Last night, despite oppressive heat, the amazing company of Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat brought the audience to its feet amid shouts of “Bravo!” and “Whoooooo!” and “Yeah!”
Thirty years after its huge Broadway success, Dreamgirls has made it to The Muny. One can speculate about why it took this musical longer to get to Forest Park than other late 20th century megahits like Les Miz, Miss Saigon, or Jesus Christ Superstar. But it's here now.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to love this musical. I mean, it's a musical based on a cartoon for heaven's sake.
I was worried about how The Muny was going to handle Kander and Ebb's “Chicago”, a musical that seems to be more suited to a smoky, intimate, dangerous jazz club in 1920's Chicago.
I'm a little puzzled by the continuing popularity of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at The Muny. It's one of the shows that pops up regularly. But it's hardly in the Rodgers and Hammerstein tradition of a memorable score and a story that involves you in sympathetic characters.
This production of the classic movie musicals, "Singin' In the Rain" is as delightful as a cool breeze on a hot St. Louis night .
Okay. Everyone who knows my definite affinity for edgy, angsty theater, full of meaty character-driven roles for actors to chew on, always find it a little disconcerting to discover that my favorite movie musical is, in fact, The Little Mermaid – a Disney-fied version of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy-tale of a young sea-siren who falls in love with a young earth-bound Prince, and trades her voice for a pair of human legs to be next to her man (which, is indeed, by the way, a LOT edgier in the fairy-tale version).
At the end of Legally Blonde, I half expected to see Elle Woods, the blonde of the title, wake up and discover that it had all been a dream. How else to explain how a sorority-girl airhead majoring in fashion and shopping at UCLA suddenly, when dumped by her boyfriend because she's not serious enough, gets into Harvard Law School, wins her first big case thanks to her knowledge of fashion and shopping, rejects the old boy friend, and gets the guy who is really right for her?
Footloose turns almost surreal at times as the irrational cruelties pile up on poor Ren McCormack, newly arrived in little, backward Bomont from big, hip Chicago. His life is a nightmare, an adolescent paranoid fantasy - until the nightmare turns into a blissful dream, and the hottest girl in the high school, the bad girl preacher's daughter who really just wants to read books and escape from this repressive place, connects with him.
The Sound of Music was the last musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and for me, it is the least. It leans too heavily on cute children, romanticized nuns, and sentimental melodrama, and the music suffers for it. But many audiences love it, and have for years. And to say it is the least of Rodgers and Hammerstein is to say it is the least of a very good string of musicals. It has its flashes of the touch of the masters.