Guess what, Disney fans? Frozen is good. And as you may have heard, the soundtrack is even better.
Like the now-classics in Disney’s Renaissance period, Frozen’s array of original tunes feels as fresh and infectious as the Menken-Ashman-Rice songs that defined a generation’s Disney musicals. I caught an early screening of the film last week and was dismayed to find that I’d have to wait an excruciating six days for the album to be released online (I even begged EW’s music staff for an early listen, but no dice).
As Thanksgiving dinner looms, allow me to take you back into the Broadway vault with the legend of “Turkey Lurkey Time,” an unassuming dance number from a late ’60s musical that has reached iconic status in the musical theater world. Quite frankly, I can’t think of another song in the Broadway lexicon that co-exists with “Turkey Lurkey” in that unique space between wondrous and WTF.
The song is from a 1968 show called Promises, Promises – a musical adaptation of the 1960 classic The Apartment – which featured music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David, and a book by Neil Simon. The show follows insurance salesman Chuck Baxter as he gets caught up in the corporate ladder by offering his bosses the use of his apartment for romantic trysts.
During the show’s out-of-town runs in New Haven, Connecticut, and Boston, the creators were having a hard time ending the first act; the show was already running long, and the creative team was stumped. Enter choreographer Michael Bennett, a rising star who had six Broadway credits but hadn’t yet shined (he would later go on to choreograph and direct A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls). Neil Simon equated him to an eager college football player begging the coach to be let in the game. The team gave him a chance, and so, inspired by West Side Story genius Jerome Robbins, Bennett and his assistant Bob Avian took Bacharach’s quickly written “Turkey Lurkey Time” and transformed it into a legend.
Behold, “Turkey Lurkey Time” as performed by the original cast on the 1968 Tony Awards: READ FULL STORY
Last week, we learned that Anna Kendrick is in talks to play Cinderella in the big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods — a fitting choice, given the actress’ musical-theater (and Sondheim-specific) roots.
Pitch Perfect and the song “Cups” (which is at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 a full nine months after the movie’s debut) introduced Kendrick’s singing skills to the mainstream, but she’s been perfecting those pipes for 15 years. The actress earned a Tony nomination for her first big role, as Dinah in Broadway’s High Society, when she was just 12 years old — the third-youngest nominee ever. She also played Fredrika in a New York City Opera production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music in 2003.
But the real musical highlight came in her first film role, in 2003′s Camp, when a 17-year-old Kendrick stole the movie with a way-beyond-her-years rendition of the Company classic “The Ladies Who Lunch” — yet another Sondheim masterpiece. At the movie’s musical-theater summer camp, Kendrick is the nerdy Fritzi, who desperately attempts to befriend confident bad girl Jill only to exact musical (and medical) revenge on the queen bee instead, via some Woolite poured in her Snapple (seriously). See the magic below: READ FULL STORY
Perhaps you recently saw the film Les Miserables. Perhaps you got a little caught up in the story of Fantine, the fired factory worker whose desperation to take care of her daughter fuels much of the early plot. Perhaps you made it to the moment where Fantine -- played by Anne Hathaway -- sings her signature ode to lost love and dashed hopes, "I Dreamed a Dream." Perhaps you, like much of the rest of the sentient universe, broke down into a blubbering pile of raw-throated eye-gush emotional goo. You are not alone. Hathaway's version of the song -- which recently earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win -- has gotten everyone talking about a tune that was already one of Les Miz's most popular standards. "What [director] Tom [Hooper]
and Annie have done is created a really raw, pure version of the song,” says Working Title co-chairman Eric Fellner, one of the movie’s producers. “There have been many great versions of the song, but I don’t think anybody has performed it this way, because it’s never been acted on screen before. It’s just very, very emotional.”
release” put its money where its mouth was last night. As a liberal arts grad and (casts down eyes) former a cappella groupie, I had to face facts: I am that core audience. (WARNING: Mild spoilers follow.) READ FULL STORY
Rock of Ages may not be a hit with critics, or at the box office, but for those of us who sat through the movie — of which Tom Cruise’s performance as sex-dripping rock god Stacee Jaxx is widely recognized as the highlight — what was the best moment? Poll below! READ FULL STORY
Finally, the greatest opening scene in cinema history comes to Broadway! Producers announced today that Bring It On: The Musical, a stage adaptation inspired by the 2000 Kirsten Dunst film about class struggles in competitive cheerleading, will play a limited engagement from July through October at Broadway’s St. James Theatre.
The stunt-filled show — which began a North American tour in October 2011 in Los Angeles and is currently playing in Toronto through June — features an all-star creative team, with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights), Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and Amanda Green (High Fidelity), a book by Avenue Q writer Jeff Whitty, and direction/choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (In The Heights). EW’s Tanner Stransky reviewed the L.A. production last year and awarded the show a solid B+ (which is in the same ballpark of other teen-queen stage shows like Legally Blonde and Lysistrata Jones).
Off of this cheertastic news is the realization that whether you like it or not, Hollywood is slowly but steadily taking over musical theater. Really, the silver-screen/stage annex has been happening for decades, but in recent seasons the trend has appeared to skyrocket. Next year, there will be nearly a dozen movies-turned-musicals playing Broadway, with this year’s crop of Tony Awards nominees already including names like Newsies (I’ve seen that movie!), Once (I’ve heard of that movie!) and Leap of Faith (That’s a movie?).