Theatre Thursdays: A Character Study of Christine Daaé

christine daaeChristine 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?

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Theatre Thursdays: Movie Musical Do-Overs

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.

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Theatre Thursdays: MC Andrew Lloyd Webber

Jellicle Songs for Jellicle CatsLord 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.

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Theatre Thursdays: Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway and Questions of Multiethnic Casting

Aladdin Broadway cast

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

Theatre Thursdays: Evita National Tour Review

Evita- Revival LogoOnce 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

Theatre Thursdays: Sondheim Discusses Into the Woods Changes

Disney Into the Woods Movie LogoWhen 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.

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Theatre Thursdays: A Pirate’s Tale Interview

pirates tale promo

Arrrgh, Sirrr Tim of Tolbert

Arrrgh, Sirrr Tim of Tolbert

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.

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