Phantom Mourns

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Phantom Mourns#1
Posted: 3/1/11 at 12:31pm
Phantom Mourns

The Phantom of London Mourns Lost London Theatres

Phantom Mourns
Aldwych Theatre - Dirty Dancing

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Playhouse Theatre - Dreamboats and Petticoats

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Prince Edward Theatre - Jersey Boys

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Prince of Wales Theatre - Mamma Mia

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Noel Coward Theatre - Million Dollar Quartet

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Palace Theatre - Priscilla

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Shaftsbury Theatre - Rock of Ages?





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Phantom Mourns#2
Posted: 3/1/11 at 12:33pm
!?
exedore
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Phantom Mourns#2
Posted: 3/1/11 at 1:11pm
Theatres all housing jukebox shows these days.
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Phantom Mourns#3
Posted: 3/1/11 at 1:40pm
The theatres aren't gone because they are presenting shows others like that you don't.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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Phantom Mourns#4
Posted: 3/1/11 at 1:47pm
Well said Mister Matt.

Yes, Im not a fan of Jukebox musicals, but without them all the people working at those theatres, in those shows, for their producers, PR teams, Ad teams would be out of work.
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Phantom Mourns#5
Posted: 3/1/11 at 2:05pm
Exactly what my thoughts were.
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Phantom Mourns#6
Posted: 3/1/11 at 2:07pm
This thread is disrespectful in SO many ways.

The sad thing is, I find it kinda upsetting that someone is idiotically decrying these theatres as "lost" and is "mourning" them. They're not lost. They're right where they always were. Performances are still taking place, and even if you don't like the show that's there now, there's always a chance there'll be a show there you do like in the future.

But the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford. That *is* lost. The final performance has played there and it's not going to be operating as a theatre anymore. I expect the foyer will be converted back to The Other Place sooner or later. Maybe that plot of land will become a handy-dandy carpark or a useful storage space. But the Courtyard Theatre is no longer in operation as a theatre, and as it has been one of my absolute favourite theatres for the last few years, I've gotta say that genuinely emotionally hurts. I'm sure people who've been around longer than I have who've seen other theatres disappear without a trace also know how incredibly sad it is to see a theatre *actually* close its doors for good.

Melodramatic? No more so than the rest of the thread. Phantom, what's been going on with you lately? You've been acting - if you'll pardon the terminology - seriously out of whack. o_O
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Phantom Mourns#7
Posted: 3/1/11 at 3:51pm
My reaction to this thread is two-fold:
1. Though I personally hate the concept of juke-box musicals and I honestly believe their presence in abundance is killing the prospects for new musical theatre writing, I also believe that those who like that kind of show have every right to go see them and if they're selling tickets then they justify their existence.
2. If Phantom feels strongly about this issue, he has every right to voice his opinions in whatever manner he wishes just as people voice their opinions about a variety of issues in threads on here. Those who disagree with him then have the same right to argue their case. I actually thought it was a clever way to spark off this particular debate.

THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
Updated On: 3/1/11 at 03:51 PM
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Phantom Mourns#8
Posted: 3/1/11 at 4:18pm
I agree with Bob and Phantom. Do not find it disrepectful. Not a fan of jukebox musicals, but occasionally I enjoy them (Priscilla is just the best). Not only are there currently too many of them, they are so cheap to produce that they hang around for ages. I would much prefer to see ORIGINAL work in these wonderful theatres.
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Phantom Mourns#9
Posted: 3/1/11 at 4:29pm
How many theatres would be dark if it weren't for these jukebox musicals? I loved Priscilla and Our House and really enjoyed Jersey Boys too. I don't think I'd ever pay to see Mamma Mia or Dirty Dancing but they definitely have their place.

Lots of the fans of these shows would feel the same about theatres clogged up with Andrew Lloyd Webber shows!!
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Phantom Mourns#10
Posted: 3/1/11 at 5:23pm
I kinda agree with Phantom on this one, but rather than mourning the theatres... i'm mourning the brilliant new and original musical theatre that is just passing through London and cant compete with these big tourist attractions!!

(Though did notice Phantom missed off The Domion Theatre)
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Phantom Mourns#11
Posted: 3/1/11 at 6:20pm
Im not a fan of these shows and i agree with Bob, but this thread is daft
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Phantom Mourns#12
Posted: 3/2/11 at 9:41am
I agree with Bob et al, that while they aren't all what I'd be spending my £ to see in the West End for many they are. Do I agree that producers should be spending more time/money on original works? yes, but am I aware that these musicals are keeping lots of people in work also? yes again.

