Christine Daaé may not be the title character of the musical The Phantom of the Opera, but she is the one with the most stage time and arguably goes through the most visible character arc. Despite these two facts, however, she’s not looked on too favorably by critics. She’s often thought of as flat, boring, and a character whose plot is in service of others’. Is there any truth to these claims? If so, is it possible to still consider Christine a worthwhile character from a feminist standpoint?
One of the ways I often pass time is by thinking about film adaptations of my favorite musicals. Usually I’m imagining musicals that haven’t yet made it to the silver screen, but sometimes I think about those musicals which have been adapted for film but could use another go. With the much-anticipated Annie remake starring Quvenzhané Wallis only months away, this topic has moved to the forefront of my thoughts. Here are three of my top picks for movie musical remakes.
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running hit musical Cats will return to the West End this December, more than a decade after its original run ended. Between tours, community theatres, regional productions, and student performances, the show is perennially performed, so you may be asking yourself, “Why should I spend the extra money to see this mounting?” Thankfully for you, the good Lord has an answer ready: the Rum Tum Tugger raps now!
Yes, Lloyd Webber will be re-writing the fan-favorite song “The Rum Tum Tugger” into a rap in order to fit his new vision of the Rum Tum Tugger being “a contemporary street cat”, according to this article. The column also reports that another song, “Growltiger’s Last Stand”, will be re-written as well, because it, along with “The Rum Tum Tugger”, never satisfied Lloyd Webber.
Now here’s what’s giving me a headache over this news: first, the last thing that needed improving in this show was the music; second, the shallow, gimmicky feel of the news; and third, Lloyd Webber’s claim that T.S. Eliot invented rap as a justification for the change.
Another Disney animated film has made the move to Broadway! Aladdin, which has been in development since 2010, premiered first in a Seattle production in 2011, and finally made its debut in the Big Apple in March of 2014. I was wondering if its journey to the Great White Way was going to give it a Great White Makeover, so I took a peek at the cast bio page. And well, huh. It’s certainly not entirely white-washed as I feared, and we see quite a diversity of actors: many African-American actors, a pretty decent percentage of both Latin@ and Asian actors, a few white actors, and several Ambiguously Ethnic actors. Did the casting directors purposefully say, “Let’s build a diverse cast?” or did they say, “Any brown people please”? I will explain my concerns in more detail after the jump. Continue reading
Once upon a time, I more or less swore that I wouldn’t see the Evita tour. I love the show and had never seen it live, but I was insulted that the producers claimed the show needed to close on Broadway due to a lack of qualified leads, while still immediately making plans for a tour. I stuck to my one-man boycott and refrained from buying a ticket. That is, until I got an e-mail offer for $30 orchestra seats and found a third row, limited view ticket. My resolve weakened by the promise of being so close to the action for such a low price, I bought the ticket.
Did the production manage to pierce through my jaded disposition? Read below to find out! Continue reading
When news broke that Into the Woods, one of the most popular works by the immensely celebrated Stephen Sondheim, would be made into a movie, there was plenty of excitement to go around. When that news included the fact that it would be produced by Walt Disney Studios, however, that excitement was more than a little dampened. Many fans, myself included, were worried that the squeaky clean company with a penchant for glossing over (or straight-up re-writing) anything objectionable in a fairy tale would make drastic changes to the musical and its very adult overtones.
When Playbill released some comments Sondheim made regarding the film’s production, it seemed all our fears were realized.
Hello all! PolyglotPisces here to talk with Tim Tolbert, an extremely talented young actor about to take part in a super exciting new musical theatre project. I met Tim when I worked as musical director/pianist for a production of Little Shop of Horrors, where he showcased his powerhouse vocals in the challenging role of Audrey II, everyone’s favorite giant talkin’, rockin’, people-eatin’ alien plant. Little Shop has been an old favorite of audiences and performers for many years, but now Tim will be involved with a much newer show—brand-new in fact—the debut production of A Pirate’s Tale. This project is presented in collaboration with Pittsburgh’s very own Gateway Clipper Fleet, a fleet of riverboats offering a variety of cruises on Pittsburgh’s three rivers. A new musical… about pirates… performed on a boat. How exciting is that?! Let’s get some inside scoop from Tim.
Following the success of last summer’s La Reconquista, Sailor Moon will once again take to the stage in an all new musical production. This summer’s presentation is titled Petite Étrangere (“Little Stranger”) and will focus on the Black Moon arc of the manga, which makes up the latter portion of the anime’s second season. The majority of the La Reconquista cast has been confirmed to return. So far the only replacement is Koyama Momoyo, who’s stepping into the role of Sailor Mercury in place of Matsuura Miyabi.
Personally, this news makes me very excited. For starters, the fact that Yamato Yuuga is returning as Tuxedo Mask implies that this will be another all-female cast, which is great. Additionally, I am anxious to see how the cast has improved now that they’ve had so much experience working together and being on stage.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to play piano for the annual student-run musical revue at my alma mater. Each year a number of songs are chosen from a variety of musicals, generally with some sort of overarching theme. This year, the theme was “Villains”. While primarily just a showcase of song and dance numbers, there was some element of discussion of the motivations of the characters, and what led them to their villainous ways. The question of why people do bad things felt especially pressing in light of the stabbing attacks at Franklin Regional High School, located a mere forty-some minutes away from my alma mater. As I prepared for rehearsal the night after the attacks, just two nights before opening night, I thought to myself: our show has either become very timely, or completely disrespectful.
It all hinges on just how the villain is portrayed in the musical. Is the villain demonized, humanized, or glorified? Too often, though not always, it is that last option. Sure, lots of other media forms can glorify the villain, but I think musical theatre can more easily take it to another level. Many novels, TV shows, or movies can make being a villain seem understandable or sympathetic or intriguing; others can go a step further and make being evil seem cool, glamorous, and sexy. But few things have the power of musical theatre to make being bad seem downright fun. Take a bad guy that would be glamorous in another context, then add impressive choreography and a catchy song? You’ve just made a rock star. I’m going to look at just a few examples from some musical theatre baddies after the jump.
As you may or may not know, Neil Patrick Harris is opening a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, performing in the titular role, and he looks fabulous. If you’re not familiar with the material, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a 1998 musical written by and starring John Cameron Mitchell. Hedwig tells the story of an East German singer who goes to great lengths to marry an American soldier and leaves for the United States to pursue her dreams and a better life. Those great lengths include a botched sex-change operation, leaving Hedwig with the titular “angry inch”. Eventually, she makes it to the United States, but in a perfect storm of insult and injury, her husband leaves her on the day she learns that the Berlin Wall has fallen. The real meat of the story is in how she uses love and rock n’ roll to recover from that and pursues her own identity. The Obie Award-winning musical originally ran for 857 performances, and has since seen performances in no fewer than eleven countries.