Search And Destroy: Musicals

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Which soundtrack LPs are the must-haves? Which are the must-hates?

Tom, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I've never understood the desire to watch musicals and why the remain popular on the stage whilst no one would ever want to go and see them at the Cinema anymore. Anyway...

Search: Grease, West Side story the Miles Davis recording of Porgy and Best with Gile Evans, which is better than Kind of Blue in my opinion.

Destroy : Too easy! ANYTHING touched by the hand of Andrew Lloyd Webber, including any other part of his body he has touched....

Robin, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: Free As Air. Salad Days. Gigi. Any Rodgers & Hammerstein. Original 60s recording of 'Joseph And His Technicoloured Dreamcoat'

Destroy: I don't know. All post-Joseph ALW musicals have sounded crap from what I've heard on the radio, but I've never seen them or heard the whole soundtrack so I'll reserve comment.

Nick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I've always kind of taken for granted the hand-me-down idea (from people like Neil Tennant) that Sondheim was the guy to look for here. Under the influence of a David Thomson review I finally went out and bought 'Into the Woods' which I found... pretty unlistenable actually. I think, ultimately, I prefer the songs divorced from the context of 'The Book' - on a Fred Astaire, or Ella Fitzgerald, or Frank Sinatra collection...

stevie t, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: Showboat. It's great on many levels - fantastic songs, very funny in places and touching in others. Also, bearing in mind it was first performed in 1927, it tackled some important race issues using a medium that was accessible to many (even more so when the film came out). Actually, I'd search an awful lot of Kern/Hammerstein and Rodgers/Hammerstein stuff but on video rather than just the soundtrack - I do think you need a context for the songs.

Destroy: Andrew Lloyd Webber, as slowly and painfully as possible. Musicals based on Disney films. Over-long dance sequences in films of musicals, for example Carousel and West Side Story. I don't care if it's ground-breaking choreography, it bores me. I exclude from this the barn raising in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which is CLASSIC.

Does an in-depth knowledge of musicals mean you're a square?

Madchen, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Damnit! Tom, I was going to DO a Musicals: Classic or Dud. I swear to god. You stole my idea! Weirdo!

Or something. Ummmm, keep in mind I'm not a fan of musicals. They seem retarded. I mean, it's just not even remotely something I can relate to - I've NEVER burst into song spontaneously, unless I'm drunk, and those times that I have drunkenly done so, no backing music or magical dancers appeared, and no one ever sang along with me. So it's totally lame.

But anyhow.

Search: Mary Poppins, specifically that song where they go "It's the master! Step in time! It's the master! Step in time!" The chimney sweeps remind me of Damon Albarn in his cockney period.

Destroy: Andrew Lloyd Webber. Especially Joseph and his Goddamned Technicolor Horrorcoat.

Ally, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Inspired question - I look forward to the results!


Hair (all versions - stage, screen, UK/USA etc) - better than any of the groups they were sending up.

Rocky Horror (better than the corny reputation suggests; I avoided it for years because of that, but the UK original cast is fantastic)

Almodovar compilations - the bluffer's way into Spanish song.

Cabaret (film soundtrack ) - obviously needs no explanation

Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Noel Coward compliations - probably the best way to get a handle on the "Golden Age'

Marilyn Monroe compilations

Summer Holiday

Destroy - Sondheim, opera versions of musicals, Elvis musicals, Kink's rock operas, Tommy

Guy, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Not at all. It just means you're either female, gay, frequently mistaken for gay, or over 50.

I hope that comment will be taken in the spirit in which it was intended. I couldn't quite put a name to that spirit.

Nick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

That was in response to madcheninuniform's question, btw. My this is a hot topic.

Nick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Watch out, you, or I'll answer your Soul 85-95 question by playing the albums of former members of New Edition at 4am on bank holiday Monday. Remember laughing at my Bobby Brown tape? This is a very real threat.

Madchen, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Funnily enough, I was going to post a question about musicals too, so I'll chuck it in here. I was just thinking about how lots of smart pop people (ie Stephin Merritt, The Pet Shop Boys, erm the floppy fringe boy from Blur) are currently working on musicals. Is this an interesting development, the beginning of a proper 21st century *gesamtkunstwerk*, or a lot of bored pop stars hoping to make ALW-style shedfuls of money?

stevie t, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Hang on lucy! I was saying you didn't have to be square, you could just be female. Surely that's a good thing?

Stevie: The whole thing sounds dreadful, especially given the involvement of the floppy haired boy from Blur. But I doubt it's about making money.

Nick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

destroy mercilessly and without quarter: dancer in the dark search: send in the clowns

Peter, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: Grace of My Heart movie-musical dir.Allison Anders, music Burt Bacharach/Elvis Costello, "abt" Carole King and the Brill Building. Cop Rock (never watched it, what an idiotic-crazy-fantastic idea). The Abba thing. Nixon in China (actually I hate John Adams, but again, great idea...).

The Musical is SUCH a cool format (such complex self-reflexive possibilities): but almost everyone totally fucks it up.

Destroy: I'm NOT gonna say Lloyd Webber, because "Don't Cry For Me" is a Top Song. So's "Moments in Love" or "Reasons to be Cheerful" or whatever that other one was called.

Aspects of Love (?was that the whole thing, or the song?)

mark s, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

search-umbrellas or cherbourg destroy-west side story

keith, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

ooops, i meant of, of course.

keith, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

mostly films here...

search: umbrellas of cherbourg (or any music composed by michel legrand) - the camera work and colors in this film are great too, but i listen to the lp frequently. this is a musical to the extreme, there being nothing but singing - it's quite hypnotic after awhile.

dancer in the dark - a bit melodramatic, but i rather enjoyed the way this musical film incorporated the songs percussion w/ the machine noises.

waiting for guffman (sp?) - a farce on local theatre troups. the song 'nothing ever happens on mars' stands out.

also, i can't remember the title, but i saw a fantastic french film that broke out into musical form w/ classic french songs from all decades. if anybody has any idea what i'm talking about please tell me what the name is so i can find a video of it!

destroy: annie, godspell

marianna maclean, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Alright Nick, I'll save Bobby Brown for another day :)

Re. Stevie's question, I don't think they can be writing musicals in the hope of earning a pot of cash, as the only ones that earn big bucks in the West End at the moment are Lloyd Webber, have a minor celebrity in the lead role or are based on a Disney film. A musical that bombs loses a lot of money.

