musicals

04

Behind the Scenes of ‘Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812′

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Located in a custom-built venue on the West Side of Manhattan that doubles as an ornate Russian-style supper club, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 is reinventing the musical — and Tolstoy — for the 21st century. Based on an excerpt from War and Peace, the show is an elaborate production that surrounds its audience in a fully immersive environment, complete with a tasty meal.
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Casting Hypothetical Cult Musical Remakes

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This week, we were absolutely tickled by the news that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is developing a remake of cult ’80s musical Little Shop of Horrors, in which he would star as uber-nerdy florist Seymour. We sincerely hope this project comes to fruition, because we think Gordon-Levitt has just the right combination of quirk and star appeal to make it work — though we don’t think any casting director could do better than Steve Martin for the dentist — and we’re interested to see how Audrey II would look with today’s technology. In any event, the news got us to thinking about other classic and cult musical movies we’d love to see remade today, and who might be the best person to star in them. Click through to see our dream stars for modern adaptations of some classic musicals, and let us know who you’d cast in the comments!
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The Stories Behind Some of History’s Most Controversial Theatrical Productions

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A play is causing a ruckus amongst our friends on the other side of the pond. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Marat/Sade (The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade) — originally written by Swedish playwright Peter Weiss — seems to be too “perverse” for British audiences. Ironically, the production was first staged at the RSC in 1964, where it was applauded for its progressive, avant-garde approach. Nearly 50 years later, up to 80 audience members a show are walking out on Marat/Sade — which is set in an insane asylum and revolves around inmate the Marquis de Sade’s play about the assassinated Jean Paul Marat. This play isn’t the first controversial theatrical work that upset audiences, however. Hit the jump for a look at other “shocking” stage productions.
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Ranking Religious Musicals from Heretical to Holy

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Now that The Book of Mormon is Broadway’s second-biggest box-office hit of the year and two revivals of Christian-themed musicals — Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar — are making their way back to the stage this year, we think it’s fair to say that the theater has seen the way of the Lord. Has someone been putting sacrament in the water? Or have playwrights just gotten in touch with their devout — and devoutly satirical — sides? Either way, we’re more interested in how the current slate of God-oriented programming plays measures up to holy productions past, so we’ve ranked seven of them from burn-in-hell blasphemy to virginal virtue after the jump.
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Video of the Day: ‘Predator: The Musical’

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We’ve always loved the ridiculously over-the-top machismo and shoot-’em-up sci-fi action of John McTiernan’s 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Predator, but it always seemed like it was missing something. And now we know what that mysterious missing element was: showtunes. Jon and Al Kaplan, the delightfully twisted YouTube geniuses known as “legolambs,” have previously combined film clips with original music and lyrics to create musical versions of such distinctively un-musical efforts as Schindler’s List, RoboCop, and Rambo. But their muse is clearly the Governator, whose Commando, Terminator 2, Total Recall, and Conan the Barbarian have provided inspiration for memorable five-minute musical re-workings.

Their latest is the inspired “If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It,” a stirring, multi-leveled anthem in the “Do You Hear the People Sing” vein, inspired by Predator. They say it is “the final Schwarzenegger musical,” but c’mon, guys —  what about True Lies? The Running Man? The duet possibilities of Red Heat are staggering. Anyway, take a look at “Predator: The Musical” after the jump and let us know what you think.
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