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

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    There have been dance movies like Step Up and the British equivalent Street Dance, but those were very generic movies which lacked in plot and were basically an excuse to see known groups and artists dance around which appeals to young people these days.

    However, if that sort of thing has appeal, combine it with singing too. Moulin Rouge worked well because it used modern songs in an old setting and had big fancy dance numbers. More shows should be done like that.

    Disney has done this for years with its non-Pixar movies, having big elaborate song and dance numbers. These were also achieved in some of the successful stage shows they made of their movies like The Lion King.

    Star power is good as long as it can handle the demands of the role. Even in the old days some stars were dubbed (Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady for example), but they were dubbed with voices that could sing well.
    Due to the need for marketability these days producers want people to think that the stars they pay to see are actually using their own voices. This often results in them being dubbed by their own altered voices, which doesn't really work so well.
  2. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    In "Moulin Rogue" there was not a single good voice. Not even the villain.
  3. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    Ewan had a surprisngly good voice, but of course not something you would get from a professional singer.
  4. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    He went resoundingly flat at times, but I can forgive him much. I had this argument with Rogue, and at the end of it I agreed that though he can't really sing with his voice, he can *act* with it. Which is okay. But I think dubbing might have been the best idea for Kidman, who had no projection at all.
  5. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Ewan sounded bad live, in a movie you can have your voice modified to sound better.
    Nicole was OK, but not great. Moulin Rouge worked because of great entertainment and storytelling along with great visuals.

    Johnny Depp wasn't that great in Sweeney Tood either, but the character didn't have particularly demanding vocal parts and so the need to be a great singer wasn't so important. Depp is a good enough actor to portray the emotion & conflict of the character so his singing wasn't key.

    Gerrard Butler in Phantom did a pretty good job of conveying the emotional conflicts of a persecuted man, but the voice was so much more important in the film and his was not up to standard. Plus acting with his voice didn't seem to work so well for him.
  6. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Les Mis is my favorite novel and my favorite musical. The tenth anniversary concert is just incredible too. I mean there has never been such a perfect marriage of music and storytelling. The songs are so perfect.

    Miss Saigon is also great.
  7. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    [image=http://www.movieactors.com/photos-stars/robert-preston-musicman-3.jpg]
  8. halibut Chosen One

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    I'm known to sing "Ya Got Trouble" at karaoke nights :p
  9. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    76 Trombones is pretty much what Music Man is good for :p
    Les Mis on the other hand has a number of fine songs. If it were shorter I would probably like it more.

    Phantom is still the best IMO, but there are a lot of other good musicals. Story isn't so important for such a genre, but it does help.

  10. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    The one being the story of a guy who sells trombones crushing on a librarian, while the other is an exploration about the epic struggle between mercy and justice set against a tale of redemption and complete self-sacrifice during events that changed the course of Western history. I suppose we have different tastes.



    :p
  11. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

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    While I agree that Depp's voice was not absolutely perfect in Sweeney Todd, especially compared to other singer/actors (ie. George Hearn, Len Cariou, etc.) who have portrayed the demon barber in the past, I disagree that the character did not have particularly demanding vocal parts. I cite "My Friends" and "Johanna" as examples, particularly the former. But while he might not have been technically outstanding, that was not the point; the important point was the emotion behind the words in each song, something that I'm not sure McGregor, for instance, pulled off very well in Moulin Rouge. In any case, while Depp's voice was rough, his pitch was fine, so it worked. And the roughness contributed to the character, as well, in my opinion.
  12. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    I also prefer Raiders of the Lost Ark to Gone with the Wind.:p

    My issue with Les Miz is honestly the music. It's relentlessly maudlin, and often cheesy as hell (it's impossible for me to take Valjean seriously when Wilkinson is doing those crazy things with his voice - he makes Crawford's Phantom seem underplayed in comparison). The ostensible comic relief, "Master of the House" is one of those songs that's so annoying it's catchy.

    Sure, it has some beautiful moments, but getting from one to the next is just too much of a chore (see also: Into the Woods:p)
  13. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Sondheim is often an acquired taste, his musicals are low-key and not grandiose like Rogers & Hammerstein or Andrew Lloyd-Webber shows.

    Colm Wilkinson is an odd singer, partly because he often sounds like he isn't actually singing, just speaking the lines. Heck if he can become a great musical theatre legend there is hope for us all.
    Michael Crawford is awesome, both in Phantom and The Woman in White (he's about the only good thing in that show).

    "Master of the House" is now worse than 76 Trombones in terms of being cheesy, and in the 10th Anniversary Les Mis concert it was sung by Alun Arsmtrong and he's great.
  14. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    I meant "no worse" in above statement btw :p


    Lets compare Colm wilkinson doing Phantom with Michael Crawford doing Phantom

    At least one of them sounds like they're singing.
  15. halibut Chosen One

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    76 Trombones
    Ya Got Trouble
    Goodnight My Someone
    Til There Was You
    Shipoopi

    All fine songs
  16. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    Don't forget the perfectly captured train motions of "Rock Island", or the quaintly-driving-then-gorgeous "Wells Fargo Wagon" (in which the chorus goes into just the right semblance of a heavenly choir after Winthrop emerges from his shell - IMO the musical theatre equivalent of E.T. flying past the moon).