And they're not all bad-Pricilla is excellent-I felt adding an original 'spin' on both the film and musical. Jersey Boys also is an example of the genre done well.

Eventually the trend will pass (hopefully) and we'll see something else be 'in' which will probably also annoy as many people!
Maybe I'm on nobody's side http://phdconfessions.blogspot.com/
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Phantom Mourns#13
Posted: 3/2/11 at 9:49am
"they are so cheap to produce that they hang around for ages"

Really?? You think Priscilla, Mamma-Mia, Jersey Boy et al are cheap to produce?? I can assure you they cost A LOT more than LOVE STORY and CHICAGO and even big shows like WIZARD OF OZ. Just THINK about the size of Priscilla and WWRY- in no way are they cheap shows to produce or run.... they literally cost MILLIONS!!!!!

And, even though I'm not a fan of Jukebox shows, you cannot say that they are cheap and mourn them being in the West End. As I said in my previous post, because of these shows Hundreds of people have jobs, can afford their house, can feed their families. Theatre is a business. Big commercial musicals/jukebox shows are a totally different beast to new musical theatre. That's like staying independent film can't compete with a major studio.... each one thrives the best it can, and if were lucky sometimes work to help each other.
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Phantom Mourns#14
Posted: 3/2/11 at 12:21pm
Not only are there currently too many of them, they are so cheap to produce that they hang around for ages.

Jukebox shows are generally no cheaper to produce than a musical with an original score of the same size. In lieu of a composer, rights have to be paid on the existing songs and then they still have to be orchestrated and vocally arranged for the show. Absolutely everything else involved is precisely what is involved with any other musical.

I would much prefer to see ORIGINAL work in these wonderful theatres.

You mean you would prefer to hear an original score, right? Musicals with original books are exceedingly rare. About 95% of musicals have books adapted from existing source materials.

Personally, I don't care if the score is original or not as long as I find the show intelligent, thought-provoking, or entertaining. The presence of an original score does not guarantee any of those things. Composing an original score does not automatically give a show a leg up on creativity. A banal and useless score with a dull book doesn't deserve more attention than a sold-out crowd-pleasing jukebox musical. If I had my choice of whether a theatre deserved Mamma Mia or Behind the Iron Mask, I'd choose Mamma Mia every time.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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Phantom Mourns#15
Posted: 3/3/11 at 9:22am
Seriously? This is probably the most ridiculous thread I have seen on the boards. Just because you do not like jukebox musicals does not mean they are completely useless and a waste of space. How could you possibly think they are cheaper to produce? They are just like any other musical when it comes to getting the production on stage. This thread is just pointless, and as songanddanceman said, just "daft."
"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
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Phantom Mourns#16
Posted: 3/3/11 at 10:19am
Im not a fan of thrown together juke box musicals, many of them are just a mess and should never be seen (though i could say the same about many musicals with new scores). However to put them altogether as 'bad thing' is silly.

Jersey Boys is a great show for example, Priscialla may not be a fave of mine but it works very well and Million Dollar Quartet as much as i have no intrest in it as actually based on an event that bought all those singers togeteher performing (some) of the songs.

The ironic thing is that shows tend to have either an original score or an original book but very rarely the 2 together. So musicals that we turn our nose up at like Dreamboats because its using pop music yet has an original book are actually just doing the same as what many musicals do but in revesre (new book, existing music)

Look at Phantom of the Opera, based on a book (which the book is far better than the musical), Cats, Legally Blonde, Sunset etc, out of the 2 things that create a musical (music/lyrics and book) they only have 1 part that is original.
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Phantom Mourns#17
Posted: 3/3/11 at 11:03am
The other thing about jukebox musicals like Mamma Mia! And Priscilla is that they are not trying to be musical masterpieces. They are just fun shows. I think Jersey Boys is a great show and unlike other jukebox shows is tells the story of the music you are hearing.
"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
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Phantom Mourns#18
Posted: 3/3/11 at 11:05am
Jukebox musicals, as Dolly Parton proudly says, 'it takes a lot of money to look this cheap'!
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Phantom Mourns#19
Posted: 3/3/11 at 11:18am
Not to be pedantic but all musicals have original books - it's just that some (or most) are adapted from other sources. Adaptations are original in their own way.
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Phantom Mourns#20
Posted: 3/3/11 at 12:02pm
Couldn't agree more, mallardo!

