Is anyone attending tonight's first preview? Excited to hear about the updates, changes, and retooling.
I'd love thoughts from anyone seeing it myself. And if you saw it at Papermill back when, even better, so you can compare and contrast! But from the sound of it, it's not retooled all that much...VintageSnarker says a lot of things I missed myself. Another thing that I think the creative missed is what songs are supposed to do in musicals...they drive a plot but they drive it differently than how dialogue does. Most of these songs don't drive a plot via the characters emotions or thoughts at that moment. Ex-The baroness' first entrance is about how everything isn't up to her usual luxurious standards basically, but not only is that a terrible idea for a song, it doesn't say much about her character in a 3 dimensional way, but there's no way a woman of her status of that era would "complain"...because they couldn't. She obviously had a husband who died previously so she is trying to marry well again, so she doesn't have the socioeconomic room to complain. The film does this very well, her first line in the film is "It's charming, really!". To me at least, It's obvious Huston was playing this line as trying to hide her mild disappointment, but she can't complain, she has little options for marriage left at her age, as a woman no less. Which contrasts what ScarletLeigh said about Danielle, which I was trying to think about but couldn't put worlds to. If Danielle is the anti-ingenue who is everything a female of that period ISN'T, the Baroness is EVERY BIT the traditional female back then was. They contrast. Granted, this still shouldn't be the mainstay of this musical, it's still not about a "feminist Cinderella" but they def need that contrast to butt heads as they do. Which is why Sierra isn't exactly the right choice for this. The ONE song I liked when I saw it was I Remember because it's was the only song that made any sense within it's surrounding context. The song itself wasn't great, BUT structurally, that was the one scene I remembered from the film that I could see working as a song (You've probably all guessed I know the film VERY well...) because that the emotion that you need to start a song. But the catfight that we all love so much...was slightly sung. And it was ridiculous. Some moments don't call for songs, because that not what that plot point relies on. That scene relies on action, not a song because a song would stop that action dead in its tracks, and you need momentum to keep that scene moving. One can't write songs for songs' sake, and that's what the musical fell like. The songs were just there because it's a musical, not because it was thought through as to where songs belong. I honestly feel like I should be a dramaturg for a living because over the years I watch shows with a writers/critic perspective.
I live in Atlanta and am seeing Ever After on a Saturday matinee- February 9. Will report back-btw- loved Sierra in School Of Rock. Looking forward to it.
A review by a blogger who saw the show last week:Ever After Musical Review
Sad to hear "After All" is cut. Such a beautiful song
Saw this tonight - still needs tweaking. Score is wonderful! I went in completely blind (never saw the movie)... The pacing was fine until mid-second act, then its a bunch of random scenes quickly on top of each other, with bad staging on the finale.Sierra Boggess is fantastic, as is Rachel York, Terry Rogan and Jenny Ashman.However, there are two big dance sequences (one at the end of Act 1, one during the "reveal" scene in act 2) that seem they are just there to eat time. It could be chopped in half both occasions (Were these left in hoping to recreate some Kathleen Marshall choreography?). They include a little girl and her father sing a short prologue to a song in Act 2 that could easily be cut and made another great solo for Sierra with a few lyric changes. Rachel York is great and needs more to do in Act 1. My last comment is on the tone - is this supposed to be satire (all the political books)? Comedy? "Historic-fiction" drama? There doesn't seem to be a clear idea of what this is.
philly03 said: "My last comment is on the tone - is this supposed to be satire (all the political books)? Comedy? "Historic-fiction" drama? There doesn't seem to be a clear idea of what this is."The tone of the MOVIE is very much the last one, "Historic-fiction" drama. And the LAST thing the movie was was a satire. I'm curious as to what on the show caused satire to be the thing that came to mind FIRST with the tone for you.
FWIW, in a recent interview, Sierra Boggess deemed the show a comedy. (Which... doesn't bode well to me, but I'm trying not to whinge *too* much about this show!)https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Interview-Sierra-Boggess-of-EVER-AFTER-at-Alliance-Theatre-20190114In fairness, there is a decent amount of humour in the film, such as Rodmilla's and Marguerite's moments of hamminess. For those interested, the film's trailer gives some idea of its prevailing tone IMO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3eMhbH_-nM
Scarlet Leigh said: "philly03 said: "My last comment is on the tone - is this supposed to be satire (all the political books)? Comedy? "Historic-fiction" drama? There doesn't seem to be a clear idea of what this is."The tone of the MOVIE is very much the last one,"Historic-fiction" drama. And the LAST thing the movie was was a satire. I'm curious as to what on the show caused satire to be the thing that came to mind FIRST with the tone for you."The "mockery" of the monarchy re: satire. I still enjoyed the musical and would recommend it...
