December 2007 Archives

You win.

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Crappy seagull guy wasn't Jafar in Aladdin. Very very english guy was.

The reference has been removed for your further comfort. In the meanwhile, feel free to insert the following line anywhere in the script!

Somebody stop all this Tarzan and Little Mermaid
bullshit and put Aladdin on the god damned stage.
I can only be of age to reprise my on-cell role
as Jafar for so long!

Who would you cast as the Genie?

I'm thinking John Hodgman, because Eddie Izzard wouldn't actually do it, but Hodgman has already proved himself willing to be the PC.

Little Mermaid Abridged

Cheap Tickets: They used to sell $30 tickets for back of theatre. I think the price has since gone up.
Why not bribe a small child with candy?

The thing about Little Mermaid is that it's not as bad as Tarzan was.

See? I said something nice!

Click on my ticket stub to read:

What I Saw This Year

To give you an idea of how many shows I didn't Abridge, below is every show I saw this year.

I've italicized the ones I really should have made shorts of, but was too lazy busy to have posted yet. The ones I should have posted full-length abridges of are in bold. My new year's resolution is not so much to post more full-length abridges--because only so many warrant them--but to at least start doing more shorts.
  • Jan 5: Spring Awakening
  • Feb 7: Coast of Utopia Part 3
  • Feb 8: Follies @ Encores
  • Feb 12: Evil Dead the Musical
  • Mar 8: Pirates of Penzance @ NYC Opera
  • Mar 23: King Lear @ Public
  • Mar 28: Edward Scissorhands @ BAM
  • Apr 1: Di Yam Gazlonim
  • Apr 4: Les Mis
  • April 13: Lovemusik
  • April 26: 110 in the Shade
  • April 27: Some One Acts
  • May 2: Inherit The Wind
  • May 15: Radio Golf
  • June 9: Romeo and Juliet in the Park
  • June 13: Folksbiene Gala
  • July 19: Gypsy @ Encores
  • Aug 2: Escape from Bellevue
  • Aug 9: Seussical @... Theatreworks (too lazy to google?)
  • Aug 14: Frost/Nixon
  • Aug 17: Forbidden Broadway
  • Aug 19: Midsummer @ Shakespeare in the Park
  • Aug 22: Rent (Pascal/Rapp)
  • Aug 24: The Boy on the Other Side of the World @ Fringe
  • Sept 9: Other Bodies @ Flux Theatre
  • Sep 19: King Lear @ BAM
  • Sep 23: The Boy in the Bathroom @ NYMF
  • Sep 27: A New Television Arrives
  • Sep 30: Bernice Bobs Her Mullet @ NYMF
  • Oct 5: Maccabeat and Last Starfighter @ NYMF
  • Oct 18: Wolves in the Walls
  • Oct 24: Rock n' Roll
  • Nov 1: Richard III @ CSC
  • Nov 2: Cyrano
  • Nov 3: Young Frankenstein
  • Nov 13: Cymbeline
  • Nov 15: Festival of Lies @ BRIC
  • Dec 7: Pygmalion
  • Dec 9: Avenue Q
  • Dec 11: Is He Dead?
  • Dec 18: Little Mermaid
  • Dec 20: YellowFace
If it's any consolation, right now I have 2 1/2 normal-length abridges that I've written that I just have to edit before posting. I promise at least one of them posted before the year is out.

Sondheim Primer in THE ONION


Sweeney Todd Movie: a sort of review

I usually don't review things in a form that's not a script, but to that level I usually don't review movies, so...

Last night I had the pleasure to see the new Sweeney Todd movie at Ziegfeld theater in midtown. If you've never been to the Ziegfeld for an opening weekend of a movie, it's something worth experiencing. Particularly for musicals; there's nothing like having 1100 people actually clap after a great musical number or, in last night's case, when Steven Sondheim's name flashed onscreen during the credits.

I love musicals; I hate movie musicals. I wasn't brought up on any of the classic early-era movie musicals, and I frankly get bored onscreen when somebody bursts out into song/dance. For the most part I just find movie musicals to be stupid. I do admit I liked Chicago, but mostly "despite" the fact that it was a musical. "Mr. Cellophane" and whatever Queen Latifah sings bored me to tears. Disney cartoons can animate themselves out of this mess; live-action can't. Musicals need a total rethinking when moving to screen (hear me, Susan Stroman?), because nobody wants to watch a love song in a movie sung by two people who are standing still on a platform or whatever.

