Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's Okay to Call Me a Loser. Really, it is.

Any musical theater nerds out there?

No one else will admit it?

Well, okay. But at least give a geek a chance to vent.

"The Top 3 New Musical Theater Productions That Should Be Stopped Immediately" (listed in order of atrocity)

3. “13”
The brilliant composer Jason Robert Brown has finally screwed up. After turning everything from botched marriages (The Last Five Years) to the “Stars and Moon” (Songs for a New World) into gold, Brown made an unfortunate attempt to make the angst of the teen years musically palatable. The plot of “13” revolves around a group of -- you guessed it --13-year-olds trying to discover themselves or some shit. Okay, so the plot isn’t all that off the deep end, but get this: all of the actors, singers, and dancers are actual teenagers.

Admittedly, this is kind of a cool concept, but the problem comes in that they will most likely act, sound, and dance like real teenagers (i.e. unbelievably, unpolished, and awkwardly). I haven’t seen the show, but I’ve heard it (JRB streams it free from his website), and here’s what I know- the mediocre songwriting and dreadful belting, coupled with the show’s overall shtick, wore thin about 30 seconds into the first sample track. What a waste of JRB’s tremendous talent.

2. “Shrek the Musical”
Pop quiz: who’s big and green and worn out his welcome?

DreamWorks darling Shrek will finally be reincarnated as a real boy, making his Broadway debut on November 8th. The creative team behind this gem has been working for over four years on how to keep milking, er, keep bringing smiles to kids with their family fun franchise. But let’s talk music for a minute- what are they going to do, play “I’m a Believer” for two hours? This one has “the feel-good musical of the year” written all over it, which basically means that the score with be predictable and suckie. And honestly, do we really have to keep turning movies into stage shows? As they point out in off-Broadway’s own “[title of show]”, movies do make musicals, but not necessarily good ones.

1. “The Fly” (Opera)
So remember that traumatic experience you had in childhood where you stayed up late on a school night when you weren’t supposed to and found yourself watching this movie on Sci-Fi that had something to do with a scientist and a fly but all that really mattered was the fact that Jeff Goldblum’s face melted off into a bloody heap and you had nightmares for years afterward?

Just me again? Okay. But I digress.

There is no way that either the original 1958 version or the terrifying 1986 version of “The Fly” would make appropriate thematic material for a stage show….especially if that stage show involved music…and especially if that music was operatic. Can you really envision an aria about the logistics of building a teleportation device? Is there going to be some sort of grand appoggiatura on the famous “Help Me!” line?

But for everyone who isn’t aware of geeky music major terminology, here’s a direct quote from the production’s website that fully encapsulates everything wrong with this picture: “The Fly is an engrossing exploration of the physical and psychological transformation in which a brilliant scientist begins to mutate into a hybrid of man and fly after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.”

Sound (or look) like an opera to you? Yeah, me neither.


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