NightScribe

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Everything posted by NightScribe

  1. NightScribe

    Sweeney Todd

    While surfing the 'net yesterday, I stumbled upon various sites and forums and found some Sweeney stuff I thought I'd pass along to any who may be interested. According to one site, the song Wait has been cut from the Tim Burton film (with Sondheim's approval). I'm not too pleased with that. The first thing Mrs. Lovett says to Sweeney is "Wait, what's your rush, what's your hurry?" Later, in the actual song Wait, she says, "don't distress yourself, what's your rush?" At the beginning of Epiphany, Sweeney admonishes Lovett, "why did I wait? You told me to wait!" Cutting the song seems to mess up that theme, IMHO. Also regarding the film; due to the set being shut down for a time when Johnny Depp's daughter was ill, they had to cut the "gentlemen ghosts" who sing the Ballad of Sweeney Todd (including the great Christopher Lee) in order to meet the budget and schedule. A different approach, to be sure, but I kind of like the idea of the Greek chorus made up of victims' spirits. The vocals were recorded, apparently, but not filmed. Bummer. Randomly, I've found the one performance of the judge's Johanna that I actually like. It's on the ST San Francisco Symphony concert performance (on DVD) from 2001. Tim Nolan (an opera bass-baritone) sang the role of Turpin. Great voice and he sings the number well. I wasn't crazy about Paul Plishka's (another opera singer) version on the 2000 NY Philharmonic concert CD; in fact, I didn't like most of the performances, a lot of the voices seemed wrong for the roles (Patti LuPone, anyone?) And although I liked Edmund Lyndeck as Turpin overall, it's rare that I listen to his Johanna on the OCR; it's my least favorite. It comes across so dissonant and lacking in any discernible melody. Nolan's is truly the best. One thing I noticed was a lot of younger people have discovered Sweeney through the 2005 revival. I've never heard it. Call me a purist, call me old, but when I read how that revival was staged, I nearly gagged. Orchestra? Gone. The ten performers doubled as the "orchestra." Let's face it, the score is immensely important, to strip it down is pretty much sacrilege. Now, I think it's damned admirable that they play as they sing, but they have to remain kind of static, no? Meaning there's no movement, no action. Pie/barber shop set piece? Gone. Ultra cool barber chair? Nowhere to be found. Set in an asylum and maybe it's Toby telling the story of what really happened, or he's just crazy and imagined it all? WTF? And don't get me started on Sweeney playing guitar (when did he turn into a troubador?) It makes me laugh; Forbidden Broadway says more than once how British directors keep ruining our American masterpieces with their re-envisioned revivals. I have to agree with them, at least on this one. There's some clips of numbers from the revival over on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. Who knows, you may prefer it over the original. ST Revival Clips Since Sweeney's Johanna is one of my favorites (and one of the shorter clips posted) I checked that one out. I stopped halfway through. Although Michael Cerveris has a good voice, (I saw a Passion concert performance he did a while back and thought he was quite good) I didn't think it was deep enough for Sweeney (I'm a sucker for darkly hued, rich and robust baritones). Okay, I've bored you long enough. Sorry about that, but my Sweeney obsession knows no bounds.
  2. NightScribe

    Sweeney Todd

    Yeah, he's kinda good, I guess, if you like that sort of thing. Seriously, I think I could write a dissertation on ST. Maybe I'll post something on my LJ with all my thoughts, but let me throw this one out at you in the meantime. When Anthony is about to leave to rescue Johanna, Todd gives him a pistol with instructions to kill if he has to. Anthony responds, quite readily and confidently, "I'll kill a dozen jailers if need be." However, once at Fogg's, he can't kill one, it's Johanna who fires the shot. My point is: like father, like daughter(?) I really do need to write out my analysis, but it's such a daunting task, not to mention I'm planning on working a lot of those points into my ST fics. Speaking of Sondheim, how do you like the song Now from Night Music? I recently bought the OCR and can't get that one out of my head, it's so damn clever, both musically and lyrically. Damn that demigod Sondheim! Edit: Even more to mull over: Johanna and Anthony's story mirrors the Barkers; it's history repeating itself. Anthony is young, idealistic, optimistic, and naive, in love with a virtuous, beautiful young woman. Problem is, someone else wants her; the same man who wanted Lucy and for the same reason. Anthony loses his innocence through Turpin, just as Benjamin did. Barker was falsely imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, escaped, and took on a new identity. Johanna is falsely committed to an asylum for an affliction she does not have, escapes, and disguises her identity. It's what I love about this story; it's like a bottomless treasure chest, you just keep discovering new things.
  3. NightScribe

    I Am...

