September 18th, 2009

It's Bad Musicals Friday! :D

  • Let's start off with this excerpt from Pride & Prejudice: The Musical with music & lyrics by Rita Abrams.

    I wish you joy with all my heart and from this moment may it start /
    And maybe ardor that lights up your eyes like sunlight in a thousand skies!

    Because nothing says "elegant social satire" like theoretical wishes for theoretical ardor in theoretical skies, set to a synthetic drum beat!

  • Rebecca: The Musical, lyrics by Michael Kunze and music by Sylvester Levay. Kunze and Levay have written several musicals and Rebecca, which was originally produced in Vienna, is his most popular. It's been, erm, translated into English by Christopher Hampton, and I have no comment on the original lyrics, but the English version with Levay's music. Well. Let's just take a listen, shall we?

    Last night I dreamt of Manderley. Because nothing says GOTHIC SUSPENSE THRILLER like a slow, relaxed, whole-scale melody in a major key combined with lyrics that spoil the entire musical. Throwing a line like "but our love will never die!" into the mix sort of ruins the whole 'is he or isn't he still in love with rebecca' mystery that forms the basis of the whole plot. Maybe it's just me, but I like my suspense thrillers to actually, oh, contain suspense? And also I like for musicals to have music that doesn't suck but possibly when you've watched six Tenimyu productions you forfeit the right to complain on that front.

  • Closer to Heaven, aka The Pet Shop Boys musical. Props to Neil Tennant and the gang for not wanting to pop out yet another pop musical on regurgitated songs, but, well. Erm. Here's the opening sequence, "My Night." basically, musicals are things where people produce noises and movements that may occasionally resemble singing and dancing, and nothing happens. I get it. It's your life. You can do it. You're going to light up the night like fireworks. Please do not think this bears any resemblance to plot.

  • Emma: The Musical! Lyrics by, uh, some guy whose last name is Gordon, I've seen his name listed differently in three different places, I give up.

    oh, my, where to begin? What about with the HORRID british accents, especially from the Mr. Knightley in this production, lol. And a score that contains mostly useless songs with airy melodies and lyrics. There is at least some attention given in this show to making the music have something to do with the plot, which is a step up from the other shows on this list, but still so far from being satisfactory that after trying twice i've still not finished listening to this album all the way through, haha. Especially, all the Austenian dialogue is left up to the book, and since the dialogue is where the plot happens, the score comes across as flighty and substanceless. Also, the funniest line in the score, "but my brother and your sister have three children, it's - confusing!" is promptly ruined by the sappiness of the lyrics that follow, something about grace and smiles and silly tripe like that. Andrew Davies would not approve!

    If you're going to adapt Austen as a musical, why not at least *attempt* to Adapt the language of Austen to music? It has a rhythm and a grace and a musicality all its own, I don't think I'm asking for the moon. :( AND YET, my favorite Austen novel suffers mercilessly. :( OH, JANE, WE NEED YOU MORE THAN EVER.

    (the writer of the above also wrote the musical Jane Eyre. Oh, goody. I'm sure that will be Gothic!)

    Anyone else? Feel like sharing any hilariously bad musicals? :D


    And while I'm snarking about theatre, here's a quick top 5 list, courtesy of last week's SETC auditions

    Top 5 things not to do at a professional audition:
    5. Don't repeat last year's performance. I REMEMBER YOU AND I'M UNIMPRESSED.

    4. Don't steal your performance from someone who auditioned last year. I REMEMBER YOU, AND I REMEMBER THEM, AND I'M COMPARING YOU TO THEM AND THEY'RE WAY BETTER, AND YOU'RE UNORIGINAL.

    3. Don't steal your performance from Adam Lambert's American Idol audition, or any of his songs for American Idol, or any of his songs from Upright Cabaret.* HONEY, NONE OF YOU ARE ADAM LAMBERT. IT'S BETTER NOT TO EVEN TRY.

    2. Don't do a monologue or sing a song that makes mention of pee. You would think that this would be one of those self-evident things that requires no explanation, and yet. And yet.

    1. Don't sing a song that has the line "I'm your Hebrew slave!" honestly. ... I mean. HONESTLY.

    *In fact, here's a thought: DON'T RIP OFF SOMEONE ELSE'S PERFORMANCE STYLE AT ALL. again, one of those things you'd think would be self-evident. and yet. and yet.