January 2008 Archives

Final Thoughts

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What do you mean?
Oh, you got plenty of people. You got Oprah Winfrey.
Sally Jessie Rafael?
Doctor Phil?
Ricky Lake?
My thoughts on last night's performance of Jerry Springer: The Opera are mixed. I loved the thing when I saw it in London. And a lot of the cast here is great, especially David Bedella reprising his London role as Jonathan/Satan. But something just didn't compare to when I saw it in the West End.
  • Was it that the show's slow pacing and lack of plot become more evident on a second viewing?
  • Was it that the lack of costuming reduced how funny the parallels are between the Act 1 and Act 2 characters?
  • Was it that the lack of set no longer evokes the big hysterically-overblown opera?
  • Was it that that damned "inner Valkyrie" gag still doesn't make sense or land?
  • Was it just that the comedy of the piece doesn't work as well in the giant space, and some of the lyrics are harder to understand?
  • Was it because Harvey Keitel doesn't have the strongest voice for Carnegie Hall?
  • Was it because they cut the fantastic finale, even though it was in the program?
  • Was it that American audiences don't respond to the shock value as much because we find Jerry Springer the TV show to be a joke, whereas some Brits actually think it's a legit comment on America? (which may not be untrue)
  • Or was it just because I was sitting in the highest section possible?
The real answer is probably because I'm comparing a concert staging to the full production. Because the audience and others all seemed to like it. But it was at the moment where the cast actually put on the KKK outfits and did the tap dance that I enjoyed most. And wished this thing could get a full production.

If you don't get to catch it tonight, do go to Amazon.co.uk and buy the DVD. It's cheap, cheaper than the shipping!

Unfortunately, I don't think this is ever going to get its Broadway mounting. Sigh.
This is the description of Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman's new Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life which is playing in Chicago next season:
The year is 3,000,458,000 B.C., and the Earth's first life forms, salt-eating yeasts (yes, yeasts), float in the brine of the primordial soup, under the rule of a dim-witted tyrant. As resources deplete and fear prevails, the faith of one single-celled dreamer changes their society forever, and out of chaos and destruction a new world emerges. Combining '80s rock with a touch of disco, Yeast Nation can't help but be one of most non-political and slightly amusing evenings of musical theatre in America. Here come the Yeasts!
In other words, you replaced people-who-gotta-pee with yeast, a corporate tyrant with a dim-witted tyrant, and then pretty much wrote Urinetown again with 80s rock.

Good of you guys to branch out!

P.S.: "The musical had its world premiere in fall 2007 at Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska." Why Alaska?

Jerry Springer Discounted Tickets

So I was the idiot who bought tickets for tomorrow well in advance, but if you haven't and are interested in seeing Jerry Springer either tomorrow or Wednesday, go to www.carnegiehall.org and get tickets using discount code JS6027.

I loved this in London, and the guy who played Satan in the London production will be reprising his role!

How to be shitty at marketing...

"This new Broadway musical tells the tale of a young, black bohemian on a journey of escape and exploration who leaves the confines of his middle-class, church-reared youth in South-Central L.A. The further he travels, the more he discovers that the journey within is the one that counts."
- Marketing blurb for Passing Strange

I don't believe for a minute that this acclaimed off-Broadway musical could be as bad as they're trying to make me believe it is.

Xanadu's New Advertising Campaign

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A little sneak preview:

1. Why are they appealing to the gay crowd? Don't they already have the gay crowd filling up 90% of the theater?
2. It's primarily a comedy, right? Whose idea was it to have a poster and slogan that don't advertise that?

I'll come back with some attempts at better slogans when I've actually seen the show.

On Obscure References

I had forgotten about this when I posted the Young Frankenstein Abridged...

Did anybody catch the Animaniacs reference?

Will Shrek be any good as a musical?

Because it sure sucked as a movie.


Finding Neverland Musical

Johnny Depp is awesome. After Sweeney Todd, both my girlfriend and I agreed that Johnny Depp goes on the list of "people you're allowed to sleep with".

For both of us. I'm not gay, but for Johnny Depp I might make an exception.

Anyway, DVD night has recently been any movies that have Johnny Depp in them. About two weeks ago, this included the first time I've (finally) seen Finding Neverland. And although I enjoyed the movie, the entire time I kept saying out loud, "This would be so much better as a musical. This would be so much better as a stage musical".

Well, what do you know.
Film does this thing which is basically making reality and fantasy far too literal. There are ways to deal with it onscreen, yes, but Stage can let you do a real blurring between the two and not have to define anything.
So the moments where the kids are playing, the moments where it's not clear what's happening and what's in their heads, and being actually introduced to Neverland and "believing" as it were, they can all play so much better on a stage.

I am, however, slightly disappointed as Alan Knee, who wrote the awful libretto for Little Women, is writing the libretto. Of course, I should balance it with the fact that he did write the original Off-Broadway play that David Magee's screenplay was based on. But then re-unbalancing it is that
"The Man Who Was Peter Pan was lauded by critics when it played an Off-Off-Broadway showcase run in 1998." Sigh...