Merritt and the Pet Shop Boys both fall neatly into Nick's categories, but has old floppy fringe ever been mistaken for a gay man?

The fire alarm is ringing at work. I will cut myself short and do a runner.

Madchen, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I used to be a boy soprano, choirs, singing lessons, competitions and all that junk, including having seen just about every mainstream musical on the go from 87-93. I don't think I could entirely separate the breaking of my voice and my complete post-Nirvana change of intellectual direction, so perhaps I won't be fair here. But in the spirit of ILM, I will try.

Search: Crazy For You was pretty good, as I recall, but this is obviously because of the Gershwin. Les Miz is OK at times. West Side Story I never saw, but the music is essential. Also, most great jazz standards were from musicals, although they sound better when swinging.

Destroy: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Miss Saigon, Showboat, and the last musical I saw, Chicago.

Dave M., Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

It's hard to go wrong when you put Catherine Deneuve in a musical (not because her singing is great, but because she rocks), but Lars Von Trier managed to make a mess of it. But then, I never did like it when 3 year olds have temper tantrums so I wasn't likely to enjoy Bjork's singing in this film.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is lovely, though.

And if we are going to talk about musicals on film, obviously South Park: bigger, longer and uncut has to get a mention.

Destroy: Les Miserables. Having to see this in high school scarred me for life. Wretched in the extreme. Andrew Lloyd Webber is horrific enough, but musicals by those influenced by him are even worse.

Nicole, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Eno's Music for Films. Oh, wait... the South Park film's soundtrack is genuinely excellent, awash with tiny details, these wonderfully innocent child backing vocals on 'Kyle's Mom's a Bitch' particularly.

matthew james, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: I find it very hard to go wrong with Bernstein or Porter. "West Side Story", "Candide", and "Anything Goes" are all fantastic. As far as movies are concerned, both "Singin' In The Rain" and "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" are bona-fide classics. Also, the stage version of "The Sound Of Music" is cool.

Destroy: The soul-sucking pit of horror that is "Miss Saigon". Complete and total abhorrence for that piece of toss. I'm also very suspicious of "Rent". "My Fair Lady" has some decent songs in it, but it will always have severe negative connotations for me due to the unfortunate people I saw it with. The movie version of "The Sound Of Music" must be shunned for all time because they cut out all of the songs that my character sings, the BASTARDS.

Dan Perry, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I totally forgot about South Park. The best song ever is What Would Brian Boitano Do? Especially the punked out version on the end credits - I NEVER SEEN A MAN EAT SO MANY CHICKEN WINGS!

Miss Saigon is the most depressing thing I ever saw. It reminded me of the "games" me and my friends used to play, ie long extended several day acting chores where we'd decide on characters and never leave character until the "game" was done, because when we'd get tired of the storyline we'd kill off all our characters and then go back to being our normal selves.

We were like 6 at the time. Fatalists even then. It's heartwarming.

Ally, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

has old floppy fringe ever been mistaken for a gay man?

I don't know, but I bet he hasn't got an "in-depth knowledge of musicals" anyway. Actually, I bet he has. I bet he's learned all about them from some cunty friend of his or else he's gone to a library and done research because he thinks it's cool.

Nick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

hi. i love musicals. i have played in many pit orchestras.

SEARCH: "bye bye birdie" -- genius all around, from the telephone song, with its call and response, to the mass-fainting scene of 'honestly sincere,' to the television-as-church hymn of "ed sullivan." plus hello, PAUL LYNDE! "pippin" -- especially the fosse- choreographed part that rips off the 'vampyros lesbos' soundtrack. (this is intentional; the score is even marked at that point, 'lesbos.') "my fair lady." "how to succeed in business without really trying." "me and my girl." 'oom-pah-pah' from "oliver!" 'easy street' from "annie" -- oh i could just watch tim curry be evil ALL DAY. "south park: bigger, longer, and uncut."

DESTROY: oh, you know. all the big ones. phantom. les mis.

MUST FIND OUT ABOUT: "the producers." i mean 'springtime for hitler' is absolute GENIUS, but i worry because the new songs are from the same man who brought you "robin hood: men in tights," i.e., the success-spoilt mel brooks. also i'd kill for a recording of sebastian bach's tenure in "jekyll and hyde," even though the music itself blows.

maura, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Miss Saigon drew the MOST vicious and funniest review — Village Voice, Michael Feingold — I've ever seen, of anything, anywhere. I had a copy for years, then lost it, of course. If anyone *happens* still to be hoarding their copy...

mark s, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

This is fantastic - almost 30 replies in about an hour! Especially since I asked the qn out of genuine interest - I always wander into the theatre/soundtracks section in Tower and then never know what to do.

Search: I'm with Mark on "Don't Cry For Me Argentina". Also whoever mentioned "Send In The Clowns", though opinion seems to be against Sondheim here (I wouldn't know). After that my ignorance really is boundless because I've only really been exposed to the rubbish ones and hoofing school productions of Joseph.

Destroy: My visit to "Les Miserables" was one of the most numb-arsed experiences of my life.

Tom, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Re: Alex James gay credentials. He was the subject of an hilariously psychotic fantasy sequence in one of Denis Cooper's novels, which I can't remember the name of right now (not 'Frisk', but a later one in the series). Re: my question. I was being a bit flippant with the money-making motive. I'm just interested in the idea of modern musicals written by people coming out of, you know, pop. I think they could be brilliant. I'd go and see the PSB and Merritt ones, anyway. A friend in Glasgow was going to do a musical version of the Breakfast Club, featuring Stuart Murdoch. That would have been a hoot, too.

stevie t, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

ohmigod, now I'm imagining 'The Breakfast Club' cast with members of the Glasgow indie scene. It's a horrible thought.

Nick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I believe Stephen Pastel's name was also pencilled in.

Madchen, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I always wander into the theatre/soundtracks section in Tower and then never know what to do.

And now I'm imagining Tom wandering aimlessly around the racks, looking confused, holding up CDs and muttering "Ketchup.... Catsup.... Ketchup....Catsup" until the staff lead him away into a van.

Nick, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Put him in charge of organising the magazine section, more like.

mark s, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, especially the Oompa Loompa songs. Destroy: The Sound of Music, all of it, except for the "Lonely Goatheard." I mean really, I must have seen that movie at least 40 times when I was little thanks to my mom.

