Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Page: 1



Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial

10086sunset
Broadway Legend
joined:2/8/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/8/16
And Peggy Profile Photo
And Peggy
Understudy
joined:10/22/15
Understudy
joined:
10/22/15
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#2
Posted: 4/25/17 at 9:14pm

"Thibodeau was onto something — the man who invented their phantom investor is now in jail — but Sprecher and Forlenza say they could have saved the show if Thibodeau hadn’t 'demolished' their efforts with e-mails filled with 'venom and lies.'"

I can't wait to hear the song "Venom and Lies" from the eventual musical adaptation of this drama. 

 

10086sunset
Broadway Legend
joined:2/8/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/8/16
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#3
Posted: 4/25/17 at 9:15pm

LOVE the idea of a musical adaptation of this drama.

RippedMan Profile Photo
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
8/14/05
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#4
Posted: 4/25/17 at 9:39pm

Could this get the Indecent treatment? Sections of the show played out, while we learn about the drama behind the scenes. 

g.d.e.l.g.i. Profile Photo
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/13/12
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#5
Posted: 4/26/17 at 10:58am

Considering he mentioned Dance of the Vampires so often in this article, if he thinks this civil trial is worth reporting on, maybe someone should drop a dime to him that a civil trial's about to open up not too long from now on Vampires as well. If you're reading, Michael, see me for the gory details.

Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy, Dave28282
devonian.t Profile Photo
devonian.t
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/26/04
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#6
Posted: 4/26/17 at 11:07am

I don't live in Germany, but I'm fairly certain all theatre-goers there are not beer-swilling.

Similarly, I'm expect not all New York gossip columnists are racist, egotistical w*nkers.

Addison D. Profile Photo
Addison D.
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/17/12
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#7
Posted: 4/26/17 at 11:45am

devonian.t said: "I don't live in Germany, but I'm fairly certain all theatre-goers there are not beer-swilling."

 

Yeah--that caught my eye as well.  Not cool. 

You think, what do you want? You think, make a decision...
Esther Blodgett
Understudy
joined:7/15/15
Understudy
joined:
7/15/15
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#8
Posted: 4/26/17 at 11:47am

The big three theatre landlords invest in shows so they will be able to see the books. Sometimes the investment is not direct; examples being covering the union bonds and their own theatre bonds.

sbflyfan Profile Photo
sbflyfan
Broadway Star
joined:4/12/07
Broadway Star
joined:
4/12/07
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#9
Posted: 4/26/17 at 1:00pm

But Europe beckons! “Dance of the Vampires” ran two years at Oberhausen. That’s probably where “Rebecca” belongs.

"Tanz Der Vampire" has had at least 15 different mountings in Europe and Asia over the past 20 years, utilizing mostly the same staging/direction. This is NOT what ended up on Broadway under the title "Dance of The Vampires."  It was poorly re-written and re-designed and that's why it failed. It's unfair to compare the two.

Mr. Riedel fails to note "Rebecca" was set to be an English-language translation using a somewhat modified version of the original German staging.  Had it flopped, it wouldn't have been anywhere near as bad as DOTV, which spiraled out of control and was altered beyond recognition into a campy, comical mess.

"I'm seeing the LuPone in Key West later this week. I'm hoping for great vocals and some sort of insane breakdown..." - BenjaminNicholas2
Updated On: 4/26/17 at 01:00 PM
g.d.e.l.g.i. Profile Photo
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/13/12
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#10
Posted: 4/26/17 at 2:06pm

I wouldn't say beyond recognition...

* Starting with the most obvious bit, they kept the title.
* Bearing in mind that the recitative disappeared in order for a more conventional (for lack of a better term) book to occur, except for parts of the first act, the score was largely the same.
* Plot specifics (names of characters, the roles they filled, the overall story in general) were intact enough that you could show a Tanz fan -- or for that matter a fan of its source material -- DOTV and they could identify the vast majority of it.

I also wouldn't say that Tanz isn't comical (I know, you technically didn't, but talking about it getting all twisted out of shape and framing that in terms of the comedy implies it). I mean, yes, compared to what we got in America (perhaps especially compared to it), the European version could be considered a dark, brooding opera with sensual and Gothic elements, sort of the Anne Rice to its American cousin's Mel Brooks, but it was never not funny. The humor was just approached very differently -- namely, choosing to be (infinitely) more subtle and dark, and not to bash one over the head with a broad, silly punchline (like the approach the show received in New York).