Scarlet Leigh said: "philly03 said: "My last comment is on the tone - is this supposed to be satire (all the political books)? Comedy? "Historic-fiction" drama? There doesn't seem to be a clear idea of what this is."The tone of the MOVIE is very much the last one,"Historic-fiction" drama. And the LAST thing the movie was was a satire. I'm curious as to what on the show caused satire to be the thing that came to mind FIRST with the tone for you."This. The creatives weren't entirely clear on the tone and direction they wanted to show to take, so it lacks a lot of clear intent, and they missed why the movie work and is loved. The film has comedic moments and all are pretty brilliant, but that doesn't necessarily make it a comedy. I'm not saying I liked the score all that much when I saw it, being hearing After All is gone is sad. That moment is necessary to establish Rodmillla's and Danielle's relationship, specifically how Rodmilla feels about Danielle. I hope they kept at least some dialogue for it? Seeing this show back when taught me the most about stage relationships and how they work for a plot. At Papermill, they were hardly ever on stage together, so you didn't have a real sense of why they grated each other. I find it interesting that is how they start the show...I didn't miss the lack of the Grande Dame, I appreciated how they just jumped right into the story we know, so starting with Gustave and Da Vinci narrating a story-in-a-story format makes me roll my eyes. I'm not a fan of story format because I hardly ever see it used correctly.
I was in Atlanta this week for work and decided to check out EVER AFTER at the Alliance since I am huge fan of the film and I had seen the production at Paper Mill Playhouse a few years back. I was excited for that production at Paper Mill but let down when I saw it so never wrote much of a post. I had been thrilled for Christine Ebersole but she was oddly out of place and didn’t have much teeth to her performance. The production was also drab and dull in design. Well I finally got back home where I was curious to compare playbills. Its seems they have done extensive reworking. Comparing playbills, this production has 7 different songs than the Paper Mill production did. That’s a huge amount of new material change. The new production has a much more colorful, richer, genteel look to it than it did before. It looks very much in the “long ago, far away, fairy tale” style. The best way I can try to articulate this is that at Paper Mill it looked like accurate Shakespearean history. This time it looks like a story book come to life. It is still the real life, non super natural telling of the Cinderella story but this time it looks like a fairy tale the could actually happen rather than a heavy historical period piece. That seems to be the general difference in style between the two productions. The new style being to the great benefit of the show. The score itself sounded stunning. Beautiful orchestrations as well Sierra Boggess is delivering a stellar performance. At Paper Mill the show seemed like an ensemble piece. The character of Danielle one of the group. Here is it a clear cut star vehicle. Sierra is in stunning voice, charming, and surprised me with how well she can play comedy. (the show is a comedy but a romantic comedy, meaning it’s a light style of humor). She is endearing and comedic with her first big number WHO NEEDS LOVE. I remembered this song from before but never remembered laughing at it. She also has a new number for this production called NO FAIRY TALES ALLOWED. It’s a more emotional ballad, she delivered it with great power and it it did cause me to tear up as she remembered her father and sang this. Philly03- I agree that the two dance sequences while fun could be trimmed BUT I enjoyed the intro to her solo with the father memory. I found that part beautiful. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Rachel York as Rodmilla was fantastic. She seemed to be a nastier and more bitter character than before. She to has a new solo called PEBBLE IN MY SHOE that allowed her to show how cruel she can be and Ms. York belts it to to rafters. This might have been favorite song in the show. The Prince was handsome and charming. The first duet with him and Danielle is a song called COUSINS COUSIN and its a great duet. The kind stepsister and character of Gustave were both immensely lovable performances. David Garrison is fun as Leonardo.As a whole the score is one of the most beautiful i have heard in some time especially when Sierra B or Rachel Y is singing. Their are two songs I think would not be missed… the creepy neighbor character has two numbers and both are talk-y and not particularly exciting. I think the character could easily be a non singing character. It would help trip some time and get us to the far better portions of the score. I love the character and t’s great to have a powerful female protagonist who can stand up and fight him but he doesn’t need to sing in my opinion. The production design could be fleshed out a bit for any future life (characters should have costume changes). I would also think they could flesh out the Rodmilla character a bit more in Act 1. The show was about 2.5 hrs. I wouldn't mind if had been 10 minutes shorter. But it was only the 4th or 5th show so who knows what work will be done in previews. Overall though this production is a vast improvement over what I saw before. Susan Booth as the new director seems to have clarified the story telling. Characters seem sharper and the show seems to move faster, and be more of the gentle fun romantic comedy it should be rather than a heavy plodding downer it came off as before. Being a fan of the film I was happy to see it have a new life. So congratulation to everyone involved. Hope it has a future life in some way, I definitely left the theatre on a high. The score and Sierra’s performance both are highly recommended and deserve to be seen.