Emily, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

search 'Oliver' - Lionel Bart is just a total genius, Does anyone know the 1960 cast recording? (I am sadly only familiar with the film soundtrack).

Also search Kurt Weill’s broadway shows (anyone who can do a detailed search and destroy on these would have my thanks); the mighty Gilbert and Sullivan (the only 'musicals' I would like to stage)

If you are in Spain look for Zarazuela's (the best operettas in Europe).

Guy, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Emily is SO right - the Oompa Loompa songs are fabulous!

Guy, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Is the 1960 cast of Oliver the one with Steve Marriott playing the Artful Dodger? Or is that a bit too late?

Madchen, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: "The Music Man." Does anyone else agree that the "Doesn't Know The Territory" piece is proto-rap? I'll tell you think, I LOVED that song when I was about ten, and it had the EXACT SAME EFFECT on me as UTFO's "Roxanne, Roxanne." Both were all about that cool rhythmic way of talking that sounded so neat. I bought the soundtrack album a couple of years ago and was somewhat dissapointed by how awkward the cast was with the rapping w/ the song. Couldn't stay on the beat. But then, they never had Kool Moe Dee to show them how it was done.

Search: The Sound Of Music. What beautiful songs that one has, and the story was a perfect reflection of the childhood fantasy of the caring mother who plays with the kids, sings, is pretty, etc. Any kid can relate to that so easily.

Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you...

Wait! Forgot the destroy. Count me in with the anti-Lloyd Webber group. His songs just aren't catchy.

Mark, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

This question has been answered with dazzling resourcefulness and thoroughness.

I can only echo those who adore West Side Story. Guys and Dolls, Grease too. Wizard of Oz? I don't know the Porter / R&H / etc oeuvres a fraction as well as I want to. It is surprisingly hard to get hold of this stuff at good prices. Search: good Cole Porter collections (ie not cut-rate instrumentals by the Belfast Brickle Bridge Brass Band).

Destroy is really hard here. I'm interested in what Stevie T says re Sondheim - you must lend me that CD some time. He was very good on Walk On By (BBC), I thought. But the songs - not up to scratch?

Lots of people have panned Lloyd Webber. I don't like the idea of L- W, and I'm sure lots of his stuff is bad. But I liked Cats and Starlight Express as a child, and would never choose to destroy them.

I think that Stevie is pointing us somewhere interesting. I think that he is saying: what is it about the musical that periodically, or even continually, fascinates us? What kind of contribution, exactly, has the musical made to pop history? What kind of specificity does the 'show song' have that makes songwriters want to undertake it at some point?

As I myself intend to with PAPERCUTS!, opening in Covent Garden, May 2004.

Book (flights to Paris) now to avoid disappointment.

the pinefox, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Dear god, this is what happens when you live out here *and* you can't get to the page until an hour and a half into work -- everyone else has beat me to several million punches. ;-)

Background: can't sing (trust me), but I did grow up with a couple of musical soundtracks around the house, saw a few here and there on cable, ended up doing lighting for a high school production of _Oliver!_ and acting as Mayor Shinn in another HS production of _The Music Man_. Techie and actor, best of both worlds. ;-)

Search -- the two mentioned above, for sentimental reasons in part, sure. I actually have that production of _The Music Man_ on videotape. Heh heh heh. My all-time fave movie musical, hands down, is _Gigi_. Saw it when I was eleven, been a fan ever since. With time has come a further realization about how dodgy a lot of it is, of course! But there's too much in it to love for me to reject it. Meanwhile, stepping against the ALW tide a bit, my parents got the New York recording of _Evita_ with Mandy Patinkin as Che and Patti LuPone as Evita herself when I was ten or so, and I played that one to death, so again, nostalgia fix but a nice one.

Destroy: hoo baby. I think most of the fatted cows were up for slaughter already. I've actually seen _Les Miserables_, and I have to say I did like the "Master of the House" song, but I could probably ditch the rest without a care nowadays. That was the last musical I've seen, actually -- back in 1989! _Rent_, meanwhile...the ONLY reason anyone cared was because the guy who wrote it died and they could feel all sentimental about it. Gah!

CANNOT WAIT FOR: _White Trash Wins Lotto_, by Andy Prieboy. If all the promise I've heard about this one comes true, then it will be a happy, *happy* world. He's been working on it for about seven or so years, has done live performances of it with a small group, has yet to be staged. Prieboy has gone on record as saying that he's well aware how Broadway can be undervalued in modern pop perceptions, but that Broadway itself is its own worst enemy, and has a tendency to regard being cutting edge as sounding like Pat Benatar, so it sounds like he's coming in with the right attitude. Subject matter? It's the story of Guns 'n' Roses. Seriously. The hopefully-will-one-day-be-updated URL is

Ned Raggett, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Pinefox, you're on the money with Guys and Dolls - I completely forgot that one, but it's great. The lyrics to Adelaide's lament are particularly brilliant:

(should be read with New Yoik accent)

Madchen, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Speaking of musicals one can't wait for, am I the only one psyched to see Bat Boy: The Musical?

Ally, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: "Assassins": Sondheim, a fantastic concept about all the assassins, attempted or successful, of American presidents, getting together, explaining why they did it, and singing songs together. And then they convince Lee Harvey Oswald to shoot JFK rather than himself. Woo-hoo!

"City of Angels": by two guys I haven't heard about since, all big- band jazzish and torch songy, parallel black and white world private- eye movie/writer writing private-eye movie color world storylines. Confusing in description, but much fun.

"Little Shop Of Horrors": can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet. Rice and Menken, big man-eating plant and wimpy nebbish, based on a Roger Corman classique, and the movie version is a pitch perfect and has Steve Martin, Bill Murray, John Candy, and Rick "really pretty brilliant until I started making those family-Disney-shrinking pics" Moranis, who has an impressive set of pipes. Also features: Gina from "Martin," as in the "Gina! You so crazy!" Gina. If someone has mentioned this, I'm sorry to go on about it more.

Destroy: Dinner theaters. Do y'all have dinner theaters on the Isles? So ... unfortunate. *Shudder*

BrianR, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: Cole Motherfucking Porter (Kiss Me Kate for sure), George Goddamn Gershwin ("Oh, Kay" and "Strike Up The Band" are his two best musicals, although Porgy would be if it weren't an opera and not a musical), Bernstein ("West Side Story" and "Candide"), Guys & Dolls, Annie Get Your Gun (Yes! Yes! Yes! The best by Berlin), Man of La Mancha, South Pacific.