What the new Sweeney movie did was actually deal with this. Every song that is normally just somebody singing onstage was either cut, shortened or--in more cases than not--reconceived. If you don't mind a few being mildly ruined for you:
  • A Little Priest now has Sweeney and Lovett looking out the window of her shop, getting ideas of who to cook based on the britfolk walking by.
  • Epiphany (as you've seen in the previews) has Sweeney walking out into the streets singing with anger at the passersby, and the ending to this is even better than the Broadway show.
  • By The Sea, the song that usually bores me most (at least in the original cast) becomes a hilarious dream montage and is, perhaps, the highlight of the entire musical (and what one friend described as "Johnny Depp's best acting in the entire movie", and he means that in the good way)
And so on. I only felt that "this song is long and I'm getting bored" once, and it was during "Wait". And that feeling lasted for about all of five seconds, so I'm apparently just really impatient.

But what's most important is that the tone is right. At no point does it feel inorganic that these people are breaking out into song. The colors are muted, the music is almost always on, the camera barely stays still and the whole thing brings a tone to the movie that makes your reaction: "wow, this is gothic!... oh yeah right and they're singing". The changes and added scenes and plot reconfigurations are all superb, Anthony and Joanna and Tobias are all now closer to the ages they ought to be, and the whole thing is cast perfectly.

A few final things to note:
  • This thing is fantastically bloody and violent. The Broadway versions cannot compare to the blood and gore here. It's not just Kill Bill Volume 1, it really may get you to wince once or twice.
  • I miss "Kiss Me", and yet am still glad they took it out.
  • I miss the opening "Ballad of Sweeney Todd", but think the removal works perfectly.
  • I cannot forgive them for not running "Ballad" over the ending credits... there's no reason for that.
The point is, go see Sweeney Todd. Preferably with an audience. It was nothing short of phenomenal and is, in my not-always-humble opinion, the finest movie musical ever made, no contest.

P.S. So there's a deluxe soundtrack, and a highlights soundtrack, and they differ by a booklet and four songs?
P.P.S. There's also suddenly quite a lot of novelizations, companion books, and unofficial books about the subject now aren't there?
P.P.P.S. I've heard they've already put out a casting call with the intent of bringing Sweeney back to Broadway ASAP.

Little Mermaid Video

The nice thing about BroadwayWorld's videos is sometimes it answers wonderful questions about shows without you having to see it.
Like, "I wonder what Little Mermaid looks like onstage".
Click Here to Play

See? Guess you don't have to see it now then, do you.

Norbert and Young Frankenstein

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Occasionally, subscribing to New York Magazine gives you a little bit of interesting theatre news. In this week's issue, from a profile with Norbert Leo Butz:
When Buts first got a look at David Ives's reworkign of the Twain play [Is He Dead], he was set to meet with Mel Brooks and Susan Stroman about the lead role of the mad scientist in Young Frankenstein. After playing Freddy Benson in Scoundrels (and relegating John Lithgow to straight-man status), it was the obvious move, professionally and artistically. Butz's crack timing, his bawdy, maniacal leer, and his newfound dancing skills might have been exactly what Brooks needed to ward off the sniping critics. But Butz had other ideas.
"I never heard a note of the music, never saw a page of the script," he says. "But I thought, I just followed Steve Martin, I really dont' want to follow Gene Wilder right now. And it was really time for me to do a play." So within days of reading for the part, he was committed to playing a death-faking, cross-dressing French painter.

Which explains why Roger Bart, their 10th choice, ended up mugging the part.

Having seen both shows, I applaud Norby's choice.

This looks awful.

Didn't see it on Broadway. Not seeing it here either:


Title of Show Show Show Show Show

If any of you haven't been watching the title of show show, I highly suggest checking out the most recent episode, if not just for the final 15 seconds...


You win.
Crappy seagull guy wasn't Jafar in Aladdin. Very very english guy was.The reference has been removed for your further comfort.…
Little Mermaid Abridged
Cheap Tickets: They used to sell $30 tickets for back of theatre. I think the price has since gone…
The Little Mermaid: Abridged
What I Saw This Year
To give you an idea of how many shows I didn't Abridge, below is every show I saw this year.I've…



Volume 1: Even More Musicals comedy album available for sale on iTunes/Amazon.