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?
Sorry for the super blunt title, but I see no need to pussyfoot around the issue.
With last night’s live performance of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood and inspired by Broadway.com’s article casting pop stars in other Rogers & Hammerstein shows, I started thinking about pop stars I’d like to see in the next TV musical (if they become a thing, and I hope they do). It wasn’t long before the obvious answer came to me: former Pussycat Doll, Nicole Scherzinger.
Happy Halloween, everyone! All month long I’ve been talking about some of my favorite spooky entertainment and today I’m going to put together my ultimate entertainment recommendations for getting the feminist most out of your Halloween.
These are simply my opinions and based solely on things I’ve seen, so if something you love doesn’t make the list, let me know! Maybe I just haven’t seen it and can fall in love with something new.
This week’s Web Crush comes to us from the Phandom (fans of The Phantom of the Opera) and is one of the most talented costume-makers I’ve ever seen. Anéa, who often goes by the username Operafantomet, has been making costumes for years. Her works include historical dress from periods such as the Renaissance, but the masterpieces with which I first fell in love were her The Phantom of the Opera recreations.
As you can see, Anéa’s costumes go above and beyond when recreating the official versions. She is not only knowledgeable of the costumes produced by the various workshops who make Phantom wardrobes, but she also truly understands and respects the vision of the original designer, Maria Björnson. As such, her costumes are not typically exact replicas of any one stage version (see here for an example of how widely costumes can vary over the course of Phantom‘s many years and many productions) but are instead her own creations based on what works best in the various stage versions and what the original costume sketches depicted.
I first came across Anéa’s costumes on a Phantomforum a few years ago and was absolutely floored by how incredibly well-made they were simply as garments,
in addition to how brilliantly they captured the spirit of the actual stage costumes. I remember first seeing her version of the Wishing Gown (so named because it is the dress Christine wears during her big Act II number, “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again“) and thinking that it was actually one of the official stage costumes. Through that forum I was led to her site, The Anéa Costumes, which documents her many costume-making endeavors with in-progress pictures and guidelines for other costumers looking to re-create similar projects.
Anéa is also very active on Facebook and Tumblr, where she joyfully shares her expert knowledge of Phantom costumes with the uneducated masses, such as myself. Through following her I have developed a much keener eye for detail and appreciation for costuming as an art form. Currently she is working on creating the gypsy costume that Meg Giry wears during the “Don Juan” scene of
Phantom, so if you follow her today you can get a look at her process as it unfolds. I know I look forward to seeing this next artwork take shape.
With so many movies being made into musicals I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of what I consider to be the best musicals made from an existing source material, be it book, movie, or other medium. Before continuing on to the list, I’ll tell you my criteria:
- I have to have actually seen the musical in question and read/watched its source. This cuts out a lot of musicals, so if your personal favorite isn’t here, that may be the reason. (Sorry, Les Mis, I just don’t have the time for that brick)
- The musical has to be an interpretation of the work, not the exact same words from the original regurgitated on stage *coughcoughTheLionKingcoughcough*
That’s pretty much it. It was still a bit challenging to fill out the list, though, as some shows I wanted to include I hadn’t yet seen or read the movies/books on which they were based. On with the countdown!
Today’s Web Crush is my newest tumblr love, Recycled Movie Costumes!
One of my loves is costuming. Not so much making them, like my cosplaying co-authors on this blog, but just seeing the pieces and appreciating their details. Predictably, my favorite type of costuming is that of musical theatre, but movie costumes are also pretty neat and this tumblr opened my eyes to the concept of recycling costumes which I never even realized was a thing. You see, when a new musical opens it gets new costume designers so even if it’s a revival imitating a previous production, costumes aren’t re-used, and while costumes will often reappear on different performers within the same production (like, when a new actor takes over a role they may inherit a previous actor’s costumes if they are of comparable size) a new show typically means new costumes. As such, I had never really considered that the same didn’t hold true for new movies.
One of the things I admire about the people who contribute to the blog is their keen eye for details and ability to recognize where they’ve been seen before. These aren’t just costumes that look similar to or are inspires by previous designs, they are the same outfit appearing again which can be confirmed by the identical details like pattern and stitching.
Sometimes the costumes go through adjustments in their subsequent appearances, but can still be identified by their construction and the knowledge of whose costume shop they come from. I find these ones even more interesting than the ones which make their way unaltered from one appearance to another because it shows that the storytelling aspect of costume designing is still considered even when a costume is being re-used. It can’t always go from one story to another without being altered in order to create the unique vision of the new movie.
If you’re a costume lover like me, check out the blog, and if you’ve got a sharp enough eye to spot a recycled costume you can submit your findings to firstname.lastname@example.org!