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.
New Musicals of the 2011-2012 Season
Not all of these are 100% confirmed yet, but it seems as though this is what we can probably expect to see… so – to which new musical 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.
Absolutely Rebecca. I have no doubt the reviews are already being written by some, resenting another European megamusical forcing it’s way into Broadway. In that respect, I think it would have been better starting it’s English version on West End, but at least we finally get a good English version, because the demo version does rather show that English is not Michael Kunze’s first language. How much will be changed it one question, but after Dance of the Vampires, I doubt Mr Kunze will allow much to change. Hopefully, “I’m An American Woman” and “We Are British” both remain intact, and not censored.
Of course, I’m hoping it will be a big hit, so that it spawns faithful English adaptations of Elisabeth, and Tanz der Vampire, though they might be more willing to try Mozart, before another Tanz der Vampire.
Actually, it’s questionable as to whether a good English version will be the result. The last I heard, Hampton was now only helping with the book. Dr. Kunze is continuing translation of the lyrics on his own. (To quote anyone who’s heard the English demo: Yikes!)
Elisabeth is unlikely to succeed on American shores; as for Mozart!, it’s my belief that Amadeus has kind of sapped that market dry; so far as I know, the musical doesn’t even include any of Mozart’s actual themes, which a more discerning audience might expect to appear in a show about him. (I could be wrong, I haven’t followed it that well.) Finally, you all know where I stand with Tanz; there is a good English version, waiting, ready to go, if/when the European side has decided to test English-speaking shores again.
All of the releases about the Broadway Rebecca have said the Hampton is doing the book adaptation himself, and working with Kunze on the lyrics.
I’m aware of that; nonetheless, that is what I’m told has happened. Feel free to believe me or not to believe me, but that is what I understand to be the case, and if it is true, then I don’t have great confidence in the show’s success. I’ve never believed Mr. Hampton to be that great at musicals anyway, just look at his past credits (Sunset Boulevard and Frank Wildhorn’s Dracula – not exactly reassuring), but he’s a good enough playwright that I think the book will at least come across well.
Well the only story I am familiar with is Spider-man but I fear it would risk being another case of “technomania” instead of focusing on characters. Well it isnt any one I am that overly exited with. Now if some one would turn Back to the Future into a musical I am sure it would be a winner.
Ghost should win Tony for best Light Design and Scenic Design! Unless of course Spider-Man takes that one, although I hope they overlook it at the Tony’s, though I doubt they will.
Language problems aside, Michael Kunze’s shaky ideas around integration in musical theatre and how it is achieved are far more worrying. Of course, whatever translation happens needs to be well done, but getting a coherent piece of musical theatre should be the first priority at this critical junction in the show’s development, when changes can be made for the better.
I am cautiously optimistic for Rebecca, if only because I want it to succeed very badly. However, I have this niggling feeling like the one I had for The Pirate Queen when it was coming to Broadway, and generally it’s best not to ignore that niggling feeling.
My main concern is the lyrics and book. I know Michael Kunze doesn’t do that well in the English language, but to be quite honest Christopher Hampton is no Shakespeare.
I hope the libretto revisions they’re making are to streamline the piece rather than explicate it. Audiences don’t need too much spelled out for them when it comes to plot; sooner or later they catch up. Look at Les Mis; this sprawling panorama of French history was stripped of most of the expository excesses of the concept album, leaving behind character-driven plot rather than a third-person-informed one. Despite the lack of someone to hold the audience’s hand throughout the show’s duration, it’s the longest running musical in West End.
I hope similar decisions are made with Rebecca; there are several passages that are simply fraught with exposition, a lot of it unnecessary. It’s a detriment to the piece.
-realized I said I was cautiously optimistic-
For whatever reason, I am very excited for Lysistrata Jones. It seems crazy enough to work and be a wild success, though I wonder how they’ll stage it if they’re not in a basketball court?
Bonnie and Clyde has been getting good reviews from people who don’t like Frank Wildhorn. I think that’s the greatest endorsement of them all. I also think that there’s a lot of pressure to make Bonnie and Clyde good after the disappointment of Wonderland, though heaven knows improving the quality of his works doesn’t seem to come to the guy’s mind.
Spider-Man… I want it to close already, so Taymor can start shopping it around to circus companies.
Ghost has been getting good reviews here in Canada from critics who’ve gone overseas to see it. But that’s not necessarily an indicator of success with critics in New York. I remember how jaded American critics were to Priscilla compared to their enthusiastic Canadian counterparts.
I didn’t even know the other two were in existence.
YES. I love your comment “good reviews from people who don’t like Frank Wildhorn. I think that’s the best endorsement of them all.” HOW TRUE. I am NOT a Wildhorn fan, but I feel good about it. I want to like it, ya know? But I felt that way about Catch Me If You Can, too. Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan look like they can make anything entertaining, though. I LOOOOOVE Laura Osnes!!
I saw the second preview of Bonnie and Clyde and it was AWESOME! I’m not a huge Wildhorn fan – I like Jekyll and Hyde and some of his other songs – but Bonnie and Clyde not only didn’t leave me bored for a minute, I can’t think of one song that seemed out of place or bad. And yes – Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan were incredible in it, as well as the rest of the cast.