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“Peter Pan” Flying to TV Screens Near You!!!! March 31, 2008

 

I must say, the most interesting plays and movies have been appearing on Playbill lately.

Today’s find on Playbill is “Peter Pan.”

Remember that play/movie? About a magical boy named Peter Pan who takes three children in England to Never Never Land in his quest to not grow up. It’s a fun show. I remember seeing it way back when I was in elementary school as a stage play. Those were the days. Being young and carefree….you really cannot take that for granted, Bloggers. Childhood is something that comes and goes…And as much as you want to go back to it… Well, there’s no real “time machine” that’s been made just yet. But I feel that’s the message of this play/movie. While you’re growing older, remember the good times of the past and incorporate happiness and feeling “young” into your life everyday…And you’ll feel better…you’ll feel happier. I remember seeing the animated movie too and hearing the song “You Can Fly” and loving it. This show brings back a TON of nostalgia for me, and I’m wondering if it does for you all.

Now, what’s the news about “Peter Pan,” you ask?

Soon there will be a TV movie of the musical.

Interesting.

This show has had it’s full cycle of being a play, an animated film, and a live movie (without the musical aspect)…I guess it going to TV completes this cycle.

 Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have been announced as the producers for the upcoming movie…They’ve also produced award winning movie-musicals such as “Chicago.”

Apparently, according to Playbill, this project to make the show into a TV musical has spanned 15 years thus far…Variety saying it was the television production of “Gypsy”‘s composer Jule Styne who suggested the idea.

To complete the preliminary stages of the project, Zadan and Meron must find a director and of course…a cast.

Once this happens, they hope to start filming by the end of this year!

Bloggers: Do you think you’d watch “Peter Pan” on TV when it comes out? Who do you think will be part of the cast? Make your predictions here!

For now…Here’s a video of one of my favorite songs “You Can Fly!”: 

And!! Here’s “I Won’t Grow Up”:

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(Pictures courtesy of favershamrugby.co.uk, media.movieweb.com, evalu8.org)

 

Yet another Movie-Musical…. March 30, 2008


I’ve been writing in this blog about my theory of how Broadway has had a trend of taking movies and turning them into musicals.

Tonight I have found another one being created, thanks to Playbill.

This may not be one you may automatically think of either: the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story.”

I really wasn’t expecting to find this on Playbill tonight of all movies.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a great movie. If you don’t remember what it’s about, Playbill describes the movie’s synopsis well:

A Christmas Story is a whimsical, slightly-twisted and beloved tribute to an all-American, nostalgic view of Christmastime. Set in Indiana during the 1940s, a young Ralphie dreams of his ideal gift for Christmas and is waging an all-out campaign to convince his reluctant parents. Ralphie mounts a full-scale, hint-dropping, Santa-begging campaign. He also endures all kids of childhood calamities from his brother’s snowsuit paralysis to the yellow-eyed Scotty Farkus affair to the dreaded tongue-on-a-frozen-flagpole stunt. A triple-dog-dare Christmas classic for the American stage.”

The one thing I remember about this movie is the flagpole stunt. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to get your tongue stuck to a pole like that. I’ve certainly gotten my tongue stuck to a freshly made ice cube several times…and that’s NOT FUN. It hurts when it gets ripped off, as I’m sure it hurt for Ralphie.

I bet this would make a wonderful musical. I could see Ralphie’s quest for his Christmas gift being extended into a two act musical. And I could see a TON of more comic stunts being added to make the play even funnier than the original movie!

However, this play does go along with my theory. There is a lack of creativity on Broadway, and this again proves it, and it brings the utmost question at hand: So, what movie’s next?!

Bloggers: What movie do you think will be turned into a musical next?

The musical will be produced by Gerald Goehring and Douglas C. Evans…who were the minds behind Off-Broadway’s latest production of Frankenstein.

The producers told Playbill.com that they want to get the musical running as early as 2008’s holiday season.

The lyricist, librettist and composer haven’t been announced yet…But will be soon.

