When Bette Midler took on Broadway and launched Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical around the same time that Harvey Fierstein’s show La Cage Aux Follies was in revival, we thought that broadway was about as gay as you can get. Now instead of having a ton of gays in musicals about gays, the British comedy team of Jennifer Saunders and Joanne Lumley who have entertained us as Patsy and Eddie on the hit tv show Ab Fab (Absolutely Fabulous) have put together a movie version of the show. It isn’t just a movie though, it’s an actual Musical according Vogue Magazie in the UK.
Not only is the show Ab Fab an iconic gay standard, but turning it into a musical takes a gay show to an entirely new level. What’s even more shocking is that Jennifer Saunders, the writer and star of the show, just finished writing a new musical based on, for or featuring the music of the Spice Girls. I don’t think it is going to get much gayer than this, but if anyone is going to be able to do it and to bring even more gays back to the theatre, it is definitely the two of them. Even people who hate theatre, which are a few of my friends, love the show or the Spice Girls and having both of them being produced, worked on and coming out around the same time (I hope at least), is absolutely amazing.
If you’ve never seen the show Ab Fab, I highly recommend it. It is a British comedy so there is a lot of humor and things you may not get. It is also about two women who work in PR and fashion, do drugs, go to clubs, party, shop, obsess over designer clothing and also cause issues without any regard for anyone else or how much things cost. By the time you finish watching the original seasons and episodes, I don’t think you’ll be able to resist saying sweetie darling, having a cigarette or even a bottle (not glass) of Stoli on the top of the nearest sky scraper waiting for your best friend to show up via helicopter to rescue you. I can’t wait for both shows to come out and to see what they come up with.
If you love trashy, tragic and fabulously campy movies, then Connie and Carla is one for you. So why am I writing about a movie on a broadway site? Connie and Carla is a movie about two women who want to star on broadway. They want to have roles that are amazing, sing and perform as best as they can. Unfortunately they witness a murder and have to go on the run and abandon their dreams of becoming amazing Actresses. So they think about the only place that is large enough to not be found and where there is absolutely no talent or class or culture and they realize, it’s LA.
During the movie Connie and Carla never give up on their dreams of becoming broadway stars. Unfortunately LA doesn’t really offer any form of cultural performing arts like Broadway, so they end up in a Victor Victoria styled situation at a local gay bar.
Connie and Carla end up posing as men dressing like women and performing showtunes in full drag as drag queens in a drag bar. Not the classiest of places or things to do, but you’ll love watching as they perform “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret and then they go into Evita for a full standing ovation with the audience singing along to “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”.
Connie and Carla is an absolutely fabulous and funny film to watch. They stuff more musical numbers into a show than I think almost any show that isn’t a musical could ever try and do. Starring Nia Vardalos from both Muriel’s Wedding and My Big Fat Greek Wedding and numerous broadway shows as well as Toni Collete who we all loved in The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine and many more films, you’ll fall in love with this trashy and fun film that is all about your favorite broadway showtunes being sung by women dressed as med dressed as women. The movie is a favorite cult classic in the gay and theatre community and you won’t be able to help falling in love with them and you may even start to sing a long to some of your favorite showtunes from a ton of classic broadway shows including “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl, “Let Me Entertain You” from Gypsy, “There are Worse Things I Could Do” from Grease and event “Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair” from South Pacific. Connie and Carla is the perfect movie for movie night and your friends will all love laughing and singing a long to it.
If there is one holiday movie musical that makes everyone smile and laugh it has to be the Muppet Christmas Carol. Not only do the Muppets take this classic story and add all of their own twists and jokes to it, but you absolutely have to love the reactions from the actor that plays Scrooge. Not only does he get to live in a world of ghosts and spirits, but the ghosts and spirits are also Muppets which are a bit crazy and extremely off. Not only do I love the Muppets, but when you take one of the most well known holiday stories, add in music and showtunes and then take an Actor who can play along and keep up with them, you have a guaranteed classic Muppet Movie. One of my favorite scenes from the Muppet Christmas Carol has to be when Scrooge meets the ghost of Christmas Present.
The Ghost of Christmas Present in the Muppets Christmas Carol is a bit off. Not only is he happy and perky, but he lacks almost any short term memory. He can change size and teleport himself and others as well as almost appear to be alive. Something about the people controlling this muppet make him almost believable as a real person. Everything from the voice and the emotion behind him when he is sitting in the room where Scrooge meets him to watching him walk down the street and have an amazing presence that takes your eyes off of everything else. For some reason you cannot stop watching him and he just makes you want to smile and be happy. Everything about the ghost of Christmas present in the Muppets Christmas Carol is happy and everything he talks about is why Christmas is an amazing time. Even his song is about how the holidays should make you happy.
It feels like Christmas is one of my favorite songs from the Muppet Christmas Carol. Not only is it fun to sing along with, but when you add in the ghost of Christmas present and a ton of the other muppets, you have a great holiday classic. I absolutely love The Muppets Christmas Carol and will probably try to find it online to watch this weekend. The Muppets Christmas Carol is a great version of the story of Scrooge and if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it.
