"Hit List," one of the rival fictional musicals in the second season of Smash (RIP), is getting a real, in-concert performance in New York City. And it sold out in a manner of minutes. The "let's fix up the old barn and put on a show!" motif is still alive and well, so we've put together a shortlist of contenders for the next fully realized production of an onscreen play.
"Hamlet 2" — Hamlet 2
No one better described the often ludicrous nature of live theater better Dana Marschz, the drama teacher who saved his high school's theater program with their production of his original Shakespearean sequel, "Hamlet 2": "Yes, it was stupid, but it was also art." Can't you just picture erstwhile host Neil Patrick Harris introducing Steve Coogan, Skylar Astin, and the rest of the cast to close out the Tonys with a rollicking performance of "Rock Me, Sexy Jesus"? Plenty of cutaway reaction shots to a confused Elaine Stritch, of course.
"Bombshell" — Smash
In the middle of a whole lot of wrong, one thing Smash always got right were the songs. With music composed by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman of Hairspray fame, the long-term plan for the series was to eventually present the theater tie-in — a real, Broadway production of Bombshell. Let's rescue Megan Hilty from Sean Saves the World and get her back into that Marilyn dress where she belongs.
"Snow White and the Seven Dorks" — Saved by the Bell
Get Lin-Manuel Miranda from In the Heights to punch up these songs and an Elizabeth Berkley straight on the heels of her successful Dancing with the Stars run, and we could really have something here.
"Spectacular Spectacular" — Moulin Rouge!
Baz Luhrmann is planing to bring his first feature Strictly Ballroom to Broadway, but we'd prefer the full version of genius poet Christian's Bollywood-style masterpiece, "Spectacular, Spectacular." We've already been promised that "it will run for 50 years," so investors should be lining up with their checkbooks.
"A Midsummer Night's Rockin' Eve" — Get Over It
Because Sisquó needs a job.
"Red, White, and Blaine" — Waiting for Guffman
An Off-Broadway theater. The Christopher Guest ensemble. Classic songs like "Stool Boom" and "Nothing Ever Happens on Mars." The triumphant return of Corky St. Clair. A real, onstage tribute to the fictional town of Blaine, Missouri would be an instant high-brow hit and a dream come true for fans of one of the greatest mock-docs of all time.
The ‘90s are back with a vengeance but some parts of the apparently beloved decade belong back in that beloved decade. Case and point: the classic ‘90s magical family movie. Disney’s latest The Odd Life of Timothy Green plays heavily on the visual and musical cues that we children of the ‘90s may recognize from films like The Santa Claus and even Hocus Pocus. The problem is that the film opens that door without fully walking through it.
The Jennifer-Garner starrer rests in a nebulous place between wacky contemporary comedy and a nostalgic throwback. But it can’t be both. Centered on the unfortunate reproductively-challenged couple Jim and Cindy Green (a perfectly adequate Joel Edgerton and Garner) the film follows the duo as they give up on having kids and spend a night with a bottle of wine writing down their won’t-be child’s perfect characteristics with a good old pencil and paper (pay attention now because that pencil part is pretty important). They bury the papers in a box in Cindy’s perfectly-kept garden and while they sleep the box sprouts into a little boy - their little boy only with a few leaves on his legs since he grew out of the ground after all. This part of the story combined with the film’s obvious affinity for the good old days as evidenced by the Greens’ home town and its dependence on a classic pencil factory lends itself to that nostalgic feeling.
It’s a few gratuitous and tonally dissonant moments that throw us back out of our reveries and into an uncomfortable space. Both Cindy and Jim have what should be comically horrible bosses played by Diane Wiest and Ron Livingston respectively. But between Weist’s mind-bogglingly goofy scene in which little Timothy paints her scraggly chin-hair and all and Livingston’s many off-colour moments - including one in which he instructs Jim to fire half the factory staff before lifting an over-sized “THE BOSS” mug to his face - are rather jarring in a film that is largely wistful.
But it’s not totally Odd Life’s fault. Modern audiences demand these sorts of gags in their light-hearted movies. The problem is that it’s up to the filmmakers to give us what we need not what we want. Odd Life’s story is largely melancholy throughout as Timothy’s fate is betrayed in the first two minutes of the film. While some levity is necessary the moments of light need only to come from the film’s main light source: the wonderful little boy at the center of the story.
Ultimately Timothy’s sweetness and Garner’s incomparable ability to create a lovable albeit neurotic mother save the film and allow for an emotionally satisfying end to the family tale. There are just far too many bumps along the way.
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
S02E22: I feel like this week’s episode of Modern Family tried so very hard to be a classic MF episode (one where everything wraps up under a common theme), but the writers had to stretch it just enough beyond believability. While I applaud them for at least attempting it, at the end of the day it couldn’t hold up to the classics. I'm not saying it wasn’t funny, it had some very funny bits, but that heart it searched far and wide for just wasn’t there.