    I am hoping Daz's dinner dilemma is resolved soon I am wondering why I'm watching Phantom of the Opera since I say "that wasn't in the book" every two minutes I am thinking I'll keep the sound down and continue working on my new fic I am cursed with a case of the munchies but have very little munchie type items in the house I am off to make a grocery list
  4. NightScribe

    I Am...

    I am advising 'Trae that in order to avoid peeling from sunburn, go for a "moon tan" instead I am conceding that a "moon tan" leaves one rather pale I am hoping his burn is not too painful and heals quickly I am clarifying that my thumbs up to Big Sam had nothing to do with the orgy posting issue, but something else I am thinking I will have pizza tonight
  5. NightScribe

    I Am...

    I am pleased that I have just finished an outline for a new one-shot I am happy and surprised that it came together so easily I am thinking I may be getting my groove back I am giving a to Big Sam (he knows why)
  6. NightScribe

    SPOILERS!

    It sounds like a load of crap to me; anything that short, with typos, no less, makes me ├╝ber suspicious. About a month ago, for kicks, I searched for spoilers myself and found a site where someone claimed to have read an advanced copy and posted synopsis for several chapters at a time. I hadn't finished reading the first one when I thought "bullshit, this is a fan fic" Turns out, they were (surprise! fooled ya!) talking about a fan fic someone wrote and how the story could possibly end that way, oooh, how eerie. That fic had Snape as a bad guy (I'm guessing, it did nothing to resolve the burning questions revolving around him) and how Harry finally got to talk to Dumbledore after Snape gave him the Draught of Living Death and he went into a coma or something. Draco's fate wasn't even mentioned, Lucius was conspicuously absent, I could go on. Simply put, I'm leery of anything that claims to be a spoiler, but then, I'm known to be cynical.
  7. NightScribe

    Happy BirthDaz!

    Happy Birthday, Daz! Hope your day is great and full of fun!
  8. NightScribe

    Original Characters

    A character's name can make all the difference in the world. On an old, original story, I had a male character that I was indifferent about, but I knew something didn't feel "right." It was his first name; it made him older than his age, but the common nickname made him too young. A simple name change and his character completely opened up to me. He went from being a dull, one dimensional, and least favorite character, to complex and one of, if not the most, favorite. Names are essential to shaping my characters. For me, the hero or antagonist's name has to "fit," as it's an important part in adding layers to their personalities.
  9. NightScribe

    A New Take on Shakespeare

    I thought this was a clever article over on The Onion New Shakespeare Production
  10. NightScribe

    Tony Winners

    I was going to write a very long tirade about the Tonys last night, but, I'll try to keep this short. Am I the only one who was shell shocked by Spring Awakening winning best musical? After reading a synopsis and a few reviews, and seeing that abysmal number on last night's broadcast, is it safe to say the B'way musical is truly dead? Okay, I'll explain why this has my knickers in a twist. The play is set in 1890s Germany. So why the f*ck is the score pop/rock? Why does the choreography resemble shit from a 21st century Britney Spears video (oh, I'm almost touching my breasts! How scintillating!) or the guys looking like they have extreme nervous tics or are in the throes of a seizure? The lyrics were... Uh-huh, in your underwear, singing about your mother, an angel, and Jesus Christ. WTF am I supposed to get from that? The blurred line between religious/sexual ecstasy? It's been done better (the judge's Johanna from ST) And those shrill female voices had me checking to see if cerebral fluid was oozing from my ears. And whipping out microphones to sing your songs, like it's American Idol, yeah, that'll keep you in the moment. And I loved the Cabaret-esque bit with the guys on the chairs (so original; Bob Fosse anyone? ). How this ever got out of someone's basement and onto a legitimate stage is beyond me. The performance from a musical I enjoyed most was from the revival of Company. Yeah, he over-emoted a couple of times, but overall, it was very enjoyable, (it's no secret I'm a Sondheim fan and a rabid Sweeney fan). After the Spring Awakening cast did their thing, my mind was churning. Hmmm....19th century setting, (allegedly) serious topics, angsty....hey, how about trying to use music evocative of the period that also accentuates the moods of your characters? Kind of like, you know, Sondheim's Sweeney. Perhaps I'm being a bit cruel, but as far as I'm concerned, the creators and producers of SA are What did I enjoy on the Tonys? Let's see. Angela Lansbury still going strong. The song from Company (and winning for best revival) and Frank Langella winning for Frost/Nixon. Oh, and keeping the show down to the alloted three hours. Okay, I'm done. I'm going to go listen to Assassins now.
  11. NightScribe

