meteordust: (Default)
So I went and saw the musical of Kinky Boots at the Capitol Theatre on Friday. It lived up to the hype! I'd enjoyed the movie when I saw it years ago, and this was a good adaptation of the story to the stage. It moved at a cracking pace. It was sparkly, upbeat, and uplifting. Cyndi Lauper's music had a great '80s pop atmosphere to it. All the cast were excellent, but Callum Francis as Lola stole the show.

Some of my favourite numbers: "Take What You Got", "The History of Wrong Guys", and "Not My Father's Son". Pretty much all the songs were great - I'll be listening to the cast recording for a while.
meteordust: (kujaku)
A musical about Bobby Darin? Sure, "Beyond the Sea" is one of my favourite songs! This will be a fun distraction from current events.

I was not expecting it to rip my heart out.

Clearly, I did not know enough about the life of Bobby Darin.

Also, timing is everything.

Spoilers )
meteordust: (kujaku)
Possibly the best movie musical of all time, so anyone doing a stage version has big shoes to fill. But it's hard to go wrong when you start with such great songs, and the Australian touring production did an admirable job.

Everyone talks about how they MADE IT RAIN ON STAGE for the showstopping title song. And it was pretty impressive! Sprinklers in the ceiling pouring water down, and a shallow pool across the whole floor to collect it. Lots of splashing about. The first three rows of the audience were provided with rain ponchos for protection.

My personal highlights were "Make 'Em Laugh" and "Moses Supposes", two of my favourite songs from the movie. Adam Garcia, who was meant to be the lead, was injured, but his understudy (a role shared between Robyn Arthur, Rodney Dobson and Mike Bishop) was a great Don Lockwood. (I was impressed when I realised a different version of the film clips would have to be made for all three understudies.) It was cool to see Jack Chambers from So You Think You Can Dance Australia as Cosmo Brown, probably one of the most fun stage roles ever. Gretel Scarlett was a great Kathy Selden, especially in "Good Morning" and "Would You?" And Erika Heynatz was hilarious as Lina Lamont, who actually gets a song here, "What's Wrong With Me?".
meteordust: (kujaku)
So, I finally checked out the original movie. I liked it! But it was very different. Ironic and detached. And everyone looks so young.

An article about the major changes and the reasoning behind them:

Talking to Heathers: The Musical Director Andy Fickman About What Was Changed From the Movie

An interesting perspective on the differences, from the liner notes of the cast recording:

Cut for length )
meteordust: (kujaku)
This isn't anything as coherent as a review of Heathers: The Musical, but I need to ramble about it.

I've seen a lot of musicals in my time. But I can't remember any that made me so impressed and so uncomfortable at the same time.

Spoilers )

Overall, it was incredibly well put together. The cast was fantastic. The plot was lean and brisk. Every beat was true. Every reaction was earned. Every song was a punch of emotion. It's just about a note perfect example of a musical. The cool thing about adaptations is, they give you a chance to refine the essence of the original. I should have guessed, from the calibre of the songs, that it was co-written by one of the co-writers of Legally Blonde: The Musical. Not always easy to watch, but very worthwhile.
meteordust: (kujaku)
The Sound of Music is the sound of my childhood. I cannot count the number of times we watched our VHS copy taped off the TV, or listened to the vinyl record of the soundtrack. Every song is embedded in my memory, like for so many other people. And Julie Andrews is the perfect Maria.

So how could a production of the stage musical hope to live up to these kinds of expectations?

Spoilers: well, it can't, not really )
meteordust: (kujaku)
So for the last few weeks, this is what I've been listening to, pretty much non-stop:

Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording CD

Others more eloquent than me have talked about what it means to them, to witness the story of America then, cast with people who look like America now. How it makes them feel part of the history of their nation for the first time. Powerful stuff.

I've never really been into American history. I've never been into rap and hip-hop before.

But I do love a good musical.

And Hamilton? Is a great musical.

The promo clip certainly grabbed my attention. ("My Shot" is irresistibly catchy: "Hey yo, I'm just like my country / I'm young, scrappy and hungry / And I'm not throwing away my shot!")

