newmoonstar: (icon by marble_feet)
Watched a DVD of the 1980 New York Shakespeare Festival production of The Pirates of Penzance, and it was totally great! The rather crappy picture quality didn't matter at all, the production was so fun and energetic that that's all you noticed, and quite honestly it's a miracle to have it at all! It was much better than the movie version of the same production, which I saw some of years back but didn't make it through because it bored me so much. What a difference an audience makes! The cast was having splendid fun hamming it up for them, and the audience was having fun watching them, and I was having fun watching it all too! The cast was wonderful: Patricia Routledge is awesome and I wish she'd been in more musicals; Linda Ronstadt can genuinely sing operetta, she's no pop star just faking it; and even Kevin Kline's pomposity works to advantage for the Pirate King, and he actually comes off as rather charming. The whole production was delightful; even though the sets and scenery were rather minimal, the little pirate ship that they occasionally rode around in was so cute, and since it was filmed on an outdoor stage, the summer breeze was always blowing through, and added a pleasant ambiance of realism to the seaside scenes when it ruffled the actors' hair and fluttered the ladies' dresses. All in all it was a lovely, funny, silly, sweet romp from beginning to end. (I just wish more stage productions would get filmed; I would consider it a huge shame to have missed this simply because I hadn't been born yet when it was originally staged!)

Okay, on to less cute territory: Jekyll & Hyde. I think maybe Love Never Dies has given me a taste for train-wreck musicals, because I never thought it would be any good, and I was pretty much right. But it's the only thing by Frank Wildhorn my library actually has, and since one hears tell of his work often (usually rather disparagingly) I was curious to judge for myself. The only thing of his I've heard is the uber-cheesy ballad "This Is the Moment" which is from this show, so I was prepared for the worst, but I'd heard the 1994 studio cast album is the best version, so perhaps a glimmer of hope? Not really. Jekyll & Hyde is just one of those stories that genuinely shouldn't be a musical. But even so, there must be a way to do it better than this.

Bad doesn't even begin to describe Jekyll & Hyde )

But it had a redeeming feature in the fine cast, at least )

I think I now need to go listen to The Music Man or She Loves Me or something, just so I can reassure myself that genuinely excellent musicals do still exist somewhere out there. (Or at least to fortify me through the next train-wreck musical I venture to listen to! Heehee!) ;D
newmoonstar: (phantom of the opera)
Okay, I know I'm a few years late, but I finally listened to the cast recording of Love Never Dies, the infamous Phantom of the Opera sequel. I remember back before it opened I'd seen Sierra Boggess sing the title song on some TV show, and I remember being seriously unimpressed, and once the production actually appeared, the word among Phantom fans was that it was terrible and to be avoided at all costs, so I shrugged and didn't give it a second thought. Until this January, when the 25th anniversary staging of PotO aired on PBS. Once I learned that the leads had also been in Love Never Dies, the curiosity was too strong! I knew it would be a train wreck, but like all good train wrecks, as much as you don't wanna look, you just HAVE TO!

An overview of the original London cast recording of Love Never Dies, not terribly in depth because I'm still reeling from it! Contains spoilers! )

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