Amph The Magic of Musicals - for lovers of shows on stage or screen: Revival of Sweeney Todd

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by SithLordDarthRichie, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    This is the place to discuss all things Musical related. I felt rather than have general topics on each and every new show or movie adaptation of a musical it is easier simply to discuss things in one general topic.

    Please feel free to talk about the most recent shows you may have seen, be they West End or Broadway or on film.
    Musical Theatre and the Musicals genre is not something that appeals to everyone, but I certainly consider it an under-rated artform with many great works by many great lyricists and composers. Whether they be a great working duo like Rogers & Hammerstein who made many shows together, or consistant creators like Andrew Lloyd Webber & Stephen Sondheim, the music and songs have had an affect on many people in many different ways.

    There are many topics that can be discussed here:

    Are there any forthcoming shows that you are interested in?
    What are your favourite shows and why?
    Are there any big stars you have seen in a show?
    Are there musicals that have not been adapted into film that you like to see?
    Are there stories you think would make a good musical?
    Which soundtracks do you own? Which versions do you think are best?

    Bring up whatever you have an interest in that relates to the genre...
  2. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    I will start us off with a celebration on a landmark week:

    October 8th marked the 25th Anniversary of the opening of Les Miserables in the West End in 1985. The show has been running all these years and still sells out regularly.

    It is the longest-running musical in the world at present having had over 10,000 performances since it first began.
    Based on Victor Hugo's 1862 novel of the same name, set in early nineteenth-century France, the plot follows the stories of the characters as they struggle for redemption and revolution. An ensemble that includes prostitutes, student revolutionaries, factory workers, and others joins the lead characters.
    Music was composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg with libretto & lyrics by Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer.

    Famous songs from the show include I Dreamed a Dream, Do You Hear the People Sing? & One Day More

    October 3rd was a landmark achievement as 3 productions of the show were running at the same time in London - One in the Barbican where the show first began, one in Queens Theatre where the show currently resides, and an Aniiversary Concert in the O2 Arena. Such an event has never been done before and shows the appeal of the show remains strong a quarter of a century after it began.

    [image=http://www.creativeboom.co.uk/cardiff/files/2010/01/miz1-264x300.jpg]

    Who has seen this show?
    Was anyone present for either of the Anniversary Concerts (there was also one in 1995 to celebrate 10 years of the show) or the Barbican production?
    Did anyone catch it before it ended on Broadway?
  3. TheGuardianofArlon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2007
    star 6
    I'd like to see Les Mis and Shrek the musical (which I may see since it comes next year.)

    I have seen Wicked, Fiddler on the Roof, the Nutcracker, Beauty and the Beast (I was little so I don't really remember it) and Phantom of the Opera.

    I own the soundtrack to the Phantom of the Opera movie and broadway, wicked, fiddler on the roof (movie), sound of music (movie), music man (movie), aladdin (movie), beauty and the beast (broadway), soundtracks to revenge of the sith, LOTR:ROTK, and prince of egypt

    As far as Les Mis, I know the story and have heard some of the music from it. I'd like to definatly see it when it comes by.

  4. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    Let's see...

    Phantom of the Opera was among the first shows I ever saw when I was kid. I think I was around five when I saw it in Toronto. As such, I kind of grew up listening to the Canadian Cast recording, which I still have. Other Toronto productions I have seen are Evita, We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia and The Lord of the Rings (which was not as bad as everyone likes to make out :p ).

    One of my friends runs her own theatre company, and recently I have seen her productions of Baby, Clue! The Musical, and Curtains.

    At university, I have seen Footloose, Urinetown and A Little Night Music. At local amateur theatres, I have seen Les Mis, Fiddler on the Roof, RENT, Sweeney Todd, The Wiz, West Side Story and Chicago.

    Speaking of Chicago, while I was visiting the city a few years back, I saw Pirates of Penzance at the Drury Lane Theatre.

    And, to wrap up, I've seen Wicked and Spamalot on Broadway, and I've seen West Side Story (again) and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris ( [face_love] !) at the Stratford Festival.

    Don't get me started on musical films, because that's a much longer list. [face_peace]

    I own a lot of soundtracks. I have the soundtracks for almost every single show I've seen live and a lot of soundtracks for musicals I've never seen, but want to.

  5. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    I have heard the Les Mis 25th Anniversary Concert featured Matt Lucas, Gareth Gates & one of the Jonas Brothers among others.
    Doesn't sound quite as good as the cast for the 10th Anniversary Concert which had Colm Wilkinson, Michael Ball & Alun Armstrong in it.

