Before Kristina från Duvemåla, before Chess, certainly long before Mamma Mia, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA were experimenting with storytelling through music. As part of their 1977 world tour, ABBA closed out their shows with the mini-musical The Girl With The Golden Hair [~25m, illustrative video (not a live filming), 1977 bootleg-quality audio] (full lyrics). [more inside]
The First Photo on the Web: A story of crossdressing, particle physics, humorous science-based novelty songs, and terrible photoshop.
The Tony Awards' 2012 Opening Number - What If Life Were More Like Theater? - with Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, Amanda Seyfried, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson
What is Cyndi Lauper doing to follow up her brilliant, well-received (and award winning) 2010 album Memphis Blues? Why, she's writing a musical! A stage adaptation of the charming UK film Kinky Boots which will be opening in Chicago later this year, with an anticipated move to Broadway in 2013. Eager for a preview? EW is hosting a sneak peek of the track The Sex Is In The Heel (scroll down for player), and the track will be available for free download at the musical's website starting tomorrow. Lauper will also be performing the track live at the NYC Pride Parade this weekend, where she will be Grand Marshall.
Four Valjeans sing "Bring Him Home". From the encore of the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert (previously). Another highlight: One Day More from the encore, featuring most of the original cast. The entire show is also available in 12 parts on Youtube: [more inside]
I got an e-mail from a friend asking if I wanted to attend a screening on the Fox lot of Peter Bogdanovich's original cut of At Long Last Love. And the answer in a case like should always be yes. [more inside]
We Japanese Americans must not forget our wartime internment - George Takei on the the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII and Allegiance, his new musical. Previously.
Holy Musical B@man! It's a musical about Batman! Act 1, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Act 2, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
The Online Musical started as a 2010 University of Virginia student project to create an interactive online musical based on audience feeback , called Musical: The Online Musical. It continued after that project finished, moving on to mini musicals (Thomas Jefferson: The Musical, Pokemon: The Musical, Where's Waldo?: The Musical), and other musical works (a dub step treatment of Les Miserables). Their most recent project is less musical, more dystopian: The Beanie Baby Hunger Games. [more inside]
The American Repertory Theater presents a musical by The Lisps about the Civil War, Ada Lovelace, and the Singularity, including such songs as Singularity, which is breathtakingly terrible but ever so catchy. [more inside]
Why this lady is wearing a horse costume. previously.
"For the drama and the way it may happen to be played, and the plot or moral or meaning of it, nobody seems particularly to care. The point of interest is, first, the dancing; next, the dancers, and last, the scenery."[more inside]
Pennies from Heaven is the most emotional movie musical I've ever seen. It's a stylized mythology* of the Depression which uses the popular songs of the period as expressions of people's deepest longings - for sex, for romance, for money, for a high good time...there was never a second when I wasn't fascinated* by what was happening on the screen. - Pauline Kael (* SPOILERS)
Prison Dancer is a new 12-episode web musical inspired by the famous dancing prisoner videos of the Philippines.
"Whether writing as herself, or through one of the many voices she heard in her head, Previn's sinister riverboat chansons revealed the pain, games, lies and loneliness behind the L.A. free love myth. 1971's Mythical Kings And Iguanas was, perhaps, the peak point of Previn's eerily confessional style containing the searingly honest Lemon Haired Ladies and The Lady With The Braid, both of which recount encounters between young men and single older women in chilling detail. Her third album, Reflections In A Mud Puddle was a concept album based upon her life with her father, and contained the astonishing Doppelganger, a Weillian Sympathy For The Devil in which the world's evils are found to lurk in all of us. " Singer-Songwriter Dory Previn has died. (previously on Metafilter).
