Horror On Broadway

BritCrit
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Horror On Broadway#1
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:20am

The recent discussion of the North Bergen adaptation of Alien got me thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of horror themed plays (and possibly musicals). I have often expressed concern over big film-to-stage adaptations being restricted by the confines of the stage, but these constraints can really add tension to horror stories. 

What are your thoughts on horror-themed plays- do you think it is possible for Broadway or Off-Broadway to have its own The Woman in Black?

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/PHOTOVIDEO-New-Jersey-High-School-Stages-Visually-Stunning-Adaptation-of-ALIEN-20190324

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Lot666
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Horror On Broadway#2
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:27am

I'm still waiting for The Exorcist - The Musical. And yes, I'm quite serious.

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BritCrit
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Horror On Broadway#3
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:32am

Lot666 said: "I'm still waiting for The Exorcist - The Musical. And yes, I'm quite serious."

There was a stage adaptation of The Exorcist on in the West End during late 2017. Ian Mckellen provided the voice of Pazuzu for some reason.

Maybe we Brits just prefer horror. The Woman In Black has been around for three decades, and Ghost Stories had a pretty good run. But if you discount "ghoulish" musicals like Rocky Horror, Beetlejuice, or The Addams Family (which are comedic with horror elements), I don't think Broadway has ever seen a straightforward horror play of that type...

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DoTheDood
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Horror On Broadway#4
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:41am

BritCrit said: "Maybe we Brits just prefer horror. The Woman In Black has been around for three decades, and Ghost Stories had a pretty good run. But if you discount "ghoulish" musicals like Rocky Horror, Beetlejuice, or The Addams Family (which are comedic with horror elements), I don't think Broadway has ever seen a straightforward horror play of that type..."

Yeah, even something like Little Shop of Horrors is more of a comedy with horror elements that a straight up horror, nothing to really terrify the audience. Every major "spooky" musical/play on Broadway seems to lean more into schlock/camp rather than actual scares

 

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musikman
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Horror On Broadway#5
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:46am
The Pillowman was about as close as it gets on Broadway. There were a few jump scares in that play that jolted me out of my seat. I’m usually not a jump scare fan but it was extremely effective. I’d love to see some legit horror or serious horror-themes plays. There’s so much more you can do in a theatrical space that you can’t do on film.
-There's the muddle in the middle. There's the puddle where the poodle did the piddle."
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SomethingPeculiar
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Horror On Broadway#6
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:50am

Horror can come across as SUPER campy on stage if it's not done carefully. But the success of "elevated horror" movies like Us and Hereditary has made me wonder if it's time to try horror again on Bway.

There's probably data behind the lack of horror plays on Broadway. Sweeney Todd didn't recoup originally, American Psycho and Dance of the Vampires were a huge failures. There are slight horror elements in Little Shop, Phantom, and Deathtrap, but not overwhelming enough to be classified as such.

I think the key to success with horror on Broadway would be similar to what got Get Out a Best Picture nomination: it's a commentary on race in America that also happens to be a horror movie. A successful horror play or musical would need that "something else" element to the story.

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broadway86
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Horror On Broadway#7
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:55am

I will never forget, two dozen of my graduating high school classmates and myself went to London, and saw The Woman in Black while we were there. Fifteen years ago. We sat down wondering how a stage show could possibly scare a bunch of skeptical Americans, but by the time we left, we were terrified to sleep alone that night. 

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Lot666
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Horror On Broadway#8
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:56am

BritCrit said: "There was a stage adaptation of The Exorcist on in the West End during late 2017. Ian Mckellen provided the voice of Pazuzu for some reason."

But it was a straight play, not a musical, right? There was a stage play in Los Angeles several years back that starred Brooke Shields as the mother. I want a musical!

http://www.playbill.com/video/highlights-from-the-exorcist-starring-brooke-shields-and-richard-chamberlain

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Updated On: 3/26/19 at 09:56 AM
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VotePeron
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Horror On Broadway#9
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:57am

Still hoping the success of Cursed Child could sway a producer to remount Tiffany's Let The Right One In, which scared the hell out of me at St. Ann's a few years ago. Would give anything to see that on stage again.

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DoTheDood
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Horror On Broadway#10
Posted: 3/26/19 at 9:59am

SomethingPeculiar said: "I think the key to success with horror on Broadway would be similar to what got Get Out a Best Picture nomination: it's a commentary on race in America that also happens to be a horror movie. A successful horror play or musical would need that "something else" element to the story."

I haven't seen any of Jackie Sibblies Drury's recent stuff like Fairview or Marys Seacole, but I could see her leaning more into horror off-Broadway into a similar vein as Get Out has. She has more a surreal style, but that could work in her favor

Updated On: 3/26/19 at 09:59 AM
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Lot666
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Horror On Broadway#11
Posted: 3/26/19 at 10:02am

SomethingPeculiar said: "There's probably data behind the lack of horror plays on Broadway.Sweeney Todd didn't recoup originally, American Psycho and Dance of the Vampires were a huge failures.There are slight horror elements in Little Shop, Phantom, and Deathtrap, but not overwhelming enough to be classified as such."