An interesting fact I found through the Playbill article: apparently “A Christmas Story” actually does exist as a non-musical stage play…So maybe you bloggers out there may or may not have seen this as a play already! If you did…what did you think of it?

If you want to see more information about the play, visit their website!

And for all you fans of the movie (and for those looking to see more of what this movie’s about), here’s the famous tongue-sticking-to-the-pole-scene:

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(Pictures courtesy of questexperiences.com, playbill.com)

 

It Really Was Not Just “Another Vermeer…” March 29, 2008

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing the aforementioned play I said I was going to go see, “Another Vermeer.”

The whole day surrounding seeing the play was quite an adventure. Getting to the play itself can be almost as thrilling as going and seeing the play ! Myself, my co-host (Sarah) and our friend from drama class (Catie) went to the New Haven train station thinking we wouldn’t have too much traffic, but lo-and-behold, everyone cut us off and I had to get off at the exit after the one we wanted, which was FILLED with construction traffic! Yay…! But luckily we still made a good train :)

The play was at the Abingdon Theatre, which conveniently, is right by Penn Station. We had some trouble finding the theatre because of the sign that says “Abingdon” was only a couple feet tall and wasn’t lit up or anything. We did find it though, and we were able to walk up a back stair case to the show, where we were met by Kelly Morgan (my theatre professor and director of the show!).

My general reaction is that the show was very good. The actors were overall excellent. The story was moving. Kelly Morgan (pictured right) did a wonderful job at directing this show and making the show flow very well. However, because I saw a dress tech rehearsal, some elements took me away from actually concentrating on the actors words.

Austin Pendleton (pictured left) starred as Han Van Meegeren, the painter who forged a famous Vermeer painting and sold it to someone in Germany. The play revolves around Van Meegeren’s experiences while in his tiny, cramped jail cell, waiting to either be freed or to have the ultimate punishment: death.

The space where the play was was VERY intimate. I had the pleasure of being able to sit in the front row, which is RIGHT next to the actors. They literally cross 2 feet or less in front of you. At some points the actors made these big gestures where their arms flailed back and I jumped every time! But I was fine. It was wonderful to be able to experience what Van Meegeren was going through first hand.

Pendleton at the beginning of the play has a confrontation with Vermeer (played by Dan Cordle). Pendleton’s character is looking for inspiration. He needs to create the same exact painting or else he could die. The stakes were high. Life or death.

Pendleton’s interactions with the other characters were intriguing as well. Justin Grace (who played Bram, the guard) became almost a sidekick to Pendleton through the way they got to know each other in the jail cell. Bram became Meegeren’s “model” to portray Jesus Christ. So, I don’t want to give a very lovely part of the show away, but I definitely recommend this show to the ladies!

Bram and Meegeren’s interactions were the most powerful. Bram was an innocent, naive character. He knew nothing about Meegeren and only knew what he was told from his life experiences. It was only through listening in on the large confrontation between Thom Christopher‘s character and Meegeren he was able to learn to make decisions for HIMSELF and not submit to others orders. Bram was not just the guard anymore…He became Bram, his own person. I was proud of him by the end of the play.

I was proud of Pendleton too. I haven’t seen him act in such length before. The last movie I saw him in was “Christmas With the Kranks” where he played a man who was a stranger to Jaime Lee Curtis’ character yet creepily knew a little too much about the family, but the family let him come to their Christmas party anyway, which turned out well. His character in “Another Vermeer” was a very interesting, challenging character to take on. Van Meegeren wanted to make a name for himself, so he forged a painting to help him earn some “fame.” But in the end, as the play truly projected this, it’s about being happy for who YOU are as an individual, and your accomplishments you complete yourself and not by using others around you. His character also happened to take a lot of drugs too, which in some ways definitely affected his characters “edginess” that he gave off while on stage.

