Thursday, June 11, 2020

Missing the Tonys

We'll be telling stories about 2020 for a long time. June 7, 2020 was meant to be the night of the 74th annual Tony Awards. The new musicals this season included:

Girl From the North Country - jukebox musical
Jagged Little Pill - jukebox musical
Moulin Rouge! - jukebox movie adaptation
The Lightning Thief - novel adaptation
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical - jukebox bio

There was only one original score in the bunch. Truth be told I wasn't excited by any of these shows. I was more interested in the gender swapped revival of Company and the large crop of new plays.

For a list of potential nominees, check out JKS Theatre Scene's sample ballot here.

EDIT: One more original musical was on the horizon: Six

Friday, June 5, 2020


Tootsie didn't work for me. The 1982 film was about a cis man who disguises himself as a woman to get a role on a television soap opera. The musical had him win a role in a Broadway musical in 2018, yet the characters seemed to have learned nothing more about gender, sexuality or hiring practices since 1982. Putting it in a contemporary setting only made the sexual politics seem more retro.

The leading man's arc was also lost. He claims that his time as Dorothy has taught him humility and compassion but nothing in the libretto allows us to see that. At the performance I saw he didn't seem to grow or change one bit.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Lightning Thief

Fans of the books hated the movies. They liked the musical but it's small scale hurt it in a Broadway house. Now Disney's making a TV series which has given the fans fresh hope.

Saturday, May 23, 2020


"It's a sad song. We're gonna sing it anyway."

I don't like this show. The score's not my style and I don't agree that Orpheus should be forgiven for his failure because "he tried." But I respect the folks who do. Here's a collection of the Broadway reviews.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Whisper House

Duncan Sheik's 2009 concept album was adapted to the stage in 2010. The Chicago premiere runs through February 15 at Black Button Eyes Productions. An Off Broadway production opens on March 12, 2020. Jarrow and Sheik discuss the musical in an interview here.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Zero Patience

"Tell the story. Clear my name.
Why do they need someone to blame?"
~ Zero Patience

GaƩtan Dugas, a French-Canadian flight attendant, was falsely accused of spreading the AIDS virus across America. He was dubbed "Patient Zero." Evidence was found to clear his name but the myth persisted for years after. John Grayson's musical sends Zero's ghost on a journey to prove his innocence, debunking other myths about the virus along the way. The film is angry, funny, sexy and bittersweet. It's strange to watch now as it came at a time when people were still in crisis and much about the virus was still unknown. The film is hard to track down but clips are floating around. You can read a spoiler filled recap here.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Head Over Heels

Take one 16th century play. Add one 1980's pop group. Sprinkle some genderqueer aesthetic. And voila! Head Over Heels was considered too slight for Broadway but it's the ideal fit for a black box theater during Pride season. One caveat: if you're not a fan of the Gogo's going in, the repetitive song arrangements won't change your mind here. The clowns belt and the sexy chorus dances but the plot stops dead every time there's a song.

The Chicago premiere runs July 1-August 25. Details are here.