Tag Archives: Entertainment Weekly

Nr 462: American Psycho (2013)

13 Jan

American Psycho
2013: London
2016: Broadway, 54 perf
2019: Sydney

Music & Lyrics: Duncan Sheik
Book: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis

Based on the best-selling novel by Bret Easton Ellis, and set in the epicenter of excess: 1980s Manhattan, American Psycho tells the story of 26-year-old Wall Street investment banker Patrick Bateman, young and handsome with impeccable taste and unquenchable desires. Patrick and his elite group of friends spend their days in chic restaurants, exclusive clubs and designer labels. It’s a world where appearance trumps substance, greed is good, and one’s purpose in life is to crush the competition at all costs. But underneath his smooth and suave exterior lies a psychopath with bottomless blood-lust for getting what he wants and wanting what he can’t get.
When he finds out that one of his coworkers, Paul Owen, not only has secured the exclusive and highly sought after Fisher account, but also has managed to get a reservation at the new elite restaurant Dorsia, AND has a better looking business card, the inner monster flashes his teeth. 
Patrick invites Paul to his apartment before a party. Patrick spikes Owen’s drink, puts on a raincoat and begins a long one-sided analysis of the artistic and commercial merits of the band Huey Lewis and the News. After stating that ”the world is better off with some people gone”, Patrick slaughters Owen with an ax.
Afterwards, he lets himself into Paul’s apartment and stages his disappearance by resetting his voicemail and packing many of his possessions into a suitcase.
Months pass. Having made sure to make people believe that Paul is in London Patrick appropriates Paul’s apartment as a place to host and kill more victims, beginning with 2 hookers…

 This is a rather uneven show. I found the first act to be laugh out funny, sharp, edgy, witty, a little scary, and at the same time a little nostalgic since I lived through that era, and with a perfect first act finale: the bloody murder of Paul Owens. I really couldn’t wait for the second act to begin but… I didn’t really like that act. The music was still good, some numbers amazing but the murdering got a bit tedious and the piece didn’t really go anywhere. And I hated the end of the musical which has him marrying his girlfriend and resigning himself to a pointless existence in which the punishment and notoriety that he craves will forever be denied him. While the book ends as it began, with Bateman and his colleagues at a new club on a Friday night, engaging in banal conversation. A much more cynical and frightening end, I think.

The music is, of course, for the most part synth music, and quite hard synth I might add, which I love. I think mr Sheik has done a brilliant jobb in giving us a batch of new synth hits. There are also some covers of 80s hits like Hip to Be Square, Don’t You Love Me Baby and In the Air Tonight all performed in new exiting versions that differ quite a lot from the originals.
All in all, I like the cast album a lot, the show itself… well, it isn’t bad but there could be improvements made…

And speaking of American psychos… Patrick Bateman and his friends idolize Donald Trump…

Duncan Sheik is perhaps best known for writing the music to the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Spring Awakening (2006).

In London the part of Patrick Bateman was played by Matt Smith, maybe most famous for being the youngest actor ever to portray the title character in the BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who and he also portrayed Prince Philip in the two first seasons of the Netflix series The Crown.

The Broadway version of the show won 3 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Lighting Design, Projection Design and Sound Design in a musical.
And 2 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Lighting Design and Projection Design.
It was nominated for two Tony Awards but didn’t win.

Though it is spattered with stage blood from beginning to end and features the sort of carnage associated with Eli Roth movies, “American Psycho” turns out to be one of those musicals that send your thoughts awandering, even as you watch them. So while this show’s title character takes a gleaming ax or chain saw to his co-stars, you may find yourself fixating on the following questions: Collectively, how many hours   of gym time per week does the incredibly buff cast embody? … Did those auditioning for “American Psycho” have to submit ab shots instead of head shots? And before they set foot onstage each night, are they required to pass a body mass index test?
If such queries do indeed fill your head during the long and decoratively gory duration of “American Psycho,” … then it could be argued that the show’s creators have done their job.

Of course, it could be argued that the “American Psycho” team has done its job too well, since you’re also likely to identify with Patrick when, shortly before he crucifies a young woman with a nail gun, he concludes solemnly that there’s “not one clear, identifiable emotion within me.”

