Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quick Smash

So here's the thing about Smash, which many people on the Internet love to hate.

It's about a new musical that is in workshop. It has people who shouldn't be in it, a ridiculously uneven book, and sub-plots that really need to be dumped, plus a few really great songs.

It is itself a new musical that is in workshop. It is the ultimate Broadway insider show, delivering up piping hot meta-theater for those who love the theater. New musicals generally suffer from all of those problems.

Yes, the boy playing Leo should find a career that does not involve acting at all ever. Yes, there are more plots than one show can handle. Yes, the "Iowa" lead actually looks and sounds like every single young woman who is trying to remake herself into the Platonic ideal of the next Hollywood star.

These things will get worked out over time. The show has some great songs. And Anjelica Huston. And Jaime Cepero standing and looking pretty, as long as he isn't talking. And lots more gays and people of color (and at least one gay of color!) than most TV shows are willing to risk, with sex for the gays and plots for the people of color.

If it would just give Ann Harada some goddamn screen time and musical numbers, it could eventually be something excellent. Do you hear me, Smash makers? MORE ANN HARADA. I suggest a scene where none of the various Marilyn's show up to rehearsal and Linda is forced to step into the role. Then she does it as Judy Garland instead of Marilyn and everyone is stunned except Derek, who tells her she has the wrong diva.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


My only goal for the day is to stop being sick so that I can fly to San Francisco tomorrow as planned.

So far, the goal has not been accomplished. More tea, more soup, more rest, more Advil!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


A month! A whole month has gone by since last I posted anything here, and that was barely a post. I am sorry, internet friends. I will endeavor not to abandon you for so long again.

My spring break fell within that month. I finished a chapter draft in that month. I started a chapter draft in that month. I found a summer subletter in that month. I visited my boyfriend and my dad in that month. I did so very many things in the last month that warranted posting. And yet I posted nothing.

To re-inaugurate the ol' blag, have some brief not-really-reviews of the shows I saw on Friday!

Working, at The Production Company in Hollywood, was uneven. I love the music in the show, and whoever taught those singers those harmonies did an excellent, excellent job. I actually enjoyed "Un Mejor Día Vendrá," a schlocky disaster of a song written by a composer who obviously did not speak Spanish, because the three men singing it sounded beautiful. Also because the soloist was pretty, and he stared at me through the whole show. Gotta love small theaters. I was seriously disappointed by "Millwork" and "It's an Art," both of which featured soloists who weren't up to the task. They included "I'm just Movin'," which I like a lot, and they dumped that idiotic newsboy song, so that was a good thing.

You'll notice that my review is basically just a list of songs. That's sort of how the show is, and the songs were generally better than the monologues, which were a mix of well done and forgettable. If you know the show, you'll also notice that I've left out the best song, "Cleanin' Women," which just wasn't a highlight the way I wanted it to be. I think Lynne Thigpen spoiled me that number and nobody else does it for me. Oh well. The direction was aimless and seemed to want to make some point about the current economy but not know what that point was.

After Working, I saw the 11 PM production of Fellowship! A Musical Parody of the Fellowship of the Ring, which was delightful. The songs suffered from that thing that always bugs me about parodies, in that each one seemed more like the idea of a song than a whole song, but they were great ideas of songs! I had "Happy Birthday Bilbo" stuck in my head for days afterward.

The show includes a lot of improvisation, which is dangerous because, as you probably all know, bad improv comedy is THE WORST THING ON STAGE EVER, while good improv comedy is hilarious. You'll be glad to know that this was good improv! I laughed a lot! I didn't notice that it was past 1 AM by the time it ended!

I appreciated that most actors who played two roles played a male role and a female role. Gandalf/Galadriel was the stand-out performer in the ensemble, but everyone acquitted hirself well. Understudy Pippin was wonderful. Frodo looked exactly like Frodo should, with enough hints of Elijah Wood to satisfy film fans, but not so many as to be a parody in and of himself.

There you have it, internet friends. My return to blogging, through two terrible non-reviews of musicals. I expect that once I am back in the habit I will make more sense.

I hope that holds for dissertation writing as well.