    Still, I'm sure it was extremely popular. In time there will probably be a video similar to this, which showcases the global success of the show.
  6. SoloKnight Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2003
    star 4
    I've seen a very small local production of Les Mis. It was good but I probably wouldn't see it again. If they ever decide to adapt the musical to the screen, I think I'd prefer it if they made it like the film adaption of Rent and changed some of the sung dialogue to spoken. I think that works better for the screen than singing the whole way through.


    I just saw Wicked a couple months ago in San Francisco and adored it. Liked it better than the book. My other favorite Broadway musicals are Rent and Avenue Q.
  7. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I saw Les Mis back in 1987. My family would have us girls save up money all summer for our lemonade stand and then take us to a Broadway musical. We saw Cats, Les Mis and Phantom that way. I've dreamed ever since of playing Eponine. I would have done it this summer, except they needed me more in the orchestra than they did onstage. I've seen the show three times, twice in NYC and once in Boston. My favorite songs are "In my life," "I dreamed a dream," "Bring him home" and "Valjean's Confession." Musically, I think one of the best moments in musical theater is the dissonant chord on the last word of the phrase "The time is now, the day is here" in "One day more" just before Javert sings "One day more to revolution."

    Now to the questions.


    Are there any forthcoming shows that you are interested in? I want to see Allegiance.
    What are your favourite shows and why? My favorites are Miss Saigon, Evita, Shrek the Musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Wicked. Why, in that order: 1) Fantastic blend of regional musical styles and strong lyrics 2) Fantastic interplay of characters, with many fantastic songs 3) Taking an hilarious movie and turning it into a great musical. 4) Classic rock musical with extremely varied styles. 5) There are few musicals that have brilliant parts for altos and sopranos alike, much less ones where the lead goes to an alto. I was sold on this musical at "Defying Gravity." Plus I was in BYU Women's Chorus when they did three songs from Wicked (Popular, Defying Gravity and For Good) and it's the only season I can remember where every concert was sold out well in advance.
    Are there any big stars you have seen in a show? Michael Crawford, Marie Osmond, Sarah Brightman, Idina Menzel
    Are there musicals that have not been adapted into film that you like to see? I would love to see Miss Saigon or Wicked made into a movie.
    Are there stories you think would make a good musical? Much Ado about Nothing
    Which soundtracks do you own? Which versions do you think are best? Phantom of the Opera (original cast and movie), Wedding Singer, Shrek the Musical, Wicked (5th anniversary edition). I'm a fan of the original broadway of Phantom, but I really like Gerard Butler's "Down once more."
  8. Epicauthor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 4
    Oh God where to start..... :)

    I can't seriously believe that Les Mis is still running on the West End after 25 years. The turntable keeps in spinning I guess.

    I'm wondering if a good place to start the discussion in sort of a list. Perhaps go through famous shows year by year or something?

    I'm actually directing my first musical right now, The Rocky Horror Show. It is definitely a huge eye opener in how to direct a musical vs directing a straight play. We open in three weeks!
  9. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Has anyone else seen Forbidden Broadway or heard their stuff? My favorite song from them is the Less Miserables finale:

    "Do you hear the people sing
    Singing the hit songs of Les Mis
    It is the best show of a classic
    Since they modernized the Wiz
    Better learn the songs by heart
    and if you don't they'll call you dumb
    They'll be atop the record charts
    When the British come

    No more Gershwin, no more Kearns
    We don't need old shows anymore
    We'll set ablaze and burn
    Most every Steven Sondheim score
    Come join with the few
    Who have started a musical war

    Do you hear the people sing
    All of the new songs from Les Mis
    Even the great Andrew Lloyd Webber
    Wished the songs were really his!"

    and so on and so on. It's just really funny.
  10. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Forbidden Broadway is great, I need to listen to more of it.

    Are you not a fan?

    I've no problem with that. The questions I posted in the main post are simply ideas for discussion so the topic doesn't dry up.

    Best of luck with that. I saw Rocky Horror last year on stage it is a very funny show.
  11. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I've never done directing, but this summer I did a bit of choreographing. I was in a Broadway revue for cancer research fundraising and had to stage a lot of stuff for the part that I was in because I had a major solo. Then a couple of days before dress rehearsal, our director was saying that the soloist for "Benjamin Calypso" had to drop out and the only other person who could do it had to be directing the orchestra at the time. Since I was also the concertmistress of the orchestra, I jokingly said that maybe the orchestra should do the song themselves. That led to the conductor singing the solo while two violinists, the French Horn player and a flutist did backup hula dancing and various other members of the cast took care of the percussion section. It was entertaining, since we were all sitting ther, we'd just done "Close Every Door" and as the piano started doing its riff, we put on leis, sunglasses, etc. and danced out onto the stage. Then we did a conga line back to our seats in time for "Go Go Go Joseph." That revue was one of the funnest things I've done in theater, especially since I was probably one of the first females to play the genie from Aladdin. (Not strictly Broadway, but we had a Disney set.)
  12. Epicauthor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 4
    Oh, I love Les Mis, but after seeing it a couple of time, I think it might be time for it to go away. There is SO much other good stuff out there.

