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 Posted:   Jan 10, 2013 - 8:56 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

I never got around to see DRACULA with LANGELLA, I really wanted to see that. I heard the effects were fantastic for it's time, I imagine now. they could do out of this world effects if they were to bring it back.Did you enjoy it ?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2013 - 9:30 PM   
 By:   Christopher Kinsinger   (Member)

The 1977-78 Broadway version of Dracula wasn't about special effects, it was all about production design. The sets were spectacular!
The entire production was produced and designed by Edward Gorey.
His pen-and-ink, crosshatched, Victorian-age etchings were made into the entire settings, as if the live performers were part of a story book.

As a matter of fact, the curtain rose early, so that the audience could drink in the view of the first set. That set received a standing ovation on the night that I attended.

Sitting directly in the seats in front of me were Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, and her daughter, Jade. It was a night to remember, and Mr. Langella was the frosting on the cake. His performance was riveting.

YES! I LOVED every minute of it!

 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2013 - 11:46 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

...except for the classic MERMORY....

Er....mah......GERD......."MERMORY".....!!!!!!

Sorry...couldn't resist....

...but seriously.....

....huge Phantom phan here - and spent an all-to-brief period involved with the show on London as an understudy...Have seen the show many times now - lost count and it is still my favourite show. Loved the film too, though there are a few moments that grate...but in general it is really very, very good.

Big-ish Lloyd Webber fan in general too - always love JC Superstar (and the 2012 Arena Tour Blu-Ray is a wow!), and being in the orchestra for that is something special - it's a hell of a trumpet part. Great fun.

Any respect out there for Love Never Dies? I managed to see the re-worked version in London and was very impressed, but felt it was just...I don't know....missing something. The DVD (of the Australian production) is however phantastic...Lloyd Webber has gone as far as to say publicly that the Australian production is the way it should have been done here. I can't disagree.

Non-Lloyd Webber stuff - well, Yes Minister is an absolute gem (moving away from musicals), and is being turned into a TV show (I think it's due for broadcast later this month?). The Mousetrap is a must, of course.

And finally back to musicals - if you get a chance to catch a show called Five Guys Named Moe sometime, give it a look...it's great fun, amazing music (thanks mainly to Louis Jordan and a stunning cast of 6), and a brilliant party - especially in the cheap seats!! When I was at Uni in the mid-90's, tickets for the balcony at the Theatre Royal for this show were £3. And I hear (and read) it's heading back there for a revival.

 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2013 - 2:39 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

Enjoyed reading your post Greg.

Good to know there are other ALW fans on the board.

I've pretty much seen all of his shows in various guises over the years. Several I've seen a few times in London, and several touring productions when I worked in theatre for 10 years or so.

I agree about LND. I only seen the reworked version in London, and I enjoyed it. Wish I had seen Ramin and Sierra in it. The new DVD of the Australian production is excellent. Well filmed and with good performances. Highly recommended.

Im not sure about the Arena Tour of SUPERSTAR though. Went to see it and thought it was just all a bit chaotic and 'thrown together'. Didnt like some of the vocal performances either. I still think the same after viewing the DVD a few times. I've seen many productions of it, and this was one I didnt really enjoy.

Ive seen FIVE GUYS a few times as well. Not really my kind of music, but the show was very enjoyable.

 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2013 - 7:39 AM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)



Sitting directly in the seats in front of me were Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, and her daughter, Jade. It was a night to remember, and Mr. Langella was the frosting on the cake. His performance was riveting.

YES! I LOVED every minute of it!


Celebrities you sat near, could be a thread of its own! I loved that DRACULA. It ranks pretty high up on great plays I have seen. The greatest show I ever saw (non-musical), is THE MIRACLE WORKER, with Suzanne Pleshette and Patty Duke. Speaking of sitting near celebrities, we sat in front of (and even spoke with) Tab Hunter at that performance.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2013 - 12:10 PM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

I’ve loved going to NYC Theater ever since I moved here in 1977 – although of late my attendance has dropped off markedly due to my energy level defaulting to “empty” by the end of the workday since my stroke 2 years ago.

