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Musicals: From Stage & Film to Blu-ray

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#161 of 333 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted September 11 2012 - 10:04 AM

Originally Posted by MatthewA 

TVShowsonDVD.com has just announced a Blu-Ray release for the PBS documentary Broadway: The American Musical


http://www.TVShowson...Announced/17473


I've never seen this, how good is it?

It's excellent as an overview of the stage musical genre covering the 20th century and up through Wicked. Wonderful clips from a variety of sources (some I had never seen before) to illustrate even the earliest shows and performers. Of course, those of us who love stage musicals would want it to be twice as long as it is, and there are naturally many famous shows that don't get touched on, but I've watched it through quite a few times and always find it thoroughly entertaining and informative.



#162 of 333 ONLINE   Ejanss

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Posted September 12 2012 - 06:03 AM

It's excellent as an overview of the stage musical genre covering the 20th century and up through Wicked. Wonderful clips from a variety of sources (some I had never seen before) to illustrate even the earliest shows and performers. Of course, those of us who love stage musicals would want it to be twice as long as it is, and there are naturally many famous shows that don't get touched on, but I've watched it through quite a few times and always find it thoroughly entertaining and informative.

It's great as a historical overview--like the Ken Burns' Baseball of Broadway--even if you're hetero ;) and only interested in the cultural influence of how the shows changed with the decades. There's a great example where Harold Prince, of that "Fiddler on the Roof" -> "Sweeney Todd" Silver Age of cerebral intellectual 70's Sondheim musicals, describes trying to understand the first read-through for Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats": "'So, I'm missing something; is this all a Victorian social metaphor, and we have rich and poor cats, and Victoria and Disraeli cats?', and Webber replied, 'No, they're just....cats. :confused: " They make the point that we lost SO much with the Cameron Mackintosh "World logo" age of musicals as bus/t-shirt marketing. :(

#163 of 333 OFFLINE   Rob W

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Posted September 12 2012 - 09:47 AM

It's excellent as an overview of the stage musical genre covering the 20th century and up through Wicked. Wonderful clips from a variety of sources (some I had never seen before) to illustrate even the earliest shows and performers. Of course, those of us who love stage musicals would want it to be twice as long as it is, and there are naturally many famous shows that don't get touched on, but I've watched it through quite a few times and always find it thoroughly entertaining and informative.

I agree with Matt , and plan on upgrading from my dvd to blu-ray .

#164 of 333 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted September 12 2012 - 10:03 AM

After this set coming up in this thread, I pulled out my DVDs last night and watched one of the programs, the one covering the depression years up to the early 1940s. There's a nice silent clip from Pal Joey with Gene Kelly leading the dancers (doing "You Mustn't Kick It Around"), and there just as clear as day in the chorus are Van Johnson and Stanley Donen in various shots. This is an example of the rare footage found for this series and which makes it invaluable.



#165 of 333 OFFLINE   Eric Vedowski

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Posted September 13 2012 - 12:14 AM

Speaking of rare footage-where did they get that clip of Nancy Walker & Cris Alexander doing "Come Up to My Place" from "On the Town?" I searched after I first saw it but never did find out. Anybody know?

#166 of 333 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted September 13 2012 - 12:45 AM

I figured it was part of some movie short made to possibly publicize the show or for use for the troops.since the war was still going on.



#167 of 333 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted September 13 2012 - 02:43 AM

It's great as a historical overview--like the Ken Burns' Baseball of Broadway--even if you're hetero ;)

My wife finds this concept (the hetero Broadway buff) hysterical.

There's a great example where Harold Prince, of that "Fiddler on the Roof" -> "Sweeney Todd" Silver Age of cerebral intellectual 70's Sondheim musicals, describes trying to understand the first read-through for Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats": "'So, I'm missing something; is this all a Victorian social metaphor, and we have rich and poor cats, and Victoria and Disraeli cats?', and Webber replied, 'No, they're just....cats. :confused: " They make the point that we lost SO much with the Cameron Mackintosh "World logo" age of musicals as bus/t-shirt marketing. :(

That quote is fantastic.
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#168 of 333 OFFLINE   Eric Vedowski

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Posted September 13 2012 - 03:50 AM

I figured it was part of some movie short made to possibly publicize the show or for use for the troops.since the war was still going on.

