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December 23, 2004


Castle Rock, Colorado?

I can almost see you from my house. ;)

Perhaps we should meet up. [email protected]

Sometimes we become inured to a certain performance. Having seen Les Miserables about ten times, most often with Craig Schulman as Valjean, I admit I was somewhat disappointed with the Colm Wilkinson version which is probably the most famous.

In Evita, one would have expected Madonna would have outperformed the stage's Patti LuPone--but that didn't happen. And while nobody could replace Mandy Patinkin as Che, Antonio Banderas didn't suck.

Obviously, Michael Crawford has defined the role.

one would have expected Madonna would have outperformed the stage's Patti LuPone

Only if one thought Madonna had more than a few drams of talent to begin with. Which, by the way, this particular one did not. Her acting is...sub-par, and her vocal talents are nothing to write home about.

I saw Evita in 1981 or so, at the Schubert in Chicago. I have no recollection at all of the cast, though.

I admit, I'm a heretic. Much as I like the /idea/ of stage musicals, I can rarely manage to actually enjoy watching them. The soundtracks of most eventually get on my nerves. Now that said, there are individual songs that totally get into me and always have--and Phantom of the Opera is one of them.

Actually, I think I fell in love with the song when I saw the sheet music and went, "Holy crap! Look at all those accidentals!"


I saw Evita in 1981 or so, at the Schubert in Chicago. I have no recollection at all of the cast, though.

So..you don't recollect if you've actually seen Patti LuPone? Pity.

As for Madonna not having more than a few drams of talent--I'd disagree. But I'm not a big fan of commercial pop music.

Vocals skills aren't necessarily key in musicals; certainly the actor who defined Man of LaMancha,Richard Kiley, was no great singer.

I'll most likely have to turn in my membership card for admitting this, but I can't stand 95% of most musicals. I mean, I sit there the whole time simply amazed at how so much obvious talent behind the songwriting, choreography, set design, acting, etc. can all add up to such a painful experience. Last musical I saw was "Hairspray," and although I adore Harvey, even he couldn't gloss over the bad puns, awkward transitions, and, to my mind, pointless fluff. Not that my entertainment has to be intellectual (I love Hollywood blockbusters action adventure thrillers...the more martial arts and car crashes the better), just that my entertainment should be an escape...I spend most musicals focussed on the technical aspects of the production, so bored am I usually by the narrative.

wilfred took my partner and I to see "Laugh Whore" with Mario Cantone last night and Mario does this great bit about the costumes in "The Lion King" (how it's just an elaborate puppet show) that summed up the idiocy of most musicals perfectly for me. (Cannot recommend Cantone's performance enough, by the way. I laughed so hard my whole face hurt. Solid, uncontrollably belly laughs. Repeatedly I fell right out of my seat. He's amazing).

the Onion says it best this week:
Psychiatrists Treating "Phantom of the Opera" Viewers for Post-Melodramatic Stress Disorder".

Have to agree with you, Michael Crawford did define the role of The Phantom for the stage version of ALW's musical (haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't compare) - but even so, in this amateur critic's opinion, his strength in the part just barely saved "Phantom" from being a complete waste of time, (a la "Sunset Boulevard"). The music in the show, as I recall, consisted (in true Lloyd Webber style) of about two riffs, repeated in virtually all numbers; with such "attaction" of the production coming from the glorious stagecraft and FX. Which of course, can count for a lot - Broadway being what it is.
Oh, and Edward: have you seen "Wicked"? Even for a non-musical-lover as you claim, it is one of the very very few "big" B'way productions where the "obvious talent behind the songwriting, choreography, set design, acting, etc." is backed up by a very clever story and classically great "show-tune" music. You might even stay awake for it!
And: Slarti and Jadegold: re Madonna, I can only cite three words:
"Speed-the Plow".

I'll probably get lynched for naming the Buffy musical as being tied with Cats for my favorite. :>

If I might threadjack for just a minute, to recommend another case for Katherine (and anyone else interested in Exec power in the foreign policy area) to read: http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/96-0033-12-22-2004-1.pdf New v. Rumsfeld. New, you might recall, is the soldier who was a cause celebre in some circles nearly a decade ago for refusing to wear UN insignia.

You may now resume your discussion of musicals . . .

Funny that you should say you don't typically like musicals Edward. I'll risk my card even further and say that I typically don't like stage shows. When well done they can be excellent, but there are so many things that can go wrong.

Sebastian, you rightfully mention Castle Pines as cold, but I'm surprised you mentioned not the beauty. And John could probably see you from Castle Pines, but may just live nearby. We'll not forget our time spent in Colorado.

As odd as it is getting musical admonishment from someone who expected other than mediocrity from Madonna, I bow to superior expertise. Which, it's got to be said, can be claimed by practically anyone who knows anything about musicals. They're much more fun to be in than they are to watch, as far as I'm concerned.

It is very, very beautiful here. The contrast between the plains on one side and the towering mountains on the other is extremely striking. But I was in no position to appreciate it on the first day when I came from San Diego (with a low that day of 58) to Denver (with a high that day of 3). Now that the temperatures have climbed above freezing, I can go outside and actually see things. I went inner-tubing with the sisters kids on a near-by snowy slope yesterday.

As for the repetitive nature of music in the Phantom of the Opera, I am someone who loves Bach fugues and really appreciates the concept of variations on a theme. I think it shows quite a bit of musical expertise that Andrew Lloyd Webber can take two or three basic themes and make songs with a full range of emotions from them. The fact that "Think of me Fondly" can be used as both a love song and an expression of despair, is something I really appreciate.

I'll probably get lynched for naming the Buffy musical as being tied with Cats for my favorite. :>

Musicals are really my cup of tea, so I surely won't lead the mob. And, in any event, the Buffy musical was far and away the best musical I'd seen in a long while.

I'm a little concerned, however, that you rank "Cats" as equal to it. Strike that: Very, very concerned. (At least you didn't say "Miss Saigon" -- a musical that caused me to twice contemplate suicide, figuring that my death would stand a reasonably good chance of stopping the show -- and thereby saving others.)

Musicals are really my cup of tea, so I surely won't lead the mob

Revise that to "Musicals are not".

Revise that to "Musicals are not".

Phew...my whole worldview was shaken for a moment there.

Phew...my whole worldview was shaken for a moment there.

Well, now I'm tempted to revise myself again.

In any event, I wish that I liked musicals better -- just as I wish that I could appreciate ballet, single-malt scotch, soccer, and opera. But some things are not meant to be.

"ballet, single-malt scotch, soccer, and opera"

What is, things that other people enjoy but that nevertheless bore me to tears?

Much as I appreciate the Buffy musical, best musical on film is still the original West Side Story (a friend of ours sings in the Opera and sang 'one hand one heart' right before we got married, I still can't hear it without tearing up...).
The best filmed Opera is harder to choose. I think I recommend "Madame Butterfly" by Frederic Mitterand, with Ying Huang as Butterfly and Richard Troxell as Pinkerton. It is the Opera, but filmed as a film, not on stage - and beautifull done.

Marjolein (hmmmm.... I love soccer. And single malt whiskey. Modern dance more than ballet though ;-))

Weird, I only now see the date. I read per RSS, this post must have piggybacked ;-)

recommendations still stand though

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