Friday, August 29, 2014

Pioneer Romance Musicals

While Annie Get your Gun has been successfully revived several times, Wildcat has vanished and The Unsinkable Molly Brown is only now seeing a resurgence. Ethel Merman's Annie threw a shooting match to heal the wounded ego of her suitor. Bernadette Peters did the same in 1999 but her suitor caught on and threw his own shot as well. Will the upcoming revisal of Molly Brown put her on equal footing with her spouse? Time will tell.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gilbert and Sullivan

Gilbert and Sullivan provide an easy candidate for Musical Madlibs as they wrote their most popular works in quick succession for the same company. Their attempts to find variations on a theme were hilariously documented in the film Topsy-Turvy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lay-Off Musicals

More musical mad libs!

(The Full Monty, Billy Elliot, Kinky Boots) the musical was inspired by a British film about the unhappy workers of a flailing local industry pulling together to support the leading man’s artistic ambitions. Though at least one of the workers has some homophobia to work through, they all come together in support before the curtain call.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Camp Horror Musicals

I'm trying something new this week. Musical mad-libs to explore the similarities and differences in genre-specific shows. First up Reefer Madness, Little Shop of Horrors, Bat Boy: The Musical and the patterns in Camp Horror musicals.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Less traditional musical than a play with songs, Greenspan and Merritt’s adaptation remains faithful to Gaiman’s novel while providing a creepy feel all it’s own.

You can read reviews of the New York, San Francisco and Chicago productions here.

The Chicago premiere is running through September 6, 2014.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Woman of the Year

Oh the grass is always greener
when some other tenant pays rent.
Oh the teeth are always cleaner
in somebody elses Polydent.
~ Woman of the Year

 Although the 1942 film was considered enlightened at the time, for instance, the women's movement has rendered many of its conceits passe. ''In the movie, the implication at the end is that she's going to settle down and be Mrs. Housewife,'' says Mr. Kasha. ''We're not doing that. No one gives up their career; they make room for each other in their lives.''
~ New York Times

 The people who concocted this musical know what their show is really about. Miss Bacall is on hand virtually the whole time, and she's vibrant whether no-nonsense or tipsy, domineering or moony, dry or wet. If ''Woman of the Year'' is tired around the edges, it is always smart enough to keep its live wire center stage.
~ Frank Rich. New York Times.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Welcome to the theatre, to the magic, to the fun
Where painted trees and flowers grow, and laughter rings fortissimo
And treachery's neatly done. 
~ Applause

Seriously, Miss Bacall is a sensation. She sings with all the misty beauty of an on-tune foghorn. She never misses a note- she is not one of your all-talking musical dramatics- and although her voice is not pretty, it does have the true beauty of unforgettablility.
~ Clive Barnes (New York Times Review)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Merlin quick sketch

A closer look at Chita Rivera's winged twin serpent headdress and Douglas Henning's magical mullet in Merlin the Musical.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Doug Henning had built a musical around his magic act in 1974 that ran 1,920 performances. He tried again in 1983 with Merlin but lightning didn't strike twice.

Because Mr. Henning, who plays Merlin, cannot act, dance or sing, the authors must write their show around their title character and build it instead on the shoulders of the secondary players. ~ Frank Rich (New York Times)

The supporting roles were played by the talented Nathan Lane, Chita Rivera and Christian Slater. Clips of the opening number and Chita's first song are online but sadly no clips of the song titled "Satan Rules."

Monday, August 4, 2014

Into the Light

“Science without data will not get you from alpha to beta.”

Legends say Dean Jones fled Company in 1970 due to hostile audiences and personal crisis. He returned to Broadway in 1986 for the 6 performance flop Into the Light. It’s possible to write a successful musical about the subject of faith but Into the Light was not that show. Critics found much to snark about and the show that was quickly dubbed Jesus Christ Tablecloth