Tag Archives: Tom Kitt

Nr 460: The SpongeBob Musical (2016)

6 Jan

Chicago: 2016
Broadway: 2017 (327 perf.)
Tv version: 2019

Book: Kyle Jarrow, based on SpongeBob SquarePants by Stephen Hillenburg
Music & Lyrics: David Bowie, Brian Eno, Panic at the Disco, Tom Kitt, Jonathan Coulton, Cyndi Lauper, Rob Hyman, Alex Ebert, Sara Bareilles, Andy Paley, Tom Kenny, Lady Antebellum, Yolanda Adams, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Plain White T’s, T.I., They Might Be Giants

Just so you know, if you’re not a SpongeBob fan, it all takes place underwater.
The story: SpongeBob, a relentlessly cheery fast-food worker with self-esteem issues, learns that his beloved Bikini Bottom is in danger of being destroyed by an undersea volcano called Mount Humongous that’s threatening to blow sky-high. So he, his BFF Patrick Star, a starfish, and the brilliant scientist Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel (don’t ask), must come up with a plan to save their world.
Among the obstacles on the path to hero-hood: xenophobic prejudice (Sandy is disdained as a mammal), the bureaucratic paralysis of the mayor, panic-rousing media coverage and the villainous obstructions of the evil Sheldon Plankton and his wife, Karen the Computer.

I actually thought I was going to hate this musical. I mean come on, SpongeBob the Musical???? And because the cast album contained songs by a lot of different pop composers I also thought this was something of a juke box musical.
But, boy, was I wrong!
Nickleodeon, the cable channel for kids where SpongBob the animated series airs, brought a live version of the Broadway show to our home screens.
Lucky us! For this is an absolute marvel of a show. Just 5 minutes in and I was hooked. The music is so good, the sets and costumes are amazing, the cast is perfect down to the smallest planktons and sardines and the choreography is utterly brilliant. I was totally enthralled.
The show is totally bonkers – in a very good way. Don’t let adult thoughts of ”that isn’t even logic” or ”this is so unrealistic” disturb you from enjoying this show. Indulge yourself in the madness and pleasures of Bikini Bottom (just that name, aargh, love it, and yes they make fun of it in the show). Do what I did: I just sat in my recliner and laughed, cheered and even shed a little tear.
This show is so sunny, positive and life affirming, just what we need right now.
The cast album was on repeat in my flat for a long, long time afterwards. And every time I feel a little blue I play Best Day Ever, the best pick-me-up-song ever!

The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won one: Best Scenic Design of a Musical.
It also won 6 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Musical, Actor, Featured Actor, Director, Sets, Wigs and Hair of a Musical.
And 4 Outer Critics Circle Awards: Outstanding New Musical, New Score, Director and Actor in a Musical.

The show was retitled for Broadway and the North American tour, now it’s SpongeBob Squarepants – the Broadway Musical.

Press:
For what it’s worth — and we’re talking millions of dollars here — you are never going to see as convincing an impersonation of a two-dimensional cartoon by a three-dimensional human as that provided by Ethan Slater at the Palace Theater. Mr. Slater plays the title role in SpongeBob SquarePants the Broadway Musical the ginormous giggle of a show that opened on Monday night.

…you will probably adore this musical if: a) “SpongeBob” was a formative influence of your childhood; b) you are a stoner who tokes up to watch reruns of the show on YouTube (categories a and b are not mutually exclusive); or c) if you are (like my date for this show) a parent of “SpongeBob”-bingeing progeny and found its sensibility crept into, and wallpapered, your weary mind.

… you may indeed enjoy such improbable spectacles as a misanthropic squid named Squidward (Gavin Lee, wearing four-legged pants) doing a virtuosic four-footed tap dance with a Busby Berkeley kick line of pink-sequined sea anemones. Or a heavy-metal boy band made up of sea skates on skateboards, with music by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. Oh, I forget to tell you. The show’s songs (supervised, arranged and orchestrated by the composer Tom Kitt) have been written by a plethora of pop-rock eminences…

Christopher Gattelli’s choreography of his sexually ambiguous ensemble (genders blur when wet) is perversely brilliant, suggesting piscine movement through breakdance and vogueing gestures instead of the expected swimming motions. But no one matches Mr. Slater in conveying the physicality of the life aquatic.
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Children should feel free to take their parents to Tina Landau’s psychedelically inspired version of the whimsical kiddie cartoon show … But Landau’s hallucinogenic stagecraft transcends the show’s television origins by speaking a visual language that’s three-dimensional and boldly theatrical.

