I’ve listened to the Sound of Music television cast album* once through. Carrie Underwood is inoffensive but is not going to be anyone’s favorite recorded Maria. Ironically, I liked her best in “Something Good,” which is a song I detest.
Audra is the star of the recording for me. Her “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” is pure delight, taking full advantage of her smoky low register and her thrilling top notes. The entire chorus of nuns has a lot of fun with “Maria” too.
Laura Benanti is sort of affecting a snootiness that is appropriate to the character but keeps her songs from being quite as wonderful as they’d be out of context. Christian Borle is fine as Max, but it’s a thankless role. Ditto to Stephen Moyer as the Captain, although because no one is expecting much from him, I suspect he’ll get raves.
The kids are what they are. I don’t think any Sound of Music recording has lived or died on its younger cast.
So, like just about every television soundtrack before it, this disc won’t be essential, but you’ll want to get at least a few tracks for your “Ultimate Sound of Music” playlist.
* It’s a cast album, not a soundtrack, because the cast cut an album which is not being used as the, um, soundtrack for the actual film, since that’s being performed live. The Julie Andrews Cinderella and (sort of**) the Mary Martin/John Raitt Annie Get Your Gun albums fall into the same category.
** The Martin/Raitt Annie Get Your Gun album, while delightful, is even more of an oddity because it only preserves the songs of the leads with an anonymous chorus. I don’t think the arrangements are the same as those used in the broadcast. Regardless, it’s one of the few television soundtracks I would consider essential.
If you were in charge of Shark Week, how would you run it?
Oh my god, thank you for asking! I would change so many things.
I love Shark Week in theory, but in practice it’s kind of gross and fear baity? Chris Fallows and Rocky Strong are still doing good stuff, but it’s kind of a bummer that Shark Week is 90% SHARK ATTACKS! OMG! and 10% a new Air Jaws.
Here is a breakdown of the shows featured in 2013’s Shark Week:
Air Jaws: Countdown to Shark Week 2013
This is basically a clip show, but I’ll allow it, because Air Jaws is incredible and I would watch it read a phone book if that were a thing TV shows about sharks jumping out of the water could do.
Megaladon: The Monster Shark Lives
Ooooooooooooh, a show about giant pre-historic sharks, this could be fun! JK, it’s about how “scientists” think a species of shark from the Cenozoic Era could still be alive and eating people.
Return of Jaws
This one is sooooooooooo close to just being a cool thing about how sometimes sharks do actually live off the coast of Cape Cod, JUST LIKE IN JAWS. Except the shark takes a “chilling interest” in one area, which unless you’re going to call this Return of Jaws 4, is just not a thing sharks do. (It’s still not a thing sharks do, but at least then the movie reference makes more sense.)
First of all, I call shenanigans that “local shrimp farmers” actually assigned this nickname. Does the Ghetto Hikes guy work at Discovery now?
The producers over at Shark Week have such a hard on for Bull Sharks, because they can swim in salt water AND fresh water. More places to be afraid of sharks! I look forward to Shark Week 2016: Can Sharks Swim Up Your Drains? Probably!
Spawn of Jaws
This one isn’t even that bad! It’s about Great White Shark life cycles and mating habits! That’s pretty interesting! Better give it a scary name so people will still watch.
Top 10 Sharkdown
“All sharks are terrifying blood thirsty human gobblers, but some are blood thirstier and human gobblier than others!”
Also, sharkdown is a great word and is totally wasted here. I would make a cop show set in the 70s where the cops are sharks and when they’re being rough with a suspect the guy is like, “Hey, this is a sharkdown!”
Great White Serial Killer
OH MY GOD STOP IT.
Do you think The Discovery Channel is mad at SyFy for stealing their idea for Sharknado?
This is a very cool and awesome show about sharks in the deepest parts of the ocean. The deepest part of the ocean, you know, where nightmares live.
I guess this could be kind of an interesting human interest piece about people whose jobs bring them in close contact with sharks every day, but I kind of doubt it.
And no actual new Air Jaws?! That is some bullshit.
In conclusion: I would continue to make a new Air Jaws every year. Those are dope and they are making really great use of their increased budgets. I would also expand the programming a bit. I guess there was some kind of chat show this year? That’s cool. I liked the year they had the Mythbuster guys do their own Shark Week special. Less Top 10 Shark Attacks That Are Probably About To Happen To You and more Cool Facts About Sharks.
Are we prepared for the Annie remake to unleash a tidal wave of white people in denial about the lives of poor/homeless/parentless children of color in the contemporary US? Is Jay Z prepping a study guide about this?
Jeremy Jordan’s “Giants in the Sky” brought the house down, even if his performance was fighting with too-literal projections. And the references to “mother at the door” made the following scene with Bernadette Peters extra gross because we thought she was his mother, and she sings a song from Road Show written for a mother to sing about her son, and then suddenly they’re in bed together.
my interpretation of all this was John Doyle saying “okay Bernadette we’re going to make you Jeremy’s mother” and she just said “I’m going to stop you right there because my boobs and 3 pairs of spanx say otherwise.”