    Your questions:


    :)

    Are there any forthcoming shows that you are interested in? I am very curious how Julie Taymor plans on taking on Spider Man. It's either going to be epic or a failure which makes me rather go to Las Vegas and see a Cirque show.

    What are your favorite shows and why? 1. Chess: I love this show for the complexity of the politics, story, and music (which is also very powerful) while still maintaining the relatively simple story of a love triangle. This show starts at climax and doesn't let you go until the resolution in the very last song.. Interesting side note, this is the play which "One Night In Bangkok" came from.

    2. In the Heights: This hip-hop show has very real characters, tells a wonderful little story, has very fleshed out characters, and is overall fun. I would love to direct this show. Completely deserving of the Tony.

    3. The Last 5 Years: A show which has only two people, telling the story of their relationship from courtship to divorce. The beauty of this show is the girl moves backwards in time (all of her songs come chronologically before the one she sang prior) while the man moves forward in time (his songs go in the correct order from earliest to latest). They only meet once...at their wedding. Depending on whether you are a man or woman and where you are in your particular love life, you determine whose fault it is that the relationship failed. Brilliant, brilliant show.

    4. Rocky Horror: The movie is terrible, but the play it comes from is absolutely brilliant and a lot of fun.

    There are others: A New Brain, Opal, Wicked, Rent, Assassins, Into the Woods....Sunset Boulevard....

    Are there any big stars you have seen in a show? I got to see the original cast in Wicked on Broadway which was kind of cool.

    Are there musicals that have not been adapted into film that you like to see? In The Heights. This is a story about people in a neighborhood in New York city over 2 days. It is perfectly situated to be translated to film.

    Also Sunset Boulevard...as long its kind of noir, I think it'll work.

    Are there stories you think would make a good musical? No, but then again I was shocked at how much I enjoyed Little Women, so...Also, I really want a theatrical version of Across the Universe. I think it could make it work.

    Which soundtracks do you own? So many. Most of the "big" shows and a few little ones as well.
  13. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Sunset Blvd. is a fantastic one for screen adaptation. And Glenn Close could still do it.
  14. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    I recently saw a musical adaptation of The Remains of the Day, which was done in a small theatre in London for a month. I thought it worked pretty well, although it was limited by the small space and some dance sequences that were too long. I don't know if it will ever get a run in a bigger theatre, but it's one to watch out for.

    In other news - Hugh Jackman is set to star in a film remake of Carousel by Rogers & Hammerstein. Jackman has done various musical roles on stage including Beauty & the Beast, Oklahoma & The Boy from Oz.
  15. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Oooh, I love Carousel. And Jackman would be good for the male lead. Wonder who would be doing the female version.
  16. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Although film musicals these days are rare or not as good as they used to be, recent successes like Sweeney Todd and Hairspray have shown that there are actors around who have the talent to perform in musical movies. I find it odd more are not done since the talent is clearly available at many different age ranges.

    For example you have:

    Hugh Jackman
    Alan Rickman
    Johnny Depp
    John Travolta
    James Marsden
    Zack Efron
    Catherine Zeta-Jones
    Helena Bonham-Carter
    Emmy Rossum
    Nikki Blonsky
    And others... (not forgetting the cast of Glee)

    I think there should be many more adaptations of musicals since so many haven't been done. I'm sure there is still a strong fanbase for the genre.
  17. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I would love to see Lea Michele do more Broadway-centric stuff, especially on screen. And the girl who plays Mercedes.
  18. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    It amazes me that Emmy Rossum isn't considered more for roles since her starring role in Phantom of the Opera. She was very good in that and is obviously musically able (moreso than her dreadful male co-stars). yet she has disappeared into obscurity while Gerrard Butler is a big star.

    It's weird how Hollywood works
  19. Epicauthor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 4
    I agree. Emmy Rossum has a wonderful voice and is absolutely beauitful. Why is she not a Great Big Star?

    Gerard Butler was COMPLETELY miscast in that role. The Phantom should be ugly with the voice of an angel. I have been told that some women find him attractive, his voice sounded like two cats vying for position over a dying mouse.

    Absolutely terrible.