Sterling Clover, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

guys and dolls!!!

maura, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search! Everyone Says I Love You (really), anything with Gene Kelly in it (Singin' In The Rain... I mean is there more JOY in any one sequence?), West Side Story (Natalie Wood! Dead!), The Simpsons (they count, right?), surely anything by Brecht will win you points in the snooty professor set, South Park was a good call, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, The Beatles' movies, sans Yellow Submarine (which is only good if you want to get FUCKED UP). It's a true challenge to light a scene as evenly as the old musicals of the 40's and 50's, so they get my props. A Chorus Line. Heh. Dance Ten, Looks 3. The musical episode of Dre Carey was pretty good too.

I like Phantom and Les Mis.

Destroy: Everything else by ALW. Cats... Cats... the horror. There was a joke on SNL at one point long ago when Dennis Miller was still on that went something like...

"For the 4,760th time the broadway musical 'Cats' was performed on stage, eclipsing the old mark of A Chorus Line. And for the 4,760th time, a man killed his wife."

Tommy. I mean, the movie and stage vers. And the studio album, actually. The live versions ROCK LIKE HELL tho...

Sorry. I went a little tangential there.

JM, Friday, 4 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Oh yes, how could I forget? Singin' In The Rain, and An American In Paris (certainly that) and for sure Chorus Line, which was the first musical I really got into, and is great on every song.

Sterling Clover, Saturday, 5 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I find all musicals cheesy. The pinnacle of cheese of course being "Grease" and the audacious early 80's pop interpretation of "Pirates of Penzance" in "The Pirate Movie".

Annihilate - "Grease 2".

Kim with Passion and Bonus, Saturday, 5 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Just thought I'd also mention how weird it seems that no one has mentioned Jesus Christ Superstar. Anyhoo...

Kim, Saturday, 5 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I have bad memories of _Jesus Christ Superstar_. Ted Neeley, I ask you.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 5 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

search: "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina".

destroy: almost everything else by Lloyd Webber.

Robin Carmody, Saturday, 5 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Yes, Brecht was a good call, Mod. I'd forgotten about him. (But how?)

the pinefox, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Remember the movie version of JCS, with the tanks and helicopters in the middle of the pre-Christian era desert? I think it was during the two hour period I spent as a youth sitting in my church basement that I decided to become a confirmed atheist.

Dave M., Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

south pacific, guys + dolls, west side story - i enjoyed watching these but wouldn't buy a soundtrack - Im fond of JCS the filum

all Troma iz shite

grdrcr, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I was watching this "new concept" version of Jesus Christ Superstar on PBS when I was in Arizona, yo. It was the most fucked up shit I ever saw. Jesus was a bad actor and Judas wore red leather motorcycle gear, and the singing angel backup all dressed like the angels in the Victoria's Secret ads, ie garter belts and push up bras and big ludicrious wings. But these angels also wore S&M masks. And Jesus's followers all wore indie kid clothes. And Pilate and Co. wore this cross between Gladiator-style armor and Nazi uniforms. I wasn't sure if it was the most frightening musical I ever saw, or the coolest.

Ally, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Was Jesus a Bad Actor as part of the Concept, or just incidentally?

mark s, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Oh, and "I Don't Know How to Love Him" is another great ALW song:

"I don't know how to love him/how to touch, how to move him/he's just a man, JUST a man/and I've had so many men before, in oh so many ways/ he's just one more"

I loved to sing along to that (singer = Miriam D'Abo?), aged 11.

mark s, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

hey, i saw the end of that pbs version sometime around easter and for the first five minutes or so i thought it was a satire of all the other networks' unintentionally campy jesus tv movies, but slowly came to realise that is was more like a pbs market executive's filming some stoned teenager's idea of 'jesus christ, superstar'. there was this awesome rock song about our lord & saviour too, 'jeeeeeeeeesuss.... something something.' well, i forget, but it was weird. i was actually hoping that pbs would have the balls to do a clever parody of the commercialisation of religion during this giant fury of it, but sadly they were just poking their own lame foray into that market. i bet the pbs of the eighties wouldn't have done that.

ethan, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I have to believe Jesus As Bad Actor was part of the concept because I can't believe anyone would abide by the acting otherwise. I mean, honestly.

COMPLETELY TANGENTIALLY, does anyone else remember the movie Mary Mother of God or something to that effect? It was about the Virgin Mary and it was on CBS or NBC a few years ago. The reason I bring this up is because it starred Christian Bale as Jesus, just prior to it being announced he'd play Patrick Bateman. For the longest time no one would believe me that this was true, so I'm just curious if I'm the only one who actually remembers it. I mean, I looked it up online one day just to prove myself right, and sure 'nuff, there was Christian Bale, smiling in a beatific way from the poster. It rocked. If the Catholic church would use Christian Bale as their propaganda instead of the Jesus they usually use, I'd so be in church right now. "Oooh, Jesus, save meeeee"

Ahem. Sorry. Anyhow, Jesus Christ Superstar is a terrible musical and should be destroyed with the rest of Sir Webber's collection, but that PBS version was fantastic and I think me and Ethan saw the same one because I also saw this version just before Easter.

Ally, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Ahh, so you did decide.

Dave M., Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Jesus Christ Superstar is a great bombastic track in itself, but the rest of it ('cept I Don't Know How To Love Him) is seven shades of pants. Religion = rubbish in musicals (Godspell - agh!)

My Musical obsession is pretty much reserved for Rogers & Hammerstein. C'Mon South Pacific anyone. Happy Talk, Wash That Man Right out Of My Hair. Sound OF Music - especially Goatherd (never gets a reprise unlike the rest of the tracks, which makes the film a bit too long). The appearance of Singalong-A-Sound Of Music in London has been a rejuvenating thing for the whole idea of musicals. It reintroduces the idea of them actually being a whole shedload of fun.

Oaklahoma is top mad skills too, not to mention Pal Joey (not R&H but Sinatra's finest Musical moment). And I'm off to see Kiss Me Kate tonight at the NFT in the origianl 3-D. Unfortunately I don't have stereoscopic vision, but the gaudy nonsensical idea of a musical filmed in 3-D will keep me going.

