registry cleaner sof… on MUSICAL OF THE WEEK: ‘TH…
Okay, let’s make it snappy. Theatre of the week, is the Ambassador Theatre located in West 49th Street in the Times Squar/Theatre District in New York Citaay. This theatre was designed by Herbert J. Krapp and opened February 11, 1921.
Now, to the untrained eye, the Ambassador looks like any other theatre from the outside. But, infact it is different from any other theatre in NYC because it is situated diagonally on its site to fit the maximum number of seats possible.
The Ambassador was originally owned by the Shubert Organisation, who then sold it in 1935. From 35 until 1956 the theatre was used as a studio for NBC and DuMont Television Network. In 1956, the Ambassador was sold back to its rightful owners the Shuberts who, till this day has operated back to a legitimate Broadway theatre, with a maximum capacity of 1,155. The first show ever to brace the stage was The Rose Girl in 1921.
Other notable shows were The Diary of Anne Frank (1955), Stop The World – I Wanna Get Off (1963), Godspell (1977), A View From the Bridge (1983), Dreamgirls (Revival) (1987) and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (Revival) (1999). The theatre is now hosting to the 7th longest-running musical on Broadway, Chicago (Revival).
I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaack!! Sorry, I’ve (yet again) had a lot going on and went on another hiatus. However, I have been waiting a long time to announce the Musical of the Week. All ya gotta do is dream, and baby, we’ll be there!! Yes, it is the magic of Dreamgirls.
Dreamgirls is a musical based and inspired on what it takes to be in the music industry, specifically for African-American singers. It is a period musical, spanning from 1962- mid-1970’s. Certain characters in the musical were inspired by the real (or rumoured) lives of The Supremes, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, The Shirelles. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it is one of those ‘dream’ storylines, about a group who were desperate hopefuls with a whole lotta talent but no prospectful future, and fame and success turns into backstabbings, heartaches, addiction, adultery, regrets, and of course, fighting the evil “Vampire” and to find yourself, and release the power inside of yourself and correct your life. JUST WATCH IT, OK?
The score is freaking awesome! Such incredible music. It’s hard to pick some favourites, but I love “Fake Your Way to the Top”, “I Love You I Do”, “It’s All Over”, “And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going”, “I Am Changing”, and “Patience” (added into the film version). Most of the time, the music reflects “black popular music” and mowtown-like influences however, I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a rock-musical because it still captures very ‘classic motifs’ in parts of the music.
Now for the history part. Dreamgirls was originally trialed as One Night Only, and then Project #9 and was workshopped in 1978. It was however, December 20, 1981, that it premiered on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre, directed, produced and choreographed by Michael Bennett and co-produced by many other individuals including the Shubert Organisation and Geffen Records. It starred Sheryl Lee Ralph as Deena Jones, Jennifer Holiday as Effie White, Loretta Devine as Lorrell Robinson, Ben Harvey as Curtis Taylor, Jr., Cleavant Derricks as James “Thunder” Early, and Obba Babatunde as C. C. White. Jennifer Holiday actually went all diva on everyone and said, she ‘was going’ if they didn’t feature Effie in the musical more. And, of course, they wrote her in more. I should say, ‘they’ are the composer and lyricist, Henry Krieger being the composer and Tom Eyen being the lyricist and wrote the book. At the 1982 Tony Awards, Dreamgirls was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, and won 6 Tony’s, Best Lighting Design, Best Choreography, Best Featured Actor in a Musical to Cleavant Derricks, Best Lead Actor in a Musical to Ben Harvey, Best Lead Actress in a Musical to Jennifer Holiday and Best Book of a Musical to Tom Eyen. It did not win Best Musical, it was won by Nine. Below is a clip of the Dreamgirls performance at the 1982 Tony Awards. Jennifer Holidays recording of “And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going” did something incredible, that is a rare occurance from a Broadway show, especially one that did not win Best Musical… it went viral. I mean, the song itself became a CD single and reached Number 1 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1982. The OBC soundtrack of Dreamgirls won a grammy for Best Musical Album, and even won a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance for Jennifer Holliday’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”. This put Jennifer Holliday on the global map, and seemed to inspire every Asian in the world. That’s not even a joke, I swear every Asian loves that song, especially the Filipinos! Every Filipino woman singer has sung it at least 5 times on broadcast. Dreamgirls finished its production on August 11, 1985.
