sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Apparently A Chorus Line is like, a staple of musical theatre and any musical theatre fan worth their salt is familiar with it, or something. Today I finally saw it for the first time! And okay yes it is REALLY GOOD and defs worth seeing.

For those who (like me until recently) aren't familiar, it's a broadway musical about the ordinary people who make up the chorus lines in broadway musicals, instead of about stars and heroes and so forth. There is no protagonist in this show, and although some of the characters get more time than others it never feels like that's because they're the real heroes or anything. The show is about all of the characters.

It's set entirely during an audition for an unnamed, unknown show, and over the course of the audition we get to know the stories of the various auditioning dancers, and even a bit about the casting director too.

Apparently the inspiration was in part from interviews with actual chorus actors, and the stories they told about our lives, and I can see how that might be the case in how real these stories all feel. And the story is impressively timeless too - written in the 70's, it still feels fresh and relevant more than 40 years later.

I really don't know enough about theatre and musicals to be able to judge how well this particular version of A Chorus Line was done - I don't feel qualified to talk about it the same way I critique books. But I thought it was well done, as far as I can tell.

My one complaint, I think, would be that there was something about how the actor playing Paul gave his lines that bugged me, which is too bad because he had a long soliloquy and also because I cared about Paul SO MUCH.

(I mean, I cared about all of them! Well, except the casting director, who's an imperious asshole.)

At any rate: a worthwhile experience, a great musical, and now I need to go find out how much fic there is. (HOPEFULLY LOTS.)

Swing Time

Dec. 7th, 2015 05:54 pm
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Yesterday I watched a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers picture - I don't think I've ever actually seen one of them before, though I've certainly watched clips of them dancing on youtube. The movie was called Swing Time and it was.....well, the dancing and singing was great.

I watched this movie with a friend who dances, and it was really cool to hear her rave over HOW GOOD Astaire and Rogers are. She knows enough about dancing to be able to see how hard they've worked to be really great at it, whereas I know nothing and am just like "yup, pretty" when I see their dancing. It rather makes me wish I knew more about dancing to be able to appreciate them the way they deserve!

The plot was rather less great. And there was surprise blackface urghhhhh. The character Astaire plays is a rather thorough asshole and I was really not a fan of him, and his friend Pop is even worse. Mabel Anderson was probably my fave character in the movie, except for how she kept on being randomly shoved together with Pop.

The one scene I genuinely enjoyed, other than the dancing/singing bits, was the one where brief spoilers )

At any rate: would definitely watch more dancing movies!

Hamilton

Sep. 24th, 2015 08:53 pm
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
So the entire internet has been falling over in praise for the new Broadway musical "Hamilton", and the soundtrack is up for free streaming on the npr website so tonight I was like, fiiiiine, I guess I'll give in and listen even though my interest in the US's story of itself is pretty minimal. And okay, I admit it, everyone's right, this musical is GREAT. It took me a few songs to get into the groove but once I was there I was SO THERE. Gosh.

spoiler cut? Do I need to cut for spoilers for history?? )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Recently I rewatched Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with Mara and a few other people. And discovered that my aro/ace goggles are as strong as ever, despite all the strides I thought I was making in being able to read relationships as intended.

Throughout the movie we'd been doing some joking about how when I was younger I completely failed to notice the sexualized aspects of the Narrator, though I DID successfully notice this in Mrs. Potiphar.

And then we get to the final song, and the Narrator and Joseph are holding hands and singing as they do, and we have this exchange:

MARA: So when did you finally notice this?
ME: ....Notice what?
MARA: The Joseph/Narrator relationship?
ME: WHAT RELATIONSHIP

So uh turns out it was clear to everyone but me that the movie totally intends the watcher to understand Joseph and the Narrator to have a romance arc. WTFFFFFFF.

