Sunday, December 27, 2020

CAST RECORDINGS OF 2020: A PERSONAL LOOK

In this strange year of 2020, between cast recordings and movie/television musicals soundtracks, I counted 70 releases. Of course, I didn’t listen to all of them, but I only missed a few.

Before crucifying me for my choices, let me confess that I love the traditional Broadway sound and I have strong difficulties to enjoy other music styles. So, everything that sounds like rock country or folk hardly have a chance to catch my narrow-minded ears. In order to get an idea, take a look at my 20 FAVORITE SCORES of all time.

 

Without further delays, here are my choices.


If you like this, take a look at my choices of 2019, 2018, 201720162015, 20142013 and 2012.  







Sunday, December 13, 2020

THE PROM – A Movie Review

Cast: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Jo Ellen Pellman, Keegan-Michael Key, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, Ariana DeBose, Kerry Washington, Tracey Ullman, Keven Chamberlin, Mary Kay Place, Logan Riley, Sofia Deler, Nico Greetham, Nathaniel J. Ptovin 

Creative Team: Songs by Matthew Sklar & Chad Beguelin • Choreography by Casey Nicholaw • Screenplay by Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin • Directed by Ryan Murphy

My Rate: 7 (from 1 to 10)


The Plot: Two Broadway stars in decline and two other Broadway actors, decide to go to a small town in Indiana to help a young high school girl, Emma, who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom. Their intention is to get good publicity with this act, but once there they realize things won’t be so easy. Meanwhile, Emma is dealing with her personal problems.


The Movie: Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the Broadway show, but I’ve been enjoying the cast recording since its release; so, I was really looking forward to see this movie adaptation and I think director Ryan Murphy did a good job.


This an enjoyable musical comedy with a big heart and plenty of color! Murphy makes the action flow naturally and the musical numbers never seem forced. He cares for the characters and they all have their moment to shine. He also manages to address a few LGBT+ issues without sounding like he is preaching, he does it with humor and sensibility. If you share a few tears, that’s absolutely normal, Emma’s story is universal, emotional and has the power to touch sensitive hearts.


As for the cast, well, it’s a great ensemble! Meryl Streep couldn’t be better as the Broadway Diva with a big ego and, as always, it’s impossible no to look at her when she’s on. As her theatre colleagues, James Corden is a sweetheart, Nicole Kidman is a fragile sexy chorus girl and Andrew Rannells is an irritating but funny ex-Juilliard student. As the young lesbian couple, both Jo Ellen Pellman and Ariana DeBose are good, but sometimes Pellman smiles too much and I wish DeBose sung more. A final word to Keegan-Michael Key, who gives heart to the school musical lover Principal and Kerry Washington as the intolerant mother of Alyssa.


Like I already said, I like the score by Matthew Sklar & Chad Beguelin and it has more than a couple of good songs. Meryl Streep takes full advantage of her big numbers “It’s Not About Me” and “The Lady’s Improving”, Nicole Kidman delivers some “Zazz” with sensual style, James Corden has a full day with “Barry Is Going to Prom”, Andrew Rannells has fun with “Love Thy Neighbor” and Keegan-Michael Key give us the ultimate fan song “We Look to You”. Jo Ellen Pellman is sweet with her ballads “You Happened”, “Dance with You” and “Unruly Heart” (that can become a LGBT hymn). And there are the contagious “Tonight Belongs to You” and “It’s Time to Dance”.


I’m not saying this is a great movie musical, but it’s a highly enjoyable one, the kind that makes us want to dance and puts a smile on our hearts! This is fun and the world needs more musicals like this!






Wednesday, April 1, 2020

BROADWAY SEASON 2018-2019 – THE MUSICALS

Here you’ll find images from all the musicals, new ones and revivals, which opened on Broadway during the 2018-2019; plus the City Center Encores! and Off-Center series. Some became hits, others closed in a few weeks, but I believe all of them are worthy of celebration. 
PS.: To see larger images just click on them.




BROADWAY MUSICALS 2018-2019





CITY CENTER ENCORES! 2019



ENCORES! OFF-CENTER 2018


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

CAST RECORDINGS OF 2019: A PERSONAL LOOK

In 2019, between cast recordings (new ones and reissues) and movie/television musicals soundtracks, I counted 91 releases. Of course, I didn’t listen to all of them, but I only missed a few.

Before crucifying me for my choices, let me confess that I love the traditional Broadway sound and I have strong difficulties to enjoy other music styles. So, everything that sounds like rock,country or folk hardly have a chance to catch my narrow-minded ears. In order to get an idea, take a look at my 20 FAVORITE SCORES of all time.

Without further delays, here are my choices among the new recordings (I didn't consider reissues). First, the “Jorge’s Place Awards” and then my “Top Twelve" recordings of 2019, in preference order and not including reissues.

If you like this, take a look at my choices of 2018, 201720162015, 20142013 and 2012.  

JORGE'S PLACE AWARDS 2019




TOP TWELVE CAST RECORDINGS OF 2019



Sunday, May 26, 2019

ALADDIN – A Movie Review

Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, David Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen Jordan A. Nash, Amir Boutrous
Creative Team: Songs by Alan Menken, Tim Rice, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul • Choreography by Leah Hill • Screenplay by John August & Guy Ritchie • Directed by Guy Ritchie / 2019
My Rate: 6 (from 1 to 10)

The Plot: Aladdin is a poor young guy who falls in love with a beautiful girl, without knowing that she’s a princess. But he is pure of heart and so is forced by the bad guy, Jafar, to enter the cave where a magic lamp waits to be collected. Inside the lamp there’s a genie and Aladdin’s life is going to change.

The Movie: The 1992 Disney animated movie is one of the best of its genre, with an unforgettable Robin Williams giving life to the fabulous genius. Years later, the movie was adapted to the Broadway stage as an entertaining colourful musical. Now, it’s back to the movie screen in a real-life (well, almost) new version of the original.
Did we need this new version? Maybe not, both the original and the stage musical are better, but when the movie is as amusing and enjoyable as this one is, why not? Okay, Will Smith isn’t Robin Williams, but his genie is funny and he has a good time doing it. At his side, Mena  Massoud is a kind of silly Aladdin, always with an idiotic smile on his face, but he is a nice boy. Better is the beautiful Naomi Scott as the princess, strong and independent, her character is the big change on the story; she’s no longer a princess in need of rescue. But for me the big surprise is Nasim Pedrad as the humorous princess’ maid.
As for the movie, it’s a highly colourful one, a little bit loud and with plenty of action and magic to keep us entertained. It’s also a musical and this time around the big number isn’t “A Friend Like Me”, but “Prince Ali”. Practically, all the songs written for the original are here, but none of the ones written for the Broadway musical. There’s a new song, “Speechless”, but it’s forgettable and not up to the other ones.
I believe that, like me, fans of the original will have a good time seeing it, but keep in mind this isn’t as good as the that one and how could it be? So, keep an open mind and enjoy the magic of it!