In 1983, the first US Tour production began, even though shorter then proposed due to budget costs. Holliday revived her role for the Tour. In 1987 an International Tour began, and sadly in ’87, Michael Bennett died due to a HIV related incident. 1987 saw a short lived Broadway Revival, in 1994 produced a production in Atlanta, Georgia, 1997 a production in Chicago, Illinois, 1997 saw a 2nd US Tour, in 2001 was a special one-time Broadway Concert, in 2002 was a 2nd production in Atlanta, GA. It was in 2006, that after decades in talks, and in the making, a feature Hollywood film was created, starring, Beyonce Knowles as Deena Jones, the brillant American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson as Effie White, Anika Noni Rose as Lorrell Robinson, Jamie Foxx as Curtis Taylor Jr. and Eddie Murphy as James ‘Thunder Early. I must admit, even though the fuss was about Knowles and Hudson playing the leads, (and I love Hudson, so I was excited too), I was pleasantly surprised to hear Noni Rose scored the part as Lorrell, because she has such an incredible voice, really calming yet can be powerful and sexy if you need it. She is known by the theatre freaks for her 2004 Tony Win in Caroline, or Change. The film was directed by Bill Condon, was done perfectly, and was one of the few musical movies of the 00’s decade, and one of the very few of those very few that were portrayed excellently and respectfully in homage to the Original Broadway Musical, even though, there were 3 new songs added to the film, it fitted in nicely. The film cost $75 million to make, the most expensive African-American film of all American Cinema history. The film did earn $154 million at the International box office. It won 3 Golden Gobes, Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (Eddie Murphy), Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Jennifer Hudson) and Best Picture: Comedy or Musical. It also won 2 Academy Awards, Sound Mixing and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Hudson). It also won 1 Grammy Award for Outstanding Song Written for a Motion Picture- “Love You I Do” (Henry Krieger and Siedah Garrett). All it needs to do is become a Movie made for Television, win 1 Emmy, and Dreamgirls could win and EGOT…. I wonder if that’s possible for a Musical to win an EGOT? Anyone know?
2007 saw a 3rd production in Atlanta, GA and in 2009 began a 3rd US Tour, which starred American Idol alum, Syesha Mercado as Deena Jones.
I was trying to make sure that this blog would not be long…. however it has seemed to be that way… but c’mon you try typing a short blog about the history and life of Dreamgirls, and plus I know that my real readers will read it all!! And I love y’all for it!
The chart has remained the same on the historic Hot 100, however it was Katy Perry who slid off after 13 weeks in the top 2 spots, allowing Taio Cruiz to highlight his new song, which I actually like. When the Hot 100 began back in 1952, I wonder what Ricky Nelson’s Poor Little Fool, the first number one, would react to if it saw Eminem at No.1?
NUMBER 1 – Love The Way You Lie ft. Rihanna – Eminem
NUMBER 2 – Dynamite – Taio Cruiz
Now after my last blog, where I had a go at Justin Bieber, I just wanted to show y’all that I don’t hate kids or child prodigies. But, I do expect them to have a standard of talent. I’m not saying Justin Bieber is bad, he is good. But I could pick out 5 million 16 year olds that sound the same. The only reason why he has done so globally well is through excellent marketing and excellent management through Island Records in Atlanta and through excellent team of song-writers, all his songs are great songs. However when you see him perform, apart from being a great dancer and having the star confidence, how is his voice, how is his register, how is his technique. Well, I can tell you now that his technique is a mimic of the current RnB singers, and it’s a voice in 18 months time, will not be there anymore. And his fan base will have had their estrogen levels lowered, and will completely reject Bieber, and will actually even be ashamed to once be a fan, leaving the new generation to say “Justin who? – ” He is a complete phase, and I see him working at Chucky Cheese in 20 years time.