Characters snort cocaine in dance clubs; have meaningless sex; order silly-sounding, elaborately named fusion dishes at overpriced restaurants; and recite designer clothing labels as if they were holy mantras, and make fun of those who are less of-the-minute than they are.
In other words, New York hasn’t changed all that much. Yet “American Psycho” treats the ’80s with the condescending nostalgia associated with decade-defining clip-compilation shows on lesser cable channels. And with a couple of signal exceptions, this musical treats its inhabitants as shrill cartoons (to laugh at) and sculpted sides of meat (to ogle).

Mostly, though, this psycho is neither scary nor sexy, nor is the show in which he appears. This may be good news for concerned citizens who feared the musical might present a nastily irresistible role model to impressionable young ’uns. Not to worry. In “American Psycho,” there’s little that’s lusty in blood lust.
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times

If you can resign yourself to the story’s innate ambiguity, you’re in for a perversely enjoyable experience.

The music is totally ’80s as well: Sheik’s bizarrely catchy, entirely electronic score – far from the usual Broadway fare….

And as for the violence – it’s simply part of the story, usually a joke, and often part of a stunning stage picture.
– Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly

The second act flags…but the score is strong…Duncan Sheik’s synthesizer-heavy music – radical by Broadway standards…finally delivers a worthy follow-up to his ”Spring Awakening.” A comic ”American Psycho” you can dance to? Somehow, it works.
– Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Post

Selling Out
You Are What You Wear
Hip To Be Square
Killing Spree

Nr 454: Big Fish (2014)

2 Nov


Big Fish (2014)
Broadway, 98 föreställningar

Sverigepremiär på Uppsala Stadsteater 2019
Music & Lyrics: Andrew Lippa
Book: John August baserad på hans manus till filmen med samma namn från 2003, i sin tur baserad på  Daniel Wallaces roman  Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions från 1998.

Edward Bloom is a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales.
The story shifts between two timelines.
In the present-day real world, sixty-year-old Edward Bloom faces his mortality while Will prepares to become a father himself.
In the storybook past, Edward ages from teenager, encountering a Witch, a Giant, a Mermaid, and the love of his life, Sandra.
The stories meet in the present-day as Will discovers the secret his father never revealed.

En musikal som jag inte riktigt blir klok på.
Gillade Broadwayversionen och var förvånad över att den floppade men samtidigt så ogillade jag verkligen den svenska varianten som jag tyckte var ofokuserad, luddig och ganska så ointressant.
På Broadway charmad och i Uppsala lite uttråkad.
Så en musikal som genom olika uppsättningar ger 2 totalt olika intryck.
Och det är ju lite intressant i sig.

Musiken är av typen klassisk Broadwaymusikal men med lite countryinspiration. Några catchiga bitar, inte dålig på nått sätt men inte heller så intressant att den fastnar eller inspirerar till omlyssning.

Norbert Leo Butz is cutting loose in another one of his don’t-dare-miss-this perfs in ‘Big Fish,’ a show that speaks to anyone pining for a studiously heart-warming musical about the efforts of a dying man to justify a lifetime of lousy parenting to his alienated son.
– Marilyn Stasio, Variety

This final Broadway version of ”Big Fish” has changed considerably, and improved in leaps and bounds, from the version audiences saw in Chicago, especially in the radically different first act.
. . .
With the indefatigable, deeply engaged and seemingly irreplaceable Norbert Leo Butz driving its storytelling and willing the show’s crucial emotional subtext into being by sheer force of talent and will, ”Big Fish” arrives on Broadway as an earnest, family-friendly, heart-warming and mostly successful new American musical-
– Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune

Here, though, [Director Susan Stroman] seems to be drawing almost randomly from her bottomless bag of tricks. Yes, her use of dancers to embody an enchanted forest and a campfire is delightful. And it’s hard not to chuckle when those two-stepping elephants make a cameo appearance. But if the show is all about the need for personal myths, it has to let its leading mythmaker take charge.
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Wholesomeness gets a bad rap on Broadway these days, usually regarded as the kind of unbearably sweet and inoffensive entertainment that sophisticated theatergoers must endure while taking their conservative grandmas out for a night on the town. […] But Big Fish, the new musical that tattoos its heart on its arm, displays no fear in plopping its unabashed wholesomeness right in your lap. Its spirit is steeped in Rodgers and Hammerstein decency that propels an evening that’s adventurous, romantic and, yeah, kinda hip.
– Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld.com