Oh, and Candide is a very funny piece of musical theatre. "All's for the best" is in my top ten tracks of all time.

Destroy: Les Mis, without compunction. Especially since it has managed to destroy the book in popular culture terms. Oh and Notre Dame de Paris, especially "I've Got A Hunch About You". It might as well have been the Planet Of The Apes musical on The Simpsons (worth inclusion for "You'll Never Make A Monkey Out Of Me").

Pete, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: "Gypsy". For Ethel Merman, basically. Her character has a nervous breakdown in the last song, "Rose's Turn", it's really incredible! Very punk. I say search anything Ethel Merman's in. Also, I love "JC Superstar" , there are quite a few happening tunes, such as "Blood Money", "What's the Buzz?" and "Damned for all Time". That's the original version, of course, with the guy who sang "Smoke on the Water" as Jesus. Ted Neeley sounds like David Clayton Thomas from Blood Sweat & Tears. That's not my Jesus, baby! As for song-oriented movie soundtracks, I love the swinging London fairy tale "Smashing Time" w/ Lynn Redgrave and Rita Tushingham, as well as "Starstruck" the Australian new wave film. And the "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" soundtrack.

Destroy: "Godspell". And yeah, the rest of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stuff has got to go. I do remember dancing wildly to the Disco Evita version of "High Flying Adored", though, when I was a dizzy madcap teen. I didn't know where the song came from, I just thought it had a cool, queeny chorus.

Arthur, Thursday, 10 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Re: The Breakfast Club as a musical. Hopefully it should still go ahead at some point, although it may just be a straight play now rather than a musical, I can't remember. Murdoch was very keen on it though, that I do remember. I don't recall Pastel being mentioned though. At least I hope not. I have been mistaken for gay, however I know virtually nothing about musicals. Can you explain, Nick?

Ally C, Friday, 11 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Nonetheless, Cookie, there's a part waiting for you in !PAPERCUTS!.

the pinefox, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

You're getting your logic in a twist, Ally C. All zerbras are mammals, but not all mammals are zebras.

Nick, Monday, 21 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Some zebras are zerbras. Not a lot of people know that.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 23 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

shut up

Nick, Wednesday, 23 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Search: Cabaret, Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Hedwig and the angry inch, Seeny Todd, Music Man , Mame Destroy: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Everyone says i love you, grease , Xanadau , How to succed in buisness without really trying

anthony, Wednesday, 23 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

Allow me to add my Half A Sixpence's worth...

If you have even the vaguest interest in the art of writing songs that use the English language to its fullest, you have to investigate Sondheim, the lyricist's lyricist. Simple as that.

DESTROY: Ticket prices. Thirty quid plus for a decent seat? Not exactly music for the masses, is it? Cheaper to get the original cast CD to pore over repeatedly in the comfort of your own cave.

SEARCH: Sunday In The Park With George (truly beautiful), Assassins (truly tap dancing Lee Harvey Oswald plus love song to Charles Manson), Follies (includes "Losing My Mind" as covered by Pet Shop Boys/Liza Minnelli, Company, A Little Night Music (includes "Send In The Clowns"), West Side Story (Sondheim & Bernstein). Also any Sondheim revue CDs that mop up his best songs, eg Side By Side By Sondheim.

AVOID (until you've developed a taste for him): Sweeney Todd, Into The Woods, Pacific Overtures, Merrily We Roll Along.


SEARCH: Cabaret - wonderful film, peerless tunes, essential soundtrack. Barbra Striesand's "Broadway Album". Man Of La Mancha. Pirates Of Penzance & The Mikado... light operas being the forerunners of the musical. That 80s pop film of "Pirates" with Angela Lansbury, Kevin Kline, and Linda Rondstadt is a riot. Also: any musical by Cole Porter, especially High Society, and anything by Rogers and Hart, especially Pal Joey.

DESTROY: "Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire" - early 80s film musical featuring a singing Phil Daniels, Dracula, and, um, snooker. I'm sure it looked good at the planning stage.

Have you heard Liza Minnelli's 70s version of "Dancing In The Moonlight"? As in the Toploader song. You should.

Regarding a musical of The Breakfast Club, I would like to point out that I have Molly Ringwald's dance moves down to a "t", and am available at very short notice for understudy duties.

I have to go, I'm late for the "half"...

Dickon Edwards, Thursday, 24 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

I knew it was a band called King Harvest (who I really should have put in the "worst band name" thread an eternity ago), but *Liza Minnelli*?

Phew, Dickon. This is quite a concept to swallow. But intriguing.

Robin Carmody, Thursday, 24 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

On behalf of my mom (who for some reason keeps calling me and emailing me things she wants me to tell "the online people", as if the idiot can't do it herself):

The Terror of Tiny Town is quite possibly the best musical of all time. Click on the link and you can watch the film - ALL OF IT. Including the Marlene Dietrich whore midget. Apparently, this is the film she is watching right now on television; Arizona, you know?

Ally, Thursday, 7 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

two months pass...
Search: The Phantom of The Opera, Carousel, The Producers, Kiss Me Kate, I love most musicals

DESTROY: HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING - I just finished an excruitiatingly long month run of that show and I now despise it with everything that I have. If I had to sing "A Secretary is Not a Toy", cha-cha to "Coffee Break", or listen to the ever-so-annoying song "Old Ivy" again I think I would have died.

Rachael, Tuesday, 14 August 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link

four months pass...
Search:High society, The Threepenny Opera, My Fair Lady Destroy: South Pacific. With extreme prejudice. I painted the scenery for my pyscho-slut ex girlfriend's school stage production (she was the art teacher, not a pupil)in a desperate attempt to salvage our relationship, and badly rendered palm trees are forever linked in my mind to the sure and certain knowledge that I am being cuckolded. Grrrr. Incidentally, my mother first hooked up with the man that would be my father because she thought he looked like Robert Morse, the male lead from 'How to Succeed in Business...' so I have laways had a certain affection for that show.

gavin, Friday, 4 January 2002 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

I think "Badly rendered palm trees are forever linked in my mind to the sure and certain knowledge that I am being cuckolded" could be the best opening line to a novel.... EVAH!

Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Friday, 4 January 2002 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Search: the Gospel at Colonus. And hold onto it once you've found it. The VHS is nearly impossible to come by and is simply phenomenal. Destroy: oh, I dunno - South Pacific?