Now if you want to see and hear a true child star, check out this kid. If you live in Britain, you might already know him. His name is Shaheen Jafargholi, he was 12 when he auditioned for Britains Got Talent, and the late iconic superstar Michael Jackson saw his video on YouTube, and invited him to perform regularly in his This Is It tour, however sadly, you know how it went, but he did leave this incredible performance at the tribute concert in Los Angeles at the Staple Centre. This is what a real singer is. He has a voice! And he has one of the best voices that I have heard in, well years. Notice no gansta attitude, no necklaces or skater shoes, but actually the most vital thing you need, a classic RnB voice. I really hope to see his voice be manageable through Puberty and the hormony’s… because I think this guy will go on to have one of the greatest voices! Check it out for yourself.
During this performance, it was Larry King who leaned over to Motown Records founder, Berry Gordy and said, “Who is that?” to which Gordy responded “I have no cotton pickin’ idea who that is, but if I were [still] in the business, I would sign him tomorrow.” This performance was watched by over 1 billion people. Jafargholi was signed to Island Records. I wish him the best, because he has what it takes to be a true, emphasis on the true RnB singer/star!
Soooo you just found out that Lee won American Idol 9? Omigod, omigod you guys, get with the times, American Idol 10 auditions are well and truly on their way. If you are an American citizen/resident/have that special green card, want to audition and have still not, then here are the dates:
|East Rutherford, New Jersey||August 3, 2010||IZOD Center|
|Austin, Texas||August 11, 2010||Frank Erwin Center|
|San Francisco, California||August 19, 2010||AT&T Park|
It is known that Simon Cowell has indeed left the Idol building, and of course, it will never be the same show. It is not known if there is going to be a new fourth judge, or if they are going to keep the 3 judges, original judge and musical director, Randy Jackson, famous songwriter Kara DioGuardi, and television personality/comedienne/talent finder Ellen Degeneres. However, if a new judge is to join, rumours are they are asking Mathew Knowles (Beyonce Knowles’ father who was Destiny’s Child’s manager), Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Clive Davis, Tommy Mottola, or Lady GaGa. I would like to see the 3 judge concept, because I like that concept, however, I would like to see someone like, David Foster be an Idol judge, but you definitely need a manager type of person to take over the role.
What is a confirmed change to this season is that, the age limit has been reduced to 15 years old, instead of 16 years. So now it is 15-28, as oppose to Season 1, 16-24. I think, in fact, I know exactly why they are doing this. Because, a little munchkin by the name of Justin Bieber has recently succeeded in world domination at a very young age of 15… the executives feel as if they have to compete with the YouTube, and this will attract many voters…. the TEENS!!! Yep, you heard it here first folks, expect to hear a lot more high-pitched screaming in the crowd next year! Okay, so AI had produced some of the finest artists of all time, at a young age. Diana deGarmo became runner-up of AI3 at 16, Jordin Sparks won AI6 at 17, David Archuleta became runner-up of AI7 at 17. The thing was, they tried really hard to be professional, it was an attitude where the audience/judges would respond, “and, wait, you’re how old….. 16?!?!?! And, you sing like that?!?!?” Whereas, now they are looking for the next Justin Bieber, American Idol is going to turn into a playschool of emo rascals all playing the guitar! And what is with the guitar, how come the guitar has gotten sooooo popular with contemporary singers these days. Gone are the days of people singing standard R&B’s on the piano, or singing with saxamaphone, now everyone is bopping along to “If I Were A Boy”, strumming to a guitar. The pop music today is a very dry, raspy sound! Wow, raspy is a word. Anyway, bring back the old fundamentals I say, and I am already predicting Justin Biebers next year. In the early seasons, the young ones had come from the coasts, and knew how to work the ‘Hollywood scene’. Nowadays, there are red-necks coming in from Idaho and Wyoming, and even worse….. Florida. No, I’m totally joking about Wyoming. It’s a very kind of Kristen Stewart look, and Justin Biebers, ewwww. All I’m saying is, YOU WERE ALL GIVEN THE MEMO!