It’s no spoiler to say that imagination wins out, particularly in director-choreographer Susan Stroman’s visually lavish production, which boasts dancing circus elephants, a mermaid who pops up from the orchestra pit, and tree trunks that ingeniously morph into a coven of witches. Don Holder’s lighting, William Ivey Long’s costumes, and Benjamin Pearcy’s projections are often wondrous to behold
. . .
For the most part, though, Big Fish finds theatrically inventive ways to reel audiences into its central love story. In this case, it isn’t boy-meets-girl but father-hooks-son. And Edward Bloom is quite a catch.
– Thom Geler, Entertainment Weekly

Om den svenska versionen skrev pressen:

Ytterst professionellt iscensatt, men sockrat sentimental – ”Big fish” på Uppsala stadsteater öser på med allt. Det uppstår en mättnadskänsla i denna fantasimusikal om konflikten mellan en fabulerande far och en sanningssökande son.
– Karin Helander, Svenska Dagbladet

Om filmen och den ursprungliga boken är en folksaga om en son som på klassiskt vis söker en frånvarande far, är detta en betydligt vardagligare historia. Det är en vinst.

Kanske skulle någon invända att huvudtemat – pappan som hittade på sitt liv – går förlorat i den mer realistiska infattning som förkroppsligas av Gustav Levins och Åsa Forsblad Morisses garanterat barntillåtna äktenskapsskildring. Inte mig emot när de sjunger så bra och visar att det går utmärkt att fabulera under ett par nöjsamma timmar.
– Leif Zern, Dagens Nyheter

Trailer för Uppsala Stadsteaterversionen
High Lights Broadway
Time Stops
Be The Hero

Nr 393: Aladdin (Disney)

4 Sep

Aladdin (2011)
Broadway 2014, spelas fortfarande
West End 2015, spelas fortfarande
: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Chad Beguelin

Book: Chad Beguelin
Baserad på  Disneys  animerade film Aladdin från 1992 i sin tur inspirerad av berättelsen om Aladdin i sagosamlingen Tusen och en natt

In the middle-eastern town of Agrabah, Princess Jasmine is feeling hemmed in by her father’s desire to find her a royal groom. Meanwhile, the Sultan’s right-hand man, Jafar, is plotting to take over the throne. When Jasmine sneaks out of the palace incognito, she forms an instant connection with Aladdin, a charming street urchin and reformed thief. After being discovered together, Aladdin is sentenced to death, but Jafar saves him by ordering him to fetch a lamp from the Cave of Wonders. Where there’s a lamp, there’s a Genie, and once Aladdin unwittingly lets this one out, anything can happen!
Will Aladdin’s new identity as “Prince Ali” help him win Jasmine’s heart and thwart Jafar’s evil plans?
Will the Genie’s wish for freedom ever come true?

Sen 90-talets mitt har Disney inte bara dominerat filmvärlden med sina tecknade filmer utan även haft en sanslös samling hitmusikaler på Broadway. Trenden startade med Beauty & The Beast och har sen gett oss scenversioner av The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Newsies och The Little Mermaid. Alla utom den sistnämnda blev enorma framgångar och The Lion King spelas fortfarande 11 år efter sin premiär och toppar allt som oftast listan över veckans mest inkomstbringande Broadwayföreställningar. Så det är inte konstigt att Disney väljer att förvandla ännu en av sina älskade filmer till familjevänlia musikal.
Filmen från 1992 var ett makalöst fantasifullt och visuellt fulländat mästerverk som fick kultstatus genom Robin Williams genialiska och hysteriskt roliga tolkning av anden i lampan.

När man gör en scenversion av en populär film så ställer jag mig genast frågan: behövs det verkligen en scenversion av filmen? Hade nog svarat nej om både Beauty & The Beast och The Lion King men bägge blev bra föreställningar och speciellt den senare gjorde en helt ny och teatralisk version av sitt grundmaterial som var så häftig att den faktiskt får filmen att blekna i jämförelse.
Men Aladdin då? Behövde den en scenversion och hur fungerar den på scen?
Svaret på första frågan är nog nej och på den andra: inte så där jätte bra enligt mitt tycke. Man har skrivit 4 nya sånger och lagt in 3 sånger som ströks från filmen och så har man skrivit några nya scener men inget känns så där direkt nödvändigt och tillför väldigt lite.