Over the years I’ve seen so many great plays and musicals – highlights for me personally have included “Sweeney Todd” (original cast with Lansbury and Cariou) “Sunday in the Park with George” “The Elephant Man” (Anglim) “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” (the second production in the US) “The Temperamentals” (a stunning performance by Michael Urie) “The Boys in the Band” (revival by The Transport Group) “Our Town” (with Paul Newman) “Bent” (with Richard Gere) “Frankenstein” (disastrously reviewed – closed immediately – but it was a spectacular production and I actually liked it) “Putting It Together” (with a stunning Julie Andrews) – and many more. In London I was wowed by the double whammy of Albert Finney in “Hamlet” and “Tamburlaine Parts I & II” – he performed both roles during simultaneous runs in different theaters – surely one of the most astonishing acting achievements of modern times. He was amazing in both productions!

The whole question of “stagey” vs. “filmic” is so hard to answer. It has always seemed to me that truly great plays and musicals really don’t need to be “opened up” when made into a film – that the structure, energy generated by character and dialogue, is enough to engage me as an audience member. In the theater, of course, we share space, time, and even oxygen with the characters on stage – it is such an immediate experience in most cases. On film, if a film maker has trusted the material and knows his game, the right edits, camera angles, and settings can do the same thing whether or not the camera moves non-stop or scenes are set in “real” places. In fact, the “opening up” process often obfuscates and distorts a structure that has been carefully wrought by the original playwright. Of course just putting a play on film flatly also doesn’t work. The entire series of films made by The American Film Theater are fascinating examples of such issues – some of them are terrific and some are duds. You could spend a lifetime on the issue of adapting stage for film and TV! And in some cases I’ve loved adaptations that went off on their own journey and ignored some basic components of the plays and musical on which they were based. Off the top of my head some adaptations I’ve loved have been “Sweeney Todd” “Dial M for Murder” “Hair” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf“ “A Streetcar Named Desire” “Damn Yankees!” “The Pajama Game” “Cabaret” “Chicago” “Pygmalion” “Alfie” “The Importance of Being Ernest” “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” “The Best Man” “The Philadelphia Story” – and many others including a host of Shakespeare adaptations. I've always had a hunch that successful adaptations to film use emotional space in some unique way -- but I've never been able to come up with a coherent theory.

I have many friends involved in theater – more so than in any other “business.” And in fact my best friend for the past 40 years (since we befriended each other in college) is now a professional critic/editor – and also has written and directed for the theater. He and I have had so many discussions over the years about theater, films, actors, and all aspects of the theater. Theater is something I love – and I wish I went more often!

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2013 - 2:16 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

From another angle, we went to see a stage version of Rebecca a few years ago. Didn't really enjoy it - I was waiting for the set to change, but it never did. The whole play was conducted in a room at the foot of some stairs in Manderley. It was as flat as me 'at.

I've generally enjoyed films based on plays; clearly not the other way around.

TG

 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2013 - 5:11 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)

From another angle, we went to see a stage version of Rebecca a few years ago. Didn't really enjoy it - I was waiting for the set to change, but it never did. The whole play was conducted in a room at the foot of some stairs in Manderley. It was as flat as me 'at.

I've generally enjoyed films based on plays; clearly not the other way around.

TG


Was that the one with Nigel Havers, Tall Guy ???

That was a real stinker !

We left after the First Act.

The set was an appalling, minimalist mess , as was Havers' performance. He looked totally bored throughout, and the woman playing Mrs Danvers seemed to think it was a comedy ???



 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2013 - 5:27 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)


Celebrities you sat near, could be a thread of its own!

Indeed it could !

Some of my biggies are (All in London):

Stephen Sondheim sat in front of us at "Into the Woods"....and signed my programme. (at the Phoenix).

Hugh Laurie & Stephen Fry sat in front of us at "Sunday in the Park With George" (at the National Theatre).

Mary Martin sat two rows in front of us at a Sunday Benefit of "Hello, Dolly!" (at the VP).

Angela Lansbury stood on my foot as Mama Rose made her entrance through the auditorium in "Gypsy" ( I was in the front row....at the Piccadilly).).

Probably. my Biggest Biggie was on one of our many visits to "Aspects of Love" (at the Prince of Wales). This group of about six people came in and sat down right in front of us. I did a double take and nudged my partner because...sitting, right in front of me was Diana, Princess of Wales !