p.s. The day after I posted this, the following was released by Fox and American Idol, so it seems like they are on a search for at 1 new judge.
The U.S. Billboard No.1 and No.2 song did a flip this week! Here it is:
NO.1 – Love the Way You Lie feat. Rihanna – Eminem
No.2 – California Gurls feat. Snoop Dogg – Katy Perry
Soooo….. I do always say how Broadway has some historic and incredible theatres, however another one of my favourite theatres is the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. It’s situated in a famous area right on Hollywood Blvd, when you walk out of the foyer, you are among the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars. It opened on June 4, 1930, and was built by B. Marcus Priteca and was a palatial Art Deco Theatre. It was part of the Pantages Theatre Circuit.
It was originally made to become a Vaudeville theatre, probably one of the strongest within the West Coast of USA, however due to the Great Depression in 1927, along with almost every Vaudeville Theatre in the nation, they resulted to using it as a movie theatre, with frequent Hollywood peformers taking to the stage for rare performances.
The Pantages Theatre was written into the history books when it hosted the Academy Awards from 1949 – 1959. Since then, the theatres main purpose is for live theatre, being the main theatre for musicals in the Los Angeles district, and also has special concerts, Shakira performed for the first time in USA at the Pantages. It is now owned by the Nederlander Organization, who owns a large sector of Broadway theatres as well. Many locals like to label the Pantages as LA’s Broadway….. I BEG TO DIFFER WITH YOU BILLY!
It has recently been noted as being home to the Los Angeles production of Wicked, from 2007 – 2009, and once starred an unknown Adam Lambert as Fiyero.
Previously this year, it was the LA home for The Colour Purple, and once again starred Fantasia Barrino, the 3rd American Idol who originated the role on B’way. It just finished In The Heights during its national tour, and revived the role of Usnavi for Lin Manuel-Miranda. The line up for the rest of the 2010-2011 season is The Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Hair, Spring Awakening, Rock of Ages, The Beatles Experience Rain, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Burn The Floor and Shrek The Musical. So, if you are in or traveling to Los Angeles, or the West Coast, and you are not visiting New York, and love your theatre, then the Pantages offers a very large slab of theatre life to Los Angeles, and you will not be dissapointed with the standards, and it is a good escape from the plastic of the epicentre of Hollywood! Just don’t tell a Los Angelino that.
Sooo, a musical about 2 producers, who work out that by producing a flop, they can actually make a fortune, and consists around crazy accents, homosexuals, nazis (never thought I’d hear that in a a sentence) and many inside theatre jokes. This idea by Mel Brooks evolved into one of the most successful Broadway musicals of all-time, defying gravity by breaking records upon records.
So whats the fuss on The Producers? Mel Brooks had a film of the same name in 1968 which revealed the same basis and he was the lyricist and along with Glen Kelly, composer and writer. It was in the 90’s that one of his friends persuaded him to turn it into a musical. Mel Brooks likes to work on projects with a co-person, and invited Jerry Herman to co-compose the material for the musical, however Herman did decline, telling Brooks he has what it takes to do it alone. Brooks met Thomas Meehan and agreed to write the book together and also agreed for Mike Ockrent to become the Director, and his wife and professional partner, Susan Stroman as Choreographer. However, tables turned when Ockrent died in December 1999, during production development, and Stroman continued on advancing in the role as Director, replacing her husband, along with Choreographer. Glen Kelly became musical director for the musical.