Thank you Noel&Cole and Philly03 for your reviews! Looks like they really retooled the show and made changes for the better. I noticed the colorful costumes, as well as the new production design, and I'm a fan! As Noel&Cole described, the Papermill production looked Shakespearean almost, while this new version is colorful and lush, but still grounded in reality. I think part of the reason the Papermill design looked dour was probably because they used some set pieces from Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was in production right before Ever After. From what I can gather, a number of songs were cut, including Chere Danielle, Cruel Morning, After All, and It's Done. Who Needs Love is now a solo, Out of the Darkness is now the act two finale, and All Hail the Gypsy Queen is now All Hail the Bohemian Queen, and is now the act one finale. Is there a song list for this new production? Also, how are the flashbacks handled regarding Auguste and Young Danielle?
SPOILERS....Hey Degrassifan. I'll share a song list from the playbill when I get chance. It was interesting to me that 7 or 8 numbers where new from before. We no longer see the father die at the beginning of the show. Now it begins with her as an adult. Danielle now has memories of herself as a little girl with her father in two numbers. One silently during her solo in Act 1 I REMEMBER you seem them behind her. And during a new song for this production NO FAIRY TALES ALLOWED, before she sings it she remembers her father giving her the last gift he gave before he died they sing a few lines together and then fade away and she sings her solo.
Thanks so much, Noel&Cole. Does that mean the title song EVER AFTER has been cut, or significantly trimmed down? Also, if we don’t see Danielle’s childhood, then why exactly does Rodmilla hate her? With her father’s death scene cut, do they explain why the Baroness despised Danielle and forced her into servitude? Interesting that Rodmilla is now nastier and more bitter. As a woman in the 1500s who was twiced widowed and left to care for a manor, staff, and three daughters on her own, she had every reason to be bitter, but not enough to force her stepdaughter into servitude without the death scene to “justify” why one daughter basically had to be sacrificed (even though the justification was very petty).
They briefly mention at the top how Rodmilla turned cold after the father die. But compared to the film... Danielle here is more concerned with maintaining her fathers home. She works there not as a servant/slave but more as someone who hopes to keep things a float until, hopefully her stepmother's plan works and they can move to the palace and she can het her home back. Rodmilla seems to view her as a necessary burden. When she realizes that Danielle is actually a threat to Marguerite the prince is when she really starts to do the crueler things. The title song exists in some form but its like 1 minute long and is the intro with the young girl and father before NO FAIRY TALES ALLOWED. It was longer in the prior production and if memory serves was at the beginning right before he died. I think this was a wise cut. People having a heart attack on stage never seems natural to me. It always looks so fake and takes me out of it. We know her father died, don't try to stage it in my opinion. The only time a death scene has looked realistic to me was in the soon to open OKLAHOMA revival.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr0_YGPRXkcPosted just this morning. Hopefully we'll get more by official opening. I agree, this is more brightly colored than Papermill but still grounded enough in historical fiction for me to love these designs more than Papermill's. I find it interesting that her fathers' death is only mentioned, not seen... Noel&Cole, I 100%see your point, stage deaths in general are difficult to pull off because they can easily come off as melodramatic, but if we're to REALLY understand Rodmilla, we need to see her reaction to him saying goodbye to his daughter, and not her. There's clever ways to stage these things, but I won't deny it's difficult to do well. But back to design and production quality, I'm in love with it for sure.
RE: Colors and that trailer. I am okay with the more color to give it a bit more of a fairy tale story........ minus that lime green thrown in there. You can add color in saturation and vibrancy while still being historically, not TRUE, but more or less loyal to the original setting that makes it still seem REAL but also elevate it to a bit more of a high fantasy fairy tale....... but NOT a bright lime green dress that looks like a cartoon on the middle of the stage. The hot pink is bordering on to much as well but not as offending to my eye as the lime green.
The trailer and the production photos that were just released all look so beautiful! I'm optimistic about the future of this show.