(The plot) … is actually a lot scarier than any of the problems that arise in the TV show, but this is Broadway, where things tend to get inflated.
Here, that inflation surfaces in the score. Instead of working with a simpatico composer and lyricist, Landau, in the adventurous spirit of a Steppenwolf director, has stacked the show with individual pop songs written by individual songwriters … It’s not as much of a gimmick as it seems, but without a signature sound, there’s no signature style. What there is, though, is plenty of giddy, goofy fun for all.
– Marilyn Stasio, Variety

(Resulting in a show that) ”is as perfunctorily entertaining as it is insistently forgettable”.
– Alexis Soloski, The Guardian

Videos:

BFF
Bikini Bottom Day/Super Sea Star Savior/Best Day Ever
When The Going Gets Tough
At the Tony Awards: I’m Not a Looser
Gavin Lee (Squidward), Ethan Slater (SpongeBob), and Wesley Taylor (Sheldon Plankton) perform ”You Could Drive a Person Crazy” from COMPANY

Nr 391: Hamilton

10 Mar

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Hamilton (2015)

Off-Broadway 2015
Broadway 2015
West End 2017

Music, Lyrics & Book: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Inspirerad av biografin om Alexander Hamilton (2004) av Ron Chernov

“Hey, yo, I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry, and I am not throwing away my shot.”

Hamilton, the unlikely founding father determined to make his mark on the new nation as hungry and ambitious as he is.
From bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, a loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal, to the Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy.
This is the story of Alexander Hamilton (1755 – 1804),

Med ojämna mellanrum så kommer det en musikal som inte bara blir en sanslös succé utan även blir ett kulturellt fenomen. Den senaste jag kan komma på är nog Rent (1996) och precis som den så kommer Hamilton att introducera en ny generation ungdomar till musikalens underbara värld. Och ett flertal av dess sånger kommer att bli standards och höras på audition efter audition efter audition. Skulle tro att redan i vår så kommer många killar att sjunga You’ll Be Back på sökningar till olika musikalskolor.
Innan nån börjar tjata om ”Men Wicked, då, eller The Book of Mormon”, så vill jag bara säga att visst, de är stora succéer och Wicked är otroligt viktig för många men de är betydligt mer traditionella musikaler både vad gäller musiken och iscensättning. Hamilton, likt exempelvis Rent kommer att sätta en ny standard på hur man skriver, framför, rollsätter och koreograferar musikaler. Det är vad jag anser i alla fall.

Jag vet inte var jag ska börja med denna platta för den är så jäkla bra att det är inte klokt. Redan när jag hörde första sången (Alexander Hamilton)  när jag satte på den första gången så fick jag gåshud och fattade att det här, det här var nått speciellt. Efter denna starka introduktionssång så följer den ena fantastiska låten efter den andra. Och man vet aldrig i vilken stil nästa nummer kommer att vara i för även om den dominerande stilen är otroligt melodiös Hip-Hop så finns här också plats för både pop-, rap- och typiska Broadwaylåtar.

Föreställningen är den mest eftersökta biljetten på Broadway just nu, en uppsjö av falska biljetter finns i cirkulation och att betala över $ 600 (drygt 5000 kr när detta skrivs 160309) för en biljett är snarare standard än ovanligt just nu. Hysteriskt! Och föreställningen är redan slutsåld fram till januari 2017.

Är den värd all uppståndelse som scenföreställning då?  Jag vet inte för jag har inte sett den men av den 10 minuter långa samlingen av pressklipp jag hittat på nätet så ser den definitivt ut att vara det.
Men tills biljettpriserna gått ner en aning och tills den spelas på fler ställen (fast hur intressant den här är för andra länder än USA är väl frågan, kanske England men Sverige… Tveksamt.) så får jag njuta av dubbel CDn och titta på de klipp som finns och längta…
Rekommenderas nått så otroligt!!!

 

Trivia

Hamilton har bl a vunnit:

Som Off-Broadway föreställning:

8 Drama Desk Awards: Bästa musikal, kvinnliga biroll, regi, musik, sångtexter, manus, ljuddesign samt ett specialpris.
2 Outer Critics Circle Award för bästa musikal och score.
1 Obie Award för Best New American Theatre Work
2016 års Grammy för bästa Musical Theatre Album.

Som Broadway föreställning:
11 Tony Awards: Bästa musikal, libretto, musik, manlig huvudroll, manlig biroll, kvinnlig biroll, kostym, ljus, regi, koreografi och orkestrering.
Drama League Awards: Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical
Pulitzer Prize: Drama

Broadwayföreställningen fick 16 Tony Awardnomineringar vilket är nytt rekord för en föreställning. Den vann 11 av dem, vilket placerar föreställningen på 2:a plats vad gäller föreställning som vunnit flest Tonys. The Producers (2001) leder fortfarande med sina 12 vinster (kan tillägga att den ”bara” var nominerad i 12 klasser men vann alltså alla).

