Sunday, 14 October 2007

UPDATE: Week of 14 Oct...

There's a lot coming up this week, so it's time for another generic news post.

Tuesday night is a big one for the West End, as RENT:Remixed has its official press opening. The RZ is going on Thursday, and will then post an official review and shut up about this production unless major proper news comes through. Tuesday night is also the first preview for Desperately Seeking Susan, combining the 80s film with the Blondie song catalog. The RZ is hoping to attend, but (as will be shown below), this week is cramped and expensive already. No student rush policy has been announced yet for DSS, so a visit may be held off until press night or a later preview. (EDIT: RENT's opening night has been moved to Monday.)

Continuing with the Tuesday overload, the Perfect Pitch festival is starting then as well, although public performances are not starting until Wednesday night. The RZ is going on Wednesday, when three shows will be presenting excerpts. While more like NAMT's workshop series than NYMF, anything promoting new talent in the field of British musical theatre is welcome in the RZ's eyes, much like the recently announced Notes From The Stage competition.

The RZ is also paying a visit to Bad Girls tomorrow, as he found an exceptional discount. The show is based on a long running British TV series that this author has never seen, so it should be an interesting evening if nothing else. Reviews for all three (or four) shows should go up this week, thanks to a lack of written class assignments.

In other news, Hairspray finally opened in the West End for previews last week. Sadly, the review won't be posted for a while due to class requirements, but the short: It's excellent. All of the energy and excitement from the US productions is here, the score is being played at speed (vs. the typical slowdowns in London), and while the cast have some issues, 95% of them can be worked out after playing for an audience a few times. That said, a handful of the jokes flew over the audience's head, being just a bit too American. Still, the show's a blast and audiences are sure to be flocking to the Shaftesbury.

Much as Les Miserables is doing next week, a US-London swap is coming up for Spamalot. According to all the major sources, Marin Mazzie will be taking on the Lady of the Lake in London, while Hannah Waddingham is to play said role in the New York production. Sorry to all the Broadway people out there, but London is winning out on this one. Waddingham can sing, but the RZ found her comedic timing and acting weak at an August performance.

For smaller theatres, John Doyle is at it again, this time bringing the actor/musician gig to Merrily We Roll Along. Known as Sondheim's most problematic show, Merrily follows four high school friends backwards in time from their reunion to their teenage years. The production is going to run a good hike away from London proper, so it's not certain yet if the RZ will be attending, but we can always hope.

There should probably be some fringe coverage in here, and I guess that WoS provides the good news: Arts Council England is being granted an extra £50 million in funding from the Department of Culture. In terms of what this can do, it costs about £15,000-20,000 to bring a new show to a festival run. This is great news for the English subsidised theatre, though it also means that travesties such as Rider Spoke will continue getting funded.

Lastly, some good news from the US. According to Playbill, Ace, a new musical by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker, is on track for a (surprisingly short) DC tryout in March 2008 with plans to move towards Broadway. Combining the story of a ten year old foster child with WWI and WWII pilots, Ace is family theatre that manages to entertain the kids with action, present some interesting themes and issues for parents, and is NOT BY DISNEY (more details at the Wiki link). The RZ was given a copy of the demo CD along with some footage from the San Diego tryouts, and heartily recommends that readers in the Washington, DC area to check it out.

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