Erin dropping truth bombs. Also there was a moment during “Broadway Baby” when I’m pretty sure Bernadette’s boobs stated to get their own round of applause before the audience caught itself and classes up.
That awkward moment when you’re chatting with a composer and you mention that you had previously posted snippets of a bootleg of his show on your Tumblr, assuming that he knew, only to discover that he didn’t… (But since he also didn’t scold me, I hope he’ll forgive me for sharing one more song in order to kvell.)
But I said it this summer and I will say it again. Murder For Two is a ton of fun, and that fun is amplified by the insane amount of talent both onstage and off. A new musical comedy that is funny! and tuneful! and full of genuine rhymes!
The show’s tightened up since the summer. It’s interesting that the reworked opening helped with the storytelling, but it felt like it took longer for tonight’s audience to really get on board with the show than it did when I saw the earlier version at Second Stage. Still, the audience did get on board and by the end everyone was howling with laugher and applauding their little heinies off.
Thanks to composer Joe Kinosian for not only being awesomely talented and awesomely nice (and not bad to look at either), but for the tickets, which I won via his hilarious podcast, Musical Theater Today!
In five minutes it will be the third anniversary of Fuck Yeah Stephen Sondheim, so my birthday gift to you is this, the centerpiece medley from the wonderful A Bed and A Chair, now playing at New York City Center. The arrangement is by Richard DeRosa, and the performers are Bernadette Peters, Norm Lewis, Jeremy Jordan, Cyrille Aimée, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
If you’re going to see the show, wait to listen to this until afterwards. Don’t spoil the fun. And if you are within reasonable distance from New York, you will want to see this show.
Happy three year tumblrversary to Fuck Yeah Stephen Sondheim (aka me).
One of my overarching aims is that this project will make people feel less shitty about their bodies, full stop. The ethos of the Tumblr centers on body positivity, and while men are the primary beneficiaries of that philosophy on my site, in a society that scrutinizes female bodies with particular zeal, women have the most to benefit from it generally.
And yes – I hope this project encourages and normalizes a female gaze; I hope it shifts the framing of dick pics from “artless abominations that are thrust at women unsolicited” to “decent pictures that women (or other receivers) find enjoyable and want to receive.” The only way we can tell what women really enjoy about porn (or anything) is by listening to women. My Tumblr is one of many places on the Internet that you can do that.
This is too long for an ask, and FYSS lacks a Submit box, so I subject you to my ramble this way:
It seems to me that “or my service will explain,” has become the only untenably dated lyric for productions of Company which do not overtly intend to be 70s period pieces.
Given the other modernizing changes which were made for the 2006 revival, I’ve been contemplating possible alternatives—something like “or I’ll text you to explain.” It’s difficult to find one which sings as well and conveys the same übercontemporary cynicism and detachment as the original would have at the time. I’d be interested to learn your thoughts on this lyric in particular, and in general on modernizing shows intended to be cuttingly current as-written. How “frozen” must a show remain if anachronism is death to the intended experience?
I would argue that there are other lyrics in Company that keep it tethered to the 70s, and even more so, there are elements from the book - basically all of it - that keep it tethered to the 70s. (Can you really play that pot smoking scene as taking place in 2013 convincingly? I don’t think so. Ditto for the karate scene. Ditto for the discotheque scene.) Why do you feel the need to modernize the text? Do you not trust an audience in 2013 to relate to characters in 1971?
I’m not sure that everything intended to be “cuttingly current” can remain “cuttingly current” for the duration - nor should it. Rent and A Chorus Line both became period pieces during their original Broadway runs, but that didn’t hurt the effect of either. In fact, early on in the run of A Chorus Line, there was an attempt to “modernize” the references (both in script and costumes), and it didn’t work, so the production reverted to its original form and went on to become the longest-running show on Broadway. If shows have something true to say about the human condition at the time of their original production, that truth should shine through even once it is no longer contemporary.
And if you really, really must dress it up in a different era, why do you need to change the text? Somehow people manage to accept Rigoletto set in Vegas in the 60s or Romeo and Juliet set in Venice Beach in the ’90s despite texts that clearly refer to other times and places. If an audience can hear “sword” and see a gun and make sense of it, I promise you they can survive a passing reference to an answering service without the play falling apart for them.
"But Sondheim updates his shows!" Sure, and if you write a show, feel free to update it.
SPECIAL DEAL! There are a 11 $11 tickets for the 11/11 performance of THE BALTIMORE WALTZ! Act quickly - these won’t last long! (Click below or use code BW1111 to purchase - advance only.)
David and Sarah and I are seeing this tomorrow. I’ve read it but never seen it, so I’m looking forward to it. (Aren’t I always, I guess.)
I love Paula Vogel. How I Learned to Drive (in the original production) was the first play I ever saw off-Broadway. After that I devoured all her published work. She came and spoke to my sophomore English tutorial in college and I was thrilled to discover she was everything I had hoped she’d be - brilliant and generous and approachable.
I’ve been intrigued by Baltimore Waltz since the first time I read it. Excited to finally see it in performance.