I have always conceptualized the Narrator as being essentially separate from all the other characters. Interested and engaged in their lives, sure, and interfering plenty, but still on a different plane of existence than the others, such that any kind of meaningful relationship between her and the other characters would be impossible. The idea of shipping Joseph/Narrator weirds me out completely, whether it's fandom doing it or THE MOVIE ITSELF.

So that was a deeply disconcerting note to end the movie on.

(otherwise the movie in general is just as charming to me as ever. I love this movie so much.)

Galavant

Feb. 14th, 2015 03:44 pm
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
A little while ago I watched the whole of Galavant! It's a tv miniseries, an eight-episode season where each episode is 20 minutes long, and the season as a whole ends with every single plot thread unresolved.

The show: a fun, ridiculous, fairy-tale-ish sort of show. Also a musical.

And I'm kind of having trouble being coherent about my opinions on Galavant? Like, there are aspects of it that frustrate me but I can't articulate what. And mostly I TOTALLY ADORE IT but I can't articulate why. But I'll attempt to!

I love the songs, obviously!

I love that the show occasionally gives voice to lower-class people too, not just the high-class people the main plot is ostensibly about. (CHEF/GWYNNE, AWWWW ILU BOTH)

I love that the heroic lead is, um, RATHER LESS THAN HEROIC, and that the character with the most agency and will and forward momentum is one of the female leads. I ship Madalena/power SO MUCH. (her song No One But You is AMAAAAZING, best ship song)

except for the OTHER ship song, which is Togetherness featuring Galavant & Isabella & Sid and I'm just like WHAT A GREAT. I ship them 500%.

Isabella is definitely my fave character, she's just so great. But really I love all of them? Except King Richard, really. I'm not super into his character, which is unfortunate given how major a part he has. Oh well.

And there's other stuff that needs talking about too but I'm having trouble coming up with words, so.

In conclusion: this show is EXTREMELY CHARMING and EXTREMELY WATCHABLE and I totally recommend it, if you are not the sort to be put off by cliffhangers with no promise of a second season.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
The more I listen to The Great Comet the more I think to myself that what I really want to see is the version where cut for spoilers )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Okay so I got my cd of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 in the mail a while ago and then I...didn't listen to it. Because I was worried! Worried that either I would not love it as much as I thought I would, or that I would love it too much and get overtaken into new fannish feeling about a musical that almost none of fandom has heard of.

Today I had some mindless work I had to do with my hands so I thought, OKAY SELF NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME so I finally sat down and listened to it. (with the lyric booklet in front of me so I could see who was saying what - very important!)

And I do love it a lot! But not in a dangerously overinvested way! (I THINK/HOPE)

Here are some of my feels:

Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
browsing yuletide letters and discovering fandoms that sound amazing is both A+ and misery. I just came across a musical that sounds a million percent amazing but it a) has no video (proshot or bootleg) that I can find and b) is no longer playing live anywhere

sadface forever

(the musical: Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. It is based on like 70 pages worth of War & Peace, apparently? I think I might have to purchase the cast album so I can listen to the whole thing and properly appreciate it. Though the likelihood of me managing to follow the plot with no visuals is LOW, I think.)
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Last night I saw Stratford's production of Crazy For You! I enjoyed it very much. I'd never seen this musical before, and didn't even know any of the songs from it, so it was all new to me. Well, all new except for what I knew from reading the entire plot summary on Wikipedia going in. I like to know what to expect, especially in romantic comedies where there are going to be misunderstandings all over the place. Plot summaries are so useful!

Overall the musical is very insubstantial and silly, plot-wise. In a lot of ways it really just felt like a vehicle for all the singing and dancing. Which, I mean, it kind of IS - it's a musical that was pieced together out of a selection of Gershwin songs from a bunch of other musicals.

After I got out of the theatre last night I wrote up a list of the good things and bad things about the musical to remind myself of my opinions for doing this write-up. And you know, I think I'll just keep that structure for this post.