P.S. Hello, New York Times? Your piece on Broadway websites was missing one. I'm sure it's not a disapproval of snarkiness, after all Ben Brantley is on your staff.

Rent is closing.


No New Abridgements this month

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  1. Not planning on seeing anything. Although I would like to see The Homecoming and Xanadu... I even got a copy of the Xanadu movie so I can watch the thing before seeing the show.
  2. The real reason: I'm submitting a play to the NY Fringe Festival this year, so my co-writer and I are hustling to do as many rewrites as we can before mid-February. We're hoping to iron out the important fixes in that time, with extra time for smoothing over between then and the summer.
  3. In the past month I've posted 2 full-length abridges and one short. That's not bad considering my track record!

The New York Post

What did I learn from Clive Barnes's 1-star review of Little Mermaid in the New York Post today?

That reviewer Clive Barnes is a creepy, creepy looking man.

But to be fair, Michael Reidel's byline photo in the same paper looks just as frightening:

Photography with the quality of a late-1900s Polaroid?
Website design from 1996?
Good for you New York Post, you don't let anybody tell you what to do!

The Odd Couple: LA Edition

So Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, fresh off the Producers, went into the Broadway Production of "The Odd Couple".

Now Jason Alexander and Martin Short, who played the same parts in LA, will be doing an Odd Couple reading on the west coast.

The Broadway production had the big goofy guy from "Everybody Loves Raymond".

The LA production will have Putty from "Seinfeld", Newman from "Seinfeld", and the black guy from "Sliders".

LA also recently got a reading of a Eric Idle play with Billy Connolly, Tim Curry, Eddie Izzard, and Tracy Ullman.


Young Frankenstein: Abridged

Cheap Tickets: Ha!

So part of the reason I didn't post this till now is because for a time there, I was supposed to do a "blogger's initiative" interview with a member of the cast (which never happened).

So apologies about waiting on this, but I usually prefer to bite the hand that fed me already, as opposed to the hand that is going to feed me. Ah well.

Do rest assured that not getting to hang out with Christopher Fitzgerald has nothing to do with the bitterness you'll find when clicking my ticket stub. No, the bitter taste is regardless of...

Food + Theatre

Reidel says today:
The Nederlanders, who last year began letting audiences munch on popcorn in their seats, will go a step further and permit food delivery during the show.
Yeah, McDonalds, Pizza, whatever. Just don't start letting them eat mini ice-creams.

Everybody who's been to a show in London knows what I'm talking about. At interval, the little tiny Ben and Jerrys come out, and with the pik-pik-pik of those tiny wooden spoons, you start to get confused why it sounds like it's raining during Act 2 of every West End show....

Check back this weekend for Young Frankenstein Abridged.

August: Osage Country: Abridged

Cheap Tickets: $26 back-of-mezzanine

August: Osage County is a good play. But how I want a copy of the script...

...and a sharpie....

...and line-item veto.

So far, +1 for my new year's resolution of actually abridging plays, at least in "short" format.

The last night of Drowsy

Oh Drowsy Chaperone. You only ran a year and a half, and I am absolutely positive it's because you had a shitty, shitty name.

So the girlfriend and some friends had always meant to but never seen Drowsy, and the decision was made to see it during Christmas week, when they had off.
I had already seen Drowsy once but having heard that it was closing on December 30th, we used a Broadwaybox.com code (that wasn't accepted at the theatre but was still working just fine online) and attended the final performance of Drowsy Chaperone.

If you have never been to a final performance of a Broadway show (like I hadn't), you should really try it. I can only compare it to Rocky Horror, or the Previews of Producers or Spamalot where the audience was filled with nothing but fans. They applaud for their favorite bits, there's just a little bit of improv, and the ham is flying all over the dang place. It takes a show that's flawed but still kinda fun and makes it that much more enjoyable. True proof that a good audience can really be the thing that makes a good performance.

The best part: One of the gags is that one note before the end of the "musical", the power blows and the Super comes in to reset the breakers. So on the 30th, the super walks in through the darkness and when he finally turns the lights on, it ends up being Bob Martin, the original Man in Chair. Very funny.

So when I saw it with Martin, there was a moment where it looked like the Man in Chair and the Super had "found" each other, and a common love for musicals, and were about to kiss perhaps when Man in Chair slams the door. This time around, Bob Martin as the super mentioned a wife and no kiss was done. Was that because it was the final performance, or because Bob Saget (who was quite good, btw) played the part a little less gay and it was removed for him??


Final Thoughts
WHO WILL SPEAK FOR US?What do you mean?WHEN YOU ARE GONE.Oh, you got plenty of people. You got Oprah Winfrey.SHE'S…
Urinetown Creators Pretend to Innovate!
This is the description of Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman's new Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life which is playing…
Jerry Springer Discounted Tickets
So I was the idiot who bought tickets for tomorrow well in advance, but if you haven't and are interested…
How to be shitty at marketing...
"This new Broadway musical tells the tale of a young, black bohemian on a journey of escape and exploration who…



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