Telling Quotes

Some interesting quotes seen in articles perused over lunch:

Music: Hot August Night NYC (Neil Diamond): Cracklin’ Rosie


Quote of the Day

From an announcement about the death of Jane Russell:

Russell’s provocative performance in ‘The Outlaw’ — and the studio publicity shots posing her in a low-cut blouse reclined on a stack of hay bales — marked a turning point in moviedom sexuality. She became a bona fide star and a favorite pinup girl of soldiers during World War II. Troops in Korea named two embattled hills in her honor. …


Idiotic Quote of the Day: Reform Judaism is like Radical Islam

Thus sayeth Glenn Beck:

“When you talk about rabbis, understand that most — most people who are not Jewish don’t understand that there are the Orthodox rabbis, and then there are the reformed rabbis. Reformed rabbis are generally political in nature. It’s almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way, to where it is just — radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at the reform Judaism, it is more about politics.”

(Sources and more details: Jewish Week, Jewish Journal, Salon)

Translation: If you believe in social justice, you are akin to a radical sheik. I wonder what he would say to Dr. King.

ETA: Glenn Beck has apologized for the statement.


Bad Reviews Are So Much Fun: “Love Never Dies”, a/k/a “Phantom of the Opera II”

I’ve written in the past about the fun that is a bad review (if you don’t remember, you can look here or here, or especially here). Most of those are related to the stinker that was “Lestat”. However, there’s a new stinker on the horizon, and it was reviewed by the New York Times today (which I read at lunch).

“Love Never Dies” (NY Times review by Ben Brantley)

This is the sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera”. That should say it right there. I cannot think of a single sequel that has worked in Musical Theatre. Oh sure, there have been sequels: “Annie 2/Annie Warbucks”, “Bring Back Birdie”, “The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public”. Some have even had good music (I particularly like some songs from “Whorehouse”). But they usually haven’t even had long, let alone sustained, runs.

But who am I to speak. Let’s look at the review itself. Some choice quotes:

To think that all this time that poor old half-faced composer hasn’t been dead at all, just stewing in his lust for greater glory. Being the title character of “The Phantom of the Opera,” the most successful musical of all time, wasn’t enough for him. Oh, no. Like so many aging stars, he was determined to return — with different material and a rejuvenated body — to the scene of his first triumph. So now he’s back in the West End with a big, gaudy new show. And he might as well have a “kick me” sign pasted to his backside.


Of course, bad advance word on the Internet has sometimes proved false. (Ever hear of “Avatar”?) And I would be delighted to tell you that’s what happened here, especially since “Love Never Dies” is scheduled for Broadway this fall. But how can I, when at every opportunity Mr. Lloyd Webber’s latest sets itself up to be knocked down? Directed by the protean Jack O’Brien (“Hairspray,” the New York production of “The Coast of Utopia”), choreographed by a seriously underused Jerry Mitchell and designed by Bob Crowley (“Mary Poppins,” “The History Boys”), this poor sap of a show feels as eager to be walloped as a clown in a carnival dunking booth.

For starters, the title, with its promise of immortality, was just asking for trouble. And its breathless solemnity pervades the show’s every aspect. This production keeps such a straight face, it’s as if the slightest smile might crack it. It never acknowledges that in a musical in which no one could exactly be described as animated, it might be a mistake to introduce your leading lady in the form of an automaton in her image. Or that it’s probably not a good idea to have your hero, in his first solo, sing “the moments creep, but I can’t bear to sleep” to a melody that moves like a sloth in quicksand.


The book is credited to four writers: Mr. Lloyd Webber, the comedian Ben Elton, the novelist Frederick Forsyth and the show’s lyricist, Glenn Slater. And its plot is so elaborate and implausible it makes the libretto of “Il Trovatore” read like a first-grade primer. If you don’t know the first “Phantom,” you will be very confused; if you do know the first “Phantom,” you will also be very confused.


While lushly orchestrated (by David Cullen with Mr. Lloyd Webber), the score is, for the most part, so slow that you have time to anticipate Mr. Slater’s next leaden rhyme. Each of the songs — which range from bathing-beauty frolics to power-chord operetta ballads — spins a single tune until it loses its tread.

Since the lead singers are required to haunt demanding, throat-taxing upper registers, it is perhaps too much to expect them to act as well. As the Phantom, Mr. Karimloo sings with all the force that artificial amplification allows. Vocally, the pretty Ms. Boggess (who starred in “The Little Mermaid” on Broadway) combines the more mechanical qualities of Jeanette MacDonald and Julie Andrews. Mr. Millson glares handsomely. And Ms. Strallen, as the unappreciated Meg, has a spark of something like personality.

Those are just examples. Perhaps this doesn’t eclipse “Carrie: The Musical”, perhaps it does. Then again, perhaps the phantom is a true theatrical zombie: it never dies.


Hows That Again?

The LA Times has provided an update on Gary Coleman’s condition. If you didn’t know, or didn’t care, he was rushed to a hospital around 8 a.m. Wednesday after an apparent seizure.

What caught my “huh?” button was this quote about a meeting Coleman was having with respect to his latest, ahem, film:

[Coleman’s agent] says his client was in town to meet with producers about removing an allegedly unauthorized brief scene of frontal nudity from the film. “He was very upset to cancel this meeting … because there’s a shot of a penis in the film,” the agent told E! “Supposedly it’s his, and he’s not happy with it.”

Read that last sentence again. Perhaps that’s not quite what he intended to say.


{Quote, Image, Book} of the day

Quote of the Day: “In other news, we attacked the Moon and Obama got a Nobel Peace Prize. This has been a STRANGE morning.”
(from a post by kyburg)

Image of the Day: How the Internet Puts Your Children At Risk: Stacy Griffith, 15, liked frequenting chat rooms online. One day, she met a funny, goofy, boy who was deep and intelligent. … Only when they met, Stacy realized he was no boy….
(From the GigaGranadaHills Blog (granada_hills))

Book of the Day: Good Eats: The Early Years. More on the book, as well as Alton Brown and when he is going to end “Good Eats”, in this article from the LA Times. Hint: Per Alton, “I’ve already got a bullet with a gun, and when [the show-chopping TV execs] come for us, I will lead us out to the pasture, and I’ll put a bullet in it.”


Quote of the Day

I just got the CD for “Toxic Avenger: The Musical” (great music, BTW). So, while trying to hunt down who was singing which song, I ran across the following in a Q&A with the author:

Q: I have no idea what the hell your show is about. Using other shows as reference points, could you describe “The Toxic Avenger” as though you were pitching it a simple-minded television executive?

A: Sure. “The Toxic Avenger” is like if “Little Shop of Horrors” met “Bat Boy” and then they fell in love and gave birth to a baby comprised of “Urinetown” and “The Producers” and that freak baby grew up and started dating “Rocky Horror Picture Show” but then they had a bad break-up and the show wanted to date “West Side Story” but “West Side Story” stood them up so the show just decided to stand on their own and it pimp-slapped “My Fair Lady” and became — ta da! — “The Toxic Avenger.” Does that help?

A: Yes, very much! That clears up a lot. Thank you.