Also Jekyl & Hide.

 

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Jordan Catalano
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Horror On Broadway#12
Posted: 3/26/19 at 10:06am
The problem is that horror (in film) relies so much on where the camera tells you to look or not look. The same can’t be done on stage. The only time I’ve ever been legitimately scared st the theatre is the last second of SHINING CITY when a ghost is revealed. It came out of the blue and just scared the sh*t out of me.
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WiCkEDrOcKS
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Horror On Broadway#13
Posted: 3/26/19 at 10:14am

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN had a bunch of wildly effective scares (and was a moving, beautifully-crafted play to boot).

Current Avatar: Cynthia Erivo, bringing down the house in The Color Purple.
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YvanEhtNioj
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Horror On Broadway#14
Posted: 3/26/19 at 10:34am

Isn't Rob Zombie trying to do a musical adaptation of The Devil's Rejects? If it actually moves forward, I think that would be pretty dope to see on stage. 

We ain't no cheerleaders.
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Horror On Broadway#15
Posted: 3/26/19 at 10:34am

Duplicate. 

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Updated On: 3/26/19 at 10:34 AM
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WldKingdomHM
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Horror On Broadway#16
Posted: 3/26/19 at 10:57am
Really wished Let The Right One In had a transfer from St Ann’s to Broadway. It was outstanding
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macnyc
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Horror On Broadway#17
Posted: 3/26/19 at 11:55am

I agree about Let the Right One in! Very scary! In a beautiful way, if you can believe that. 

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trentsketch
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Horror On Broadway#18
Posted: 3/26/19 at 12:21pm

Jordan is spot on. The American understanding of horror is very much controlled by editing and limited camera perspective. When it's wide open on stage, it can struggle. Horror/comedy tends to play better, like Evil Dead, Little Shop of Horrors, or Silence!. In a smaller or immersive space, it can play better. Sincere horror on a big stage where you might see the strings is a risk. 

With that said, I'm big on the idea of horror theater. The right team could make something terrifying and it could take your breath away. I thought the use of the coffin and blood in the John Doyle Sweeney Todd was very effective. The Pillowman was terrifying on Broadway, as well. 

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Horror On Broadway#19
Posted: 3/26/19 at 2:32pm
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Horror On Broadway#20
Posted: 3/26/19 at 2:34pm
The off broadway Ghost Quartet would never work on broadway but was delightfully spooky and creepy. Nothing like experimental opera to get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up. Or performing songs in pitch black.
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Horror On Broadway#21
Posted: 3/26/19 at 3:02pm

When I saw Doyle's Sweeney Todd, there were a few people that would titter and giggle whenever anything intense happened (like Epiphany.) I think some folks get uncomfortable at things that are too scary or too intimate and they giggle as a release. Then it gets contagious and other people hear it and giggle too, thinking it's camp. We saw this happen with Sondheim's Passion. People found it easier to deal with as camp than as the actual intensity that was intended, especially in a venue where light and happy fare is the norm.

Art has a double face, of expression and illusion.
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darquegk
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Horror On Broadway#22
Posted: 3/26/19 at 3:08pm

The Humans verges on horror... if not horror, at least David Lynch's uncanny style.

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Horror On Broadway#23
Posted: 3/26/19 at 3:36pm

Does Voices in the Dark from 1999 count?

or that horrible revival of Dracula off broadway that closed right away?

 

 

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Jordan Catalano
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Horror On Broadway#24
Posted: 3/26/19 at 4:55pm
I’m in London right now at intermission for THE TWILIGHT ZONE. The show is in a very intimate house and has cut the stage down by a bit with their set so they’re able to concentrate your eyesight on what they want you to be looking at. It’s a very weird show so far but reminded me of this thread since it’s quite effective in parts, eliciting some gasps from the audience. It’s given me the chills a few times already.
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Horror On Broadway#25
Posted: 3/26/19 at 7:16pm

How are we defining "horror" and are we only talking about musicals?

Because suspense thrillers used to be a staple on Broadway. Ira Levin made a fortune out of them with DR. COOK'S GARDEN and DEATHTRAP. There was also SLEUTH and WAIT UNTIL DARK and plenty of others which I don't recall because it was never a genre that really interested me.

Among musicals, REDHEAD was a Tony winner than hinged on a murder mystery, as does much of the plot (more comically) of ONE TOUCH OF VENUS. Recently we had GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE..., but, yes, that was played for camp.

I think the horror genre departed for film and TV, just as the non-musical romantic comedy did.

ETA I forgot the best example of all: the version of DRACULA, starring Frank Langella, which managed to be funny, campy, stylish, beautiful and scary, all at the same time! By comparison and like SWEENEY TODD, the terribly literal film version shows what was lost when the genre disappeared from the Broadway stage.

Updated On: 3/26/19 at 07:16 PM