A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt] is remembered for a lot of things: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography (a pioneer of digital color grading), its whimsical humor, fluid vernacular, and many subtle references to Homer's Odyssey. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music. Assembled by T-Bone Burnett, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads and angelic hymns to wistful blues and chain-gang anthems. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South. Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker's Down from the Mountain, an extraordinary yet intimate concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Chris Thomas King, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley) and wryly hosted by John Hartford, an accomplished fiddler, riverboat captain, and raconteur whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu and YouTube -- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list's fascinating history. [more inside]
[Absolute Beginners] has a glossy immediacy, and you can feel the flash and determination that went into it. What you don't feel is the tormented romanticism that made English adolescents in the 70s swear by the novel the way American kids had earlier sworn by The Catcher in the Rye. - Pauline Kael [more inside]
Regardless of the outcomes and foreshadowing, the lethal combination of the sudden musical revival and the roller disco fad that was freshly in the cultural air in the late 70’s was still too good to pass up. It was only inevitable that someone somewhere would make the explosive connection….and at this intersection, Xanadu would happen... [more inside]
Batman: The Musical was going to be written by Meat Loaf songwriter Jim Steinman and premiere in 2001. It was never finished, but demos and lyrics to many of the songs survive, as well as MP3s on Steinman's blog. Several of the songs such as Seize The Knight, In The Land of The Pig The Butcher Is King and Cry To Heaven were officially recorded and released by Meat Loaf.
As he sings, the walls of the apartment begin to move off, and the city walls surrounding them begin to close in on them. Then the apartment it self goes, and the two lovers begin to run, battering against the walls of the city, beginning to break through as chaotic figures of the gangs, of violence, fail around them. But they do break through, and suddenly-they are in a world of space and air and sun. They stop, looking at it, pleased, startled, as boys and girls both sides come on. And they, too, stop and stare, happy, pleased. Their clothes are soft and pastel versions of what they have worn before. They begin to dance, to play: no sides, no hostility now; join, making a world that Tony and Maria want to be in, belong to, share their love with. As they go into the steps of a gentle love dance, a voice is heard singing. [more inside]
Over 35 musical saw players travel from as far away as India and Japan to play and honor the musical saw. The NYC Musical Saw Festival aims to preserve the past, honor the present, and shape the future of the musical saw through performances, workshops, and compositions created for the musical saw. Will the musical saw ever receive the recognition and respect that it deserves?
From the Salon review: "There [is] all kinds of pop culture iconography floating around in Walter Hill's "Streets of Fire": rock stars; outlaw biker gangs; neon marquees; Dick Tracy-style police cars; diners that serve up coffee in Syracuse china; silent, tough-guy heroes; bars that are rowdy dives and bars meant for quiet, solitary drinking; leather; a battered wallet photo of someone's sweetheart; lovers' reunions; lovers' breakups; dusters; convertibles; pompadours; guns. "Streets of Fire" is nothing but iconography, an attempt to boil down 30 years of pop to its familiar essence and then contain the whole thing in a comic-strip B movie... If chrome could bleed, it would look like the colors that run together in the streets of this movie." [more inside]
It's the late 1970s, you're in France, and you're not quite sure what this whole Star Wars hype is about. Let René Joly tell you about it. If your French isn't so good, someone was kind enough to overlay a translation in English, of course in the Star Wars Crawl style. If you can't find the original record from 1977, you can also hear the b-side: Enfant de l'univers (French lyrics). More French Star Wars? Behold: a dance spectacular on French TV (previously). If you like your cheese 100% American, check out the Donny and Marie Star Wars musical number, with very some special guests. For a little less cheese, and a bit more swing: Darth Vader and his jazz combo. [more inside]
Patrina Miller sings "Random Black Girl", a song about the one black girl in the musical's chorus. [more inside]
"On Saturday June 18, 2011, representatives from the licensing agency came to watch our production. I met them before the show and explained the reasons behind my actions and that I understood the consequences. The cast was also prepared. We could have restored the production to the original script, we could have canceled the show and left them to wonder, we could have faked a medical emergency or technical failure – believe me, all of these scenarios crossed my mind. In the end, we chose to be honest and share the production we had created." Artistic director Nick A. Olivero writes an open letter to the theatre and arts community discussing the recent forced closure of his show, Little Shop of Horrors, at San Fransisco's Boxcar Theatre Company. [more inside]
Fela! is a musical based on a period in Fela Kuti's life when the musician faced off against Nigerian government soldiers. The musical was off-Broadway for a month in 2008, and about a year later opened on Broadway, running until January of 2011. Nominated for a number of awards, the musical presented a number on the 2010 Tony Awards show, where it won 3 awards. The show is now touring, including an opening in Nigeria just before the recent elections. If you can't catch it touring, the Broadway cast recording is streaming. Bonus: M.O.P (Movement of the People), Fela's 37 minute long song for the political party he founded. [more inside]
From Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez, of Avenue Q, comes the new Broadway show "The Book of Mormon." The show "tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread the word in a dangerous part of Uganda" while gently (and no so gently) lampooning organized religion and traditional musical theatre. The entire show is now streaming on NPR. Songs are extremely Not Safe For Work.