Man har också strukit figurer som Jafars papegoja Iago och Aladdins apa Abu. Istället har Jafar fått en ganska så skrikig och jobbig side-kick och Aladdin 3 kumpaner som han kan dansa och sjunga close harmony med.

Anden eller Djinnen är föreställningens stora behållning och i James Monroe Iglehart gestalt så är han helt sanslös både vad gäller dans, sång, komik och den rena energin som han levererar på scen. Man blir nästan andfådd bara av att se honom in action. Tyvärr så dominerar hans scener och shownummer föreställningen så totalt att allt som sker mellan dem mest känns som transportsträckor. När han sen dessutom blir den stora snackisen på stan och  alla kommer till showen för att se anden och han dyker upp först mot slutet av första akten, vad ska man göra då?  Jo, man ger honom inledningsnumret Arabien Nights, en sång som från början framfördes av Aladdins 3 kumpaner. Dessa kumpaner fungerade då också som musikalens berättare, men deras insatser har nu strukits ner till att mer eller mindre bara vara support till Aladdin. Lite synd då deras kommentarer och hyss gav en hel del energi, humor  och en lätt touch av Bröderna Marx-aktig anarki  åt föreställningen.
But, that’s showbiz!

Jag tycker inte det här är en bra musikal. Gillar mycket av musiken och den i filmen strukna sången Proud of You Boy som fått en central plats här, är en ljuvlig sång och blivande konserthit. Men för mig blir föreställningen aldrig levande. Aladdin och Jasmine är som klippdockor, söta men platta, och nån passion dem emellan kunde då inte jag se. Allt är lagom och trevligt och kul och snyggt och ofarligt och därför lika spännande som Bolibompa. Men det är klart, om jag varit yngre och kanske fått det här som en första teaterupplevelse så hade jag nog älskat det. Är kanske lite för cynisk för sånt här.
Men rätt ska vara rätt: Scenen med den flygande mattan är helt magisk och där blir jag plötsligt som ett litet barn som tittar med stora ögon på det omöjliga, magiska som sker på scen. Där blir jag lite småkär i föreställningen men tyvärr, när mattan åter landar så är min kärleksaffär med showen över.

Disney productions sparar aldrig på krutet så showen är påkostad med massor av kostymer, snygga scenografier, häftiga effekter, stor orkester, hysteriska koreografier och en enorm ensemble (för att vara en nutida show) så man får valuta för pengarna men tyvärr så är det bara ögat som blir tillfredsställd, hjärtat får inte sin del.
Så tekniskt snygg men tom och känslokall är min åsikt.
Jag gillar filmen och ser nog hellre om den en gång till.


James Monroe Iglehart fick både en Tony Award och en Drama Desk Award för sin insatts som anden i lampan.

Adam Jacobs (som spelar Aladdin på Broadway) syster Arielle spelar Jasmine i den Australienska uppsättningen av musikalen.

Aladin var den första tecknade Disneyfilm som släpptes både i en dubbad version och i den engelska originalversionen på svenska biografer. Numera är ju det standard men innan denna film så fick vi alltid hålla tillgodo med den dubbade versionen. Men eftersom Robin Williams röstarbete var så unikt, så skickligt och så alldeles omöjligt att ge full rättvisa på svenska så valde de att visa den i 2 versioner. Och det var jag väldigt tacksam för.
Så bland annat av den anledningen ligger denna film mig lite extra varmt om hjärtat.

Musikalen innehåller alla sångerna från filmen samt 3 som skrevs av Menken och Ashman för filmen men aldrig användes samt 4 nya sånger skrivna av Menken and Beguelin.

Namnet Aladdin kommer från arabiska (från början syriska) علاء الدين (Alāʼ ad-Dīn), med betydelsen ʼtrons ädelhetʼ.

H.C. Andersens saga Elddonet är inspirerad av sagan om Aladdin.



As directed and choreographed (and choreographed, and choreographed) by Casey Nicholaw, and adapted by the book writer Chad Beguelin, “Aladdin” has an infectious and only mildly syrupy spirit. Not to mention enough baubles, bangles and beading to keep a whole season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants in runway attire.