So, when I saw the blurg about Pro’s, I didn’t think I would enjoy it, I thought it would one of those painful musicals you have to sit through, but it wasn’t, I actually loved it, and was on the edge of my seat. Sadly, I have not seen a stage production of Pro’s, but would love to one day, or even be a part of a production!! The Producers begins in 1959, with Max Bialystock, a once successful producer whose recent productions all become flops, his recent musical Funny Boy, a musical based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet was no exception. I love the song ‘Opening Night’, the ensemble, as they walked out of the theatre on opening night with much anticipation, they sung
‘He’s done it again, he’s done it again. Max Bialystock has done it again. We can’t believe it! You can’t conceive it! How’d he achieve it….. it’s the WORST SHOW IN TOWWN!!!”
It makes me laugh everytime I see it, or hear it! Max vows he will make a comeback as a respectable producer…. until, Leo Bloom, a P.A. makes an observation that if a producer raised a budget of $1Million for a flop, and only used $100,000 to get it to opening night, then the producer would be left with the rest. I love how Nathan Lane, who plays Max says, “you keep saying that, but you don’t say how.” I also love in “We can Do It” when Lane begins the song “What did Thomison say to Clarke when everything looked bleak?”, it sounds like a showstopping moment to me. And, can I just say I love Nathan Lane, like, he is so incredible as an actor, he really makes this show so edge-of-your-seat! And his humour is so spot on. Unlike the other original lead, Matthew Boderick, who I hate. I despise, I cannot stand.But that is just me. And if it wasn’t for the other A-Class actors surrounding him, he could’ve pulled the show down. When he gets nervous, and says “my blanky!”, I roll my eyes, because he’s not supposed to be playing silly times…. it’s showing the insecurity of the character who never takes chances and is happy to stay inside the square he lives in. A persona, which frankly, Matthew Boderick is not skilled enough to establish. But, having said that, him and Nathan Lane, who saves Boderick’s buttocks, (especially in comedic timing) have excellent chemistry on stage! So I commend that! One of my favourite lines (which I try to get a chance to personally say) is in “I Wanna Be A Producer” when Leo says “Mr. Bialystock was right, there is a lot more to me than there is to me…. STOP THE WORLD! I WANNA GET ON!” An in-theatre joke, referring to the musical, Stop the World! I Wanna Get Off where that hit song “What Kinda Fool Am I?” is from. Listen to the Linda Ronstadt version, it’ll blow your mind!! And I am digressing… guys, why didn’t you tell me?!?! When choosing the worst play ever written for their production, they come across Springtime for Hitler. Brad Oscar played the original Franz Liebkind who has some of the best lines in the musical is when he sends the letter to the pigeon and says “I need you to send this letter to blah blah blah, Buenos Aires, Argentina, AqAP….. AS QUICK AS POSSIVLE!! (bird flies off) WHERE U GOING…ARGENTINA’S VAT’A WAY!!!” Very funny stuff! And when Franz says, “you must sing with me Adolf’s favourite song, key of E?” Max responds “Is there any other?” One of my favourite scenes is ‘Keep It Gay’. Gary Beach was the original Roger de Bris and Roger Bart as Carmen Ghia. And another favourite moment, when Roger says “And last and least, my lighting designer, Shirlie Mauckovig…… KEEP IT GAAY KEEP IT GAAAY … KEEP IT GAAAAAAAAAAAY!!” I roll around the floor laughing! And when they say “Tony, Tony, Tony!!” Max: What’s the matter?! Carmen: He’s having a stroke! Max: WHAT!! Carmen: of GENIUS!!!!! Soooo funny!!! I love when Roger starts having his ‘stroke of genius’ and gets excited, and he gains some sort of a Texan accent, “The Germans loose?! Excuuuuuuuuse me…. it’s down beat!” And, I am obsessed with “If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It” sung by Swedish actress hopeful, Ulla, played on B’way by Cady Hullman! I love it!!The character list of the Pro’s suprisingly only consist of 1 woman major role, but works out sooo well!! I love when Nathan Lane says “ULLA DANCE AGAAAIN!!” Very funny. I don’t want to say anymore, because I don’t want to ruin anything in the storyline for you people! Okie-slash-dokie!!
