Episode 7: Sweeney Todd (stage)

Sweeney Todd

Bakers gonna bake.

If the only version of SWEENEY TODD you’ve ever seen is the Tim Burton one, then Windy has some strong opinions on what you should be watching first chance you get. (Which is literally how this episode happened to Mike and Vinnie.)

Arguably Sondheim’s masterpiece, the 1979 Broadway sensation was recorded on tour in Los Angeles in 1982 with Angela Lansbury recreating her iconic performance as Mrs. Lovett and George Hearn ably stepping into Len Cariou’s shoes as Sweeney. The show was the pinnacle of the Stephen Sondheim (lyricist/composer)-Hal Prince (director/producer) partnership that would be shattered by the failure of their next show (MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG). Dark,  disturbing, and deliciously wicked, it’s Sondheim’s ode to the Victorian penny dreadfuls.

Attend our tale as Windy rants about why musicals should cast trained singers, Mike gushes over Angela Lansbury, and Vinnie retroactively hates the Burton movie even more. We want you, bleeders!

Angela & Len at Stephen’s 75th Birthday Concert

 

Mrs Lovett

Bright ideas just pop into my head.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street poster Rating: 8.4/10 (3,242 votes)
Director: Terry Hughes, Harold Prince
Writer: Hugh Wheeler (book), Christopher Bond (based upon the play by)
Stars: Angela Lansbury, George Hearn, Cris Groenendaal, Sara Woods
Runtime: 140 min
Rated: N/A
Genre: Musical, Drama, Thriller, Horror
Released: 12 Sep 1982
Plot: Sweeney Todd returns to London to uncover the past, along the way meeting Mrs. Lovett, and begins to start his life of crime.

Episode 6: Main Hoon Na

Main Hoon Na

SRK in MHN, as the locals would say.

It’s our first Bollywood!  I mean, not our first – all three of your hosts have seen at least one Bollywood movie. But it’s our first Bollywood episode and it is the delightful MAIN HOON NA (“Trust Me, I’m Here”)! Windy was super-duper excited to show this one to Mike and Vinnie.

Farah Khan’s 2004 directorial debut is an homage to action tropes with awkward fish-out-of-water comedy plus family melodrama. Shah Rukh Khan, one of Bollywood’s brightest stars, gets to show off wire work, stunts, dancing, crying (he cries so beautifully), dimples, and some laugh out loud comedy.

Featuring four ludicrously entertaining dance numbers (plus a couple heartfelt ballads), this is an excellent “starter” movie if you’ve never watched Bollywood before. If you are an experienced fan of Bollywood, but have never seen it, you are missing out on some of Farah Khan’s best choreography and staging!

Not sure about committing to 3 hours of entertainment? Trust us, we’re here – to show you the way.

Shah Rukh Khan

SRK YASSS *note: not from this movie (but who cares?)

Main Hoon Na trailer

I'm Always Here (2004)
I'm Always Here poster Rating: 7.0/10 (29,400 votes)
Director: Farah Khan
Writer: Farah Khan (story), Abbas Tyrewala (screenplay), Farah Khan (screenplay), Rajesh Saathi (screenplay), Abbas Tyrewala (dialogue)
Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Sushmita Sen, Sunil Shetty, Zayed Khan
Runtime: 179 min
Rated: Not Rated
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romance, Thriller
Released: 30 Apr 2004
Plot: An army major goes undercover as a college student. His mission is both professional and personal: to protect his general's daughter from a radical militant, and to find his estranged half-brother.

 

Episode 5: Enchanted

Enchanted

Not pictured: The rats and cockroaches who did all the real work. The gig economy sucks.

This week, your hosts sing along with Amy Adams (and some cockroaches) in ENCHANTED!

Meta, satire, spoof, homage – ENCHANTED is all of the above. Filled with deep Disney nerd references (literally every name in this movie means something), sweet homages (the old men in the park were chimney sweeps in MARY POPPINS), and delightfully singable tunes, this movie was Amy Adams’ first starring role and she embodies what a cartoon would act like in real life while bringing an earnest sincerity to every moment.

The central love story is pretty by-the-numbers, but that doesn’t matter. Keep your eyes on the three-way-tie in scenery-chewing that is James Marsden’s prince, Timothy Spall’s hapless henchman, and Susan Sarandon’s literal dragonlady.

Laugh out loud funny, with a satisfyingly modern climactic rescue, ENCHANTED is, well…enchanting.

Enchanted Idina Menzel

I’m not going to sing. Just LET IT GO.

 

Enchanted (2007)
Enchanted poster Rating: 7.1/10 (165,568 votes)
Director: Kevin Lima
Writer: Bill Kelly
Stars: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Timothy Spall
Runtime: 107 min
Rated: PG
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
Released: 21 Nov 2007
Plot: A young maiden in a land called Andalasia, who is prepared to be wed, is sent away to New York City by an evil queen, where she falls in love with a lawyer.

Episode 4: Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Star-spangled Cagney

This week, Windy introduces Vinnie & Mike to the wonders of a tap-dancing Cagney in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY.

A straight-up, no frills, no unnecessary “plot” or “conflict” biopic of George M. Cohan, legendary songwriter and showman – and ego. Every patriotic song you were taught in 3rd grade was written by George M.

