'The Showtune Mosh Pit' for June 13th, 2012
THE LATEST IN UNAUTHORIZED GOSSIP AND BUZZ
FROM THE HEART OF CHICAGO'S SHOWTUNE VIDEO BARS,
AND MUSICAL THEATER NEWS FROM CHICAGO TO BROADWAY
by Paul W. Thompson
Overheard last weekend under the showtune
video screens at Sidetrack and The Call:
The 2012 Tony Awards are history, and our video bars are already playing clips from the CBS-TV broadcast! And our Mosh Pit community has a lot of differences of opinion about what we witnessed. Few of us have seen “Once” even once (sorry), and I don’t know anyone who has seen “Once” twice. But those who know the film upon which the eight-time Tony-winning musical was based seem very pleased at the show’s success, and are curious to see it (I have my ticket for July). The “Newsies” crowd seems content with the show’s nods for score and choreography, given that many fans go to musicals for exactly those components. And we were disappointed, but not surprised, that Chicagoan (former Chicagoan?) Jessie Mueller didn’t bring home the featured actress in a musical trophy for “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever,” and that former Chicagoan Spencer Kayden (Little Sally from “Urinetown”) didn’t win as featured actress in a play for “Don’t Dress For Dinner,” reprising her role from the 2008 Royal George Theatre production. At least Bruce Norris won Best Play for the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Clybourne Park,” set in Chicago and seen last fall at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. And there the agreements, and our hometown pride, end.
Neil Patrick Harris fans wanted more and thought he was great, but some have tired of him after three years as host now. Can a show be good as theater highlights, but bad as television? Should Patti LuPone have appeared (and sung) twice? Are we happy for Audra (the one and only), or shocked by her acceptance speech (search for it if you don’t know what I mean)? Did we like “Superstar” or “Godspell” more? Was “Follies” robbed, or it is overrated? Or did Sondheim shoot himself in the foot with that letter he wrote? Is “Ghost” great or awful? Is Ricky Martin great or awful? Was the Royal Caribbean “Hairspray” appropriate or not, and does it matter that Chicagoan Harrison McEldowney was reportedly responsible for the staging seen on the broadcast? Ah, the questions, and the discussions, abound! Ain’t theater great? J
Back here in Chicago, it’s all about “Rock Of Ages,” isn’t it? The touring company of the Broadway show (apparently named after the 1763 Christian hymn text of the same name by the Rev. Augustus Montague Toplady) has set itself down for a two month run at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. Both the jukebox rock musical and the long-running children’s show “Pinkalicious” will share the stage there until they both close on August 5th. And the film version of the show, directed by Adam Shankman (“Hairspray”) and starring Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, the Tony and Oscar winner (and musical theater star) Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand and (as the young leads) Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough, opens at theaters nationwide on June 15th. Is it any good? I don’t know, but it is what it is (the only film adaptation of a Broadway musical opening this year, until “Les Miserables” hits at Christmastime). So, are you going? And to which version? Or both?