John Darnielle, Friday, 4 January 2002 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'll agree with those people who said that South Pacific should be destroyed. I thought the proper version of it done by professional actors/singers was bad enough but in 1995-ish I was unlucky enough to be in the audience for a truly horrednous youth theatre production of it. It was just so limp and weak and tedious GOD the BOREDOM!

Me and my mum were there - we watched the first half, and then at the interval when we came out for drinks I decided I couldn't bring myself to go back in, and just walked out of the theatre. My mum ran after me, and then when she was outside she seemed to realise it was best if we slip away. So we walked out of the place, back to the car park, into our car, and drove all the way back home without saying a word to each other.

Chris Lyons, Friday, 4 January 2002 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Probably I already said West Side Story upthread. Impossible, in fact, that I didn't. (Hey, this prose is turning into Alan Bennett.)

I'll say it again just to stir up controversy and encourage youths to fight in playgrounds.

the pinefox, Saturday, 5 January 2002 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Personally I really enjoyed "Topsy-Turvy," the Mike Leigh movie about Gilbert & Sullivan and "The Mikado." and search: Marianne & Ferdinand randomly singing goofy songs in "Pierrot le fou." too much fun.

Isn't "Jesus Christ Superstar" supposed to be ridiculous? I mean.. er.. I had this notion it wasn't meant to be taken seriously, is that not the case?

daria gray, Saturday, 5 January 2002 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

Search: The musicals I grew up with, my parents really loved them and listened to them all the time - they seem so familliar: The Music Man, The Wiz, Grease, All that Jazz, Cabaret, and Chicago. (my parents let me observe Fosse stuff even though it was racy! I never even noticed the sexual content until I was older) My sister and I especially loved The Wiz!!! We acted out the parts for our parents - She was the eating trash cans and the Lion (singing the song "Mean old Lion" in her pajamas ) and I was Dorothy and the Scarecrow (gotta love Michael Jackson)

Destroy: Please gey rid of Cats, Les Mis. and Miss Saigon! In college in London all my friends would sing those deppressing songs - I wanted to slit my wrists!

Chrissy, Thursday, 10 January 2002 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

all musicals are insipid crap. sorry.

g, Thursday, 10 January 2002 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

maddie's evita is gorgeous, as is dancer in the dark.

geoff, Thursday, 10 January 2002 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

four months pass...
What Jimmy said, search Everyone Says I Love You.

Josh, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

"The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a great film, with suitably brilliant music.

Nick, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

my high school english and chorus teachers wrote their own musical once. it was called "tianenman" or, more precisely, "tianenman!" and it was about exactly what you think it's about. the execution was some sort of ungodly hybrid of les mis and miss saigon (except instead of a helicopter, there was a tank which was really a golf cart covered in cardboard). and the lyrics!:"sometimes the masses won't get off their asses"; "this man will teach you how// to heed the words of mao". in the performance i saw, not all the exploding pellets from an action scene had fully burst and actors kept on stepping on the leftovers for the rest of the show.

so yeah, search that: it's classic!

dave k, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

one year passes...
White Christmas is better than I used to imagine.

But how does it match up against Holiday Inn?

the snowfox, Wednesday, 24 December 2003 17:01 (eighteen years ago) link

three years pass...

You people hate Sondheim?


roxymuzak, Friday, 23 November 2007 10:22 (fifteen years ago) link

I recently saw "Spamalot" in London and that one is to be searched for certain. If not necessarily mainly for the music, that is.....

Geir Hongro, Friday, 23 November 2007 12:31 (fifteen years ago) link

What, a non-musical post?

Yeah, I saw Spamalot in January. It was alright I suppose.

Mark G, Friday, 23 November 2007 12:32 (fifteen years ago) link

the pinefox, Friday, 23 November 2007 18:55 (fifteen years ago) link

Thank you for posting that Elaine Stritch thing, poortheatre! That's incredible!

roxymuzak, Friday, 23 November 2007 21:23 (fifteen years ago) link

I will comment only on Broadway musicals, not movie musicals.

Search: Sweeney Todd--Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Assassins, Company, Spring Awakening, A Chorus Line, Into the Woods (sorry I'm throwing so much Sondheim in here), Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Ragtime, Kiss Me Kate, Chicago....too many to list

Destroy: Wedding Singer (one of the worst musicals I ever saw--broadway, not movie), Pajama Game, Babes in Arms, ehh...

Bo Jackson Overdrive, Sunday, 25 November 2007 14:36 (fifteen years ago) link

two years pass...

People are too serious when commenting on musicals. Why does everyone hate Andrew Lloyd Webber so much? By the way, I despise "Grease".

Lawn Cheney (u s steel), Thursday, 21 January 2010 11:41 (twelve years ago) link

I love "Jesus Christ Superstar" and that is Andrew Lloyd Webber! But I think the hatred probably comes from getting "Phantom of the Opera" songs stuck in your head all the time as a teenager because it was the only musical anyone knew and people liked singing it WAY too much. He really writes earworms.

Maria, Thursday, 21 January 2010 14:34 (twelve years ago) link

four months pass...

Just saw the London production of 'Hair' (with the Broadway cast) -

Really liked it - especially the good singing voices - and the real surprise was that the plot kind of made sense this time. I saw the Old Vic production back in 1993 and they made a bit of a mess of it.

Also thanks England team - cheapest seats upgraded to really good ones at no extra charge last night.

Will probably go again before this production ends.

Bob Six, Saturday, 19 June 2010 12:20 (twelve years ago) link

five months pass...

Generally I'm not into musicals but there are a couple that I love to death.

˙❤‿❤˙˙❤‿❤˙ (ENBB), Wednesday, 8 December 2010 20:07 (eleven years ago) link

oh man I just teared watching this one - ilu Jerry!

˙❤‿❤˙˙❤‿❤˙ (ENBB), Wednesday, 8 December 2010 20:09 (eleven years ago) link

three weeks pass...

saw Bernadette & Elaine in A Little Night Music tonight, worth at least $50 of the $70 I paid.

kind of shrill and very self-righteous (Dr Morbius), Friday, 31 December 2010 08:52 (eleven years ago) link

Search: Cabaret
Destroy: Any musicals involving children, especially orphans/urchins.

thirdalternative, Friday, 31 December 2010 18:20 (eleven years ago) link

love this thread, as my daughter needs to watch a half-dozen musicals for forth-grade (dvd's count). she's devoured some children's fare, and now actually wants to watch les miserables (we'll see how that goes; it's a dark, intense work for a near 10-year old).

