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 Post subject: Musical theatre
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Of late in the West End and Broadway I have heard of several big name presenters/actors, but people not usually associated with Musical theatre taking big roles. In London most recently a Breakfast TV presenter, Denise Van Outen starred in Chicago. She had been to stage school as a youngster and apprently is doing very well.<P>It has worked very well in some cases - Michael Crawford, and not so well in others -Roger Moore - he didn't even make it to opening night in Aspects of Love.<P>I ask what everyone's opinions are - does mainstream musical theatre need big names who are not usually associated with this genre to get the public in? Do you think it adds anything or actually detracts from the shows themselves? Interestingly most of the big stars I have seen in musicals manage the singing part but struggle with the dance and it is very noticeable up against a chorus who are top-trained professionals.<P>What are your thoughts?<p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited May 30, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Musical theatre
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 8:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 921
Location: US
I agree with you! I saw Sandy Duncan in Chicago and she was not a great dancer by any means! The chorus, as you mentioned was a hundred times better!!! and its funny..when waiting outside for autographs everyone WANTS Sandy Dunan's autograph since she's famous of course and they completely ignore the dancers as they walk out. I was the ONLY person who approached the dancers..which is odd to me..I mean first of all they did a fantastic job and second of all, isn't getting to Broadway a BIG deal anyway in terms of achievment? I think so..and I admire the chorus very much! this is not just the case for Chicago of course..it happens w/ all shows..unfortunately. I'd rather see a proficient performer than a movie/t.v. star.<P>------------------<BR><BR>"If it's self expression you are looking for the place for you is the analyst's couch" - Merce Cunningham


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 Post subject: Re: Musical theatre
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 11:21 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
It seems to be happening a lot with Chicago both in the US and in the UK - they are hiring in names largely unknown to muiscal theatre and obvioulsy publicising this big time. However everyone I know who has seen it don't come away talking about the big star they saw in it - they talk about how slick and precise the dance routines were.<P>As it should be I feel - but what are others opinions?


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 Post subject: Re: Musical theatre
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 12:55 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Just seen a review in today's The Stage about "A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum". It mentions the performance of Griff Rhys Jones a well known comic actor in the UK.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><BR>The spotlight would then naturally fall on Griff Rhys Jones' performance in the pivotal role of Pseudolus. And indeed the comedian/actor certainly did the libretto proud, handling the witty lines with great timing and producing some wonderful facial expressions along the way. It is just a shame that he appeared out of his depth during the musical numbers.<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><BR>Surely the performance should be all-round in a musical and that should be a pre-requisite. Son't get me wrong Rhys-Jones is a fine comic actor - but there are also many fine comic musical theatre actors/performers.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited May 31, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Musical theatre
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 2:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: United Kingdom
I go to see a show because of the show or the choreographer rather than who's in it. I haven't seen Chicago yet, that's next on my list. The reason I want to see it is because it is Fosse and I love and admire his work and I am fascinated by his movement style. I must admit I am curious to see Denise van Outen to see what she's capable of but given the choice I would much rather have seen Ute Lempe or Ruthy Henshall who are well established musical theatre performers.<P>I'm not sure I can pinpoint the motive behind bringing non musical theatre performers into shows maybe it is for bums on seats, publicity or maybe the shows want to introduce new audiences to the theatre and by using some one that the public already know does that. But then it is a shame as all those students who are training in musical theatre at vocational schools are not getting the chance to play the lead roles. But then again to the trained eye those all round performers in the chorus do stand out.<P>I personally think that if a show is good enough to stand its own it doesn't need big name stars that we see on telly and that are not all round performers that the West End and Broadway require.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Jane Palmer (edited May 31, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Musical theatre
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 2:34 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A related discussion is takin place in the 'straight' theatre world. The Royal Shakespeare Company is going to put lees emphasis on ensemble productions in order to make it possible to get big names onto the stage.<P>These will be some of the most well known and most interesting actors around , but perhaps there is a link. <P>In the field of light theatre, Jerry Hall played Mrs Robinson in 'The Graduate' for a while, primarily because of her name. She was replaced by a superb and foxy actress, Amanda Donahoe, who apparently is receiving a lot less money then Jerry Hall for doing a much better job. <P>It's a good time to be a limited talent.


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 Post subject: Re: Musical theatre
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 4:54 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Here here Jane - and the one thing I can't understand with something like Chicago is that it was getting packed houses before introducing a name like Denise Van Outen. I know Ute Lemper and Ruthie Henshall are big names in musical theatre, but are probably not as well known to the man on the street as Denise Van Outen, and yet the show was still booking months in advance from the very beginning. So I question why this show in particular needs a big name.


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 Post subject: Re: Musical theatre
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2001 6:04 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
I've just been watching a daytime discussion programme - (I'm at home nursing a tummy bug, that's my excuse anyway) and they had a guest on called Claire Sweeney. She is an actress in a British soap called Brookside, but her profil was recently increased by appearing on Celebrity Big Brother, a fly on the wall programme that placed several celebrities in a house together for one week and filmed the results.<P>Apparently she is now in negotiations for a role in Chicago. Apparently she can sing and obviously I can't comment on her suitability for the role until I have seen her.<P>Does this add any kudos to the production or does it downgrade it in your opinions?


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 Post subject: Re: Musical theatre
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2001 11:53 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Article in The Evening Standard as Claire Sweeney begins her role in Chicago.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Claire Sweeney, Brookside veteran and the winner of Rear of The Year, has tried on her fishnets and slipped on her stilettos for the first time as she prepares for her West End debut in Chicago in December. The 30-year-old will take on the role with which Denise Van Outen recently had so much success: Roxie Hart. <BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/hottx/music/top_review.html?in_review_id=436017&in_review_text_id=390487" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><BR>


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