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Entries in Andrew Lloyd Webber (7)

Monday
Mar 04 2019

Sunset Boulevard.Should we worry or rejoice?

by Nathaniel R

As you have no doubt heard,the 1993 stage musicalSunset Blvd.,Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of the film noir classicSunset Boulevard(1950) now has a green light for the movies.The stage musical premiered in London in '93 with Patti LuPone in the lead role before a legally-fraught switcheroo to Glenn Close for its Broadway debut in '94.The musical would go on to win 7 Tonys (including Best Musical and Best Actress) and roughly ever since then (we're talking 25 years now!) there's been talking of adapting it back to the screen,its original home and subject matter.This wouldn't be the first time that's happened of course.The most recent example isHairspraywhich proved a hit in all three incarnations: 1988 / 2002 / 2007.

This project has been talked about for years and now a sudden green light with shooting scheduled for October.Was it Glenn Close's year long comeback of sorts as she undoubtedly came close to winning that elusive Oscar that finally did it...

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Sunday
Apr 01 2018

Beauty Break: He is Risen

Did you loveJesus Christ Superstar Live!?John Legend was in spectacular voice as Jesus and kudos also to Tony nominee (and one of my favorite Broadway stars) Norm Lewis as Caiaphas.But the scene stealer of the night was Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon who stole the show as Judas Iscariot.He was a glittering reminder,particularly in disco chainmail in the closing fantasy sequence (since Judas had already committed suicide),that live performing is a unique skill set.Imagine your average movie star trying to keep up that much physical and emotional energy for two plus hours while leaping around a stage and singing at the top of their lungs.If anything Dixon's energy only grew as the night wore on.Just stunning.(I'm not talking about his body,but that too.)

ThoughJesus Christ Superstar!was in some ways an odd dated musical choice for a mainstream family event (it's not remotely 'funny' for one)  it was the best produced "Live"musical since that became an annual thing.The set design and direction were amazing,culminating in a major wow of a finale.Still don't love the Andrew Lloyd Webber score and can't fathom why people doing the orchestrations for Lloyd Webber revivals never think to subvert the oh-so-70s electric guitar sound (also a weird issue with the 1996Evitamovie) but you can't have everything.

Since this particular production had all kinds of gorgeous men in fine voice and equally fine body,let's end this Easter weekend sharing photos of the hottest men to have ever played Jesus in the movies or on television before John Legend's go at it.The gallery is after the jump...

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Monday
Aug 28 2017

Stage Door: "Prince of Broadway"

by Nathaniel R

Though I don't cherish the form I've seen quite a few jukebox musicals in my day.Sometimes they take the biographical route likeJersey Boys.Often they'll sift through the lyrics of some artist's catalogue hoping to yank out phrases and threads from which they can stitch together a frankenstein story.Mammia Miais either the apotheosis or the nadir of that latter form,depending on your perspective.But what if the jukebox isn't beholden to one composer?Prince of Broadway,which just opened at the Samuel Friedman in NYC,is devoted to the producer Harold Prince who did not write music.So what you have is a greatest hits of,uh,dozens of different composers from a wide range of musicals.If this were a CD it might be called "Now That's What I Call Broadway,Vol.Whatever"

Prince backed a TON of über famous shows in his illustrious career includingPhantom of the Opera,Fiddler on the Roof,Cabaret...you name it!None of the musicals sound alike so there's little hope of cohesion in the show.WiselyPrince of Broadwaydoesn't try to create a "story"from these disparate musicals in a career that stretches all the way back to 1950 (Prince is 89 years old and directed this production).What they've come up with instead is much less intrusive even if it doesn't totally work...

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Wednesday
Aug 16 2017

Soundtracking: "Evita"

It's Madonna's birthday!!Chris Feillooks back at one of her biggest soundtracks...

By the mid-90s,musicals were all but dead,even though Disney created their own resurgence in animated form.Madonna's career however was always heading toward reviving it: she constantly reinvented the game for the music video and her Breathless Mahoney songstress wasDick Tracy's genre flirtation device.With her divisive performance inEvita,she brought the cinematic musical back into the popular culture and delivered a hit soundtrack in the process.

And I should qualify that for emphasis: a hit soundtrack to a quasi-opera about propaganda and Argentine political figures when the popular music landscape highlighted Alanis,Tupac,and The Smashing Pumpkins.Madonna did that in arguably the least accommodating musical or cinematic climate,and perhaps only Madonna could have done it.Like it or not,much of the film's success (even musically) is thanks to her star power,no matter how indelible Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's score remains.

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Wednesday
May 10 2017

Jesus Christ,It's time to play "Cast This!" again

By Nathaniel R

Paul Nolan as Jesus in the most recent Broadway revival (2012)This just in:NBC is prepping its fifth live musical for April 2018.Their firstSound of Musicwas a mixed bag quality-wise but a giant ratings hit.Since then they've had two critical and ratings successes (The WizandHairspray) and one failure (Peter Pan).The fifth will be Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice's rock operaJesus Christ Superstar.It's made frequent regular appearances on stages all over the world since its debut in 1970.It even had a Golden Globe nominated film version in 1973 directed by Norman Jewison who was,at the time,a very hot commodity having recently made three best picture players:The Russians are Coming!The Russians are Coming!(1966,not a sci-fi time travelling movie about the current US government),In the Heat of the Night(1967) and the Best Picture nomineeFiddler on the Roof(1971).

No casting has been announced but they're said to be seeking "authentic recording artists."What does that even mean...?

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