Media Morsels 2.5.10
- American Idiot Update
After a smashing performance on the Grammys, Green Day and the cast of American Idiot have released a video of all the misfits recording the hit, “21 Guns”. The beautiful video shows the band and cast in the studio, both singing their hearts out and goofing around with each other. It’s such a sweet video and a lovely little glimpse into the bonds that have been forged among the cast and band (and director – Michael Mayer pops up in a couple of frames!) Check out the video and then visit the official American Idiot on Broadway website for more updates or to buy tickets. (They’re booking through September, but chances are they’ll run at least through the winter holidays – if not longer!)
And in case you missed it, here’s a video of that smashing Grammy performance. Or, you can purchase a recording of the performance from iTunes.
- Hair Dance Party Goes Virtual
If you’ve had the utter pleasure of experiencing the current revival of Hair on Broadway you know the joy of the on-stage dance party during the curtain call. (If you haven’t seen the show – what in the world are you waiting for?) Now, those dance parties will be recorded on high definition cameras and uploaded to hairbraodway.com, the show’s official site, for “party” goers to share on their favorite social networking site. I haven’t been to the Hirschfeld since December but I’m going to take it to 11 later this month and I never miss a chance to bust a move with my fellow Hippies. Check back at the end of the month for proof!
- Patrick Bateman on the Boards
The Bret Easton Ellis cult novel, American Psycho, which has already been adapted into a thrilling and chilling movie starring the brilliant and chiseled Christian Bale, is now being adapted into a stage musical. This is not the first we’ve heard of the latest iteration, but the new information is this: playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa will write the libretto and Duncan Sheik, who wrote the music for Spring Awakening, will write the show’s music and lyrics. For those who don’t know, American Psycho tells the story of 80s yuppie Patrick Bateman, who is competitive and materialistic with his fellow Wall Street traders by day, and is a coked-up, prostitute abusing serial killer by night. Talk about “The Bitch of Living”…
- Waiting in the Wings
Word came this week of some shows that are hoping to tread the boards this fall. Producers announced that a revival of You Can’t Take It With You will begin performances on November 5 at a theatre to be determined. This production will be helmed by August: Osage County director (and Tony winner) Anna Shapiro. Also on tap is a musical stage adaptation of Jerry Lewis’s The Nutty Professor. Lewis will make his Broadway directorial debut with this show that is aiming to go nuts on Broadway in October or November, according to Lewis. Marvin Hamlisch is on hand to write the music. (Classic from Safe Men: “Man, I’m Hamlisch.” “What?” “Starvin’? Starvin’ Marvin? Marvin Hamlisch.” “Oh.”) Also, word came late this week that David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre will be produced on Broadway, for the first time, this fall at a theatre to be determined. I’ve never been a fan of Mamet but Neil Pepe, the artistic director of the Atlantic Theatre Company, is directing. He directed Mamet’s Speed the Plow last season (with the always incredible Raul Esparza) and I enjoyed that so I may see this. A Life in the Theatre is a two character play and – surprise, surprise – producers say they’re looking for star actors to tackle the work.
- Glee Scoop
Late night funnyman Jimmy Fallon recently aired a skit poking fun at Glee. It’s funny and cheesy and done with palpable adoration for the show. Look for cameos from SNL cast member Fred Armisen and featured player Abby Elliott.
Say It Ain’t So
There are rumors brewing that Taylor Swift might be the next celeb to sign on for a guest spot on Glee. Ryan Murphy, I beg you, listen to Nancy Reagan – Just Say No!
Make it Happen
On the other hand, Jane Lynch revealed that one Julia Roberts has expressed interest in making an appearance on the show. Roberts recently wrapped the film adaptation of Eat Pray Love and was directed by Glee creator Ryan Murphy. So maybe, just maybe, this will happen.
- Spring is in the Air
New York City Ballet recently announced their spring 2010 season. The upcoming season’s theme is the Architecture of Dance and it features several world premiere ballets, as well as many new-ish ballets and a few from the canon. I’ve already renewed and am very excited to see the world premieres of the new Benjamin Millepeid and Christopher Wheeldon ballets. The spring season doesn’t start until May, but lucky for dance fans the winter season is still going strong through the end of this month!
- An Elected Official Making Sense?
Congressman Anthony Weiner chatted with Jon Stewart this week on The Daily Show, talking about health care. From the start of this whole debate, the congressman has made lucid and compelling arguments for one of the only approaches that makes sense – single payer health care. Congressman Weiner’s big push is for expanding Medicare coverage. Watch the interview to find out why.
- Talent vs. Gimmick
Once again, gimmicks are winning out over talent. This week, Taylor Swift took a lot of heat for her off-key performance at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Her label’s CEO came to her defense saying that Taylor had an off night and that she may not be “the best technical singer, but she’s probably the best emotional singer…” What? No. She’s not a good emotional singer and why should we have to settle for one or the other, anyway? You can be a great technical singer and have emotion in your voice – have you heard Lea Michele sing “Whispering”? Have you heard her sing it live and been moved to tears? I have. (Nine times, actually. Man, I miss Spring Awakening.) Lea is technically phenomenal and the petite powerhouse definitely brings the emotion. In fact, great technique and emotion are combined in one package all over the theatre world. You can’t fake a great voice live on stage. Just this season we had Kate Baldwin tearing the roof off with the quiet “How Are Things in Glocca Mora?” in the prematurely closed Finaian's Rainbow, Montego Glover going full-diva in every number in Memphis and Sahr Ngaujah and Kevin Mambo delivering stellar – both technically and emotionally – performances as Fela Kuti in the smash hit musical Fela! These and other fantastic theatre performers are living proof that you don’t have to choose between technique and emotion.
The CEO then went on to say that Taylor is the voice of her generation. Excuse me?!? That’s bullshit. Bob Dylan was the voice of his generation. Sure, he can’t croon like Sinatra but his musicianship and songwriting skills more than make up for it. And to boot, you can tell he believes everything he’s singing. Taylor Swift can’t do any of those things particularly well – sing, play an instrument or write songs – so everything gets fixed in the studio or by a marketing team. Label execs, please focus on true talent and nurture those artists rather than looking for the next gimmick to cash in on.
- West Side Story on the Bus and Truck
The revival of West Side Story will launch a national tour, kicking off in Detroit this October. No word on other cities, venues, specific dates or casting, but you can visit broadwaywestsidestory.com for more information. While Reviewing the Drama readers know I don’t care for the revival as it plays on Broadway right now, (mostly due to poor direction and miscast actors) I do love the show – the music, the choreography – and hope that with the right casting, the touring company can do justice to one of the best musicals in the American musical theatre canon.
- Broadway’s a Sucker for Neil Patrick Harris
Rumors are swirling that uber producer Cameron Mackintosh (whose producing credits include Phantom and Les Mis) is looking to revive Barnum on Broadway and he is exclusively setting his sights on Neil Patrick Harris to play the titular showman. This would actually be a great role for Harris – he’s showy and charming and talented – but he still has his day job: Starring in the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother. If Harris agreed to play P.T. Barnum, the circus man who reminded us that “there’s a sucker born every minute”, his stint would have to be a limited run during the summer when his T.V. show is on hiatus. It doesn’t sound entirely practical to do it this way, but this is Cameron Mackintosh we’re talking about so if Neil Patrick is game, it just might happen.