Well, if they’re going to do “Karate Kid” and “The Nanny”, might as well do “Back to the Future: The Musical”, I suppose. Or not. However, whether we want it or not, it’s coming next month, exactly on February 20th at the Manchester Opera House. UK. Still time to book your flights!
On the upside, there are two hits from the movie, “Power of Love” and “Back in Time”, originally performed by Huey Lewis and the News, along with a bonafide musical moment with Marty McFly performing “Johnny B. Goode”. So practically a musical already!
The new songs are from Alan Silvestri, who scored the original film, and Glen Ballard, a songwriter and producer who has worked with everyone but most notably co-wrote the album “Jagged Little Pill” with Alanis Morissette.
The show stars Roger Bart (“Young Frankenstein: The Musical”) as Doc Brown and Olly Dobson as Marty, singing one of the new songs here, that is actually really good. So there, what do I know?
Wow, this is a fun and smart film. I’d heard all the critical hype about “Booksmart” when it was released last year, but didn’t get around to seeing it, although I didn’t get around to seeing many films in the theatre. So I was happy when “Booksmart” showed up on Hulu recently and finally saw it. Yes, it’s another high school film, but this one like its characters is a bit smarter and funnier than the rest, I think.
First-time director Olivia Wilde cast the film very well, with the leads Beanie Feldstein (“Hello Dolly”) and Kaitlyn Dever (“Last Man Standing) seeming like real best friends and nerds alike, suddenly waking up to the realization the day before graduation that despite the fact that they studied through high school and eschewed fun, their classmates also got into top schools despite drinking, partying, cutting up and breaking rules. So they’re determined to get to the premier Graduation Eve party and hit some milestones (i.e. first kiss, etc.) before it’s all over and they go their separate ways. There’s also great turns from (especially) Billie Lourd (“Star Wars”), Noah Galvin (“Dear Evan Hansen”), Jason Sudekis, Jessica Williams, and many others.
It’s directed with great style and verve, making a point of continually puncturing not only the tropes of teen comedies but also the self-delusions of the main characters (who are young and still learning, of course). I could have done with a little less of the “contemporary” blasting soundtrack since of course I’m old and little of the new music these days sounds good or original to me.
It’s won a raft of awards but curiously has received not even one Oscar nomination. Hmmm.
RuPaul’s Drag Race is pretty much a year-round series now, with short recesses so you can recover. You’d think RuPaul would be stretched too thin, producing series after series of Drag Race, opening up a UK franchise, releasing new albums at every turn, attempting a talk show, producing DragCon in LA and London, making promotional appearances, along with filming a scripted Netflix series “AJ and the Queen” (which is quite good), and who knows what else he’s up to. Have they cloned him?
Anyhow, looking forward to the new season of Drag Race! Gentlemen, start your engines and may the best woman win!
On the heels of my groundbreaking re-reporting of the upcoming adaptations of “The Nanny” and National Lampoon’s “Vacation”, comes news that the ’80s classic film “The Karate Kid” will now feature songs to amplify key moments of its narrative including of course “Wax On, Wax Off”, “Cobra Kai Kai”, and “Do the Crane”. You’re not surprised at all, are you, and it makes perfect sense, right?
I guess so, yeah, whatevs. I’m sure that in short order we’ll see announcements for musical versions of “Ishtar”, “Three Amigos”, and “Alien”. You wait and see. Although I wouldn’t be unhappy with “Tampopo”, “Female Trouble”, or “The Women” (pretending “The Opposite Sex” never happened).
As it turns out, “The Karate Kid” has already suffered the musical treatment:
Adapted from Lindy West’s book, the first season of “Shrill” debuted in 2019 starring SNL’s Aidy Bryant, who showed she was not only brilliant at sketch comedy but also a transparent, subtle actress. Far from being shrill, her character Annie Easton had trouble asserting herself at all, not recognizing through most of it that people were treating her terribly, before slowly realizing her reality and doing something to correct it.