Cast albumet debuterade på 12:e plats på Billboard topp 200 listan. Det är den högsta debuten för en cast-skiva sen 1963.
Skivan hamnade som bäst på 1:a platsen på Rap-albumlistan.
Den hamnade på plats 2 på Billboards lista över de 25 bästa albumen för 2015

Lin-Manuel Miranda fick inspirationen till att skriva detta verk när han var på semester. Han köpte en biografi om Hamilton på flygplatsen och insåg snabbt at det här var ett perfekt underlag för en biografimusikal.

Från början kallade Lin-Manuel sin projekt The Hamilton Mixtape. Första sången (Alexander Hamilton) framfördes 2009 i Vita Huset inför president Barack Obama.
Den andra sången som färdigställdes var My Shot och den kom 2010.
Första workshopen för The Hamilton Mixtape skedde 2013 på Vassar College.

Hamilton är den 9:e musikalen som vunnit Pulitzerpriset för Drama. De övriga 8 är: George och Ira Gershwin: Of Thee I Sing (1932)
Rodgers & Hammerstein: South Pacific (1950)
Jerry Bock och Sheldon Harnick: Fiorello! (1960)
Frank Loesser: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962)
Marvin Hamlisch, Ed Kleban, James Kirkwood och Nicholas Dante: A Chorus Line (1976) Stephen Sondheim och James Lapine: Sunday in the Park with George (1985)
Jonathan Larson: Rent (1996)
Brian Yorkey och Tom Kitt: Next to Normal (2010).

En pjäs om Hamilton spelades på Broadway 1917.

Press:

Hamilton is the most exciting and significant musical of the decade. Sensationally potent and theatrically vital, it is plugged straight into the wall socket of contemporary music. This show makes me feel hopeful for the future of musical theater.
Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal

The music is exhilarating, but the lyrics are the big surprise. The sense as well as the sound of the sung dialogue has been purposely suited to each character. George Washington, a stately figure in Jackson’s dignified performance, sings in polished prose…
But in the end, Miranda’s impassioned narrative of one man’s story becomes the collective narrative of a nation, a nation built by immigrants who occasionally need to be reminded where they came from.
– Marilyn Stasio, Variety

The conflict between independence and interdependence is not just the show’s subject but also its method: It brings the complexity of forming a union from disparate constituencies right to your ears…. Few are the theatergoers who will be familiar with all of Miranda’s touchstones. I caught the verbal references to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Gilbert and Sullivan, Sondheim, West Side Story, and 1776, but other people had to point out to me the frequent hat-tips to hip-hop…
Whether it’s a watershed, a breakthrough, and a game changer, as some have been saying, is another matter. Miranda is too savvy (and loves his antecedents too much) to try to reinvent all the rules at once….
Those duels, by the way — there are three of them — are superbly handled, the highlights of a riveting if at times overbusy staging by the director Thomas Kail and the choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler.
Jesse Green, New York Magazine

Rubrik: Yes, it really is that good.
I am loath to tell people to mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets to a hit Broadway show. But Hamilton, directed by Thomas Kail and starring Mr. Miranda, might just about be worth it— at least to anyone who wants proof that the American musical is not only surviving but also evolving in ways that should allow it to thrive and transmogrify in years to come.
A show about young rebels grabbing and shaping the future of an unformed country, Hamilton is making its own resonant history by changing the language of musicals. And it does so by insisting that the forms of song most frequently heard on pop radio stations in recent years — rap, hip-hop, R&B ballads — have both the narrative force and the emotional interiority to propel a hefty musical about long-dead white men whose solemn faces glower from the green bills in our wallets.

– Ben Brantley, New York Times

I love Hamilton. I love it like I love New York, or Broadway when it gets it right. And this is so right…
A sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda’s uniquely personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith, Hamilton hits multilevel culture buttons, hard…
The work’s human drama and novelistic density remain astonishing.
David Cote. Time Out New York

Video:
At the 2016 Tony Awards
Reportage om skapelsen av föreställningen och Off-Broadway versionen
Alexander Hamilton Rap, fr The Hamilton Mixtape som  framfördes på A White House Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word on May 12, 2009
A Cappella version , en medley av låtarna med vocalgruppen Range
Wait For It
You’ll Be Back
Trailer för Off-Braodaway
John Adams Rap (cut song)
The Cast of Les Misérables audition for Hamilton the Musical
Ännu ett reportage
Trailer för Broadway
Opening Night – Cast Prspective
The Schuyler Sisters i en solo a cappella cover

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