Wednesday, July 23, 2014
the film musical: just for the fun of it
Ben Brantley’s enthusiastic review in The New York Times.
I could barely remember the film (except for the bit with The Flying Elvises), but the production promised songs by the estimable Jason Robert Brown, who wrote the scores for the much-admired cult musical, "Parade," and the then-imminent "The Bridges of Madison County."
Anyway, the encounter was sheer bliss - and a reminder of exactly what's been missing from musicals both on-screen and on stage. It came to me that the light, fluffy musical - the musical comedy - was long gone, replaced by sober, serious fare in which characters suffer to songs that can't hummed. I'm thinking specifically of "Dreamgirls" and "Les Misérables," shows that decidedly do not invite toe-tapping.
With a cast headed by Tony Danza (in the James Caan role) and terrific newcomers Rob McClure and Brynn O’Malley (standing in for Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker), "Honeymoon in Vegas" was a throwback to joys of "Bye Bye Birdie" (the stage production, not the infantilized 1963 film) and "Bells Are Ringing" (both the play and film), musicals that made you feel good. We've had only two film musicals of that sort in recent years - Adam Shankman's "Hairspray" and Phyllida Lloyd's "Mamma Mia!"
Typically, the critics complained. The miserables, indeed.
Note in Passing: There's been no word about the retro "Honeymoon in Vegas" opening on Broadway so far, but with Ben Brantley behind it, I'd say that it's future is fairly certain. I can't wait to see it again.
Posted by joe baltake at 2:16 PM