Thom Christopher (pictured on right next to Pendleton) was another person I enjoyed. His character (whom I believe was Bradius?) was an art critic that knew Van Meegeren was right, but did not want him to get his way. He did not want his career to end because he did not report right. His character had a very strong guard, and was very successful in keeping that guard up with Van Meegeren. It was only when Pendleton truly built up all his courage to confront him in that moment his guard began to come down and gave in to Van Meegeren. Christopher’s loud, booming voice also made the character seem strong, and almost evil. But that made the character, and I truly enjoyed his performance.

Justin Grace (pictured left) was phenomenal as well. At the end I watched his eyes welling up with tears, and watched one single tear come out of his eye and just drip down his face. Bram was moved by Van Meegeren and in a way you could see that he wanted to be a part of his world.

The other guard, played by Christian Pedersen (pictured right), was wonderful as well. He moved me when he held the gun up to Van Meegeren. My heart was racing, and I thought he would have pulled the trigger on him…But thank goodness he didn’t! I enjoyed watching his transformation from the beginning of the play to the end of the play. By the end he finally realized, like Grace’s character, that maybe what others were saying about the painting were wrong. And even though he did not want to get too buddy-buddy with Pendleton afterwards, you got the sense that he realized this and he cared, even if it was only a bit.

Now one thing I must admit, I got distracted during the play by a few things. Because the space was very small, there were certain limitations to what you could see and couldn’t see. I didn’t get to really see the finished product of the replica Van Meegeren was working on, but I did get to see the postcard of the painting Van Meegeren was holding. It was very easy to hear the technical staff either typing or (very quietly) giving a cue. Because it was a tech-dress rehearsal, this is excusable and this should not effect anyone else seeing the play. But I also must say, I happened to be sitting next to the person who was on-book for the night (holding the script), so I got to see when the end was near and began to anticipate the end instead of just experiencing it for myself.

What was also wonderful about the performance in particular that night was that it was Austin Pendleton‘s birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUSTIN!)!! So we all got to celebrate afterwards with a piece of cake. Yum!

Overall, I had a wonderful experience at the Abingdon. And I truly feel you all should experience this too! Bloggers: Definitely check this play out at the Abingdon Theatre Company (the actual play is at the Dorothy Strelsin within the space)!!

Here are the dates for the play:

March 29 – April 20, 2008 :


Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30

Saturday at 2:00

Sunday at 3:00

Art can affect your life in so many ways…The arts in general have definitely affected myself as a person (in a very good way!), and I hope they do for you too. Please check out this show to see the challenges Art can bring to onesself!

To end this post, here’s a slide show of Vermeer’s paintings!

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(Pictures courtesy of geocities.com, abingdontheatre.org, imdb.com, christianpedersen.com)

 

Today In Theatre History March 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — khessman @ 1:21 am

Here’s something I find really wonderful about Playbill:

They always write an article everyday telling the world what happened that day in theatre history.

Well, I thought I’d share what happened today in theatre history with you all as well, because hey, history can be fun sometimes, right…? Heh.

According to Playbill, here’s what happened today:

  • Noel Coward, (pictured left) a composer, actor and playwright, dies today in 1973.

I hope you enjoyed these little tidbits!!

To see history “come alive,” here’s Barbra Streisand singing “People:”

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(Pictures courtesy of playbill.comwikipedia.com)

 

“Phantom” Sequel?!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Oh.My.Gosh.!!!

On Playbill tonight I read news that Tim Rice has been named the lyricist of a new project of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s: creating a SEQUEL to “The Phantom of the Opera.”

When I first saw the headline for this article I was think “Oh, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber are working on a project together, how nice!”

But then when I saw that they’re working on a “Phantom” sequel, i was seriously saying to myself “WHAT?!?!?! NOOOOOO!!!!”

Bloggers: I NEED TO KNOW YOUR OPINION ON THIS.

I mean really, why are they doing this? The first one is the longest running musical on Broadway right now… Which actually, must mean only one thing to their little minds, MONEY.

I understand making a sequel would raise more money for the show’s profits, but honestly, this is a show that is preserved. I personally felt the story ENDED in the first one, how could they possibly make a sequel? What else can possibly be explored?