Bingo-turns out it's from a "Army Navy Screen Magazine" short-after the "On the Town" bit Walker sings "Chattanooga Choo Choo" with others.. I hadn't thought of it being from a short. Thanks.

#169 of 333 ONLINE   Ejanss

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Posted September 13 2012 - 05:57 PM

My wife finds this concept (the hetero Broadway buff) hysterical.

Can't help it: Grew up in upstate NY, so we had commercials for every 70's Broadway show on all three NYC cable stations, but on our family's budget, going on a two-hour train south to NYC was like going to the moon, and the moon would have been cheaper, safer and more scenic. :( Only got to see 1-2 musicals (neither one classics) before I went to NYU and moved to Boston in the 80's, so no matter how bad they were, I always had a forbidden-fruit mystique for what I was missing, and how you could adapt a story to the sudden surreal/abstract storytelling device of people singing in it. Needless to say, the Kino 1984 "Giorgio Moroder's Metropolis" is one of my favorite disks, just as a textbook lesson in Act 1/Act 2 formula. Nowadays, they're all corporately sponsored gay movie-adaptations, and we've lost something, I think. :rolleyes:

#170 of 333 ONLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted September 14 2012 - 04:59 AM

Speaking of rare footage-where did they get that clip of Nancy Walker & Cris Alexander doing "Come Up to My Place" from "On the Town?" I searched after I first saw it but never did find out. Anybody know?

I think they recreated it for the Ed Sullivan show. It's on one of those Sullivan "Broadway" themed dvds (don't ask me which one. I'll have to look it up!)
 

 


#171 of 333 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted September 19 2012 - 01:17 AM

Nowadays, they're all corporately sponsored gay movie-adaptations, and we've lost something, I think. :rolleyes:

It's gotten to the point of self-parody. Producers seem terrified of opening a decently budgeted show without the pre-interested audience that comes with a movie or TV adaptation. (Which is itself something of an adaptation of the movie industry. . .)
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#172 of 333 ONLINE   Ejanss

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Posted September 19 2012 - 12:55 PM

It's gotten to the point of self-parody. Producers seem terrified of opening a decently budgeted show without the pre-interested audience that comes with a movie or TV adaptation. (Which is itself something of an adaptation of the movie industry. . .)

Also--even though the Shrek Musical wasn't that bad--nowadays only corporations like Universal can afford to follow Disney's lead and mount big corporate-backed productions/stagings/union-negotiations of musicals, in which case they'll be supporting name icons, rather than your friendly neighborhood Tin Pan Alley playwright. I understand the Spider-Man musical is still running, despite becoming a cathartic symbolic-scapegoat laughingstock, so we've still got a long ways to go...The Addams Family and Young Frankenstein have closed, haven't they? (Because I could only stick to the tourist choices, I never really got to see a BAD musical, and never knew what they looked like... At least, not until our PBS station showed the "Memphis" Blu-ray, and....yee-eesh! That one won the Tony???)

#173 of 333 OFFLINE   GMpasqua

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Posted September 19 2012 - 06:18 PM

In the last 30 years there have been only 3 new Broadway musicals I liked, 3


Thought there were many from the 50's and 70's I thought were great. As a kid growing up just north of Manhattan we would see a lot of shows "Grease" was the first, but really nothing original has been interesting during the last 30 years - what happened?



#174 of 333 OFFLINE   moviepas

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Posted September 19 2012 - 08:59 PM

I will order The Broadway Musicals Blu Ray however PBS also did the Gershwin My One & Only which I have on a poor tape someone sent a friend and it had a copying code in it which I assume was inserted by the Broadcaster. I wrote to PBS some years ago now and they informed me they had no plans for a DVD of the show. Maybe that might have changed. I hope so.


In my country we barely have any stage footage and few cast albums. The main reason was that big companies like CBS & EMI had the rights to the original London or B'way casts and wanted to get their money back on those and not waste further money on local cast recordings. CBS often owned all or part of shows such as My Fair Lady. In more recent years there have made local cast recordings and the latest staging of Annie in my city is one example. And Love Never Dies was filmed for Blu Ray in the same theater last year.



#175 of 333 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted September 20 2012 - 12:05 AM

Originally Posted by moviepas 

I will order The Broadway Musicals Blu Ray however PBS also did the Gershwin My One & Only which I have on a poor tape someone sent a friend and it had a copying code in it which I assume was inserted by the Broadcaster. I wrote to PBS some years ago now and they informed me they had no plans for a DVD of the show. Maybe that might have changed. I hope so.