    A New Take on Shakespeare

    I never really thought about how pervasive that is until I read the article. When I watch a film version, it's usually pretty faithful to the setting/time. Fortunately, when I was a freshman in HS, we had to read Romeo & Juliet and watched the Zefferelli film version, with the brief flashes of nudity left in tact. I don't think I'd enjoy, say, a MacBeth with AK47s and grenade launchers, although I did enjoy Kurasawa's samurai re-telling, Throne of Blood.
  12. NightScribe

    Tony Winners

    I knew I should have included my thougths on pop in musicals, Daz. I don't have a problem with it, as long as it's something original and fits in with the story being told. I like Hair, for instance, and although I don't like the musical in general, I understand how it can work in Jesus Christ Superstar. (And it is duly noted noted not to mention the Mouse House by name again! ) And yes, you can come on over to listen to Assassins, (I really like the John Wilkes Booth segment).
  13. NightScribe

    Angst/Fluff Ratio

    I can't honestly pick a ratio either. I've written some dark stuff, (angst) because without it, there wouldn't be a story; it's all about conflict, whether external or internal. I like to paint in shades of grey on what I call my "serious" fics, but there are always lighter moments, as a counter point; in my opinion, it makes the dramatic parts resonate more. My lighter, humorous stories can't be called fluffy, but the whole tone is different, even with the snarky, occasionally dark, humor. As for reading, I avoid the all out fluff, as well as the over-the-top angst; I can't slog my way through stories that are either all rainbows and butterflies, or hopelessly bleak and dismal.
  14. NightScribe

    Tony Winners

    You have my deepest sympathy on the screeching. I've managed to miss Bollywood movies and wasn't aware that that was a factor. Didn't ALW do a Bollywood type stage musical? *groan* Webber strikes again! I think you're onto something, Eve, about the tourists going just to say they've seen a show on B'way. Fortunately, I live in (okay, near) a big city, so the shows either do a pre-Broadway try-out or end up here within a year anyway, plus we have our own theatre, which a lot of well known actors started out in. I think the popularity of pop/rock driven stuff, jukebox musicals, or well known Disney stories draws the people in because the material is familiar and the music is, I guess, accessible. I also think they (producers) are trying to draw in younger crowds, so they figure pop or rock is the way to go. I guess we can only hope that the saying is true, "everything old is new again" and someday (sooner rather than later) there will be a resurgence of well written/composed musicals.
  15. NightScribe

    For Sondheim Fans

    One of the few things I liked about the Tonys this year, Daz! I intend on posting a new tirade...er...topic about the Tonys later today.
  16. NightScribe

    For Sondheim Fans

    The other night, while embracing my slugdom, I was reading product reviews on Amazon because...well, it's something I do when I'm bored; weird hobby, I know. Anyway, I was reading customer reviews for the OCR of Sweeney Todd and found something quite interesting. One literate reviewer had mentioned another review that called Todd a failure and spent most of the critique applauding ALW's Phantom and comparing it to Sondheim's masterpiece. Eventually, I stumbled upon the pro-Weber review and had to laugh; the person didn't have a clue what Todd was about. The best part was that there were a couple of replies and they're definitely worth a read. If interested, take a look here: Sweeney Review, Rebuttals There was another laughable review from a kid who asked "did you see the part where Sweeney cuts that guy's head off?" Uh, no. No, I didn't....because he never decapitated anyone! I'll let that one slide; I think the material was a bit too mature for the poor child. Although *gag* they recommended another Weber musical. *shudder* Difference is night and day people, night and day.
  17. NightScribe

    Who will live and who will die?