Oh, here’s what they have in mind.

According to Playbill: “The sequel to the romantic musical spectacle has the title character reuniting with soprano Christine in America.”

If you think back to the plot of the original musical, Christine Daae, the lovely soprano, is encountered by the Phantom, who longs for her affection. He aggressively tries to take it by making her sing for him and him only, teaching her to sing, but in the end, she ends up finding love in Raoul and leaving the Opera Populaire with him, leaving the Phantom there. There is no recollection what happens to the Phantom at the end of the play because he vanishes.

So I see where they may be like “Hmm, maybe the characters can go to America where the Phantom will be waiting there.” But what will that do for Christine? Are we looking for Christine to fall in love with the Phantom and be with him and leave Raoul? I really don’t think so. I’m just trying to understand what plot there will be in this new America-based “Phantom” sequel.

Apparently the sequel, when finished, has a targeted completion for 2009.

I guess we’ll see what happens.

But for now, I must admit, I am not happy about this. I believe in keeping musicals like these strictly to one story. Musicals like this can be considered legends in musical theatre and should not be changed.

This to me shows there is a strong lack of fresh material in the musical theatre world. But really, is there that much of a lacking in this area? Or are people too lazy to think of anything because as said in an earlier post, investors don’t want to lose money.

I truly hope that isn’t the case. We need more fresh material on Broadway!!

Bloggers: Please let me know what you think of this!

To end this post I thought I’d share a clip from the 2004 film starring Emmy Rossum & Gerard Butler. This song has been stuck in my head ALL week. Here they are (as Christine & the Phantom) singing “The Point of No Return”:

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(Photos courtesy of destination360.com, theater.lohudblogs.com, canada.com)

 

Spotlight: Julie Andrews March 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — khessman @ 12:24 am

I got the inspiration for this blog post from watching The Sound of Music” on ABC Family tonight. That movie is one of my all time FAVORITES, and I don’t say that about alot of films… If you happened to ask me what my favorite movie is, I wouldn’t have a clear answer.

But “The Sound of Music.” Wow. I could call this one a legend. I remember seeing this movie when I was a little girl. I remember LOVING the character of Maria (played by Julie Andrews) and having so much confidence and hope in her romance with Captain Von Trapp. I’m a romantic, what can I say?! Like many other girls, I hope someday to find that “Prince Charming.”

But enough about the movie. I must speak about Julie Andrews.

Julie has one of the most gorgeous soprano voices I have ever heard in my life. I think that’s another thing that attracted me to her as a singer and actress. She’s so poised, and so amazingly talented. Yet I truly believe she is not egotistic in any way. I truly feel seeing her in that one movie has impacted my life as a person, and as a singer/performer.

Julie has been in several movies and musicals. And up until now I got the chance to see her on film more and more. I found out she was one of the original Eliza Doolittles in My Fair Ladywhen I heard the soundtrack. You may have seen her in “Mary Poppinsand SEVERAL other films up to now, such as “The Princess Diaries” movies.

In 1997, the unimaginable happened. A throat surgery to remove nodules from her throat left her amazing four-octave voice silenced. This was devastating: such a good person losing such a wonderful asset of herself. I cannot imagine what it was like for her after that happened.

While she hasn’t gained her full voice back, as I have said, she can certainly overcome ANYTHING, especially this. In “The Princess Diaries,” she sings a song with the girls in the film. Which was SO exciting to see…And she did an amazing job!

I write this blog tonight because I love Julie Andrews. I admire her voice, and herself. I’ve never met her, but from what it seems, she has a personality that can win over anyone. I’m proud of her accomplishments thus far in life!

Bloggers: Do you love Julie Andrews? What’s your favorite film/play/musical she’s been in?

To end this post, here are some clips of her singing!

Here’s her title song from the movie I watched tonight, “The Sound of Music!”:

Here’s her singing in another movie I love of hers, Mary Poppins:”

Here’s Julie singing in “The Princess Diaries:”

And for an extra bonus…here’s a link to me singing “My Favorite Things” on SingSnap from “The Sound of Music!