The late George Abbott, Broadway's greatest all-time musical comedy director, once said, "If you play it for comedy, it won't work. If you play it for real, it will." When one compares the two versions of the show closely, one realizes how right he was. Tanz is actually downright hilarious. (Think about it -- after all, this is the show that asks you to take that all-time kitsch fest "Total Eclipse of the Heart" seriously at the top of Act Two, as a love duet between a vampire and his potential victim no less.)

Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy, Dave28282
Updated On: 4/26/17 at 02:06 PM
Mister Matt Profile Photo
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/17/03
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#11
Posted: 4/26/17 at 3:07pm

Wow.  Riedel is really being a condescending xenophobic Dick in that article.  He sounds like a tRump supporter.  What an @sshole. 

I wouldn't say beyond recognition...

I think you're being too literal.  Even if it retained most of the score and the plot, it was a completely different show.  But you are spot-on about the humor.  Tanz is a dark comedy, not camp slapstick.  The German production had the right balance of humor, beauty and gothic horror drama.  What ended up on Broadway was badly miscast forced camp packaged in an eyesore.  And the majority of the English lyrics were clunky and missed the mark (keeping the original lyrics to Tonight is What it Means to Be Young being one of the most baffling offenses).  I'm glad I saw the original staging in Berlin (where we joined many Germans in drinking champagne, by the way).  It remains one of my all-time favorite musicals.

"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
g.d.e.l.g.i. Profile Photo
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/13/12
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#12
Posted: 4/26/17 at 3:23pm

They said it was altered beyond recognition; I'm just taking them at their word. Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial

But thank you for your kind words about the humor. Speaking purely for myself, it took me a long time to realize that Tanz was also funny, just in a different way, partly because everybody in the Tanz fan community over-stresses the darkness in comparing the two. Once I realized that, it made the failure of the American variation that much harder to take; one didn't need to be a rocket scientist to understand how to massage it for Broadway audiences.

The lyrics that you cite in particular from the English version actually make for a great example of the main problem DOTV had. I've always said that sticking with the original book would've been fine, and going for a wholly comic approach that involved more than building a jokey book around the preexisting score could also have worked, but instead, too much of both the serious and silly approaches were present in the final product, making it seem like the show was suffering from an identity crisis.

In this case, the German lyrics to the Act Two finale were about the triumph of the vampires over humanity (or, more generally, darkness over light), where "Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young" (in its original form rather than the very lightly rewritten Broadway version) is lighter by comparison, quite literally celebrating the joys of being young and dreaming of one perfect night, and really only bears relation to the moment in that it is celebratory and shares the same melody. One could have gone completely in the direction of "triumph of darkness over light," or one could have gone totally "celebratory," and either would have been a valid approach, but the Broadway version of the finale was a clunky combo of the two that served only to baffle its audience.

I still envy your Berlin experience. I'd love to have a similar one with the show someday.

Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy, Dave28282
Updated On: 4/26/17 at 03:23 PM
Kad Profile Photo
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
11/5/05
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#13
Posted: 4/26/17 at 3:28pm

In re: Riedel...

In the words of The Producers, "shut up, he thinks he's witty."

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
philly03 Profile Photo
philly03
Broadway Legend
joined:9/20/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
9/20/07
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#14
Posted: 4/26/17 at 3:38pm

Kunze wasn't that much involved with Broadway Dance with Vampires either until VERY late into the game...

 

The only musicals I can think of that were done by non-Americans abroad that tried to go to Broadway or the West End would be Napoleon (Canadian writers, tried out in Toronto then tanked on the West End); The Ten Commandments (French, w/ Val Kilmer and Lauren Kennedy in LA from the French production - such a disaster never even made it to Broadway); Notre Dame de Paris (French, flopped on the West End)... Any others that tried?

g.d.e.l.g.i. Profile Photo
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/13/12
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#15
Posted: 4/26/17 at 3:58pm

Come From Away is a recent more successful example...

Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy, Dave28282
Tag Profile Photo
Tag
Broadway Legend
joined:11/19/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
11/19/05
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#16
Posted: 4/26/17 at 4:25pm

 Notre Dame de Paris (French, flopped on the West End)

I think Notre Dame has been very successful internationally, especially on tour.

g.d.e.l.g.i. Profile Photo
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/13/12
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#17
Posted: 4/26/17 at 4:39pm

Flopped in the West End and absolutely died in Las Vegas, actually. The rest of the world, I dunno.

Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy, Dave28282
Mister Matt Profile Photo
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/17/03
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#18
Posted: 4/26/17 at 5:57pm

Stylistically, Tanz simply struck the perfect balance of light and dark, often letting the Gothic setting and Brach and Polanski's story provide the camp naturally whereas Dance attempted to layer over-the-top campy lines, overt sex and grotesque visuals on top of the existing material.  It was overkill.  And with Crawford's performance and involvement, the whole thing came off as a vanity project making a lame attempt to take credit for someone else's work without ever trying to understand it in the first place.  It was like they hadn't actually SEEN a production of the original.  

After telling my parents about the show, they flew to Berlin the following year just to see it and even though they knew little about it and didn't speak a word of German, they LOVED it.  There seemed to be an idea that it was some sort of cultural thing regarding the tone or the humor, but it's not true.  It was freaking brilliant.

"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
g.d.e.l.g.i. Profile Photo
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/13/12
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#19
Posted: 4/26/17 at 8:07pm

Mister Matt said: "It was like they hadn't actually SEEN a production of the original."

And yet we know someone had because, by opening (as opposed to the preview version), "Carpe Noctem" -- at least -- was a dead rip of the original. Would that they had taken a closer look at the rest of the show as well.

Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy, Dave28282
Kad Profile Photo
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
11/5/05
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#20
Posted: 4/26/17 at 9:35pm

Well, the testimony today seems to suggest that Sprecher knew about the fake investor before he claimed.

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Scoop-REBECCA-Trial-Update-Testimony-Today-Throws-Timeline-Into-Question-20170426

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
philly03 Profile Photo
philly03
Broadway Legend
joined:9/20/07
Broadway Legend
joined:
9/20/07
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#21
Posted: 4/26/17 at 10:19pm

"And yet we know someone had because, by opening (as opposed to the preview version), "Carpe Noctem" -- at least -- was a dead rip of the original."

 

Kunze was brought in I believe just prior to previews, and was likely him. Jim Steinmen was going to do original "translation" prior with another book writer... and the producers, if I remember the quote "wanted 10 jokes on each script page."

g.d.e.l.g.i. Profile Photo
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/13/12
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#22
Posted: 4/27/17 at 8:00am

Maybe Kunze gave the note that it looked like a mish-mosh of ideas up there and it might be easier to just reintroduce the old choreography, but I doubt he was directly responsible for that particular change; a writer, especially one who was basically roundly ignored until it was too late, is not all that likely to wield much influence on staging, or else we would have seen his idea of the Act Two finale long before this.

(Which, incidentally, is vampires taking over the world today, but not a dystopian Times Square as in New York or a dance in front of [your city here]'s skyline with the show's logo smeared over it as in Euro revivals; he has wanted really blunt metaphors in line with the show's points about greed, like vampires working in the stock exchanges and banks and wearing business suits. Just goes to prove why some writers shouldn't direct, if you ask me.)

To say Steinman intended to do a straight translation is also a misnomer; for all his disclaimers about how the show he loved was still running in Europe and how much he hated what happened in NY, scripts going back to the May 2001 workshop for theater owners already have an uneven mix of (awful) jokes and eroticism, much of the new structure for Act One (the prologue including "Angels Arise" was already there, for example), and patches of dialogue recycled from his long-gestating Neverland project (which is now finally limping across a stage in Manchester as Bat Out of Hell: The Musical, best described in a sentence as "the red-headed stepchild of We Will Rock You meets a bastardized Starmania," with a grab-bag of Steinman dialogue heard on his albums over the years and jokes exhibiting a similar sense of humor to that on display in DOTV; critics seem to be loving it there, but how many shows have we seen go like gangbusters out of town and then become a popcorn fart on Broadway, I ask you).

Was the dictum "five jokes on every page" responsible? Maybe. But would we have gotten something much different? I'm hard pressed to think so after seeing Bat.

Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy, Dave28282
Updated On: 4/27/17 at 08:00 AM
10086sunset
Broadway Legend
joined:2/8/16
Broadway Legend
joined:
2/8/16
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/10/12
Riedel on the Rebecca civil trial#24
Posted: 5/10/17 at 11:49pm

Not picking on you, sunset; you're just providing the link.

But if a blogger is going to cover a trial, s/he should know one is found "liable" not "guilty" in a civil case.