Tag Archives: The New York Post

Nr 463: The First Nudie Musical (1976)

16 Jan

The First Nudie Musical (movie)
Screenplay, Music & Lyrics: Bruce Kimmel

Gotta sing, Gotta dance
While I’m Taking of my pants


The son of an almost famous studio owner is forced to make porno films to keep the bankrupt studio from being made into a shopping center. The films have titels like Teenage Sexmutants and Stewardesses in Cages. But lately these films have started to flop. In an attempt to get back on the high ground he decides to make a new kind of porno, a musical comedy porno. He makes a bet with the debtors who wish to take ownership of the studio, that if they finance the musical and he can’t complete it within two weeks, they can foreclose.
Ribald humor, bawdy songs and plenty of skin abounds in this sophomoric satire that while unabashedly trashy, has developed a bit of a cult following.

I found the films soundtrack album in a record store in Sweden when I was a teenager and I found it deliciously smutty. I loved going around town and with a loud voice sing the songs in the hope that I would shock people. But it was the seventies so people, at least in Sweden, weren’t that easily shocked about sexual stuff. I was a bit disappointed, I mean there I was singing about Dancing Dildos, cunnilingus and Orgasms and people just thought it cute or absolutely normal… Ah, the seventies…
I loved the songs then and I still do. But I didn’t actually get a chance to see the film itself until it came out on DVD in the early noughties. I have just revisited it so it would be fresh in my mind for this blog and I can tell you that it still holds up pretty well. Some of the physical comedy feels a little forced and dated, but the dialogue is still funny and had me laughing out loud quite a few times and some of the show numbers are pure delights. It’s pretty crude and has a low-budget feel with a ”musical-within-a-movie” theme, but with satirical sexual humor and if you like that kind of thing (and I do), it’s definitely worth seeking out!
They’ve added a very funny hour long retrospective documentary as a bonus on the DVD.

The budget for the picture was $125 000. It got picked up by Paramount Pictures for distribution. But when the studio saw the finished product they thought it dragged a bit in the middle and they asked Bruce to shoot some new scenes. So he came up with the Dancing Dildos number. The studio asked ”Are there nude girls in the number?” ”Yes”, he answered and they gave him $75 000 just to shoot that scene!

There are som great future stars in this movie:
Cindy Williams who already had a nice little movie career going on, got her big break through on tv the same year the film premiered in the tv-series Laverne & Shirley. She played Shirley for 8 seasons. Laverne & Shirley was a spin-off of the sitcom Happy Days (1974-84).
Future director Ron Howard was the star of Happy Days and he did a cameo in this movie.
Cindy and Ron also played girlfriend and boyfriend in the George Lucas film American Graffiti (1973).
Diana Canova went on to play Corinne Tate in the sitcom Soap (Lödder in Sweden).
And director, actor, author, composer and lyric writer Bruce Kimmel has starred in and directed a lot of films and tv-series. He has also written plays and musicals (among them The Brain from Planet X, which you can find on this blogg, it’s nr 200). From 1988 to 1993, Kimmel co-owned the specialty label, Bay Cities, releasing over 100 albums that included American classical music, cast albums, and soundtracks. In 1993, Kimmel became a full time record producer with his own division at Varese Sarabande, producing many cast albums (Broadway and off-Broadway), Broadway singers, and musical theater concept albums, first for the Varese Sarabande, and then for a company he founded, Fynsworth Alley. His current label Kritzerland has issued close to 400 albums including cast albums, singers, and a series of reissues of limited edition soundtracks.

The film actually got some great reviews and became a minor hit. The first week of its wide release, it was the fourth highest-grossing picture in the country, behind Star Wars, You Light Up My Life, and The Spy Who Loved Me.

The actual first nudie musical is considered to be the 1963 nudie-cutie Goldilocks and the Three Bares (1963)

Press:
Chockful of youthful talent, well spiced by outrageousness and sparked by invention. The three stars are simply irresistible. Cindy Williams is enchanting, Kimmel is the ultimate appealing schnook. Fresh and funny and funky. Made for about 1 percent of the budget of New York, New York, but a hundred times funnier and more perceptive. It’s the Star Wars of nudie musicals.
– Judith Crist, New York Post

More vitality, imagination, zany comedy and stellar performances than most movies. It’s one of the most memorable movies of this year. A raunchy delight. Cindy Williams is a marvel! Kimmel is a joy to watch!
– Joseph Gelmiş, Newsday

A Mel Brooksian salute to porno chic.
– Bruce Williamson, Playboy

Silly, sophomoric, at times downright inept, this little low-budget venture picked up by Paramount is more often than not hilarious, offering good, tonic laughter to those not offended by nudity and blunt language.
– Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Basically a one-joke idea that wears thin despite an air of amiability.
– Leonard Maltin’s Film Guide (two stars out of four)

A few clever bits are downed in a larger sea of silliness, forced gags and predictable cliche.
– Arthur D Murphy, Variety

Videos:
C’mon Honey
The Red Band Trailer
Audition scene
A ”naked” tv-review of the movie from 1976

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.

