Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stars on stage

I had some pretty exciting local news that I was asked very nicely to remove from this here site yesterday (I'll be sure and break it when I'm allowed...) so I’m turning to the national scene to fill the space. Yesterday, it was announced that Whoopi Goldberg is going to fill in for a stint at “Xanadu” later this month. Whoopi’s becoming a real Broadway advocate these days.

Also, in Hollywood casting news, Kate Hudson was added to the slate of top-notch actors working on the screen adaptation of “Nine.” Ms. Hudson doesn’t exactly thrill me but I do think it’s interesting that the role was created especially for her and that composer Maury Yeston wrote a new song just for her. Stage purists might get their backs up but given director Rob Marshall’s success with “Chicago,” I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that this will be a “value-add” kind of change. I guess we’ll see when the movie opens (presumably) next year…


Angelika HausFrauSki said...

In other exciting local news, Streetcar opens this Friday at Sycamore Rouge!!

Dave T said...

Thanks, "Stella!" Before someone else beats me to it, in other exciting local news, "Henry IV, Part 2" opens on Thursday!

Unknown said...

I know I am in the minority, but I really hated the film version of Chicago. It wasn't just the horrible miscasting of a few parts, but the film as a whole.

I am no purist, by any stretch. However I have a hard time thinking of anytime that Hollywood improved a stage product.

I have been a Whoopi fan since her stand up days, a love that probably took a huge leap up with her stint on Star Trek (my inner geek is showing). But why not the usual indignation at a "name" taking on a Broadway role. I personally rarely have a problem with it, after all Broadway is commercial, completely different than the model most theatre's work with, and can you really cheapen Xanadu? I am just curious, what is the line, where does it stop being a cheap trick to sell tickets, and starts being the star becoming a Broadway advocate?

By the way, if I have not mentioned it Dave, thank you so much for this Blog, it makes it possible to feel connected to the theatre community I still feel close to, while living 700 miles away.

Dave T said...

Hiya Steve!
We'll have to agree to disagree on "Chicago" -- I thought both Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere were pretty sublime, could've taken or left Ms. Zellwegger, but in general thought the tranference from stage to screen was very well done. And I still love the stage version -- especially since I saw Bebe Neuwirth production which was awesome -- just think they're two magnificent animals living in different parts of the zoo but sharing lots of DNA.

I don't know if you are attributing the "usual indignation" to me. If so, I think you must be confusing me with other commenters here. I've gone so far as giving my support to the use of "American Idol" stars as marketing ploys to get people out to see theater; I can't remember ever expressing indignation about any form of stunt casting (I'll have to go back and check the logs). Whatever it takes to get people out to see a show is my general credo.

And your welcome on the blog; it's great that we still have access to your opinion here in Richmond, and even sometimes to your significant talents! Take care,

Angelika HausFrauSki said...

Steven, I think the film version of "Grease" was a vast improvement over the stage version...so much so that they've rewritten the stage version to include some (or all? not sure) of the songs written specifically for the film.

I, however, was also not too crazy about Chicago. I did think Richard Gere rocked it out, though, and I liked the overall format of it.

I try to not compare film and stage versions of the same source material too much, though, 'cause they're simply different mediums, to be ingested and perceived in different ways. So while you may prefer one to the other, to hold one up to the other's standards of excellence is like comparing a song to a painting. One aesthetic may speak to you more profoundly, but ultimately they're just...different.

I will, however, say that I'm just as put off by some of the recent film-to-stage adaptations that have been made as you are by stage-to-film. "Footloose" the movie is canon to me, so I found the stage version repugnant.

So I guess that's what it boils down to...what your emotional commitment is to the source material.

Wow, I'm rambling. I have no business being awake right now...

Anonymous said...

Thought Chicago was a perfect translation of the revival. Am not a fan of John C. Riley, but other than that. Thought Queen Latifah could have bumped it up a notch or three (and I really like her a lot).

Ms. Zeta-Jones didn't really do it for me, mostly because I was longing to see Deidre Goodwin (who I saw in the revival...and who was Jun["ran into my knife ten times"] in the film.

I'm with Angie on Footloose! I directed a production of the stage adaptation and I really think you can smell the book of the musical adaptation from outside the theatre. It really stinks.

There's my random.

Wish I had caught the news that's gone now...I gotta keep up.