There are many more, and many more I have met in theatre bars and lobbies,etc who I can't think of right now.





 
 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2013 - 12:26 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

From another angle, we went to see a stage version of Rebecca a few years ago. Didn't really enjoy it - I was waiting for the set to change, but it never did. The whole play was conducted in a room at the foot of some stairs in Manderley. It was as flat as me 'at.

I've generally enjoyed films based on plays; clearly not the other way around.

TG


Was that the one with Nigel Havers, Tall Guy ???

That was a real stinker !

We left after the First Act.

The set was an appalling, minimalist mess , as was Havers' performance. He looked totally bored throughout, and the woman playing Mrs Danvers seemed to think it was a comedy ???



Not Nigel Havers - it was Ray Lonnen (the Fllora man!) and I can't even recall who played the other parts. The set in this particular production wasn't minimalist - but the energy was. Talkie and static. Disappointing. Not been to the theatre since!

TG

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2013 - 12:26 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

From another angle, we went to see a stage version of Rebecca a few years ago. Didn't really enjoy it - I was waiting for the set to change, but it never did. The whole play was conducted in a room at the foot of some stairs in Manderley. It was as flat as me 'at.

I've generally enjoyed films based on plays; clearly not the other way around.

TG


Was that the one with Nigel Havers, Tall Guy ???

That was a real stinker !

We left after the First Act.

The set was an appalling, minimalist mess , as was Havers' performance. He looked totally bored throughout, and the woman playing Mrs Danvers seemed to think it was a comedy ???



Not Nigel Havers - it was Ray Lonnen (the Flora man!) and I can't even recall who played the other parts. The set in this particular production wasn't minimalist - but the energy was. Talkie and static. Disappointing. Not been to the theatre since!

TG

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2013 - 12:26 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

dp - so an opportunity to say that I'm not aware of sitting near anyone remotely famous at the theatre, let alone royalty!

 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2013 - 12:37 AM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

I agree about LND. I only seen the reworked version in London, and I enjoyed it. Wish I had seen Ramin and Sierra in it. The new DVD of the Australian production is excellent. Well filmed and with good performances. Highly recommended.

Im not sure about the Arena Tour of SUPERSTAR though. Went to see it and thought it was just all a bit chaotic and 'thrown together'. Didnt like some of the vocal performances either. I still think the same after viewing the DVD a few times. I've seen many productions of it, and this was one I didnt really enjoy.


Yes, it is a bit chaotic, but I found some of the casting inspired (Minchin! Who knew!)...the interpretation of Herod was inspired, and in general I think it went back to it's roots but with a very modern twist...thoroughly enjoyed it....only weak link for me was that Spice girl...but there we go...

Ramin Karimloo was excellent in LND, btw - just as he owned the role in Phantom.

 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2013 - 6:32 AM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)



Not Nigel Havers - it was Ray Lonnen (the Fllora man!) and I can't even recall who played the other parts. The set in this particular production wasn't minimalist - but the energy was. Talkie and static. Disappointing. Not been to the theatre since! TG

Oh Dear!....there must have been TWO Stinking productions?

Maybe the piece just doesn't lend itself to the stage?

The book and Hitchcock's movie are superb !



 
 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2013 - 8:11 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

From about 1965 to fairly recently, I've been able to see a lot of New York theatre, especially when I lived there, from 1972-1987.

I saw everything Sondheim did during that period, and returned to New York, just to see what Sondheim was doing, including the original casts of PASSION and ROAD SHOW. as well as the revival of A FUNNY THING, which was hilarious.

Saw a lot of plays, some of which were riveting, while others were entertaining, but still had that "spark," I should call it, that accompanies a professional production in an old New York theatre, which is something that could only be replicated in perhaps a similar space in London. I was able to see Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in several productions: A DELICATE BALANCE, THE GIN GAME, NOEL COWARD IN TWO KEYS, and maybe a couple of others I can't now recall. (Cronyn would have marvelous moments where his entire face would turn scarlet with rage, or sorrow. I later read an interview with him, where he described a technique he used, and here I'd thought it was all about overflowing emotion... Which was what I was supposed to think.)