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(Images courtest of fogcityjournal.com, teachwithmovies.org, art.com)

 

BIG NEWS!! Casting Confirmed for “Shrek!!!!” =D March 22, 2008

I have HUGE news, and I am SO excited to spread the word to you all!

Earlier in this blog I posted about how they are going to have Shrek: The Musical.” Which I am VERY excited about. I now have another reason to be excited for this!

One of my favorite Broadway actors, Brian D’Arcy James, will be starring as Shrek!

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I’M SO EXCITED.

Also!! Cry-Baby The Musical“s Chester Gregory II will be playing the Donkey and Avenue Qand Disney Channel’s “Johnny and the Sprites” John Tartaglia will be playing Pinocchio!

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Again, I’M SO EXCITED!

I saw Brian D’Arcy James star in Sweet Smell of Successand Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Sweet Smell of Successwas a musical I fell in love with completely after I saw it. The show revolves around the gossip columnists in newspapers and how they can cause good…and bad… in peoples’ lives. His character, Sidney, landed a job for JJ Hunsecker’s column (played by John Lithgow) through using JJ’s sister Susan’s (played by Kelli O’Hara) new boyfriend Dallas’ musical talents (played by Jack Noseworthy). The story unfolds and we find that getting the “dirt” about a person can lead to strong consequences. The music in this musical is perfect, a clash of ritzy classic showtune music to beautiful ballads to upbeat dance numbers. This show ended fast on Broadway but that didn’t mean it had a good run…Because it definitely did!

Dirty Rotten Scoundrelsdidn’t star John Lithgow during D’Arcy James’ run, BUT Lithgow was the original star in that production! So there’s a connection between the two plays. “Dirty Rotten Soundrelsis about a con artist (who at the time was played by Jonathan Pryce) who takes D’Arcy James under his wing and together they steal older women’s money through staying at a fancy hotel.

Now, both of these stories are different, but what I’m trying to get at here is D’Arcy James is a TALENTED man. He plays roles that are unique…Almost sidekick-esque roles that still intrigue the audience and win you over. I was won over through seeing both of these shows and I’m sure I will be won over by his role of Shrek. Personally, I’m excited by this choice from the casting directors. I truly believe this is a perfect fit. Well done!

Now unfortunately, I have no personal ideas regarding Chester Gregory II , but this is only because I have not had the chance to experience seeing him on stage. I’m sure he will be wonderful as the Donkey. I have high hopes!

John Tartaglia will be PERFECT for Pinocchio. I haven’t seenAvenue Q,” but I have seen Johnny and the Sprites,because a friend of mine from high school that is on the rise in the musical theatre world, Justin Paul, along with Paul’s co-writer Benj Pasek (I will speak more about Pasek & Paul in a later entry) have been writing some songs for the show, which Tartaglia gets to sing! Tartaglia is another talented actor and his energetic personality will only benefit him tremendously in this upcoming role.

So this is all very exciting news! And I hope you find it exciting too. I remember only last year on my radio show finding out about the auditions for the role of Shrek and Donkey on the Actors’ Equity website. Me & Sarah (my co-host) were discussing how her boyfriend should try out (I don’t actually think he did though.)! But hey, as the saying goes, especially for the “Shrek” casting directors: What’s meant to be will find a way.

Bloggers: Now that I’ve told you all of this casting information do you think you’d want to head out and see the show?

I’m personally very excited! (As you can clearly see…wow.)

The musical will have its’ world premiere at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle from August 14th to September 21st, and then will officially open on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre December 14th!

To wrap up this blog, please enjoy John Tartaglia’s show “Johnny and the Sprites” where Tartaglia sings about how he “Just Can’t Get Enough” of a video game he’s playing! ( Pasek & Paul wrote this song too!!)

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(Images courtesy of iesb.net, broadway.com, wikipedia.org, timeinc.net, genesis-news.com, variety.com, scenicreflections.com, broadwaycares.org)

 

 
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