But what won my heart was Lin-Manuel Miranda's performance at the White House poetry jam, back when all he had was the first song. It was electrifying. (I get chills at "There's a million things he hasn't done / But just you wait, just you wait...")

Hamilton is doing so many things on so many levels: musically, thematically, emotionally. It's put together so beautifully. And there are so many moments in it that move me.

As Stephen Colbert said in his interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda on The Late Show: "My first reaction was just like, oh, this is very interesting, this is very different, I wonder how long they can sustain this. And then you go, oh, this is actually quite magnificent. And then two hours later I'm going, why am I crying over Alexander Hamilton?"
meteordust: (kujaku)
Hugh Jackman is wasted in action movies.

I saw his show last Monday at the Entertainment Centre, and he totally owned the stage. Such a fantastic singer, dancer, and performer. So friendly and down to earth and funny. He really is the nicest guy!

Many of his friends and family were in the audience, and he did lots of shoutouts to them. He made jokes ragging on them and jokes at his own expense. He got ten thousand people to join in singing "Happy Birthday" to his wife. He flirted shamelessly with audience members and security guards. He tapdanced to "Singin' in the Rain". He sang "I Still Call Australia Home" backed by an entire children's choir.

He talked about how he auditioned for X-Men while he was in the musical Oklahoma! and actually did the audition between the matinee and evening performances.

He told the story of getting a phone call late at night from Steven Spielberg, who he didn't believe it was at first. And then telling his wife, "You're about to go to bed with the host of the 81st Oscars," and her saying, "What, is Billy Crystal here?"

He told a great story about his dad flying to New York and back over a weekend to see him perform at Carnegie Hall, and him telling his dad, "It's business casual, not black tie," and his dad showing up all dressed up anyway, and Hugh saying, "Didn't you get my message?" and his dad answering, "My son is singing at Carnegie Hall. It's black tie."

One of the highlights was the Les Miserables medley, including "One Day More" sung by the whole ensemble. Another highlight was getting to hear the song "This Is Me" from his new movie musical, The Greatest Showman on Earth, about the life of PT Barnum. I for one cannot wait.
meteordust: (kujaku)
A pretty thin year for musicals, though the two I saw were good adaptations of classic movies about the power of dance. (And love!)

Strictly Ballroom - "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."

Dirty Dancing - "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

Matilda

Jul. 31st, 2015 11:45 pm
meteordust: (kujaku)
I grew up on Roald Dahl, and Matilda was one of my favourites. So I was excited to attend a preview of the musical at the Lyric Theatre a few nights ago. It was pretty cool to get to see a relatively new musical, with no idea what the songs were or how the story would be translated to the stage.

Anyway, it was a great adaptation and an energetic show, with fantastic work by all the cast, especially Molly Barwick as Matilda, a tiny nine year old who carried so many of the scenes on her shoulders.

The songs ran the emotional spectrum from darkly humorous to deeply moving: the stubborn heroism of "Naughty", the awesome alphabet play in "School Song", the wistfulness of "When I Grow Up". Some of the lyrics in the ensemble numbers were a bit hard to make out, but I'm hoping the cast recordings will be clearer. The tunes were very catchy, and I think they'll be in my head for a while.
meteordust: (kujaku)
Another good year for musicals.

Jesus Christ Superstar - ROCK OPERA SPECTACULAR.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - A good adaptation of a classic movie.

Grease - If you have great songs, you have a great musical.

The Lion King - Gorgeous and powerful.
meteordust: (kujaku)
This stage production was a faithful adaptation of the movie, although it's not exactly what I'd call a musical. There were few songs sung live, mostly classics played in whole or as snippets to give the flavour of the 1960s. The dancing was pretty cool though. The staging was clever and effective, with projected backgrounds to shift locations. The projection for the scene of practising lifts in the water was both a stroke of genius and cheesy enough to draw fond laughter. The whole show felt like a nostalgia trip for much of the audience, who cheered along with the story. I only watched it a few years ago, so it doesn't have the same defining meaning for me, but I still felt a swell of triumphant vindication at the climactic scene. It's like idfic with an earned ending.
meteordust: (kujaku)
Just got back from the new musical of Strictly Ballroom. It's nice to have another world debut here. I hope it does well. It should. Based on a classic movie with a solid story. Cheesy - occasionally painfully cheesy - but hey, it's Baz Luhrmann. Lovely dancing, gorgeous costumes, great performances, and decent songs. My highlight was "Love is a Leap of Faith". Feelgood nostalgia, and beneath the sequins and sparkles, an enduring message: "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."
meteordust: (kujaku)
I've been waiting years for this musical to come back to Sydney, after the fantastic reviews it got back then. And it lived up to my high expectations, from the very opening, when the first singers launched into their chorus, and all the animals came marching into the theatre. Everyone cheered when the elephant - an elephant! - came down the aisle. The puppetry was amazing, especially the way the performers captured the movement of the animals they portrayed.