Pro’s opened at the St. James Theatre on April 19, 2001 directed by Susan Stroman. It starred Nathan Lane and Matthew Boderick. It broke an Antoinette Perry winning 12 Tony Awards, winning the most Tony Awards, beating Hello Dolly! who won 10, 35 years prior. The Tony Awards include, Best Orchestrations, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Lighting Design, Best Costume Design, Best Scenic Design, Cady Huffman won Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, Gary Beach won Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, and Nathan Lane won Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, and da da da Best Musical, along with 11 Drama Desk Awards and 1 New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award. Pro’s broke yet another record earning $3million in one single day at the Broadway box office! Wow!!!! All I know with money is that, In The Heights earned $10million (their budget) in 10 months. So $3million in one day is pretty phenominal! However….. the Producers of….The Producers did a pretty big thing, that had never really been achieved in Broadway theatre. In The Heights standard tickets sell for around $60-$90. However Pro’s started to become so successful that they raked the tickets up to $500 for a front row seat…… $500!! Like in the film, The House Bunny the sorority girl who says “Here at Fioda Mu, we’re exclusive because we can be.”Hmm did any of the Producers stay at the Fioda Mu sorority? So, $3million in a day is now beginning to be realistic…. sneaky…greedy bastards! Lane and Boderick continued on The Great White Way as the leads but when they departed and replacements such as Henry Goodman, Tony Danza, Steven Webber and The Producers slut, Brad Oscar took over, the show started to rapidly deteriorate in box-office sales, as the musical was known for his famous chemistry between Lane and Boderick. In a pitch to raise the full capacity once again in the St. James, Lane and Boderick were brought back for a limited time of December 30, 2003 – April 4, 2004. This created a stir amongst B’way fanatics, and once again broke their own record of highest Box Office earnings in a single day on December 30, 2003, $3.5million! The B’way production went long-running and eventually closed April 22nd, 2007. Pro’s went into London’s West End on November 9, 2004 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane starring Nathan Lane once again originating the role at last minute along with Lee Evans as Leo Bloom. Brad Oscar (slut) later replace Lane as Max and the show closed on West End on January 6, 2007. There was a 2002 U.S. National Tour, starring Lewis J. Stadlen as Max and Don Stephenson as Leo and played through 74 cities in USA and earned a total of $214million from the first tour alone. When the tour came to Los Angeles, the usual leads were replaced with appealing Hollywood status actors (not unusual for LA theatre and tours), Jason Alexander and Martin Short at the Pantages Theatre. Once they left LA, the original tour leads returned.
By 2009, Pro’s had had a production/s in every continent except Antarctica.
In 2005, The Producers went to Hollywood, and it became a motion picture movie musical, becoming a movie based on a musical based on a movie about a musical. This is actually one of my favourite movie-musicals of all time and I think it’s because of the almost entirety of the whole OBC, excluding Brad Oscar (as he was playing Max on B’way at the time) and Cady Huffman. However, whoever the Casting Director was, I give a standing ovation to because, she/he chose excellently for the role of Franz and Ulla, being Will Ferel and Uma Thurman! I love Uma’s version of “When You Got It, Flaunt It”. Also, I can’t believe Andrea Martin, who was Actor of the Week last time, was ‘Hold me Touch me’ in the film?!?!!??! That woman ceases to astound me! Ironically, the film had a budget of $45million, and only made a gross revenue of $38million.
Nathan Lane and Will Ferrel were both nominated Golden Globes.
p.s. Go see In The Heights at Pantages till July 25!!!!