A podcast by geeks of all trades, for geeks of all trades. We will talk about comic books, movies, TV shows, and all things that make us geeks go tick. Power to the different!

Watch IT!:The Musical Edition

Hey everybody, Rick here with my next edition of Watch It! I have a confession.  That confession is that I am a huge fan of Broadway musicals.  It's something that I have been just in love with since I saw Phantom of the Opera back in high school and my love for musicals has exploded since.  Most recently, I have enjoyed Spamalot, which is a take on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Wicked, which is the untold story of the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz.  That last one was a little over two years ago.  Needless to say I need my fix soon, which will be remedied when the wife and I take our son to go see Shrek: The Musical.

I think it's something about the music and the experience of live theater that really makes this geek take notice when it comes to musicals. Yes, I have questioned my sanity but damn it, the music is just too good for some of these shows!  Some of the shows I have seen have been adapted to the screen and I will indicate in the movies listed below as to whether I have seen the live show or not.  So without further ado, here are some of my recommendations for this edition of Watch It!

This is a show that is very near and dear to my heart.  It was the gateway for me that not only made me appreciate the life of the bohemian artist, but also find myself with people who are like minded and love what they do for their art.  Rent is much more than that however.  Rent is a love story, it is a love letter to art, and life and everything in between.  I absolutely love this show.  I had to opportunity to see the show live in Los Angeles with Neil Patrick Harris as Mark, one of the lead roles.

The movie however, is a rare treat.  The movie essentially brought back most of the original people from the opening cast of the Broadway show.  The only exceptions are Rosario Dawson replacing Daphne Rubin Vega as Mimi and Traci Thoms replacing Freddi Walker as Joanne.  Otherwise, everyone who was in the original show is in the movie and the insane thing is that they all still look as young as they did back in 1995, for the most part.  Even still, I don't see anyone else doing the roles any justice aside from the people who played the roles in the Broadway show.  I listened to that original cast album so much that those voices are what are ingrained in my mind when I hear the songs.  The movie take some liberties with the show as a lot of the dialogue that was sung in the show is spoken here.  I do enjoy the changes in the movie and I found them to be appropriate.   

Chicago was a Broadway show that I never had the opportunity to see.  Hopefully I will be able to rectify that someday because if the movie is any indicator as to how good the show is, then the play is phenomenal!  I will say this, I never expected that Renee Zellweger would be so good in a musical.  Even more of a surprise, Richard Gere as the slimy lawyer, Billy Flynn.  He is absolutely brilliant and funny. John C. Reilly is also quite excellent as Amos.  His Mr. Cellophane musical number is a standout.

The musical numbers are really beautifully done and the story is fun in a really dark comedic way.  I know that some changes were done in the movie but since I never have seen the actual musical, I would have never known that the changes ever took place. Either way, Chicago is a fun musical and quite entertaining if nothing else, for Gere and Reilly's performances which are definitely the highlights of the movie.

This one I can definitely say I did get to see in the theater.  In fact, this was the first show that the wife and I went to see out here when we moved to Dallas/Fort Worth.  Hairspray comes from the dementedly brilliant minds of John Waters, the original creator of the movie, and Marc Shaiman who co-wrote the songs for another musical, South Park: The Movie.  This Broadway show/movie adaptation is a fairly reoccurring thing where a movie is first made, then a Broadway show is made based on the movie, followed by a movie based on the Broadway show. The show itself is incredibly funny and  is a great love letter to the 1960s, with some great songs and of course a man in drag for the role of Edna Turnblad, who was played by drag performer Divine in the original movie.  The man in drag thing continues on in the Broadway musical and in the movie as a tribute to Divine.

Speaking of the movie, John Travolta plays the role of Edna and actually is not as bad as a lot of people thought he would be.  In fact the worst thing about the character is the make up.  Not even Harvey Fierstein used this much makeup in the Broadway show.  However, Travolta is quite funny in the movie.  The rest of the cast includes, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Marsden, Zack Effron,  Amanda Bynes, and Nikki Blonsky.  All are excellent in this movie.  Hairspray is a wonderfully adapted musical and the story about racial discrimination still packs a punch even today.  Highly recommended!

Yet another movie based on a Broadway show, based on a movie.  This one however, comes from the insane genius that is the mind of Mel Brooks.  The original Producers starred Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder in a movie about a crooked Broadway producer and his sniveling accountant who try to put on the worst show on Broadway in order to collect on the loss of the show.  The original film in its own right is incredibly funny.  The Broadway musical however, took the funny and cranked it up to 11 and gave the characters some added dimension.  The original version starred Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick as the leads but the version that I had the opportunity to see in L.A. starred Jason Alexander and Martin Short as the leads.  This particular incarnation that I had the opportunity to see was in credibly funny but the presence of Lane and Broderick was missed.  Particularly because I had listened to the CD of the cast recording ad nauseum.

That being said, the film version of The Producers stars Lane and Broderick, reprising their roles as the leads and it's really funny.  Will Ferrell as the former Nazi stooge is very funny as well.  Especially with his remix of one of the songs from the movie during the credits where he tries to subliminally get you to try and buy Hitler's book Mein Kamph.  The movie is incredibly well done and it is a nice way to see much of the original cast if you were never able to see them perform on Broadway.

That's it for me for now with this edition of Watch It!  Next up, I am not sure just yet.  I will throw something up soon enough though!

I'm with on Chicago and the Producers (I haven't seen Hairspray yet), but I really loathe everything about Rent, the music most of all. Still, I'm tolerant of others' opinions. I know there's plenty of stuff I like that other people hate.

The wife is tolerant of Rent but it is definitely not her favorite. I think my love for Rent stems from the fact that at the time that I heard it I was trying to find direction in my life and it served as my main inspiration to get into theater.

Post a Comment

Like the site? Like the podcast? Donate! It's appreciated!

Now on Networked Blogs!

Blog Archive