Things I liked and didn't like. Warning: contains brief discussion of rape culture. )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
The other night I watched O Brother Where Art Thou for the first time in many many years. It mostly held up pretty well! Except I can't help but realize this time that black people are only in this movie to be Magical Negros or to otherwise support the story of the white men. And the only women, really, are the sirens (who are just there to be threateningly sexy and to lack any discernible motive for their behaviour) and Penny (who comes off pretty poorly in comparison with the original Penelope).

But the music was great, and Everett was an excellent character (of the would-hate-him-in-real-life variety).
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I've listened to the Concept Album and the Original Broadway Cast recordings of the Scarlet Pimpernel multiple times each and I am ready to have some preliminary opinions - keeping in mind, of course, that at this point I am not capable of hazarding which character is singing most songs.

And my opinions are mostly that there are some things I like better about the concept album and some things I like better about the OBC, and some things I rather strongly dislike about each, and does another cast recording exist please?

The OBC has much better ordering and pacing and choice of songs than the concept album, so listening to the album as a whole is a much better listening experience. I find myself skipping a bunch of the concept album when I listen to it, whereas the OBC I listen to straight through.

But on the other hand, I am REALLY UPSET about the change of words for the titular song "The Scarlet Pimpernel" between the two because the concept album's lyrics for that song are OBVIOUSLY SUPERIOR (in my not so humble opinion). That's the song where the changes are most marked, but even for, say, "The Creation of Man" the way it's done changes between the two and I like the concept album's version better. There are a few minor changes that I do like in the OBC bust mostly I prefer the concept album's versions of lyrics and spoken interjections.

So for most individual songs I'm happier with the concept album, but for the overall musical I'm happier with the OBC.

And in minor nitpicky opinions, there are a few lines in the OBC sung by bit parts where the choices of the voice actor REALLY BUG ME so it makes me frustrated to listen to the OBC. And is it just me or does Marguerite's french accent come and go? And Marguerite at least attempts a French accent, but Chauvelin doesn't even bother and is just half-American half-British? CONSISTENCY YOU GUYS.

Anyways no but seriously do other cast recordings exist? These were the only two I could find! And as far as I can tell neither of them accurately represents the musical as it is generally staged today?



Relatedly! I started watching the takarazuka production of The Scarlet Pimpernel! (Star troupe, 2008) and within the first ten minutes I was already like OKAY THIS IS THE PERCIEST PERCY TO EVER PERCY, EVERYONE ELSE CAN GO HOME NOW. I'm no longer 100% convinced of that (mostly because wowwwwww that is a really terrible disguise) but I still utterly adore this Percy. Also everything else about this production. Really all you need to know is in this picspam/reaction/summary by skygiants. So far I'm up to Percy in tiger-print.

What other versions of the Scarlet Pimpernel should I watch?

Chess again

Mar. 4th, 2014 07:17 pm
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I don't know how many times I've listened to Chess in Concert over the last couple days but it's a worrying number.

Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
So I read some fic for the musical Chess back in 2011, decided I ought to listen to the musical and... proceeded to not listen to it for years.

BUT I FINALLY HAVE. (the Chess in Concert recording)

I really enjoyed the music! Except for the song "One Night in Bangkok which is rather orientalist.

My OTP: Florence/getting the hell away from all those assholes. I would also be down with Florence/Svetlana/getting the hell away from all those assholes.

I do not have a lot of patience for these types of assholes. I think I am the wrong audience for this musical....
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Over the last two days I rewatched Romeo e Giulietta, this time with subtitles! I liveblogged my thoughts about it on tumblr because it was the only way I was going to successfully get myself to rewatch the whole thing. (I am so bad at watching things.) So! You can read my thoughts at the tag sophia-rewatches r e g at my tumblr, if that is something that interests you.
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whoops apparently I now want the fic where Mrs Danvers is right and Rebecca IS still around, watching, listening, waiting, present. Probably this would be a really creepy fic, LIKE THE CANON ISN'T CREEPY ENOUGH ALREADY, ALL GOTHIC-NOVEL-INSPIRED-MELODRAMA. I'm not even into creepy!

