May is a mad month. A month of random musings about various topics related to musical theatre. Feel free to share your thoughts on each topic in the comment box below.
Revivals of the 2011-2012 Season
After a poor 2010-2011 season for revivals, the current season looks a great deal more promising. To which revival are you most looking forward? About which are you most intrigued? Which do you think will succeed? Which do you think will fail? Thoughts please…
Agreed with Quique on everything about Evita. Given the last few London revival-inspired productions I’ve seen of this show that I profess to love, I’m surprised I haven’t simply disowned the whole thing as my favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber. There’s just so much pressure to put bums in seats that any politics or bite that was originally in the piece are conspicuously absent from any new productions, making for a curiously sanitized Latin Rock concert.
In short, I’m pretty sure the Bway revival will feel exactly like a Ricky Martin tour… 😈
Honestly, I was looking forward to Porgy and Bess on account of the fantastic cast and creatives involved, but then Mr Stephen Sondheim wailed on it. So I’m still looking forward to Porgy and Bess on account of the fantastic cast and creatives, and Mr Stephen Sondheim can hopefully take what’s happened to the story and characterization and apply that situation to how it’s affected some of his works. Like Follies, yeah? However, he raises several points that are legitimate, and I feel that Ms DePaulus’s pandering to the audience will probably not pay off at all. But that cast recording… Hoo boy. Cannot wait. There better be one.
So pumped for Follies, but it burns me that they can’t just take out all the revisions and present it in its original Broadway format. Like Porgy and Bess, apparently the idea of an ending less than joyous will turn off new audiences of this older piece. Mr Sondheim has precious little to say about the bowdlerization of Follies, which is apparently completely necessary to rectify a flawed piece. Hmm…
Aside from that, Follies has an insanely strong cast and production, they’ve had great reviews coming out of the Kennedy Center, and it’s about damn time that Sondheim has had a large, exquisite production of one of his works. Some time in this century it had to happen, I suppose. 😀
I don’t think Funny Girl will do very well. Though everyone does seem to love him to tiny little bits, I find some of Bartlett Sher’s work to be gimmicky, his Broadway work moreso than his opera work. And Lauren Ambrose I’m sure is a great talent but an unproven singer. I’m also a bit concerned that this revival had to happen in Barbra Streisand’s lifetime, but that’s not really a… screw it, everyone’s concerned about that, too. And I don’t think they’ll ever find anyone to get close to the sexiness that was Omar Shariff in the movie. No way, no can do.
Godspell is not ready for Broadway’s scope, and likely never will be. Even if it gets there, it’ll likely be wiped out by the juggernaut that is the Stratford JCS. Oh well.
I’m cautiously optimistic for On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. I think that the subject matter and the kitsch will appeal to audiences, and I think that the quality has a potential to be elevated considerably given the cast and creatives associated with it. Also I have a bit of a weak spot for the piece. What can you do?
After a sold-out run at the Stratford festival and what’s likely to be a respectable run in La Jolla, I really don’t think that Jesus Christ Superstar will do well on Broadway, if it gets there. It has all the hallmarks of an overhyped production, and if it doesn’t feature the same cast, which I doubt because Actors Equity gets twitchy about a foreign cast of relative unknowns on the international stage (save Brent Carver, I suppose) taking jobs from Americans, it’ll fall flat. McAnuff’s last revival on Broadway was Guys and Dolls, remember that? I don’t.
Evita: Mass appeal + toothlessness = hit with the audiences, not with the critics.
Porgy And Bess: Fantastic cast + destructive concept = trickling audiences and critical whipping boy.
Follies: Fantastic cast + fantastic, beautiful, non-anorexic production = return audiences and critical success.
Funny Girl: Pointlessness + lack of Barbra + lack of Shariff! = a sudden surge in the amount of TV reruns of the movie.
Godspell: Off-off-Broadway show + Broadway production of said Off-off-Broadway show = :sick: ](*,)
On A Clear Day You Can See Forever: Obscureness + elevation of original material = unexpected success, both critical and commercial, and a new Harry Connick Jr fan of me. 🙂
Jesus Christ Superstar: McAnuff + (new non-Stratfordian cast) JCS Bway Revival in my living memory = overhyped and polarizing piece met with confusion by New York critics, but respectable box office numbers nonetheless.
I have mixed feelings about Porgy and Bess. On the one hand, it seems to be blatantly pandering to the audience and the Sondheim debacle is really just stirring up more press, though of course he made some good points. Everyone is going to see it out of curiosity if nothing else, so I think in that sense at least it will be a success.
The word of mouth seems to me a great deal more positive than you’re implying. It may be mixed, as it was bound to be, but there seem to be a good number of positive responses too. As for Sondheim’s letter, I think that it actually heightened (some) people’s interest in the show, but it has put some folks on both sides of both the business and creative fences in a spot – and how that conflict plays out will be the thing that makes or breaks the show’s performance on Broadway – if it hasn’t already, which it is what Michael Riedel is saying, thanks to Ben Brantley’s uncustomary out-of-town review. I suppose we will have to wait and see what happens, but it’s a pity if all this has put paid to the idea of a Broadway transfer. The project itself was an interesting one and it seems the show is doing good business at ART.