    So many choices. I'll vote Draco, just for the hell of it. I've had a sneaking suspicion that Snape will go to that big dungeon in the sky in the manner Daz mentioned; self-sacrifice for the greater good, martyr death, all that jazz. I'm hoping it won't come to that, though. I've got nothing against Draco, but who knows, maybe he'll end up battling his own father or something and that will be that. That's my "out there" choice. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ron end up dead, along with the usual Death Eater suspects. Okay, in the actual poll, I voted Ron, because he annoys me more than Draco somehow, and I think Draco may have a redemption thing going on himself, it started coming to light in HBP.
  18. NightScribe

    Not at all psyched

    Well, the new HP movie and last novel come out in, what, roughly a month? And I find myself not at all excited over either. I haven't pre-ordered the book, despite many trips to the bookstore and their enticements to reserve a copy. Yeah, I want to know how it all ends, but I'm not rabid about it. The film, well, I was disappointed with GoF and its cuts, (editing out that Snape was a Death Eater really bugged me) not to mention the fact that my ass fell asleep. Am I the only one who's burned out?
  19. NightScribe

    Not at all psyched

    Hmm...looks like I am the only one who's burned out. Eh, maybe the hype in early July will pull me back in. I will definitely read the book, only to find out about Snape; I think he's the only thing that keeps me interested. That, and to find out if Lucius busts out of Azkaban (oh, please, let him get out!)
  20. NightScribe

    I Am...

    I am wondering if my landlord has left so I can go get my mail I am not saying that because I have anything against him I am saying it because I am dressed like a slob and would be embarrassed to run into him
  21. NightScribe

    I Am...

    I am glad Nan and 'Trae have turned in for the night I am saying they kept me from saying "get a room, for God's sake!" I am bemused by this particular foreplay
  22. NightScribe

    Forbidden Broadway

    I don't know if anyone else has heard about this, but there's a cabaret act in New York that's been around since the '80s, the show is called Forbidden Broadway. The creator writes parody lyrics to show tunes, ripping on actors, composers, trends, and shows in general. And some are laugh out loud funny. Some of the performers (rotating cast) impersonate famous people quite well, one of the women sounds exactly like Bernadette Peters, with her strange inflections and all. An example of what I'm talking about; they've got a song to the tune of Luck Be a Lady Tonight, from Guys and Dolls, called No Leading Lady Tonight; a couple pissed off that the big name star they wanted to see isn't going on that night, they're stuck with the understudy. What's amazing is that they never use an orchestra, it's one guy on a piano, that's it. Not every song is great, but there's bound to be a few to crack you up.
  23. NightScribe

    For Sondheim Fans

    Nan, hate you? Never! You know the other old saying "to each his own," or is it "one man's poison is another man's meat?" Anyway...the "Webber is better than Sondheim" crowd (rabid ALW fangirls) do annoy me. I'm familiar with some of his stuff; the "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" song and "Memories" (which you couldn't escape even if you were living in a cave), and I once owned the Phantom soundtrack. I can only say that I'm drawn to darker, psychological stuff (duh, like the fics I write), so that's why Sondheim's stuff appeals to me. I could never quite get Cats, but, then again, I'm a dog lover. Try reading Phantom sometime. It's not Steinbeck or anything and it's kind of all over the place, genre wise; horror, mystery, romance and back again, but once it gets going, it's pretty good. Erik is a far more compelling character in the novel, you end up really feeling for the guy. It's heartbreaking, actually.
  24. NightScribe

    I Am...

    I am wondering why the hell I'm watching the Maury Povich show instead of writing I am feeling guilty at having not written anything for two months I am still snickering at Big Sam's soaking delicates (intimate apparel or not)
  25. NightScribe

    Guilty Pleasure Musicals

    We all have them, a guilty pleasure; something we don't like to admit to liking, fearing the eye roll or "you've got to be kidding!" response. Do you secretly love The Sound of Music? Had you wished you got a chance to see the biggest flop in recent memory Carrie: The Musical? Are you a guy who got dragged to Wicked and are too embarrassed to 'fess up to enjoying it? My guilty pleasure: 1776. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for 18th century men's fashion. Maybe the songs were too damn catchy, but I liked it. And I learned more about the squabbles, compromises, and politics surrounding the drafting of the Declaration of Independence from that play than any class in school. Go figure.