Daniel, Esq., Friday, 31 December 2010 18:22 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

are there any "musicals" centered around really weird abstract non-anthemic non-singsong music?

crüt, Sunday, 6 May 2012 08:58 (ten years ago) link

two years pass...

The Off-Broadway stage production itself sounds horrible, but I'm really, really, really loving the soundtrack to "Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter." Straddles the line between indie-rock and musical very nicely, and a lot of the songs are very strong. Some power-pop, some glam-rock. Took me very much by surprise. Opening track (less rock than some)...

It's on Spotify. Check "I'll Save The Day" for more perspective.

dlp9001, Saturday, 6 September 2014 22:32 (eight years ago) link

Adding one more, more along the lines of New Pornographers. The actual show has dire reviews, but kind of surprised the soundtrack hasn't made at least a teeny bit more noise.

dlp9001, Saturday, 6 September 2014 23:15 (eight years ago) link

seeing Chicago tomorrow as it happens

nakh is the wintour of our diss content (darraghmac), Sunday, 7 September 2014 00:55 (eight years ago) link

five months pass...®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

I'd like to see this


During the first half of the 20th century, the American songbook was often dictated by Broadway tunesmiths. But by the late 1950s, songs from musicals had become a quaint breed apart from the songs that America danced to and sang in the shower. And though many major talents have tried to close that gap (including Mr. Miranda in his amiable but less thoroughly realized Broadway hit “In the Heights”), Spotify-friendly tunes have tended to show up only in those cumbersome recycling centers known as jukebox musicals.

But, lo and behold, there are songs throughout “Hamilton” that could be performed more or less as they are by Drake or Beyoncé or Kanye. And there’s none of the distancing archness found in those recent (and excellent) history musicals at the Public, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and “Here Lies Love.” “Hamilton” isn’t cool; it’s utterly sincere, but without being judgmental or pious. And its numbers come across as natural and inevitable expressions of people living in late-18th-century America.

Acknowledging no disconnect between its sound and its setting, “Hamilton” bypasses the self-consciousness of anachronism. What’s more, it convinces us that hip-hop and its generic cousins embody the cocky, restless spirit of self-determination that birthed the American independence movement. Like the early gangsta rap stars, the founding fathers forge rhyme, reason and a sovereign identity out of tumultuous lives.

It also feels appropriate that the ultimate dead white men of American history should be portrayed here by men who are not white. The United States was created, exclusively and of necessity, by people who came from other places or their immediate descendants.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 16:01 (seven years ago) link

Washington Post theatre reviewer goes to NY and loves it too. His contemporary musical reference: Tupac...

The handiwork here is also proof positive of the reassuring resilience of the American musical and how marvelously adaptable, in capable hands, the form remains. Drawing on such varied influences as rap, pop, jazz and Broadway standards — and the vocabularies of ­Tupac Shakur, the Beatles and Gilbert and Sullivan — “Hamilton” is as smart about music as it is about the American Revolution. Along with “Wicked,” the all-time tweener sensation, and the perfectly irreverent “The Book of Mormon,” “Hamilton” will be talked about in years to come as a benchmark experience, one that opened the eyes of other theater-makers to new possibilities.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 17:45 (seven years ago) link

all tix been gone for current run for awhile, I assume it moving uptown is assured.

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 18:18 (seven years ago) link

Its gotten so much acclaim. There was also a big profile of Miranda in the NY Times a little while back. I wonder if any music critics who are currently reviewing rap and r'n'b, have weighed in? Would like to see a non-theatre person appraisal.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 18:52 (seven years ago) link

interesting! btw i'd say that the marginalization of "show tunes" is part and parcel of the general marginalization of the live theater that begins as soon as the movies come in.

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 19:43 (seven years ago) link

Not really getting that; the birth of song-driven musical plays in the way we think of them starts with either Show Boat in the late '20s or Oklahoma! in '43, so movies have already come in. Musical theatre can't be over before it gets started.

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 20:51 (seven years ago) link

that's true. so maybe we'd have to date the marginalization of theater to a later date, but i definitely think the trend is broader than just a decline of show-tunes' ubiquity.

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 20:54 (seven years ago) link

(though some have argued that the development of the modern "musical theater" is itself a kind of response to the rise of film; but that's a pretty oblique argument)

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 20:54 (seven years ago) link

During the first half of the 20th century, the American songbook was often dictated by Broadway tunesmiths. But by the late 1950s, songs from musicals had become a quaint breed apart from the songs that America danced to and sang in the shower. And though many major talents have tried to close that gap (including Mr. Miranda in his amiable but less thoroughly realized Broadway hit “In the Heights”), Spotify-friendly tunes have tended to show up only in those cumbersome recycling centers known as jukebox musicals.

The Disney animation renaissance of the early 90s was built on animated musicals, which included the following songs that cracked the US top 10:

"Beauty and the Beast" - Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson
"A Whole New World" - Peabo Bryson & Regina Bell
"Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" - Elton John
"Colors of the Wind" - Vanessa Williams

In addition, "Circle of Life" (Lion King), "Someday" (Hunchback) and "You'll Be In My Heart" (Tarzan) all charted on the US top 40.

So, while it's fair to say that stage musicals didn't dominate the charts aside from some oddball one-offs for several decades (though I guess Chess is really a back-door effort because I think the album came first?), some of the biggest songs from the 90s have strong musical lineage to them; I don't think coming from movie musicals should count against them.

"Go pet your dog" is the name of my dog (DJP), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 21:19 (seven years ago) link

when is someone gonna stage Prince Among Thieves

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 21:22 (seven years ago) link

btw there is a new book getting plenty of ink that posits that the USA was so traumatized by their experience of WW2 it facilitated the movement away from sophisticated prewar pop (Cole Porter, the Gershwins, H Arlen et al) to the brainlessness of '46-50s (novelties, Perry Como, easy listening Mitch Miller-disseminated pap).

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 21:37 (seven years ago) link

those kind of arguments are pretty much always wrong -- but they are also relatively impossible to prove wrong, which partly explains their continued appeal.

