Sunday, May 20, 2018

Royal Wedding


I've seen this movie but I can't remember the love interests at all. They don't get much to do. The Astaire/Powell duets are delightful but the fact that they are playing siblings is... distracting. What exactly happens every night at seven?

The movie's not great, but Astaire gets to dance on the ceiling. Bosley Crowther of the New York Times put it best when he said "Mr. Astaire has fared better in his lifetime-and he has also fared much worse."

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Rise


Stop me if you've heard this before. Inspirational teacher puts a hot jock and some minorities in a show where they learn to live and love and... oh you have? Well how about we give half the kids abusive families... and make the teacher a monster? No, not a funny monster. Just extremely unpleasant. Unpleasant enough to inspire hostile reviews and scare audiences away.

Ted Sutherland brings charm to his coming out storyline, though it gets about 5 minutes of screen time per episode. Stephanie Block brings gravitas to the potentially campy role of his loving conservative mother.

The choice of Spring Awakening was an interesting one. It's still considered edgy. Will age give it the same respect that West Side Story, Grease and even Rent have gained from most school boards? Skip to episode 9 and 10 if you want to see the talent young cast performing the songs. Hopefully there will be better shows in their futures.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Band's Visit


The 2018 Tony nominees for best musical are adaptations. Three are aimed at children and teens. The Band's Visit is aimed at adults. Thus critics loved it and grosses have been modest. The story takes place over the course of a night where nothing happens and everything changes. The following morning the stranded band will leave and the villagers will be left with fading memories. Will the Tony's spark summer sales and regional productions? Will leading lady Katrina Lenk star in more musicals or move to film and television? Or will the whole thing fade into memory as an assembly line of commercial properties queues up for the coming Broadway season?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Four Year Anniversary

Tomorrow is the 4th year anniversary of Three Panel Musicals! Thanks to all who've stuck with it and welcome to those who've just discovered it.

My favorite comics from 2017 include:

Caroline, or Change
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (season one)
Ragtime
Smash
They're Playing Our Song


The 2018 Tony nominees have been announced so there'll be lots to discuss in the coming weeks.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Baker's Wife


Patti LuPone got a signature song, Meadowlark, from The Baker's Wife despite producer David Merrick's attempts to cut it. That's about all she got as the show closed on the road. Stein's book spends more time with the Baker than his wife and he's a dull protagonist. We've been left with a pleasant, abridged cast album, and the occasional regional production.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

When Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook produced a sexy, pop-culture-y Joseph several critics were horrified. The Chicago Tribune claimed it was "shorn of all heart and emotion." 'But wait,' said I, 'isn't Joseph already a sexy, pop-culture-y show shorn of all heart and emotion?' It certainly has been in the three professional productions and Webber produced TV film I've seen.

Joseph is a weird show. A fairly grim story from the Book of Genesis retold as a sexy panto and performed by schools. As Bible musicals go it's closer in tone to the silly Godspell than Webber's angsty Jesus Christ Superstar. But who knows? Maybe some day I'll see a production that changes my mind.