Tag Archives: Musical

Xanadu Returns To San Diego Tonight For One Night Only

XanaduTonight is the night that Xanadu returns to San Diego. No, it’s not the fantastic stage musical that was here for two months last year. (That’s actually opening up tonight as well, but further up the road in Costa Mesa.) Tonight, it’s the Original Motion Picture version of Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly that is playing here in San Diego.

The movie is notoriously known for being a bad movie, as it has a very loose plot, but despite the fact the movie bombed originally, it’s soundtrack was a massive hit for the record label. The collaboration between Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) on the title track, Xanadu has made the song one of Oliva’s biggest hits. Filling out the rest of the album are more fantastic songs by ELO and ONJ. Wisely, the songs weren’t put on the album in the order in which they appear in the movie, they were placed so that one side was the ELO side and the other side was the ONJ side. As the both acts draw different audiences, it made sure the fans of each artist could enjoy the work of their favorite if they weren’t as big a fan of the other.

Continue reading Xanadu Returns To San Diego Tonight For One Night Only

Lucille Ball Is Enjoyable As “Mame”

Lucille Ball Mame As MameLast week when I was introduced to Rosalind Russell’s “Auntie Mame” film from 1958, one of the hosts of the screening referred to the Lucille Ball lead musical version simply called “Mame” from 1974 as an abomination. Naturally, I felt obligated to see for myself how allegedly terrible this version is. And I didn’t find it horrible at all, in fact I quite enjoyed it.

To preface seeing both films, I should admit, I was actually introduced to the Original Broadway Cast recording by my Australian friend, Graeme Read, who is a big fan of the song “Open A New Window” and as a result of his introducing me to the song, I’ve actually had the cast album for a number of years now. I knew of Angela Landsbury through the “Murder She Wrote” series and Bea Arthur through both “Maude” and “The Golden Girls.” Also my grandmother looked a lot like Bea Arthur, I’ve always felt like anything Bea did was a larger than life version of my grandma. So anytime I see Bea Arthur on “The Golden Girls” or play a song from “Mame” I am always reminded of my grandma.

Continue reading Lucille Ball Is Enjoyable As “Mame”

Introduced To Film Classic Auntie Mame

Auntie MameLast night I attended another “Economy DVD Night” get together at the apartment shared by my friends Mike Yada and Jeffrey “J.P.” Pohlmann. About 15 of us or so showed up for the get together. The movie of the evening was “Auntie Mame” starring Rosalind Russell, the 1958 film based the original stage play, not the 1974 movie musical version entitled “Mame.”

I’ve not seen either film before, but apparently the musical version on film is referred to as an abomination by one of our hosts of the evening and the movie was not allowed to be mentioned. Apparently that’s due to Lucille Ball in the title role. Despite the ban on the subject, following the movie we viewed the trailers for both films as they were both on the DVD as extras. It was discussed that the musical version definitely had some good songs and of course, Bea Arthur. Maybe if they had gotten Angela Landsbury from the Original Broadway cast of the musical version it wouldn’t have been so derided. I have the Original Broadway cast album for it, and I quite like the banter between Angela and Bea. Might just have to give it a rent to see how bad it really is.

Continue reading Introduced To Film Classic Auntie Mame

Wicked Is A Rather Unusual Musical

WickedThe touring cast of Wicked is in San Diego at the Civic Theatre this month and I had the opportunity to catch the show for a Sunday Matinee performance. A lot of friends have been very surprised that I haven’t yet seen the show as they know I like to see a lot of shows and usually stay pretty current on the top shows. And despite the long run the show had in Los Angeles, I hadn’t seen it yet. So I made sure to catch it this time around.

Did I love the show? No. Did I hate the show? No. Did I enjoy the show? Yes. Would I see it again? Maybe. So what did I think? Well, let’s just say I never thought it would be possible to like a show that I didn’t particularly care for the songs. I enjoyed the story and the visually stunning presentation of the show, but musically, I just wasn’t really connecting with the music on any level. Despite having owned the cast album for several years now, the only songs I really knew were “Popular” and “Defying Gravity” so I was a little disappointed both were in the first act. I was also fighting off the urge to fall asleep during a couple of really boring songs in the first act like “Dancing Through Life.”

Continue reading Wicked Is A Rather Unusual Musical

Working By Stephen Schwartz Feels Like A Chore

Working MusicalSan Diego’s Old Globe Theatre is running a revival of Stephen Schwartz’ musical “Working.” The source material for the musical “Working” is unusual in that it draws it’s inspiration from real life as opposed to a novel, a non-musical play, or film. The material is based on a 1974 non-fiction book by Studs Terkel entitled, “Working People Talk About What They Do All Day And How They Feel About It.” The songs are written by a number of songwriters most notable of which are Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor.

This new revival combines original material with new interviews to help modernize the show for the twenty-first century. The show progresses like a music review as the cast trade costumes and personas to take on different careers to highlight. In some cases the costume changes are even done on stage to highlight how even acting is a job too. One such change by Danielle Lee Greaves transforms her from a housewife into a prostitute with the aid of a couple of backstage people, a wig, and the loss of the housewife costume that was already concealing the prostitute outfit.

Continue reading Working By Stephen Schwartz Feels Like A Chore

The 9 Most Incredible Things Of 2008 In Ryan’s Incredible World

Now that 2009 is now upon us, it seems that it would be good to take a few minutes to highlight what made high points for me in 2008. Taking a quick glance at the list of items that made the list this year, it seems that the very early 1980’s seem to be related to almost all of the items that make the list for this year. The influence of the 1980’s will be readily apparent as you check out the list. And I’ll point those out along the way for those who might not quite see the influence.

Without further ado, I now present My 9 Most Incredible Things of 2008, in no particular order… Continue reading The 9 Most Incredible Things Of 2008 In Ryan’s Incredible World

9 to 5: The Musical Is Phenominal

On September 18th, I met up with a few of my friends from the ABBA fan community and we went to a performance of the new musical “9 to 5” now having it’s world premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. The show is being tested here in Southern California before it heads to Broadway in March 2009.

The musical is based on the movie, “9 to 5” which originally starred, Lilly Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton. The movie and the musical are both written by Patricia Resnick and in the process of bringing “9 to 5” to the stage, Dolly Parton was asked if she’d like to do the music for the show as the movie’s iconic title song has been one of Dolly’s biggest hits of all time. Dolly wasn’t sure she was up to the task but said she’d like to give it a try, and wouldn’t you know it she’s written some brilliant songs for the show. And all of it directed by Joe Mantello, the man behind the direction of the hit musical, “Wicked.”

In the musical, Lilly Tomlin’s role of Violet Newstead is played by Allison Janney of “The West Wing” fame. Allison just inhabits the role and makes it her own. She does a brilliant job especially with the song “One Of The Boys”. Jane Fonda’s role of Judy Burnly is played by Stephanie J. Block who’s recently come from the role of Broadway’s Elphaba in “Wicked”. Stephanie really captures the timidness of the role and lets her independence shine in the showstopper song she gets in the second act called, “Get Out And Stay Out.” And Megan Hilty takes on Dolly Parton’s role of Doralee Rhoades, who recently starred as Glenda in “Wicked”. Megan really seems to be able to channel Dolly and yet still make the role her own. She gives a heatwarming rendition of “Backwoods Barbie” which Dolly herself does on her latest album, get your copy of the song here at iTunes USA or iTunes Europe.

Continue reading 9 to 5: The Musical Is Phenominal