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:11 (seven years ago) link

ah yes bebop, so brainless

I hate these kinds of arguments, they tend to be p ahistorical and more axe-grinding

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:15 (seven years ago) link

46-50s pop is brainless? gtfo with that

Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:19 (seven years ago) link

the USA was so traumatized by their experience of WW2 it facilitated the movement away from sophisticated prewar pop

that Atlantic piece does not mention this theory/argument, which seems p ridiculous on its face

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:21 (seven years ago) link

obviously not a UNIVERSAL theorem, of course there's always gold n' shit in every era.

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:24 (seven years ago) link

(Many, if not most, of the Tin Pan Alley “cleffers” had been unabashed hacks, anyway. “I had to recognize for myself that I was not Irving Berlin,” recalled Sheldon Harnick, one theatrical songwriter who nevertheless balked at the pressure to conform to the “crap” that was topping the Hit Parade in the early 1950s.)

B-b-but some of my all-time favorite pop songs are "crap" pop from the pre-rock fifties.

Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:25 (seven years ago) link

all this stuff: some leading factors in the decline of the Great American Songbook could certainly be pinned on murky dealings behind the scenes, including the ongoing skirmish between the two leading music publishers (the old-guard American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and the upstart Broadcast Music, Inc.), the rising influence of radio disc jockeys (a show business phenomenon comparable to “an atomic bomb,” howled Variety), and the “payola” scandal that would eventually scandalize the industry. Dwindling sales of sheet music, once a staple of the industry, ended the careers of many composers, as did television’s displacement of the theater as the American family’s favorite pastime.

make sense. no half-assed theorizing about the American psyche required.


Οὖτις, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:27 (seven years ago) link

really Shakey, there was a ton of bebop at the top of the charts?

DJP, I think Broadway people consider movie musicals, particularly the animated Disney ones, a breed apart not only bcz of the medium but there's so much more capital for them (and in Disney's case, millions of wee zombie disciples).

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:31 (seven years ago) link

hey you just said 46-50s, you didn't say anything about chart-topping

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:32 (seven years ago) link

"pop" as in popular

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:35 (seven years ago) link

"race records", hillbilly music, jazz from that era is incredible and was popular albeit not chart-topping - and I don't think it's popularity reflected any shift in the American psyche akin to some kind of facile "omg I can't DEAL WITH FANCY LYRICS anymore! cuz WW2" reading, those forms represented an expansion of the industry beyond the rich white guys that were largely running shit prior.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:39 (seven years ago) link

I haven't read that book (I'm assuming you have?) but the author doesn't appear to make that argument you posted based on that Atlantic article.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:40 (seven years ago) link

geez i don't have time to read books about MUSIC

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:46 (seven years ago) link

ok here is the specific piece on NPR i heard re that angle

Ben Yagoda: There was a change in popular taste. The soldiers who had come back from World War II didn't seem to be as interested in the more complex, challenging kind of popular song, the more jazz-based song. Sentimental ballads and, yes, novelty numbers, suddenly was much more appealing.

goodbye ILM

touch of a love-starved cobra (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:53 (seven years ago) link

among other problems those arguments universalize (and also homogenize) the experience of WWII vets

i don't think sentiment has ever gone out of fashion

goodbye ILM

we should be so lucky :)

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 22:56 (seven years ago) link

I don't know how you would even begin to quantify or back up that assertion


Οὖτις, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 23:10 (seven years ago) link

six years pass...

Never saw Lin Manuel-Miranda "In the Heights" onstage, but just saw the movie and it was ok. The music and dancing was fun (although not amazing) but the plot story lines took so long to unfold and were kind of frustrating when you did figure them out. Why didn't the girl leaving Stanford just try to transfer to another school rather than letting her dad sell his business to pay for tuition? And yeah, I see Miranda has now apologized for having so many of the characters being light-skinned Latinx rather than Afro-Latinx.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 17 June 2021 02:41 (one year ago) link

Poor phrasing on that last item, but its referring to the choice of the actors and actresses.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 17 June 2021 02:42 (one year ago) link

"In the Heights" was never really renowned for its book, which doesn't have a huge amount of conflict or a big arc (the movie did actually change quite a lot from the stage version, though). it's more the characters, the music, and the choreography that really sold that one.

cancel culture club (Neanderthal), Thursday, 17 June 2021 03:45 (one year ago) link

that said I really enjoyed the movie, but I ventured to NYC to see the original in 2008

cancel culture club (Neanderthal), Thursday, 17 June 2021 03:46 (one year ago) link

the biggest change in the movie is that Nina's mother is alive in the stage version and butts heads with Nina's dad a lot and removing her took a lot of that dynamic away

cancel culture club (Neanderthal), Thursday, 17 June 2021 03:48 (one year ago) link

Yeah, good songs, blah story, too long. Don't know how long the original show is but this felt like they didn't want to cut anything from it (though I see from Neanderthal's comment, they did)

Vinnie, Thursday, 17 June 2021 04:07 (one year ago) link

there were two full-fledged songs cut from it, yet the length was still about the same, weirdly

cancel culture club (Neanderthal), Thursday, 17 June 2021 04:08 (one year ago) link

I imagine cutting songs when adapting musicals to screen is done very carefully for fear of risking fan backlash

Vinnie, Thursday, 17 June 2021 04:17 (one year ago) link

one of the songs cut was like a powerful second act song that many people used as like audition pieces/etc. was very surprised.

cancel culture club (Neanderthal), Thursday, 17 June 2021 04:30 (one year ago) link

weirdly, no songs were added, either, which is usually a ploy to become Oscars-eligible for Best Original Song. almost all movie musicals have at least one song added (Hairspray had several)

cancel culture club (Neanderthal), Thursday, 17 June 2021 04:31 (one year ago) link

Scott, who comes from the street dance world of Los Angeles and is not Latino, worked with a team of associate choreographers who specialized in a range of styles, including Latin dance, hip-hop, ballet and contemporary dance
His team of associate choreographers is solid: Eddie Torres Jr. for Latin dance, with Princess Serrano as assistant Latin choreographer; Ebony Williams for ballet, contemporary dance, Afro and dancehall; Emilio Dosal, a popper who is versatile in many styles and brings the hip-hop element to the film; and Dana Wilson, who had a hand in everything — like all of the choreographers — but specifically worked with the actors to help them nail the physicality of their characters.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 17 June 2021 16:46 (one year ago) link

Above NY Times article is on the dance aspect and not the songs as referenced above

curmudgeon, Thursday, 17 June 2021 16:48 (one year ago) link

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