But as anyone who has had difficulty with self-worth and with asserting themselves knows, you can feel you’re making progress and then get completely thrown and humiliated by some jackass trying to make you feel small. So there’s so much more of Annie’s story we need to learn from and so thankfully Season Two was commissioned and is now available on Hulu! And so entertaining!
During an interview on Jimmy Fallon’s show (see below), Quentin Tarantino attributed his appearance on “The Golden Girls” as providing him with funds that helped him develop “Reservoir Dogs”.
With Tarantino’s oddball and remarkable career, this makes perfect sense.
For those familiar with “The Golden Girls”, you will know that Quentin appeared on the show before he was famous, while he was a movie-obsessed aspiring filmmaker, acting as an Elvis impersonator, in a line-up of similarly-dressed impersonators gathered for Sophia’s wedding. It was a two-part episode, so he got residuals for both episodes, and with other lucky breaks, the amount of money he got kept him afloat, giving him time to get “Reservoir Dogs” off the ground.
So you could say “The Golden Girls” led to Tarantino’s entire career. And what if he’d hired some of the “girls” for his films? Couldn’t you just see Betty White in “Kill Bill”?
I guess anything’s game to be turned into a musical nowadays. Thus, today’s film turned into improbable musical is National Lampoon’s “Vacation”. Yes, the John Hughes-created Chevy Chase-starrer that gave us the immortal image of a dead lady tied to the roof of a station wagon is now going to be peppered with songs and dancing. Really?
It is happening, though. It will premiere this fall at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, also the launching pad for other out-of-town tryouts such as “Hairspray” and “Aladdin”.
I’m not sure how they’ll make this one “sing”. Yes, there is a famous song, Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road” associated with the original film, but nobody broke out singing it.
Peter and I did see another off-Broadway tryout of a somewhat similar property, the road trip movie “Little Miss Sunshine”. It was quite amusing, actually, but they struggled to stage the driving scenes and other road trip-oriented elements.
Well, I love to see people take on a challenge, so let’s wait and see.
In a rather bizarre development, a Broadway musical version of “The Nanny” (you know, you know, Fran Descher’s starrer about the flashy nanny from Flushing, Queens who eventually married her employer, the Broadway impresario, Maxwell Sheffield) is coming whether we want it or not.
I loved “The Nanny” but not sure it’s a natural for the stage. Well, in a way it’s a twisted version of “The Sound of Music”, so maybe. The most promising aspect of the venture is the fact Rachel Bloom and Adam Schlesinger are writing the songs. They were the dream team from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”! Or maybe just an evening of songs by this talented duo?
The second series of “Making It” hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman just finished and was a huge advance over the first series in the way it was made, which is appropriate for a series about makers. Great interstitial bits, great graphic wipes, great challenges, and very talented contestants. Loved it!
Very glad to hear now that Season Three will be forthcoming. Okay, now, Make It!
Broadway Journal is reporting that Idina Menzel (you know, the “Rent” and “Wicked” superstar, who has made our lives a living hell for the past few years due to “Let It Go”) is in talks to star on Broadway this fall in a revival of “Funny Girl”!
Idina stated in last month’s Jewish Journal, that the only revival she was interested in was “Funny Girl”. So I think it’s a go.
There has been a lot of noise over the past couple of decades about a “Funny Girl” revival, including one production with Lauren Ambrose (“My Fair Lady”) who was actually hired before the production was ultimately cancelled, then Lea Michele of “Glee” (turned into a brief plotline in the show), and even Lady Gaga (announced by Rosie O’Donnell who seemingly dreamed up the whole thing somehow).
Apparently, this will be something of a transfer of a West End production from a few years back as it would have the same director Michael Mayer and production team. That run began at the Menier Chocolate Factory before transferring to the West End and featured a revised script by Harvey Fierstein. I hope they retain Harvey’s changes (okay, I don’t know what the changes are, but I always thought the second act needed work). It starred UK star Sheridan Smith who is unknown here (she was Smithy’s sister in “Gavin and Stacey” confusing named Smithy, among many many other roles) which is most likely why the production didn’t transfer to the U.S. at the time. But with Idina’s involvement, it’s guaranteed to hit Broadway. Where can we buy tickets?