A few of the plays stand out still in my memory: THE ROYAL HUNT OF THE SUN, with Christopher Plummer and David Carradine, still one of my most memorable evenings in the theatre, ANGELS IN AMERICA, the original marathon production at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, far better than the later New York version, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, the original Broadway cast in a play that required audiences to be quick thinkers, so New York!, THE COAST OF UTOPIA, only in New York would audiences flock to a trilogy (!) of plays about exiled Russian intellectuals during the 19th century, and THE REAL THING, another Stoppard beauty, with Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons, wonderful to see these two together on stage.

And that's just skimming the surface of all the plays.

And I haven't even mentioned the musicals.

As for ALW, I saw the London PHANTOM with Dave Willets on the second night he performed it, or so I understand, and he and the show were very good, though I've always thought the second act just drags on and on... (I liked the movie well enough, but found Gerard Butler totally miscast, even to the point of idiocy, since his makeup looked more like an acne problem, and he was far too young for the role, when you consider just how old the Phantom is supposed to be.) Saw ASPECTS OF LOVE in London, which seemed to be more about Maria Bjornsen's sets. Take all the pageantry out of it, and it's a really a lovely little chamber musical, with some gorgeous songs. I enjoyed SUNSET BOULEVARD well enough, though I felt the show was more an outsider's view of Hollywood. (Most memorable thing in the performance was the earthquake which occurred as Ms. Close was making her first entrance down that staircase. There was a memory for you... Close faltered a bit, then went right on with what she was doing, and shut everybody up. There's guts for you.) Never saw THE WOMAN IN WHITE, though I understand the projections in the staging were dizzying, and I like the score. Had no interest in CATS, refused to pay money just to hear one song, as I find all the rest of it over-produced and unmemorable. Saw the original Broadway JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and EVITA, both of which seemed to have padded staging. (I remember my older brother telling me about seeing EVITA with a friend of his, who leaned over to him during the show, and said, "You know, if there were a book between all these songs, this show would be a disaster.") As for J.C., well, some of it was enjoyable, but that show, and the movie, and even the original concept album, leave us all hanging, literally, at the end, where they end up crucifying Jesus, but don't bother to mention the one detail, the very foundation, in fact, of Christianity, which is the Resurrection. Go figure. The whole thing just stops. And we're expected to leave the theatre. Though each J.C. production has had some lovely moments, most of them occupied by the heavenly Yvonne Elliman, who seems to have gone nowhere since. Welcome to the theatre....

Anyway, as you can see, I can go on and on....

More later.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2013 - 3:49 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG-Sweet little play with a nice music score by MARVIN HAMLISCH, Loved the song IF SHE REALLY KNEW ME[LOVELY] Anyone see it? Make a good film.

 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2013 - 4:32 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)

THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG-Sweet little play with a nice music score by MARVIN HAMLISCH, Loved the song IF SHE REALLY KNEW ME[LOVELY] Anyone see it? Make a good film.


Saw the Original London production, with Tom Conti and Gemma Craven. Lovely show, with an excellent score and a very funny Neil Simon book.

One of our (better) local Am-Dram societies did an excellent production of it too.
We went twice !

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2013 - 6:48 AM   
 By:   moviejoemovies   (Member)