    I think the reason why Hollywood is loathe to do musicals is there is no big built in audience for them. Rob Marshall directed Chicago, which resonated with many people and won Best Picture. He also directed Nine...which was an absymal failure. There is no guarantee that a musical will do well and I have to imagine that the production costs are a bit higher on a musical movie than a non-musical one.
  20. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    The big money seems to be on Jukebox Musicals like Mamma Mia & We Will Rock You.
    Mamma Mia had a lot of people in it with very edited voices and only did ABBA songs. I've nothing against ABBA, but such a musical using songs that already exist and tacking on a mediocre storyline just to say it's original.

    Moulin Rouge is an exception. I'm not a big fan, but the movie isn't bad and is big on laughs and specticle. Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman were OK, not great. We play the soundtrack a lot at work and it's still entertaining (especially the Can-Can remix).

    Using existing songs people know and having big stars who don't neccessarily have singing talent is what attracts people to see a musical these days. This is why it's good a guy like Hugh Jackman is a competant singer, because he's also a big star and so will attract audiences to a musical movie.

    Hairspray was suprisingly popular, but it was well done (although not my sort of thing) with a good cast of talented people.
  21. Epicauthor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 4
    I don't know...Rock of Ages sounds like it would be a lot of fun to see. However, I do hear you on the Jukebox trend which has been going on for a while now. This type of show, though, is great for community and regional theaters to do as there is a built in audience for those songs.

    Pierce Brosnan should never be let near another musical. But then again, who knew Amanda Seyfried could sing?

    Moulin Rouge is a different animal though. It is definately a musical, but works as the last part of Luhrman's Red Curtain trilogy. Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge all tell the same story through a different artistic medium; namely dance, poetry, and music.

    If only they could use these stars in more "Musical" movies. I think Ewan McGregor would be perfect as Joe in a Sunset Boulevard movie. He is a household name and has a tremendous voice.

    I loved Hairspray. The movie version of the play is better than the actual play version.

    Since Broadway is so about "spectacle" these days, it's hard for smaller theaters to pick up anything coming out of there. Jukebox musicals seem to be the way to go. I, for one would like to see a few small musicals get written and make it big.
  22. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I agree about Hairspray. Though they left out my favorite song except in the credits--"Mama I'm a Big Girl Now." I think Emmy Rossum was wonderful as Christine, but there are only so many parts for painfully young ingenues with operatic training.
  23. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    But Emmy is a decent enough actress, no reason why she can't just get offered normal movie roles. After all she has done a few less well known movies and then done songs for the soundtrack.

    I think Emmy would be great for the lead in the planned remake of My Fair Lady

    She has a very Hepburn look about her

    [image=http://img.listal.com/image/493516/500full.jpg]

    Obviously she may struggle with a good English accent, but I think she would be capable.

    But once again a musical is being remade when there are plenty of them that haven't been adapted to film.

    As for Ewan McGregor, I saw him in Guys & Dolls on stage and frankly his live voice is not as good as his movie one. He clearly had some degree of editing in the movie.
  24. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Ewan Mcgregor just makes me happy whenever I hear his singing voice. Or speaking voice. Or just when I look at him...
  25. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    I think the reason why Hollywood is loathe to do musicals is there is no big built in audience for them.

    I don't think Hollywood IS loathe to do musicals. We've gotten one or two on average for the last decade. The problem IMO is more that Hollywood doesn't know how to sell musicals to a crowd. The notable exceptions to this are Sweeney Todd and Hairspray, where the director and studio did everything they could to make a worthwhile MOVIE first. And audiences ate up both of those films.

    A lot of musicals recently have been sold as essentially art house, Oscar-bait movies. Heck, Nine is ABOUT a guy making the kind of movies that never get screened in a multiplex. On the other side of the coin are excessively populist, lowest-common-denominator movies like Across the Universe and Mamma Mia.

    But honestly, I think the one big thing Hollywood's missing right now is DANCING.

    I once heard musicals put into a nutshell thusly*:

    When what you're feeling becomes more than you can say, you sing it.
    When it becomes more than you can sing, you dance it.


    The most frustrating thing about modern movie musicals is that no one seems to know how to shoot a dance anymore. It's frankly embarrassing to hear that Richard Gere did his own tapping in Chicago, when the dance sequence appears to have been blatantly shot with a body double - you just about never see his feet and his face in the same frame.

    What I wouldn't give to see a modern movie with a full-on Astaire/Kelly-esque dance number. Think of all the innovations those guys (and others) came up with technology in the state of the art of the 1930s-50s. Imagine what a brilliant choreographer/filmmaker could do with all of today's toys at their disposal.

    *I'm paraphrasing. If anyone knows the actual quote and/or who it's attributed to, I'd be grateful.