Scarlet Leigh said: "RE: Colors and that trailer.I am okay with the more color to give it a bit more of a fairy tale story........ minus that lime green thrown in there. You can add color in saturation and vibrancy while still being historically, not TRUE, but more or less loyal to the original setting that makes it still seem REAL but also elevate it to a bit more of a high fantasy fairy tale....... but NOT a bright lime green dress that looks like a cartoon on the middle of the stage. The hot pink is bordering on to much as well but not as offending to my eye as the lime green."I actually thought the same about that lime green ball gown of hers, but loved the overall show design enough for me to not say it at first. It stands out which it technically should, but not in a good way. I say take the design here but use the color palette of her ball gown from Papermill, amp up the glitz a little, and we have a winner. So what are the thoughts of this being the pre-Broadway production? I'll honestly say, I'm not going to hold my breath, I truly think it'll do better in the regional and community market. But I'm in a "I'll believe it when I see it" state of mind right now in terms of this going to Broadway.
If there's a rough spectrum of fairy tale-inspired musicals with Cinderella on one end and Into the Woods on the other and Once Upon a Mattress somewhere in the middle, then I'm kind of worried that this seems between Cinderella and OUAM right now. I'm not sure I believe they can reconcile wacky hijinks and slapstick with the more serious parts of the story. If they totally drop all the serious elements, then I don't know how much I would enjoy the story as someone who is a fan of the original movie. Maybe I could do it if I was totally prepared and ready to take it as a completely different thing. I don't know. It's giving me Tuck Everlasting vibes.
I've been getting OUAM vibes from what we've seen online too, and not in a good way. Thinking about it now, I think one key thing that the film did was to always take Danielle's plight seriously, despite the humour elsewhere. Drew Barrymore's performance contributed to this immensely of course; for example, her Danielle bursts into tears several times in the film due to the s*** she's put through. I think that's what I'm missing from the song clips shown so far. Being reduced to a servant in your own home is quite horrible, but the show has Danielle using it as fodder for jokes in 'Who Needs Love'. Similarly, in the film, the stakes for Danielle in the 'cousin' scene are quite high. If the prince figures out her deception, she faces a day in the stocks for dressing above her station, plus Rodmilla's retribution, and possibly worse if the prince is angry at being made a fool of. Not only that, but her attempt to save her friend from slavery will likely be rendered null and void. IMO it's not a time to get too cute, tone-wise. As the audience, we can chuckle a little at the film's 'cousin' scene because we know we're watching a fairy tale destined for a happily-ever-after, but Barrymore's Danielle doesn't know she's in a fairy tale.It sounds as though they've changed the story to make Danielle's servitude/reduced status less severe in the show, which may better contextualise 'Who Needs Love'. Maybe the 'Cousin's Cousin' scene has lower stakes in the show too... but I think any show has to be VERY funny if it wants to compensate for not having much in the way of stakes for the audience care about. And even then, that would indeed be a very different tale to 'Ever After' as the film's fans know it. But hey, it's possible that if one sees the show as a whole, the right comedy/drama balance is struck.(So much for holding back about this show, lol.)
In the film, Danielle's plight as a servant sucks, however it is displayed that she's become numb to it. She had been a servant for ten years, since she was 8. By the time of the film's events, she's become used to the life she'd been living. She doesn't really take pity in her plight. Her mentality is basically "Ok, I'm an orphan and a servant. I have to do this, but maybe I will look at things from a different point of view. Instead of working for my stepmother, I am working to take care of my father's home and wait until Marguerite marries the prince and my stepfmaily moves to the palace, or wait until Rodmilla dies, then I can regain my family home." If the show has taken this mentality, then it's ok for Danielle to basically make fun of her situation. Also, it's like Stockholm Syndrome. Plus, Danielle in the movie didn't cry until Marguerite burns Utopia, which is half way into the film.
Here are a couple of reviews that I found: http://broadwayselect.com/happily-ever-after-is-a-hit/https://www.ajc.com/entertainment/arts--theater/theater-review-ever-after-shows-off-alliance-theatre-regal-new-home/HDwuMhzo9X46AMGBIils5M/I wish there was a song list available.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6vc4dApiEIYoutube just suggested this to me. It's a bit of the workshop performance from waaaay back in 2013. The majority of the footage a number with the gypsies that I think is still in since it appears to be in the trailer footage so ummmmmm.... the Gypsies think she's... their queen? Oh lord, ummmm what?That head scratching WTF aside, Sierra is pretty great here. I wonder why they didn't go with her for the first tryout. Was she working on something else at the time cus I can't see why not continue with her. Glad she's back in. And... Jeremy Jordan hello there!
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