My One and Only? Is that true? I have Crazy for You (also Gershwin) but knew nothing about My One and Only being filmed.



#176 of 333 ONLINE   Ejanss

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Posted September 20 2012 - 10:29 AM

In the last 30 years there have been only 3 new Broadway musicals I liked, 3 Thought there were many from the 50's and 70's I thought were great. As a kid growing up just north of Manhattan we would see a lot of shows "Grease" was the first, but really nothing original has been interesting during the last 30 years - what happened?

If "30 years" is cutting it off at '82, that's about right: Which, getting back to topic, the Broadway documentary covers--That's about when we got the flood of London-import musicals, and the idea that "the entire world" could be joined by Collette, the Phantom's mask, the Cats eyes, or the Miss Saigon sunset. Although I've only seen it onstage once, I'd always followed "Forbidden Broadway"'s Mad Magazine-style parodies of the current stage hits, and they routinely drag Les Miserables ("It's Less Miserable!") through the mud for starting the whole 80's trend for musicals as BIG SOMBER EPICS, where nobody sings or dances up-tempo. (Of which native New Yorkers had since become weary, and sneer at the bus tourists for flocking to.) One of the reasons Harold Prince made his "Cats" comment is that Prince pretty much retired after Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" was a notorious flop, and even Sondheim considered retiring back to mystery novels (rent "The Last of Sheila" if you haven't seen it) until James Lapine came along with Sunday/George and Into the Woods. Which weren't bad, but either too silly or arcanely highbrow to hit that mainstream anymore.

#177 of 333 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted September 20 2012 - 02:20 PM

While that is true about Sondheim's disenchantment after the failure of Merrily We Roll Along, Prince really never stopped working on shows even if he did topline a bunch of flops (A Doll's Life, Grind) until The Phantom of the Opera and then followed it up with gems like Kiss of the Spider Woman and that wonderful Show Boat revival.

#178 of 333 OFFLINE   Mark B

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Posted September 20 2012 - 03:51 PM

80's trend for musicals as BIG SOMBER EPICS, where nobody sings or dances up-tempo.

...and it became more and more difficult to leave the theater humming the tunes because they song structure became in great part, to my taste, rambling and unmemorable. I'm definitely a fan of the 1940-1970 style Broadway shows.

#179 of 333 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted November 09 2012 - 05:02 AM

Just a reminder that the Blu of Sondheim's Company (with Neil Patrick Harris) is due out this coming week (November 13).

==================


I was taken by surprise to see that--also on November 13th--Amazon has a listing for the Donny Osmond production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  I own the DVD but would consider that upgrade to Blu.  But amazon's listing is that it is region-locked to B (instead of North America's A).


A search for the same title on amazon.com.uk also shows it as Region B-only.

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#180 of 333 OFFLINE   PODER

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Posted November 09 2012 - 09:08 AM

As to the One Showing Only of musicals on PBS: Some have come from Broadway or Lincoln Center (LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, the latest SOUTH PACIFIC). Some have come from The Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey (CRAZY FOR YOU, a SHOWBOAT revival, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC). But, with rare exceptions, PBS only had the rights for One Showing. Like so many others, I'd be bouncing around on Cloud Nine if any of these were released on DVD or Blu-Ray. However, doing so would mean going back and renegotiating with Actors Equity, the Musician's Union, IATSE (the Stagehands Union), and quite probably all of the actors involved. So ... until the unforeseen happens, I'm hanging on to the recordings I made (on Beta, yet!) when they were shown. ps: On a personal note, I was the Stage Manager for a Broadway Benefit in the 80s which honored Mary Martin. Among those performing were Robert Preston, Carol Channing (accompanied by Jerry Herman), the Baroness Von Trapp, Helen Hayes, Van Johnson, Sandy Duncan and then First Lady Nancy Reagan, who'd been a chorus girl in Martin's early success LUTE SONG. Ms. Martin's duet of MY CUP RUNNETH OVER with Robert Preston, from I DO, I DO, had the entire audience not just in tears, but outright sobbing. It was the last night either of them appeared on a Broadway stage. What I wouldn't give to have a DVD of THAT evening!!





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