28 March 2010

Happy Palm Sunday

A clip from the under-appreciated--or at least, overlooked--film version of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR.  I think Norman Jewison does a fantastic job of nailing the tone of this piece, and its implicit dichotomy of traditional biblical imagery and 20th Century rock idolatry.  There's a certain understated grace here--same as in the FIDDLER movie.  Definitely taking from the Robert Wise school of movie-musical realism.  I wish Jewison were charged with other stage-to-screen adaptations

If this above clip doesn't do it for you, I urge you to compare to the late '90s tv version.  The symbolism--and singing--is really quite forced.  Every syllable of every lyric is performed so emphatically (because it's "serious" I suppose), as if doing so makes it "deep".  But the heavy hand only serves to make the material look flimsy.  Telegraph that it's deep, and you'll only dissappoint.  Undercut it, and audience members can find depth they don't necessarily expect. 

24 March 2010

Judy Garland - Almost Like Being In Love / This Can't Be Love

I've been hearing this song 6 times a week since mid-February.  It's on her Carnegie Hall record, among other things.  Every night it's like I'm hearing it for the first time--truly a remarkable arrangement/performance.  I particularly admire her consistency--despite a near flub-up latei n the number her rendition here, on her ill-fated television show, is near identical to her famed Carnegie recording.

Also, because it linked to the above, here's Judy and Liza singing "Two Lost Souls" from DAMN YANKEES.

Aside from being convenient, I posted the above because I've been seeing some more rumblings about that Jim Carrey/Jake Gyllen-not-dating-Reese-Witherspoon movie version of YANKEES.  It's sounding more and more like a hot mess.  "They" (meaning the producers or whatnot) want to "address steroids use in baseball" with this remake.  I mean, seriously?  (a) Why is sterioids use really an issue that needs to be addressed in the media at all?  (b) This is DAMN fucking YANKEES! 

13 March 2010

Christine Baranski is Mame

'Tis apparently the season for finding Christines singing "My Best Girl".  This surprisingly effective--or, at least effectively sung--rendition is from that Kennedy Center production starring Christine Baranski which did NOT make it to Broadway, despite persistent rumors that it would.

I still want Bette Midler.

11 March 2010

Joan Diener is CRAZY

"Aldonza" from MAN OF LA MANCHA is always a bit much, if you ask me.  Easily the most melodramatic lyric ever.  Makes anything in CARRIE plausible at conception.  And anything is a bit much if you ask Joan Diener to sing it.  But on the original cast recording, her reckless chestheadmix soprano is bizzare, wonderful and thrilling. 

Now take this performance, add some years of this becoming a signature role in a major hit, then translate it into French, courtesy of Jaques Brel.  And sing. it. slooooowly.  Like, seriously, add almost 60 seconds to the same number of musical bars.  And you get this.  It is grotesque. There is nothing more I can say.

03 March 2010

Christine Ebrsole in something

If I were to make a list of my favorite things it would include, to be sure:
Christine Ebersole
Reruns of the Rosie O'Donnell Show

And the gods heard her prayers...Christine Ebersole on The Rosie O'Donnell Show promoting MAME at Papermill.  (I'd love to see the planning meeting for that one.  "Rosie, it's for a regional theater production in Jersey."  "It's an excuse to have Christine Ebersole sing with a cute kid."  "Does Tuesday work?")

The singing starts at 4m45s, after a lengthy and not particularly eventful story about Chrstine trying to make a flight.  I always wonder how these interviews work--clearly she knew she and Rosie knew this story was coming.  I suppose they knew they had to talk about something else besides regional theater in Jersey. 

Mame's dress is fabulous, though was that the one she actually wore at that point in the show?  As Cherry Jones would say, "I have so many doubts."

Young Patrick is played by the always delightful Paul Iacono, who I worked with on DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS and was in the new FAME film.

Anyone willing to make an argument for Ms. Ebersole as a new Broadway MAME will find audience with me (though my current dream casting has Bette Midler as MAME, Mary Testa as Vera and K Chen as Gooch).