Media Morsels 1.1.10
- Papes for Sale!
Word came this week that the cult hit 1992 movie musical Newsies may be heading to the stage. Broadwayworld.com reported on a NY Daily News piece saying original songwriters Alan Menken and Jack Feldman are working on bringing the movie to the boards. A reading is scheduled for the spring of this year and Good Stuff Leo (a.k.a., Harvey Fierstein) is reportedly writing the book. The movie starred a young (and singing) Christian Bale. Yes, the dark knight donned suspenders and a newsboy cap and sang and danced about the joys of “selling papes”. Though I’m much more supportive of original musicals than derivative ones, the cheesy nostalgia that comes with Newsies make me excited to hear this news.
- Oscar Song Nominees
While Oscar nominations will not be announced until February, the list of the 63 eligible songs is available for public consumption. On The Wrap, contributor Steve Pond rhapsodized about the delicious possibility of “Dove of Peace”, the hilarious tongue-in-cheek “We Are the World” parody from Bruno, being performed on the telecast. His point is that it will likely never happen the way he (or I, for that matter) would want it to because the censors would demand lyric changes. (He's right.) Pond then goes on to offer excerpted lyrics from other eligible songs, noting how ridiculous some of the lyrics are, thereby lessening their chances of being nominated. To prove that it’s a possibility, though, he points to the nominations of both “Blame Canada” (from the South Park movie) and winner “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” (from Hustle and Flow). I would warn Pond that last year, when there were songs with brilliant lyrics, integrity, or particular relevance to their respective films, or all three, only three songs were nominated, even though there were five slots. This is because of some illogical voting system in which an eligible song must garner an average score of 8.25 rather than nominating the top five scorers. This meant that last year, neither “The Wrestler”, written and performed (for next to nothing, I might add,) by The Boss for the film The Wrestler, nor “Dracula’s Lament”, written and performed by Jason Segel for his sweetly funny and honest Forgetting Sarah Marshall, were nominated. Neither was “Rock Me, Sexy Jesus”, which was terrifically satiric and perfectly used in the wickedly funny Hamlet 2. Academy, you changed the rules so that there will now be ten movies vying for the title of Best Picture, how ‘bout changing the rules so that all five Best Song slots are filled with, you know, actual songs?
As it were, some of the songs eligible for nomination this year include two from Crazy Heart, a few from Where the Wild Things Are and a new Paul McCartney tune from the movie Everybody’s Fine.
- Wintertime Blues
Ragtime is closing on January 3. [Update: since its closing was announced, the producers announced that the show would receive a one-week reprieve, closing instead on January 10.] The announcement was made on Monday, leaving fans of the show disappointed. When it closes, this sleek and pared down revival of the 1998 musical will have played 28 previews and 57 regular performances. When I saw this production, the show was still in previews so the nearly empty mezzanine was mostly forgivable. I guess that good reviews and word of mouth just weren’t enough to keep the wheels on this dream going.
The simply delightful revival of Finian’s Rainbow will close on January 17. When the Rainbow dims that Sunday at the St. James Theatre (once home to The Producers and the hit revival of Gypsy) it will have played 22 previews and 92 regular performances. All hope is not lost, though, as the cast recording will be released on February 2. Finian’s Rainbow received across-the-board great reviews (including one from me!) and reportedly enjoyed great audience response. With no marquee name and little name recognition beyond the theatre crowd, though, the current Broadway economy just isn’t very accommodating.
The only good thing that may come from these closings is that it opens up two theatres that could house American Idiot. I happen to think that both houses are too big – I want a very small, intimate theatre for American Idiot, like the Booth (but that’s where Next to Normal is and I do not want that to close!) but a theatre is a home so no complaints if it moves into either. I’d prefer the St. James, though, because it’s located just off of Shubert Alley on 44th street and right next to the Discovery museum and Sardi's so foot traffic should be higher than on 52nd street where the Neil Simon (current home to Ragtime) is located. Also, without his commitment to Finian’s Rainbow, we may be seeing Cheyenne Jackson on 30 Rock more frequently.
- Glee News:
Glee Goes Original
While part of the glee of Glee is hearing some favorite (“Someone to Love”) and not so favorite (“The Thong Song”) songs spun on their heads by the divas, divos and jocks at McKinley High, creator Ryan Murphy recently told Billboard.com that the back nine episodes, currently in production and set to begin airing on April 13, 2010, will – at least for one episode – contain original songs written specifically for Glee. Murphy said that the Glee writers are working on an episode called “Original Song” in which Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) asks the students to write their own material. Diane Warren, a veteran songwriter who penned such hits as "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing", "If I Could Turn Back Time" and "Unbreak My Heart", among many others, is confirmed to be contributing two ballads to the episode. Can’t wait to hear the results!
Glee Crosses the Pond
Last week I told you that Glee was going to Spain; this week, word came that British station E4 would begin airing Glee in Manchester, England, England (and other parts of the country, too, I’m sure!)
Numbers Don’t Lie
Glee helped Fox achieve a 4th quarter ratings victory for the first time in the network’s history. Numbers and I aren’t friends so I can’t really explain the ratings breakdown, but according to the article on Broadwayworld.com, Glee was the season’s number one new show among adults 18-34 and women 18-49, and is said to have one of primetime’s most educated audiences. Naturally!
- Now You Can Lick Katherine Hepburn
…Unless you get the self adhesive kind of stamps. A new series of stamps featuring the legendary Hepburn will be issued on May 12, 2010. In case you’ve ever wondered how stamps are chosen, watch The West Wing episode “Galileo”, in which Donna learns about the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.
- The Muppet Movie is Added to the National Film Registry
On Wednesday, The Muppet Movie (one of my top three favorite movies) was inducted into the National film Registry of the Library of Congress. Joining The Muppet Movie is the “Thriller” video, itself a mini-movie, and Dog Day Afternoon. The Muppet Movie marked the first time Kermit, Fozzie and Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem appeared on the big screen. It tells the story (with some liberties taken, of course) of how the Muppets got together. While Kermit and Fozzie journey out to Hollywood to become stars (upon the advice of Dom DeLuise) they run into colorful characters played by, to name just a few, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Steve Martin Richard Pryor, Carol Kane and Uncle Milty. The Muppet Movie is about discovering your passion and following a dream – it’s for the lovers, the dreamers and me!
- New 21 Guns
A new version of the American Idiot cast’s recording of 21 Guns is now available for download. This version, unlike the previous one, features Johnny Gallagher, Matt Caplan and Michael Esper on vocals, in place of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. This version also includes the “Letterbomb” opening at the end of the songs, just as it appears in the show.
- Ask a Star: Julie White
Once every couple of weeks, Broadway.com posts a video of theatre stars answering readers’ questions. This week it was Julie White’s turn to answer and she is hilarious! She’s one of my favorite theatre people because she’s not only extremely talented (catch her now giving a bravura performance in The Understudy) but she is so lovely and personable and, well, southern. With a Texas twang and an infectious smile, Ms. White answers Broadway.com users’ questions with grace, honesty and a lot of humor!