Press:
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

Videos:
Selling Out
You Are What You Wear
Cards
Hip To Be Square
Killing Spree
Trailer

Nr 382: Howard Crabtree’s When Pigs Fly!

27 Maj

PigLogo

Howard Crabtree’s When Pigs Fly! (1996)
– a musical revue in two acts conceived by Howard Crabtree and Mark Waldrop
Off-Broadway, 840 föreställningar
Music: Dick Gallagher
Lyrics and sketches: Mark Waldrop

Brother, you ain’t seen a thing
Till you’ve seen bacon taking wing!

This revue takes a hilarious look at gay life in the 1990s.
It’s a grab bag of songs, dances, sketches, and running gags — unified by a gay sensibility that combines a love of traditional musical theatre, a taste for outrageous visual humour, and a delight in shameless wordplay. These elements are strung upon the slenderest of plot threads.
The concept of the revue is that ”Howard” stages a musical. As he struggles to do so, dealing with the large egos of performers or scenery gone wrong, he hears the words of his high school counselor, ”Miss Roundhole”. She sarcastically said, ”When pigs fly!” in response to his ambitions. The characters in the revue are all played by men.
But the linking story is not where the focus lies.
The individual numbers are the meat of the show. In When Pigs Fly the empty stage becomes a kind of dreamscape populated by Howard’s fevered imagination. The audience never knows who or what it will see next. A bare-breasted mermaid? A Garden of Eden tableau? Bette Davis as Baby Jane slinging a life-size Joan Crawford rag doll around? They all get into the act.
Each freshly revealed character will have something to say, usually through song, that provides a skewed but revelatory reflection of what it is to be gay in the 1990s.
Though the spirit is gay — in both senses of the word — the tone is inclusive, and always the tilt is towards the universal. When Pigs Fly is completely accessible to anyone who can appreciate being smart and silly at the same time.
Welcome to Howard’s world….

The show’s a queer one, there’s no doubt
Just to be in it you have to be out!

Jag gillar verkligen det här. Kul musik med smarta och väääldigt kvicka sångtexter. Det här är en show som driver med det mesta, både ”gay” och ”straight” men mest ”gay”, och inte för en sekund tar den sig själv på allt för stort allvar.
Sånginsatserna är av varierande kvalité, några är rena Broadwayröster medan andra är mer åt glada amatörerhållet men det de saknar i sångkvalité fyller de istället med charm och grym komisk tajming. Så allt som allt så är det här en helgjuten liten show.

Några av sångerna är ännu roligare om man vet varför de sjungs och av vem, som Not All Man som sjungs av en förvirrad kentaur i omklädningsrummet på ett gym – därav alla ”häst” skämt.
Rekommenderas!

Favvisar:
When Pigs Fly, Not All Man, Sam and Me, You’ve Got To Stay In The Game, Light in the Loafers

Kuriosa:
Howard Crabtree (1954 – 1996), började sin showbizkarriär som dansare men började snart skapa hysteriska kostymer för olika off-Broadway shower.
Tillsammans med upphovsmännen till denna show skapade han 1993 revyn Howard Crabtree’s Whoop-Dee-Doo! Här skapade han inte bara kostymerna utan spelade även huvudrollen.
Han gick bort bara nån månad innan When Pigs Fly hade sin premiär.
Han dog i en AIDS relaterad sjukdom.

Press:
Some shows, you leave humming the scenery; others, the costumes. Howard Crabtree’s When Pigs Fly sends you out humming the sequins on the costumes.
The wigs alone in this exuberant eyeful of a revue … are like tone poems of camp: pillowy, cartoon-land creations, threatening to lift the men beneath them somewhere, fully aloft.

But if the revue is essentially fabulous window dressing–make that faaaaaaaabulous window dressing–its overall musical buoyancy serves as artful dressing for the dressing.

So many costume changes; so little time.
– Michael Phillips, Los Angeles Times

…an exceptionally cheerful, militantly gay new musical revue that comes close to living up to its own billing ”the side-splitting musical extravaganza”.  No sides are ever in serious danger of splitting. Yet there’s enough hilarity, wit and outre humor here to evoke that era, more than 40 years ago, when bright, irreverent revues were as commonplace on Broadway as today’s stately Cameron Mackintosh spectacles.
 Vincent Canby, The New York Times

This show is user-friendly for straights.
Clive Brooks,  The New York Post 

A Hog-Heaven of silliness.
 Michael Sommers, The Star Ledger 

Videosar:
Color Out Of Colorado (A Patriotic Finale)
You’ve Got To Stay In The Game
Bigger is Better
Hawaiian Wedding Song
Last One Picked

You can’t take the color out of Colorado
You can’t take the Mary out of Mary-Land
As John Phillip Sousa said, ‘I can’t march
If I can’t hear the boys in the band.

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Den förvirrade men glade kentauren.

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We Wear Our Vanity with Pride

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