    And what's not to love about Marian the Librarian?
  17. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    I still wouldn't put Music Man in my top 10.

    But it does have its appeal. Maybe they'll remake it at some point, given that remakes of Carousel & My Fair Lady are already in the works.
  18. halibut Chosen One

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    They already did with Matthew Broderick

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Music_Man_(2003_film)
  19. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    A TV movie is not quite the same thing, but that is a good way to go if you don't want to tarnish the original cinematic movie by doing an inferior reamke (as most are). Plus it sounds like a more modern retelling which can work quite well.

    I forgot that Broderick was in The Lion King, so he is a decent singer. Kristin Chenoweth is very good.
  20. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    I try to forget that that abomination ever happened.
  21. halibut Chosen One

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    Joseph Williams was the singing voice of the adult Simba (though I can't recall when the adult Simba actually sang. Presumably a few lines in Hakuna Matata), so that's a moot point.

    It's VERY rare that the voice of a Disney character is also the singing voice. One of the pleasant exceptions is Tom Hulce in Hunchback of Notre Dame
  22. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    At least it's rare for the more stunt-cast roles. I think pretty much everybody in The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast did both.

    Oddly enough, the double-casting really picked up in Aladdin, where the singing voice of Jasmine (Lea Salonga) was the much bigger star than the speaking one (Linda Larkin).
  23. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    I'm sure there are worse adaptations of musicals. Broderick seems far more capable than Gerrard Butler was in Phantom.


  24. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Butler has charisma though. Broderick . . . maybe twenty years ago. Maybe.

    Also, I would be very careful about casting about the words 'maudlin' and 'cheesy' if you're also trying to defend the show that gave us Til There Was You. Also, Rock Island Line did indeed perfectly capture the sound of a train; this also clears up my question about why trains don't star in a lot of musicals. :p

    I will certainly cast no aspersions at Preston's performance, though I'm not sure you can defend Preston if you're also casting aspersions at Wilkinson for his bizarre singing style, which is certainly no worse than Preston's (I, you might imagine, love them both, being a fan in general of iconic, not necessarily aesthetically pleasing voices: Dylan, Bob; Cash, Johnny; Nash, Leigh; Ramone, Joey; Armstrong, Louis, etc; I do somewhat feel that I have history on my side with this one). Gary Indiana is a clever exercise in syncopation (one could really say that of the entire musical), if Ron Howard isn't singing it. Ya Got Trouble and The Sadder But Wiser Girl are most certainly brilliant in both writing and performance.

    But I hardly find Les Mis maudlin. As I say, I rank the novel as the single finest ever written and the musical does the best job any adaptation has ever done of transferring the philosophical heart of the novel. I mean moments like Javert's Suicide or Valjean's conversion or Fantine's death, with Valjean and Javert both swearing their undying loyalty to one ideal or Valjean's desperate Bring Him Home . . . I mean that is musical theater to me. I don't think I've ever heard the last few lines of Fantine's death scene without getting cold chills. That moment when Valjean and Javert double each other on "I will be there," is just one of the most profoundly stunning things I've ever heard in my life.

    Do you think your atheism has anything to do with your inability to connect with the story? I just wonder; it's such a profoundly religious story. I don't have trouble connecting to the nihlism of Miss Saigon, of course, but I just wonder. I mean, to me, Valjean represents, in both the novel and the musical, the height of faith and self-sacrifice. Valjean is one of those characters that did change my life and made me realize that my faith had to step up a notch if I was going to bother with it at all. I'd say there's not a week goes by that I don't think about Valjean's opening to One Day More: "Another day, another destiny/on this never ending road to Calvary." That is my life. I wonder if the religious mythos and iconography of the novel can be as moving to you as it can to me. I mean, it is, in its own way, a retelling of the Passion.
  25. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    It probably can't be. Eating bread and drinking wine will never be a moving transcendant experience for me, either. Unless perhaps it's REALLY GOOD bread and wine.:p

    But a good story is a good story. And on paper, Les Miz seems to be a pretty great one (haven't read the novel yet). I love the IDEA of Valjean and all that he does, but the show itself just doesn't sustain my interest. I love self-sacrificing heroes, though I actually think the idea of heaven sort of weakens the concept. Especially (no offense) the Jesus thing - what's so great about a couple days of pain and death when the guy gets to come right back and be GOD again? Plenty of ordinary humans endure much worse, and WITHOUT that sort of certainty that everything will work out in the end for them. Even with faith, Valjean's sacrifice is (in my eyes) much braver than Jesus's because he lacks that divine certainty.