"You’re still blinking sweetie." - Cam
Let’s take a look at the weakest story this week: Cam and Mitchell. It turns out Cam comes down with something nasty and needs Mitchell to take care of him. The only problem is they had killer Lady Gaga tickets that night and Mitchell really wants to go, but alas he feels guilty! And Cam doesn’t exactly help him not feel guilty! Because a cold is crippling and there’s absolutely no way he’d be able to take care of himself otherwise! But after Cam chugs a whole gallon of NyQuil knock-off or whatever, he’s out like a light and Mitchell sneaks off to the concert.
So why didn’t this work? Well, you took out the main comedic force in the duo! Without Cam there to be as flamboyant as he normally is, Mitchell is left to flounder around. Even though Mitchell is quite funny, they work best when bouncing off each other. And then when we did get a little Cam he basically whined the whole time and no one likes a whiner. However, we did get the shot of Cam carrying a sick Mitchell in a flashback so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
"And I put on the sugar jacket." - Gloria
The next weakest story this week (actually it was just as weak, but Sofia Vergara managed to save it with that shirt) was Jay and Gloria. Apparently Gloria has a soft spot in her heart for anyone looking for work and her latest recruit is an odd-looking guy with a business pitch for Jay. He begrudgingly listens to the worst pitch of all time for a "Good Dog Bad Doggie" treat system designed to train dogs with good and not-so-good doggie treats. The guy has enthusiasm out the wahoo he just needs a better idea and Jay tells him so. After the fact, Jay somehow winds up with the dog because of course he does. Did you even see those cute puppy ears?
My problem with this story was that it just seemed to pander. Lin-Manuel Miranda guest starred as the doggie treat guy and it was like they dressed him up as the world’s most stereotypical nerd hoping that the costume would do half the character development. Needless to say, it didn’t work. And was there ever really a doubt they would wind up with the dog? But it wasn’t without its laughs; Jay correcting the guy all through out his pitch and Gloria confusing sugar coating for sugar-jacket were great. And Manny’s face at the end when he gets the dog? Fantastic, but it couldn’t save the story.
"Luke, keep your pants on!" - Claire (how has this not been said before?)
Which leaves Phil and Claires story as the strongest story of the week and honestly, it wasn’t that good to begin with. Claire is done being the bad cop and decides that she and Phil are going to switch. She’s going to take Manny and Luke go-karting and Phil has to marshal the girls into cleaning the bathroom. Claire pushes the boys into having more and more fun completely missing the point of it all until Luke vomits in the back seat. Phil goes all drill sergeant on the girls and rightly so. They sneak out without having cleaned the bathroom which causes Phil to chase them down and he forces them to clean everything. He gets a little too power-hungry (he doesn’t even allow the girls to eat) and duct tapes their laptops down. Eventually they come back and realize they don’t like their roles reversed and they swap back.
What worked about this storyline was that even though Phil and Claire swapped roles their underlying traits still showed through. Claire attacked having fun and was completely relentless until Luke vomited. Phil went a little power-hungry, yet he was duct taping their laptops? That’s definitely something Phil would do. So that kept it fairly funny. What really didn’t work was them actually switching. Phil actually shows potential for being a tough dad which really goes against the grain of his character. Claire goes to the classic trope of a hair-brained person attempting to corral everyone into having fun (“ARE WE HAVING FUN YET??” *sharpens butcher knife*). There were definitely funny moments, but we like these characters for who they are. Let’s not switch them up.
So, it wasn’t the best episode ever of Modern Family, but there were still some definite moments of comedic joy to be had. And besides, if they don’t pull a usual sitcom move and get rid of the dog by next week, more of that cute puppy! Yes!
The show opened in New York's famed theatre district in February 2008 to huge acclaim, garnering a slew of awards later that year and recouping its $10 million (£6.66 million) production costs in less than 12 months.
But declining audience numbers have convinced bosses to halt the show's run in January after almost three years, according to Variety.com.
The musical, which centres on the lives of residents of Manhattan neighbourhood Washington Heights, will end on a high note - creator/composer Miranda will return to the cast for the final 19 performances.
Ortega was choreographing Jackson's comeback concerts when the King of Pop died in June (09).
After he finishing work on This is It, Ortega stepped away from the limelight and even cancelled plans to direct a remake of Footloose - starring Chace Crawford - revealing he wanted to "kick my shoes off and walk in the sand".
Six months after Jackson's death, Ortega is ready to return and has signed up to take the Tony Award-winning In the Heights to the big screen.
And he wants Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical about his upbringing in New York neighborhood Washington Heights, to reprise his starring role in the movie.
Ortega tells Daily Variety, "I've seen the show six times on Broadway since it opened. Lin blew me away with his presence and charisma."