as poetry instead.

I wish his big number (like the one given to the terrific Mr. Sieber) were a better song; despite Mr. Nicholaw’s ecstatic staging, it never quite lifts off. That is not a problem in general — the ensemble’s big numbers, set to Glen Kelly’s dance arrangements, are a blast. So is the textbook-perfect second-act opener, “Zazz,” in which Ms. Schworer, with her “crazy antelope legs,” gives Emma an unlikely lesson in Fosse-esque “style plus confidence.”

Those attributes, perhaps not as easily achievable as the song suggests, are part of what makes “The Prom” delicious despite its flaws. Moving so fast you can hardly see the cracks in the road, it consistently delivers on its entertainment promises as well as its Golden Age premise: that musicals, however zazzy, can address the deepest issues dividing us.

Like a certain cockeyed optimist, you may even note a lump in your throat when Emma finally gets her perfect kiss while the supportive Hoosiers and godless Broadway interlopers cheer her on and sing backup.

If that means that “The Prom” trades in some of the same cheesy mawkishness it satirizes, that’s O.K. Cheese has always been part of the American recipe — and rarely hurt the apple pie underneath.
 

Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Speaking of live TV musicals, I couldn’t find the cast list for next year’s Rent, so you’re welcome everyone
4828BAAD-AF7E-4F8D-AD4B-2BAB73300D65.jpeg

Brandon Victor Dixon is going to make me cry again.


I am very interested to see how Fox and NBC adapt these two musicals. From what I’ve read and know about Hair, Rent’s pretty tame compared to it, but it still lost a bit when it was adapted into the movie (mostly the swearing). Both need the live audiences that JCS had, and I would also say that Hair could probably benefit from having a stationary set like JCS.
 
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BuddyThomas

Well-Known Member
Like JCS, this is one that I know some of the music, but have never actually watched before. I loved JCS (though 1. I wish they had a better actor for Jesus and 2. Brandon Victor Dixon was robbed of that Emmy), so I’m looking forward to this.

Is there a cast list yet?
I haven't seen a cast list yet.

This is a bit of a strange show.

The stage musical barely even has a plot. It is almost a song cycle....but those songs are so good.

The movie musical, directed by Milos Foreman, is, in my opinion, excellent. They add a full plot, and the direction is fantastic.

Here is the final scene in the movie, which added a case of mistaken identity, where one of the members of the "tribe", Berger, (played by Treat Williams) is mistakenly shipped off to war instead of enrolled service member, Claude (John Savage). Since none of this happens in the stage musical, and since this movie is 39 years old, I don't feel the need for a spoiler alert....and it's as great scene:

 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
Ugh, Rent.

Act I: One night of avoiding paying rent.

Act II: Where is everyone now a year later introduced by a song that has nothing to do with the play.

Yeah, it's oversimplification, but, that's all I got out of it.


Now, if you want to get into Hair...

 

BuddyThomas

Well-Known Member
Ugh, Rent.

Act I: One night of avoiding paying rent.

Act II: Where is everyone now a year later introduced by a song that has nothing to do with the play.

Yeah, it's oversimplification, but, that's all I got out of it.


Now, if you want to get into Hair...

I have to admit that I like the music, but I think a lot of why this became such an enormous hit is because, sadly, Jonathan Larson died the day of the first preview. Total tragedy. Rent was in no way close to perfect, but it makes you wonder what else he would have come up with. It's as if Lin Manuel Miranda had passed away after writing IN THE HEIGHTS. Therefore, no HAMILTON.

As for Larson, I actually prefer Tick, Tick, Boom, which was a show put together from his songs after his death. My favorite song from that, and one of my favorite recent theatre songs ever is Louder Than Words. Here is the original cast performing it, a little blurry, but the sound quality is decent. It is scarily relevant to what is happening in the country today. Sigh.

 
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Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Ugh, Rent.

Act I: One night of avoiding paying rent.

Act II: Where is everyone now a year later introduced by a song that has nothing to do with the play.

Yeah, it's oversimplification, but, that's all I got out of it.


Now, if you want to get into Hair...

I have to admit that I like the music, but I think a lot of why this became such an enormous hit is because, sadly, Jonathan Larson died the day of the first preview. Total tragedy. Rent was in no way close to perfect, but it makes you wonder what else he would have come up with. It's as if Lin Manuel Miranda had passed away after writing IN THE HEIGHTS. Therefore, no HAMILTON.

As for Larson, I actually prefer Tick, Tick, Boom, which was a show put together from his songs after his death. My favorite song from that, and one of my favorite recent theatre songs ever is Louder Than Words. Here is the original cast performing it, a little blurry, but the sound quality is decent. It is scarily relevant to what is happening in the country today. Sigh.

I have a love/hate relationship with Rent.

As in, I love the music (I’ll Cover You & Santa Fe are my two favorites), but I hate most of the characters most of the time (friendly reminder that Angel kills a dog in Act 1; I like her for most of the play but then I always remember that she kills Benny’s akita without question). I’m a person in my mid-20s paying rent- grow up, Mark, and pay your rent and maybe work at the place Benny was talking about.

I’m sure it will be performed well (like I said, Brandon Victor Dixon is probably going to make me cry again), regardless of how it’s aged over the years.

From what you said @BuddyThomas, Hair seems mostly sung-through, and honestly, I think that’s what helped JCS feel more natural than the other live shows I watched. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a stage production of Rent, but that was a rock opera too, right? I don’t remember too much dialogue happening in scenes (but I do in the movie).
 
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