Directed by Michael Curtiz (CASABLANCA, WHITE CHRISTMAS, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD), the movie is gorgeous and the costumes are stunning. More importantly, it’s perhaps the only record of the particular style of dancing and showmanship that was a Cohan show. Cohan lived to see the movie premiere and approved of Cagney’s performance (Cagney worked with the choreographer who was Cohan’s assistant to master the quirkiness of Cohan’s dancing style).

We enjoyed Giving Our Regards to the Broadway of old while watching Cagney wave that Grand Old Flag – we hope you will too.

Also – we loved the hats.

Yankee Doodle Dandy's hats

Guaranteeing you really have a “good side”

James Cagney & Bob Hope in THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Yankee Doodle Dandy poster Rating: 7.7/10 (12,884 votes)
Director: Michael Curtiz
Writer: Robert Buckner (screen play), Edmund Joseph (screen play), Robert Buckner (original story)
Stars: James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf
Runtime: 126 min
Rated: Passed
Genre: Biography, Drama, Musical
Released: 06 Jun 1942
Plot: The life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer George M. Cohan.

Episode 3: The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman

Charming and Charismatic AF

This week, your hosts Come Alive as they watch THE GREATEST SHOWMAN!

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN is a contradiction: a huge hit that was a flop; a catchy and engaging story about a man universally reviled; a dream project for one of Hollywood’s biggest stars helmed by an absolute nobody. After a disappointing opening weekend just before Christmas 2017, it’s a film that only just exited theaters (over six months later), with sing-along showings still packing them in only weeks ago.

Hugh Jackman, clearly delighted to return to his musical theater roots, heads a killer cast who (mostly) do their own performing. But it’s a film released at exactly the wrong moment in America, when those most in love with the arts had no patience for a feel-good story about P.T. Barnum.

Insanely catchy numbers paired with kinetic and exciting choreography, not to mention attractive people in delicious costumes, has us hoping that eventually this movie will “Rewrite the Stars” and win over those who never gave it a chance.

The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Sideeye

Show Notes:

Hugh workshopping “From Now On” and he just can’t not sing

Keala absolutely destroying “This is Me”

Zendaya on Jimmy Fallon discussing her trapeze adventures

Mentioned in this Episode:

Michael Gracey
Hugh Jackman
Michelle Williams
Zac Efron
Zendaya
Keala Settle
Ellen Mirojnick
Shannon Holtzapffel
Bill Condon
James Mangold
John Debney
Joseph Trapanese

The Greatest Showman (2017)
The Greatest Showman poster Rating: 7.6/10 (200,225 votes)
Director: Michael Gracey
Writer: Jenny Bicks (screenplay by), Bill Condon (screenplay by), Jenny Bicks (story by)
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya
Runtime: 105 min
Rated: PG
Genre: Biography, Drama, Musical
Released: 20 Dec 2017
Plot: Celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

Episode 2: The King & I

Listeners: We apologize for the sound quality on this episode. The quality does improve as the episode goes on.

Episode 2 has us rewinding back to the classic THE KING AND I, starring Yul Brynner (and his chest) (and his

King and I

Bringing the smolder

calves) and Deborah Kerr (and her gowns!). Neither Vinnie nor Mike had ever seen the movie version, with its lavish sets and even more lavish costumes. More stunning than either of those is the chemistry between our two stars. Bonus gorgeous: Rita Moreno!

This movie demonstrates the emotional depths that a musical can achieve, with the psychological crisis of Yul’s King being the central conflict. Yul Brynner owned this role so completely, he would play it for the rest of his life, even while dying of cancer. Add in Jerome Robbins’ choreography – particularly  the iconic “The Small House of Uncle Thomas” –  and it’s easy to understand the enduring love for this movie.

Let’s continue “Getting to Know You,” listeners, by hopping (one-footed) on into THE KING AND I.

The King and I (1956)
The King and I poster Rating: 7.5/10 (22,242 votes)
Director: Walter Lang
Writer: Ernest Lehman (screenplay), Oscar Hammerstein II (book), Margaret Landon (from their musical play based on Anna and the King of Siam by)
Stars: Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Rita Moreno, Martin Benson
Runtime: 133 min
Rated: G
Genre: Biography, Drama, Musical, Romance
Released: 29 Jun 1956
Plot: A widow accepts a job as a live-in governess to the King of Siam's children.

Episode 1: High School Musical

High School Musical

High School Musical

Here it is! Our inaugural episode! We chose to kick things off with a high-energy modern hit: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.

Each week, your trio of hosts – Windy, Mike & Vinnie – will be watching a musical, but here’s the trick: at least one of them will have never seen it before (and where we have all seen it, we’ll bring in a stunt n00b). For our first foray, Vinnie was our virgin watcher.

This movie launched the career of Zac Efron, kicked off a money-making trilogy for Disney, and cemented Kenny Ortega as a modern musical master. It’s got energy to spare and a huge fan base, so “Get’cha Head in the Game” and join us at the “Start of Something New!”

Download, listen, and share!

High School Musical (2006)
High School Musical poster Rating: 5.4/10 (72,992 votes)
Director: Kenny Ortega
Writer: Peter Barsocchini
Stars: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel
Runtime: 98 min
Rated: TV-G
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Music, Musical, Romance
Released: 20 Jan 2006
Plot: A popular high school athlete and an academically gifted girl get roles in the school musical and develop a friendship that threatens East High's social order.