Most of the numbers not involving chorus members in chest-baring vests and harem pants tend to pass by without making much of an impression. (Gregg Barnes did the pseudo-Arabian costumes.) Although Mr. Jacobs and Ms. Reed have solid voices, even the movie’s big hit song, the pretty Menken-Rice ballad “A Whole New World,” lands rather softly.

“Just be yourself,” the Genie says to Aladdin, when lesson-learning time arrives. But the production’s relentless razzle-dazzle and its anything-for-a-laugh spirit also infuse the show with a winking suggestion: If you can’t be yourself, just be fabulous.

– Charles Isherwood, The New York Times


This super-costly extravaganza doesn’t do justice to the movie, or to the spirit of the late Howard Ashman.

The magic-carpet ride is magical. The Cave of Wonders is wonderful. And yes, you’ll hear the tunes you loved in the 1992 movie. But the notion that “Disney Aladdin” somehow resurrects the spirit of the late Howard Ashman, who had the original inspiration for the movie and contributed most of its clever lyrics, is a joke. Restoring a person’s work without respecting his artistic sensibility is no tribute at all.

Working from what looks like a million-plus budget, costumer Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots) makes a dazzling first impression with vibrant colors and graceful silhouettes, and rich materials that are intricately embroidered and elaborately ornamented.  But in the spirit of overkill that comes to define the entire production, the costumes become so heavily encrusted with bling, it’s a wonder anyone can move in them.

It was a really bad idea to replace Iago, the sardonic parrot familiar of the evil vizier, Jafar (Jonathan Freeman, as impressive as he was in the film), with an annoying human henchman played by an annoying actor. A worse idea was replacing Abu, Aladdin’s rascal monkey friend, with three of the hero’s dumber-than-dirt slacker pals. As for the cheap jokes sprinkled throughout the book, the most unspeakable one comes in the prologue, when Genie produces a tacky miniature of the Statue of Liberty and excuses himself for “a little pre-show shopping.”
Oh, you don’t mean to say that there might be a profit motive in all this?
Marilyn Stasio Variety


As staged by director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw, it’s part children’s theater, part magic show, and part Nick at Nite sitcom?complete with broad acting and groan-inducing puns (”Welcome to Dancing With the Scimitars!”).

Overall, this is one of the better Disney stage musicals, complete with several eye-popping production numbers that benefit from Nicholaw’s spirited choreography, Bob Crowley’s elaborate and chameleonic sets, and Gregg Barnes’ glittery costumes.

As in many a Disney stage production, the big showstopper isn’t even human: During ”A Whole New World,” a flying carpet carries our lovers aloft in a night-time ride, swooping and spinning with how’d-they-do-that wonder. (Jim Steinmeyer and Jeremy Chernick are credited with designing the onstage illusions and special effects.) It deserves its own curtain call.
Thom Geier, Entertainment weekly



They don’t really have pantomimes in the US, which may explain why the creatives behind this hit Broadway adaptation of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ made a pantomime, probably without realising.

It’s well done, but talk about selling coals to Newcastle: the humour hits the spot with Howard Ashman’s dry lyrics, but it lacks the inspired madness of, say, the Hackney Empire panto. Alongside the other big West End Disney musical, Julie Taymor’s ‘The Lion King’, it struggles to establish a distinct, theatrical identity. And my mind boggled at how the diverse, largely British cast has had bland American accents foisted upon them to play Middle Eastern characters.

…a heroically overextended, all-singing, all-dancing, multi-costume-changing spectacle.

…it’ll keep you ticking over until Christmas, but that’s it.
Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

Imagine a Christmas panto minus the dame and with a budget of zillions and you get some idea of this musical extravaganza. At first, I resisted the corporate zeal that has taken the 1992 Disney animated feature and turned it into a live show, but I gradually found myself won over by the blend of spectacle, illusion and a greater supply of corn than you will find in the Kansas wheatfields.
-Michael Billington, The Guardian


There’s no denying that Disney knows how to deliver quality family entertainment, and while British musicals like Billy Elliot or Matilda may have a more effortless, breezy and heartfelt sophistication, the resources thrown at the stage here and the sheer sense of spectacle, is awe-inspiring.
-Mark Shenton, The Stage

Tony Awards
Trailer för Broadwayshowen
Arabien Nights
Behind the scenes
Proud of your boy, demo från filmen
Proud of Your Boy med Adam Jacobs fr Broadways Original Cast


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