Well since I'm an avid fan of Musicals on both stage and screen, I'll chime in. I love Musicals to the point that I can find some way to enjoy even the worst of them (like "At Long Last Love") though I recognize the deep flaws in many of them. In my old age, I find it comforting to be able to sit in my beautiful Home Theatre (let me brag) and revisit so many great and not-so-great Musicals. I do watch great non-musical films as well. Last night I watched my new Criterion Blu-Ray of "Sweet Smell of Sucess" but the previous night I finally got to the recently-purchased "West Side Story" Blu-Ray. Yes, it's the flawed version where the screen goes black before the Title appears but otherwise - WOW! This is one of the great Film Musicals of all time and it's gorgeous on Blu-Ray. I find myself filling up during many sequences and reminiscing about my first time seeing it on the first Saturday matinee that it played at the Midtown Theatre in Philadelphia (were you there, Philadelphia Son?). It's so great to see all these Film Musicals in all their glory.
I also have quite a history with seeing Broadway Shows (both Musical and Non-Musical) where I started in 1963 taking a bus trip with a group to see "Oliver!". And then in '67 I started going regularly. My greatest night in the Theatre was the original Production of Sondheim's "Follies" for Musicals and the Steppenwolf Production of "The Grapes of Wrath" for Non-Musicals.
So in the 90s, I decided to become an amateur actor in local Community Theatres and ended up playing so many of the great rolls I had spent my life loving: Don Quixote in "Man of La Mancha", Petrucchio in "Kiss Me, Kate", Higgins in "My Fair Lady", Harold Hill in "The Music Man", Fagin in "Oliver!". At the "My Fair Lady" audition for Higgins, they asked if I had played the roll before and I responded "yes, in my living room in front of the mirror". I think that helped me to get the roll (the guy has a sense of humor, won't be a pain-in-the-ass Male Diva). It was a total dream fulfilled and it was truly the best decade of my life. I ended up going professional and played several Professional Theatres in Philly (Walnut St. Theatre, Bristol Riverside Theatre and the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival at Allentown College). I did get to act with one celebrity (Millicent Martin) at the Walnut in "The Rivals" and Richard White at Bristol Riverside. He plays the Phantom on the Maury Yeston "Phantom" recording and dubbed the voice of the villainous Gaston in Disney's animated "Beaty and the Beast".
Yesterday, I finally got to the movie of "Les Miserables". I liked it but the problem is that people who love Broadway Musicals get very particular about how they're filmed and go with certain expectations. 90% of the time they're not fulfilled either because the musical has been butchered or the Director's vision didn't match yours. Les Mis falls into the latter category. I'll see it again now that I know what to expect and can judge it for what Tom Hooper wanted to do rather than what I wanted it to do (which was basically be a grand, lavish, production with a blaring orchestra and gorgeous photography, etc.). Some may say that it was those things. I kept wondering where was the Orchestra which sounded a bit muffled and the Photography seemed a little drab and the CGI effects looked a little phony. I had no problem with any of the performances including Russel Crowe who seems to be getting the most criticism. I still think "Chicago" was one of the few Stage to Screen musicals in the past decade that fulfilled and even surpassed my expectations. Wonder how Rob Marshall would have handled "Les Miserables"!

Hey Ron Pulliam, this is a thread about Theatre and Musicals. Where are you?

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2013 - 10:06 AM   
 By:   Recordman   (Member)

Enjoyed you post above, especially the part about seeing"West Side Story" at Midtown Theater in Philly. One of my early embarrassing moments happened there. I grew up across the river in South Jersey(Haddonfield). My girlfriend at the time really wanted to see that film so I called ahead in the morning to price tickets [or maybe it was to reserve seats]. A guy answered the phone and I questioned him about it and he said no problem and as a mater of fact that as I was the 20th caller of the day I had just won two free tickets which I could pick up at the box office that evening. I was overjoyed as my date and I went to the theater that night and I walked up to the cashier and inquired about my free tickets. The guy looked at me, smiled and said no such tickets existed. I was flustered...there we were, all dressed up (you dressed for the theater in those days, no jeans etc), and the guy told me only seats left were in the balcony at a high price. I paid the premium so as not to appear to my girlfriend to be the dork I felt like. Best I figured was that I had dialed a wrong number earlier or had spoken to the theater's early morning janitor who was tired of getting the phone calls.
I loved the film . It was my first musical, and thought the opening scene with the Jets dancing across the schoolyard was funny at the time. A long time ago.
BTW, in addition to soundtracks, I have hundreds of cast albums as well.


[startquote from movie joe movies]] I find myself filling up during many sequences and reminiscing about my first time seeing it on the first Saturday matinee that it played at the Midtown Theatre in Philadelphia (were you there, Philadelphia Son?). It's so great to see all these Film Musicals in all their glory.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2013 - 11:35 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I've seen the stage play of West Side Story, and I think it transferred beautifully to the movie. (Those streets just gave those dancers more room!)

Funny Girl, Molly Brown and Oliver all worked for me when transferred to movie mode.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned A LION IN WINTER. I thought the transference from stage to movie was seamless. (Barry's music helped too.) Love watching O'Toole and Hepburn fillet each other.

 
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