The musical followed the movie fairly closely, with some additional songs and scenes. It was cool to see how they adapted the story for the theatre, like how they managed to depict a wildebeest stampede on stage. Most of the songs were pretty good, especially 'Circle of Life' and 'Shadowland', and all the performers were excellent.

Grease

Dec. 23rd, 2013 11:56 pm
meteordust: (kujaku)
It's hard to go wrong with a musical that has excellent songs, which is why Grease was so entertaining. Sure, when you're older (or once you've actually sung the lyrics at karaoke) you realise there is dodginess in "Summer Nights" and "Greased Lightnin'", and that "You're the One That I Want" is not as fairytale ending as you'd once thought, but that doesn't stop them from being songs you keep hearing in your head all the next day. Rob Mills as Danny and Gretel Scarlett as Sandy were great, but it was Lucy Maunder as Rizzo who knocked my socks off. I want her posture and swagger, dammit.
meteordust: (kujaku)
They made a musical of it! And the reason I saw it was 90% nostalgia. I have fond memories of the original, with Michael Caine and Steve Martin - which, it turns out, is itself a remake of Bedtime Story with David Niven and Marlon Brando, but with a different ending. Big shoes to fill, but Tony Sheldon and Matt Hetherington managed it, along with Amy Lehpamer, Anne Wood, Katrina Retallick, and John Wood (of Blue Heelers fame). The songs were a mixed bag, some entertaining, some ordinary. It was more about the story, and it is a solid story, and the performers had the comic timing to carry it.
meteordust: (kujaku)
This musical has been on my 'to watch' list for ages now. (I still envy the lucky folks who got to see the iconic Australian production from the 1990s, with John Farnham as Jesus, Jon Stevens as Judas, and Kate Ceberano as Mary Magdalene.) So when the Arena Tour was announced for Sydney, I was over the moon.

Cut for, uh, spoilers? )
meteordust: (kujaku)
It was a busy year for musicals. (Only seen one this year so far!)

Annie - Reasonably entertaining songs elevated by a stellar cast.

Love Never Dies - If you liked the original, you will probably hate this.

An Officer and a Gentleman - They tried. But it wasn't enough.

A Chorus Line - Maybe you had to see it when it was first released to really appreciate it. Or be part of the musical theatre world.

Legally Blonde - OMIGOD YOU GUYS. Best of the year. Now in my top ten.
meteordust: (Default)
OMIGOD YOU GUYS.

I've been wanting to see this musical for over a year. I've had my tickets for six months. And finally, tonight, at the Lyric Theatre, I got to see it.

After all the great reviews, after all the anticipation, my expectations were way high.

AND IT TOTALLY MET THEM ALL.

You know that feeling you get, when you crack open a book or settle down to a movie, and from that very first moment, you know you're in good hands, and you can just relax into the ride? And you're enjoying every moment, and you don't want it to end?

Yeah.

From the very first song, I was hooked. So much energy and fun, and clever lyrics attached to catchy tunes, backed by a really compelling character story. An emotional journey, with ups and downs, with humour and drama and *heart*. This. This is what a good musical is about.

I've never watched the movie, but I'm going to now.

I bought the original London cast recording, and will be playing the hell out of it. There so needs to be an Australian cast recording too, because Lucy Durack! And Rob Mills! And all the other brilliant performers!

It's the best musical I've seen this year. If you're in Sydney - or anywhere else it's playing - I totally recommend it.

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