Whitestone Motion Pictures presents Blood On My Name, a short musical film in the style of Americana folklore. [more inside]
Star Wars: The Musical is now available in full. The 1996 musical was directed by 3 high school students and features a 40 person cast.
The musical saw is an instrument with close to a 300 year history. The musical saw sprung out of the Appalachian hills with mountain music, and then it found a home in Vaudeville. Despite its spotty documentation, the musical saw lives on.
On March 14th, the 26th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will add 5 new performers to the growing list of well-known musicians. As previously discussed, the 2011 inductees are Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Tom Waits and Darlene Love. Though the last name may not be as famous as the four fellows, the chances are you know her voice, from Monster Mash, Rockin' Robbin, or Da Doo Ron Ron. Except her name wasn't credited first on any of those recordings, if it was mentioned at all. [more inside]
“Is it possible to talk you out of doing a live action movie adaptation? Would you consider doing a traditionally animated adaptation? In my heart I think the musical needs the medium, and I think the medium needs your musical. I just love them both so much and hopefully that shows through in the story reel.” [more inside]
Ganondorf has a simple request for Christmas, via Brawl in the Family. (An Musical number in web comic form. Audio and Zelda required.) [more inside]
Haircut is a choose-your-own-MUSICAL-youtube-adventure. It is awesome.
This week, the world will finally get its first look at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. But the most expensive musical in Broadway history has already had an epic run—battling bankruptcy, broken wrists, unruly technology, and one comic villain disguised as a Post columnist. And at the center of it all, perched over her “God mike,” is the relentless and inventive Julie Taymor. (previously)
"We are Nirvana The Band, the live musical that will never play the same show twice. To not let us play on your stage would be a terrible mistake. We are Nirvana The Band. For now; forever; for better; for worse. Four -- times four -- is sixteen."
Carrie: The Musical, is legendary for closing after 5 performances and being perhaps the biggest instant flop in Broadway history. It has also achieved cult status, with fans demanding the performance rights be released (they've been held back since its Broadway closing). [more inside]
Tomorrow after 37 previews and 1000 performances, Broadway will bid farewell to the critically-lauded, award-winning, first-ever revival of the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific. [more inside]
brentalfloss is a comedian, musician, and gamer. He first gained notoriety when he added lyrics to the title theme from Mega Man 3 and created the "With Lyrics" series on his Youtube channel, though his most recent hit is Dr. Mario With Lyrics. [more inside]
Opening Night: October 8, 1985 at the Barbican in London. It scored mixed reviews, but word of mouth still took hold. In the 25 years since that first show, 45,000 performances have been produced in 42 countries, 308 cities and 21 languages that have been seen by 56 million people. It is the third-longest running show in Broadway history. 40 cast recordings have been released. And on October 30th, 2010, a special concert production of the play based on the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo will take place at The 02 Arena in North Greenwich. (YouTube Video) [more inside]
Did you like A Very Potter Musical? (previously) Well then, you'll probably want to catch A Very Potter Sequel, just premiered on YouTube after a special showing at Infinitus.
However, nobody quite remembers how they decided on 11-year-old Ralph Carter (who is black) to replace 23-year-old Geer (who is white).
Dude. Articles on the failed musical Dude by Hair cocreator Gerome Ragni. Where to start? Well, there is this summary of the disaster by the New York Times, which is just mind-boggling: "He also made demands, phoning Adela Holzer at 2 A.M. to say he wanted a hundred butterflies let loose into the audience before each performance. No? Well then what about having a couple of oinking pigs and chickens run down the aisle at intermission?" [more inside]
Pope John Paul II, the musical: Two priests, two dancers and a team of young actors are bringing John Paul II to the stage this month, with a musical version of the pope's life and work. [more inside]
Last night I was flipping through the TV channels, and I ended up watching part of a strange rock musical from 1974 called Phantom Of The Paradise... [more inside]