IDEK YOU GUYS, I didn't think I would be this into Rebecca but OH RIGHT I'M INCAPABLE OF DOING FEELINGS ONLY HALFWAY

(Also: the first line of "Last night I dreamed of Manderley" is too similar to the first line of "It came upon a midnight clear" and as a result I keep getting the latter stuck in my head, ARGH)

Rebecca

Oct. 27th, 2013 08:26 pm
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
So is it standard practice for musical demo soundtracks to have these lovely in-between bits with a calm narrator telling you what happens between the songs? because I have now listened to the English demo of Rebecca and I AM IN LOVE WITH THE FORMAT. The songs are all beautiful and emotionally-intense, but then before I'm so overwhelmed with emotions that I can't continue, it switches over to the narrator matter-of-factly telling you stuff and it's like WHEW OKAY BREATHE GET MY BEARINGS IN THE STORY before continuing on to the next song. I love ittttttt!

(Please feel free to take this opportunity to rec me other musical soundtracks that do similar things (and also are good))

I enjoyed Rebecca beyond the format, of course! The music is great, and the story is interesting, though mostly I just want the young naive Ich to run far far away from everyone else in the story and find a nice and happy life for herself. (also obviously Mrs Danvers has a galaxy-sized pash for the late Rebecca, and probably they deserved each other)

(Please feel free to take this opportunity to rec me interesting fics about Ich. I have already gone through the AO3's offerings - for the book, since all it has for the musical is two fics in Russian)

Also: I am very fond of Levay's musicals, and my fannish activities of late have been making me aware for the first time that I'd....somehow never really thought before about how musicals have composers and that different composers might affect one's appreciation of a musical. BREAKING NEWS I KNOW. Ahahahaha how embarrassing.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Romeo e Giulietta Act Two! again in comparison with Rome es Julia because that’s the only production I’m familiar with!

I should state for the record, by the way, that I don't speak a word of italian and the stream I'm watching does not have any subtitles. MY LIFE, MY CHOICES, ETC.

Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
So there's a new production of Romeo e Giulietta out! This being the Italian version of the musical Romeo et Juliette (the same one the Hungarian Romeo es Julia is based on). SO OF COURSE I HAD TO WATCH IT.

Tonight: just act one, as that's all I've had time for.

cut for spoilers or something I guess )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I've been thinking on the subject of Yuletide nominations, since that time is fast approaching, and I have not yet decided what to nominate. The way I do yuletide is that my noms and requests are a one-to-one match, so really what I am doing here is trying to decide what fandoms I want to request.

This year there are four nominations per person, and I know what the first three will be, but the fourth? I am torn!

Part of my process for deciding has been rewatching the 1997 movie adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. SUCH A GOOD MOVIE. I love it lots. But do I want it more than I want other things? That is the question!

Anyways, the rewatch made me think again about what I like about this movie. It is just so good-hearted! Let me explicate further.

In this movie:
- Loving families are wonderful things
- If your family doesn't treat you well, you have no obligation to stay with them
- You deserve to be loved for who you truly are
- Humans come in a wide variety of colours and that's great
- Women deserve to be treated like human beings, not like ladies

All such wonderful things!

And then on top of that the leading couple is adorable (...and also both of them are really pretty), and the prince's parents are adorable, and everyone wears ridiculously bright colours, and the music is great.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Thanks/blame for this fic go to [personal profile] carmarthen, who is a wonderful enabler and beta.

Title is from the traditional dirge "O Death"

Title: Spare Me Over
Fandoms: Les Miserables, Elisabeth Das Musical (canon knowledge of Elisabeth not required, as all that's borrowed is Death.)
Characters: Death, Fantine, Montparnasse, Eponine, Cosette, Grantaire, Prouvaire
Length: 1661 words
Content notes: blood, death, unhealthy attitudes to death, brief reference to child abuse
Summary: Five people Death doesn't kiss (yet), and one he does.

Read this fic at AO3 if you prefer

Or read this fic here! )

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