Today on XM Radio, Seth Rudetsky said that the Music union is now suing the show Priscilla Queen of the Desert because they are using pre-recorded violins (or something like that) instead of a real orchestra. With your opinions of union workers and remembering that I am not taking sides on this, I want to ask what you think? Would you pay more money for already expensive broadway tickets in order to have a real full orchestra playing or would you want to keep the already high prices where they are and have them use state of the art sound equipment that sounds exactly like the real instruments for some of the instruments. Let’s go into this a little bit more.
Here is one argument that I could see for the music union that I would agree with. There is no comparison to hearing a real musical instrument, if you have a trained ear for music and are a musician on your own. If you are sitting right in the front and watch the bows on the violins or see the musicians playing, it really means something. I personally love to hear the musicians playing, but when I am at a show and sitting balcony, a few rows or more away from the stage, etc… I’ll be honest I cannot tell the difference. For most of america, I don’t think anyone knows that they are listening to a recording vs. a real instrument. Also to that point, there are still some musicians playing in the orchestra pit, just not a full orchestra anymore. This leads me to a point about the public going to see a show.
If the music union would win the lawsuit against Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which they have a right to fight for their jobs, broadway audiences would get to hear the difference between a recording and a gorgeous and beautiful full orchestra. Many people won’t be able to tell the difference, but there is something amazing about hearing a real orchestra, especially when they can add little twists to each song to make it unique. On the other hand, tickets are already extremely expensive and if they have to pay for musicians for 8 shows a week, that is going to increase the prices again. Is the sound that most of us cannot tell the difference with worth paying even more for already inflated tickets? I have one last point to make for those of you who think you can tell the difference between a recording with state of the art sound and a real instrument. Did you know that the performers don’t perform every song? take Phantom of the Opera.
Very few people could hit all of those notes every show, 8 shows a week. It would do a lot of damage to your voice or at least make you have to rest your voice and take a lot of time off. Also, when the Phantom and I think Christine are running around the background and climbing ladders, do you think they are actually singing? Nope, those are the Actors voices pre-recorded. I bet that not many broadway audience members actually knew either of those things. The fact is that the sound quality is so good now that the majority of people would never know the difference if they didn’t find out on blogs or shows like Seth Rudetsky’s Big Fat Broadway on Sirius XM.
Here is my opinion. For some shows with modern music I don’t care if some of the instruments are pre-recorded. I cannot tell the difference unless I am sitting right there or there are no speakers in the theatre at all for the actors or for the orchestra. Then you really hear what they sound like, as long as you are close enough to hear. If it is an older show with clear solos and where the voice has to match the instrument, it is amazing to hear the two together. Sort of like the person who sings in Candide for the song Glitter and Be Gay with the flute. The person’s voice and the instrument sound amazing together. So back to my question, this is just for you to think about because I cannot get my poll to work, or you can leave a comment below. Would you honestly be happy or willing to pay more for already expensive tickets to see a broadway show that has a couple of more instruments and when you cannot tell the difference between pre-recorded or live or are you happy to see it for a bit less money and have a few less instruments and you cannot tell the difference between the two?
So today I found out something that not only got me to scream, but I was super excited for a new remake of Gypsy. Apparently Stephen Sondheim was going to do a remake of the hit show Gypsy starring the fabulous Ms. Barbara Streisand. Unfortunately today Stephen Sondheim and everyone announced that they will not be doing this remake and even though it would have been a perfect exit show for Barbara’s career, they won’t make it. I cannot say how upset I am about this. 1. Barbara should not be looking for an exit show and 2. She would have been perfect for the role.
Mama Rose is a character that is demanding and needs to own a stage. The only women who have ever been able to pull her off and do it well include Ethel Merman, Patti Lupone, Bernadette Peters (She did an ok job but wasn’t the pushy mom type enough), Angela Lansbury and my personal favorite Mama Rose, Bette Midler from the original made for TV movie version, well not the original but the best movie version. I think that Barbara Streisand would not only have been the perfect Mama Rose because she not only has an amazing presence, but she can belt a tune and also has amazing voice control.
Barbara knows how to take over a role, can throw her voice and definitely take the role to a new level by making us all remember our own moms. Barbara knows what it was like breaking into theatre and I think that she can tie in her own life and memories to be able to bring out the most believable stage mom with the most drive and pull off this role easily. The dancing is perfect for her and the singing about Chinese food is something we Jews do every Christmas anyways so the role is absolutely perfect for her. When I heard that they not only canceled the remake of the movie, but Barbara Streisand was supposed to star in Gypsy, I think that all of theatre died a little bit today. Unfortunately they canceled the remake of Gypsy starring Barbara Streisand but that also means that Barbara will have to find a new movie or show to leave the theatre with. Hopefully that won’t come for another couple of decades.