Just because a musical is adapted from another source (novel, play, film) does not mean it does not have an original book. An adaptation, especially if made by a quality writer, will not only be a fine piece of work but will also be quite different from the source material - and every word will have been created specifically for the needs of the musical theatre piece that is being created in embryo. (Terrence McNally's Books for Kiss Of The Spiderwoman or Ragtime, for example - stunning pieces of dramatic writing and quite different from the original pieces.)

But when songs are "lifted" from the pop hit song-book, the songs are always just the same as before and NEVER written specifically for the characters or dramatic needs of the piece. They can, of course filter into musicals that are hugely entertaining. But they are never truly original.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
Updated On: 3/3/11 at 12:02 PM
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Phantom Mourns#21
Posted: 3/3/11 at 12:41pm
But when songs are "lifted" from the pop hit song-book, the songs are always just the same as before and NEVER written specifically for the characters or dramatic needs of the piece.

That is as true as saying adapted books cannot be original. While the base melody and lyrics might be the same as the original song, most of the time, work is done to the orchestrations and arrangements. Sometimes lyrics are changed and/or additional underscoring is composed. If you're going to acknowledge the work that goes into adapting source material for books, the it's only right to acknowledge work that goes into adapting previous songs into a book musical. They are no more carbon copies of the original songs than adapted books are to their sources. Adapted books basically use the characters, settings, plots and at times, dialogue from the source material and then make the necessary changes to conform it to musical theatre (with varying degrees of success). Orchestrators and arrangers have to do the same with the basic structure of songs to adapt them for a book musical. To imply there is no work involved is a disservice to those who work hard to make the show a success.

PS - I liked McNally's book for Spider Woman, but I thought his book for Ragtime was something of an unfocused mess. He leaned heavily on the film for the main dramatic arc of the plot, but inconsistently used the peripheral historical characters of the novel to little effect. The original Broadway staging further muddied the show. It was something of a spectacular mess. A brilliant score for a show that wanted to be both a huge spectacle and minimalistic with a plot that was at turns historic, fictional, epic, quaint, and manic. It was the musical that tried to be everything at once. I felt the same way about Spider Woman's staging and beautiful score, though I felt its book was superior to Ragtime.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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Phantom Mourns#22
Posted: 3/3/11 at 1:02pm
I NEVER implied that no work is done when adapting a jukebox show or even vaguely insulted or deprecated those who do such adaptationsn - and I accept that orchestrations may be different. But the songs are still the same songs as before whatever window dressing is placed upon them. And in a musical every single word in a lyric should be totally character specific and be written to drive the plot - that, by definition, is not possible if the songs have been written before and not written FOR the piece. Also, the entire raison d'etre of a jukebox show is to jump on the bandwaggon of the songs' pop-chart popularity, not for any artistic motivation. (I don't believe any producer would even pretend otherwise.)

Again, I don't question the popularity of jukebox shows or people's rights to see and enjoy them. (Hell, there are a couple that I have even enjoyed!) But at least accept them for what they are. And what they are is certainly not original.

And I couldn't disagree more with your verdict on McNally's Ragtime libretto, especially having seen the awful screen adaptation of Doctorow's novel - the Ragtime Book is pretty much genius writing IMO in fusing such an incredibly epic novel into two and a half hours of musical theatre (and from what I've read Doctorow was more than happy with it while he disowned the movie). But as always opinions will differ. Maybe my opinions are coloured by the fact that McNally is one of my absolute gods of dramatic writing. (I'm even going to see Catch Me If You Can purely because he wrote the libretto - coz I've never heard a Shaiman & Whitman song I like lol. But that's another issue.......)
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
Updated On: 3/3/11 at 01:02 PM
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Phantom Mourns#23
Posted: 3/3/11 at 3:28pm
There is no equating the arrangement of an established song with the adaptation of a movie or book into the book of a musical. In the former case the challenge is minimal, in the latter it's massive.

But in any case, isn't the point of most (not all) Jukebox Musicals to recreate the exact sound of the original songs? Jersey Boys, a show I love, presents us with enhanced carbon copies of the old Four Seasons songs. Why would it be any other way? Why get all creative with songs when the audience wants to hear them exactly as they were always done?
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Phantom Mourns#24
Posted: 3/3/11 at 5:51pm
I agree but the simple fact is that nothing is really original anymore, everything comes from elsewhere, that can be a book for a musical lifted from a novel/film/poem etc or songs lifted from a pop album.
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna