skygiants: Cha Song Joo and Lee Su Hyun from Capital Scandal in a swing pose (got that swing)
I know I have talked before about how much I want a version of Guys and Dolls featuring lesbian Sky Masterson. However, at those previous times, I had not recently seen Guys and Dolls. The other night I rectified this; I made [personal profile] genarti watch the 1955 film of Guys and Dolls with me because she had never seen it.

Throughout the course of the film, it became so increasingly obvious to us, textually, that Sky Masterson was already written as a lesbian that we kept forgetting that Marlon Brando was not in fact (to the best of my knowledge) a woman. Some unconvincing pronoun alternations had perhaps been made to the script to try to pretend that Sarah/Sky is a heterosexual romance, but the truth was obvious to anyone with a discerning eye.

We have already covered "Luck Be A Lady," but, at the risk of being repetitive, here, in order of appearance, is a detailed list of all the other most lesbian moments of Guys and Dolls:

- the part where Sarah talks about how she's from Boston, which honestly should have been a first clue for all of us

- the entire song I'll Know when Sky, smirking, demands that Sarah describe the SUPER HETEROSEXUAL MAN that she fantasizes about marrying one day, and Sarah literally cannot come up with one concrete thing other than, uh, he'll smoke a pipe! like men do!
- and Sky is like "ah yes, you'll know him at once because he's wearing pants"

- the part when Sky literally pops out of a closet to provide Sarah with the Havana proposition

- the entire scene in which Sarah U-haul lesbians herself into the notion that the only way to help with all Sky's sinning is to provide Sky with constant twenty-four hour accompaniment for all that sinning

- "ask me how do I feel, little me with my quiet upbringing / well, all I can say is if I were a gate I'd be swinging"

- the part where Sky wanders into Adelaide's dressing room and Adelaide coyly remarks that she doesn't know what etiquette she ought to be using or whether it should be considered inappropriate

- the part in "Your Eyes Are The Eyes Of A Woman In Love" where Sarah in the film sings back at Sky "your eyes are the eyes of a man who's in love" with deeply awkward, forced scansion and it's clearly meant to be the two of them echoing "your eyes are the eyes of a woman in love" back at each other, the song just works infinitely better that way! come on!! THIS IS A LESBIAN MUSICAL
skygiants: Beatrice from Much Ado putting up her hand to stop Benedick talking (no more than reason)
Guys, if you are in New York and you have time to go see the Public Works' Twelfth Night this weekend, DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. I've seen a lot of good Twelfth Nights this past year, including the one where Toby gave the audience free pizza and the one in which Malvolio was a squid, and this show somehow managed to be the most charming of all.

This is the same kind of one-weekend event as the musical Tempest and Winter's Tale that I have seen in previous years, featuring a couple of professional actors plus A Significant Percentage Of New York. This year's Significant Percentage Of New York includes, among others:

- an extremely sparkly Greek chorus hilariously stolen straight from Disney's Hercules ("Olivia and Cesario: Illyria's newest power couple!" "Cesarolivia?")
- a brass band of sorrow that follows Olivia around for most of the first half of the play
- a set of very enthusiastic professional can-can dancers as backup for Malvolio
- ASL dancers from New York Deaf Theater to perform the song accompanying Viola's "Patience on a monument" speech
- the proud students of the Ziranmen Kung Fu Wushu Training Center as inspirational fight instructors for Viola and Sir Andrew Aguecheek
- an Official Mailman and Representative of the National Association of Letter Carriers to deliver Maria's letter to Malvolio (he very professionally made sure Malvolio signed for it, and probably got the most applause of anyone)

So all this was great, as it is always great, and all the extremely enthusiastic community Illyrians were ALSO great, but in addition to this it was just a really adorable adaptation of Twelfth Night! The music's fantastic. There's a fairly significant amount of time spent on Viola working through what stepping into her brother's role means to her -- they don't get all the way to genderqueer, but nobody asks to see her in her women's weeds at the end of the show, either. The song that Feste sings for Sir Toby's party scene is replaced by a musical roast titled "You're The Worst," with Feste on accordion. After Toby and Sir Andrew's verses, Toby tries to turn it back around on Maria and gets stumped: "Your name's ....Maria .... I ....really can't think of anything bad to say about you, you're basically the greatest." It's adorable. Everyone's adorable. MALVOLIO'S adorable! Feste shuts him in the boot of her car for the equivalent of the Sir Topas scene, and instead he pops defiantly out to sing a power ballad about how some people are born great, LIKE HIM, HE WAS BORN GREAT, AND HE'S JUST GOING TO GO ON BEING GREAT, THANKS. He gets his angry speech at the end, but they still pull him back up on stage to dance with everyone for the closing credits, because this is, at heart, an extremely good-natured production and even Malvolio is delighted to be there.

As a sidenote, Shaina Taub, who pretty much steals the show as a fourth-wall-breaking Feste ("Viola and Sebastian both think the other is dead ... I could just tell them, but then the play would be over and we spent all summer rehearsing!") also wrote all the music and lyrics for the show, because some people are unfair. She's apparently writing a musical right now about Alice Paul and the women's suffrage movement. SIGN ME UP.
skygiants: the Phantom of the Opera, reaching out (creeper of the opera)
I gotta admit, when I read Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical, I was kind of hoping for an amazingly hilarious disaster.

However, unlike Glen Berger, the author of the immortal Song of Spiderman, Barbara Isenberg -- who embedded herself in the production of Big to write this book -- is an actual journalist who appears to value the concept of objectivity, which made for a professional, informative and interesting but relatively non-juicy depiction of the concept-to-stage process of musical creation. Was Big a promising musical whose success was sabotaged by bad timing, a mediocre work that sacrificed artistic integrity for cheesy capitalist values, or a trainwreck that never came together at all? Barbara Isenberg is not an art critic and declines to comment. She is here to report the facts.

(Many years ago I was actually in a middle-school production of Big. I don't remember it being ... good ... but, I mean, this was the same middle school where we swapped out the ending of Pippin for "STEP INTO THE BOX! THE BOX represents THE UNKNOWN!" so it's not like we were going to turn out a heartbreaking work of staggering work of genius regardless. Also, the premise of Big itself is SO WEIRD. "Twelve-year-old boy becomes an adult overnight, lands a job as major toy executive, hooks up with adult woman, becomes twelve-year-old again having learned valuable life lessons about ...something... IT'S FINE." I'm not actually sure that it's fine.)

The juiciest part about the book is the TONY AWARDS SCANDAL that comes towards the end, during a year that includes Rent, Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk, Big, Victor/Victoria, and ... a couple of other things nobody has ever heard of, two of which were nominated instead of Big and Victor/Victoria, both of which were basically shunned. I actually found myself caring about this because I kind of love Victor/Victoria. (Actually, reading this book made me really want to rewatch the film version of Victor/Victoria. Sometimes singing, dancing, cross-dressing Julie Andrews is all I need in this life.)

Anyway, the casts of Big and Victor/Victoria both threw hissy fits, and Julie Andrews (as the only person nominated from Victor/Victoria) refused to accept her award, and someone involved in Big tried to make a case for the voting being SKEWED UNFAIRLY by some people who HAD IT OUT for big-budget musicals, and meanwhile Rent sat around smugly raking in awards, because this was the nineties and "Seasons of Love" was going to be on the radio nonstop for the next five years and we were ALL JUST GOING TO HAVE TO COPE.

The book ends, full circle for me, with the show about to close but everyone trying to be peppy about the fact that it's probably going to have a great future being revived by various middle school and high school drama groups! Well, yes. Yes it is.
skygiants: Cha Song Joo and Lee Su Hyun from Capital Scandal in a swing pose (got that swing)
If I make three posts today, I can finish up the December meme still in December! We'll ... see if that happens. Anyway, I was supposed to talk for [personal profile] umadoshi about one musical whose production I would like to direct/consult on and what I would like to see done with it.

Two days ago this would have been a very difficult question to answer (or at least narrow down to one) but FORTUNATELY between then and now [personal profile] genarti and I have come up with a BRILLIANT IDEA for a production of Guys and Dolls in which the character of Sky Masterson is a woman.

The great thing about this is that this would make my job (as director/consultant) SO EASY because you basically don't have to change anything at all, but suddenly everything grows all these fascinating edges! By magic!

I mean first of all just pause for a moment to imagine Sky Masterson, dashing and devil-may-care lesbian gambler, in the sharpest suit and hat ill-gotten gains can buy, who always manages to play with the best because luck's always on her side, and sigh a little to yourself because of JUST HOW HOT she would be. You're welcome.

OK, but then Nathan's bet with Sky -- that Sky has to seduce a nice girl, a religious girl -- and Sarah swearing that she plans to fall in love with a nice, upright moral man, and Sky lying to save Sarah's reputation, and then beating twelve gangsters in a row at dice so that they'll all go to a religious revival with her - it all gets at least five more layers, and could keep everything that's great about Guys and Dolls, INCLUDING the fabulous costumes. In fact, if I were directing, they would just raid Capital Scandal's costume closet. Floral fedoras for everyone!

(Lucy Liu as Sky Masterson? I don't know if Lucy Liu can even sing. But let's pretend she can so that we can all pause to imagine LUCY LIU AS SKY MASTERSON. Alternate fan casting also accepted.)

skygiants: Enjolras from Les Mis shouting revolution-tastically (la resistance lives on)
December meme, Day 2: [personal profile] aquamirage asked me about moments in musical theater that fuck me up every single time!

I'm pretty sure she asked me this because at the time we were watching Into the Woods and I was complaining vociferously about the fact that they cut "No More" from the upcoming film (THEY CUT "NO MORE" FROM THE UPCOMING FILM, ARGH); as you all know I have many, MANY feelings about Into the Woods, but for whatever reason "No More" is the song that, in fact, fucks me up every single time. I think it's because there's no bombast to it; it's the total resignation that gets me.

In other really obvious news that is obvious, I always think I'm cool and totally over it as I sit down to see a production of Les Mis, and then the first chords of "Look Down" strike up and NO, NO, I WAS WRONG, I'M NOT COOL, I'M NOT COOL! ALL THE FEELINGS ARE BACK. I'm pretty sure it's not even anything specific about "Look Down," it's just a Pavlovian response! Pavlovian feelings! Hello, fourteen-year-old Becca, I see you're back again!

But, OK, let's try for something slightly less obvious. "I Don't Care Much," Cabaret -- that's another one where the total resignation of it is much more effective for getting me to feel a lot of complicated things than anything else would be. (The ending of Cabaret also really shakes me up if it's done right, but it's not always done right, and I've seen it done well enough often enough that a mediocre production won't do much for me except irritate me about the fact that it isn't better.)

A short list of other songs that make me feel feelings in shows, although not always the same feelings: "Easy as Life," Aida. The "Johanna" reprise that Sweeney Todd sings in Sweeney Todd. "Les Cloches" and "Liberes" from Notre-Dame de Paris. And, of course, ever and always, "Confrontation" from Jekyll and Hyde, a moment in musical theater that I CANNOT EXPERIENCE without getting totally fucked up with hysterical laughter. NO, NEVER! YES, FOREVER.
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (not quite :D)
So some of you may remember that time that [personal profile] innerbrat, [profile] wickedtrue and I went to go see SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK. This was an experience that affected us all deeply. Debi, Heather and I now share a special bond. No matter what may happen in our lives going forward, we can never escape the fact that we were The People Who Actually Went And Saw SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK.

I tell you this because a few weeks ago, I was in the NYU bookstore and I saw onsale a full stack of copies of a bright red and blue book labeled Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History.

Now, it just so happened that I had a gift certificate to the NYU bookstore, and I knew immediately what I had to do. WE ALL NEEDED A COPY OF THIS BOOK.

(Okay, actually I only bought two copies, mailed one to Debi, and then read the other one before delivering it to Heather. Debi had already complained that I should have bought a paperback, the better to fling across the room. "Heather," I said, "I'm going to give you a present that will make you angry. I'M SORRY IN ADVANCE.")

Song of Spider-Man was written by Glen Berger, aka Julie Taymor's writing partner for the script, aka the The Least Famous Guy Involved In This Musical, and boy, does he know it. I knew this book was going to be as amazing a trainwreck as the show when I hit the first scene, a highly dramatized confrontation between Taymor and Berger on opening night.

Berger describes this as a panel from an "emo-manga" (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN) with himself, the bewildered and tormented hero, and a thought bubble over his head:

I loved her. I still do.
With heart-scarred bewilderment, I love her.
And the thing of it is ...
she despises me.


What follows is basically the tragic love story of Glen Berger and Magical Pixie Dream Director Julie Taymor, interspersed with cameos from Bono, the Edge, and various producers, executives, and staff people of varying levels of competence.

Things that Julie Taymor brought to the show: a deep love of Arachne.
Things that Glen Berger brought to the show: a deep love of Julie Taymor.

Things that, apparently, nobody involved felt like they needed to bring to the show:

- a working knowledge of Broadway musicals
- a working knowledge of the Spiderman mythology beyond the Sam Raimi films
- more than three meetings between all the collaborators
- a budget
- an out-of-town preview period to make sure the show was any good
- a full dress rehearsal
- a safety standard to deal with the giant pit in the middle of the stage
- an actual finale

Glen Berger does his level best to defend most of the expenditures as a combination of well-intentioned hubris and bad luck. They were willing to make cuts! They completely agreed it was unnecessary for the Green Goblin to have three evil science silo towers! TWO WAS A-OK! Still, there is nothing to give you the sense of stupidly-spent money like the description of a remote-controlled robot bed that just WOULD NOT WORK RIGHT and kept zooming away in the wrong direction as Spider-Man attempted to flop dramatically onto it. I LAUGHED UNTIL I CRIED. Or maybe I cried until I laughed. Why did they need a remote-controlled robot bed? NOBODY KNOWS.

(GLEN BERGER: No, but the plot would have made sense if only anybody had been able to come up with the 3-D holograph technology we were sure would exist by 2011!)

Debi has written up a much better, more thorough critique of both the book and the process, which you all should go read. All I can tell you is that, for sheer entertainment value, the use of a gift certificate to buy this book was money WELL SPENT.

(AND SHE DESPISES ME!!!! I'm sorry, I can't, I will keep laughing forever.)

Also, I will say, having read this book, I am actually ten times as impressed that the performance we saw -- which was during the period when people were breaking their backs and getting concussions left and right -- proceeded technically without a hitch. Unless the fact that Arachne never had the right number of legs was in fact a technical hitch. WHO KNOWS.
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (pull the other one)
For December thirteenth, [personal profile] next_to_normal asked me to talk about the upcoming Into the Woods movie, which is a great topic for Friday the thirteenth because I am really terrified that this film is going to be a DISASTER.

Okay, here's the irony: I was fully prepared for Les Miserables to be a disaster. I was ready to embrace the disaster! I mean, I love Les Mis, but if it had been as bad as I mostly expected, I would have laughed the whole way through and enjoyed myself enormously, it would have been great.

But Les Mis was not a disaster. So now, in penance, I am really afraid that Into the Woods IS going to be a disaster, and if it is then I will CARE, I will care SO MUCH. And normally I could just come back and make jokes about it and that would help, but in this case, I WILL CARE TOO MUCH TO MAKE JOKES. My only recourse will be seething incoherently, and/or weeping

Reasons I think Into the Woods may well be a disaster:
- also James Corden as the Baker which [personal profile] innerbrat assures me is terrible though I have no personal experience with this to vouch for
- they're adding a new song and we all know how well that went in Les Mis
- there is no Narrator casting listed
- WHY DID THEY NOT CAST BRANDY AS CINDERELLA, I'm forever going to be bitter about this, the director actually directed the Brandy Cinderella. No excuse!
- speaking of the director: Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides. I'm just saying. I'M JUST SAYING.
- I mean, that was a hilarious movie

Reasons it is possible that Into the Woods may NOT be a disaster:
- the cast has a fair number of people I like
- for example Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Christine Baranski
- (I'm pretty neutral on the casting of Meryl Streep, like, I think she will be good and all, I just think they could have done something WAY more interesting and different with the casting of the Witch)
- the Brandy Cinderella was the opposite of a disaster
- Sondheim is heavily involved? They say? I mean WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT GOES, but
- okay yes the costumes look pretty fantastic

So, I mean, we'll see. There's a chance it might be good! . . . but still I'm trying to vigilantly trample all my hopes that it will be good. The less hope I have, the less full of rage I will be when they get it wrong! (That is a lie, but I tell myself that anyway.)
skygiants: Enjolras from Les Mis shouting revolution-tastically (la resistance lives on)
For December 8th, [personal profile] evewithanapple asked me about my least favorite playwright/composers and why!

. . . I don't actually have a lot of least favorites, because when it comes to musical theater, I really love things that are terrible . . . so I am going to seize the opportunity to do the exact opposite and talk instead about my FAVORITE terrible playwright/composer, ~*~*~Frank Wildhorn~*~*~*~.

Frank Wildhorn, y'all. FRANK WILDHORN. Frank Wildhorn is an extremely prolific writer of amazingly cheesy musicals. All of his work is committed to being as spectacularly over-the-top as possible and none of it is at all committed to sounding any different from his previous work. I have experienced nowhere near all of his oeuvre, but I am COMMITTED to expanding my knowledge whenever I get a chance. Wildhorn musicals with which I am familiar (and which I have picspammed previously on my DW) include:

The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I actually love completely unironically in all of its over-the-top glory. This musical was my formative Scarlet Pimpernel iteration. ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES.

Jekyll and Hyde, which I watched whenever it came over PBS when I was a kid, and will still watch whenever I have the opportunity, and which is HILARIOUSLY TERRIBLE. Or at least the version with which I am familiar with, starring DAVID HASSELHOFF, is hilariously terrible. Jekyll's inexplicable daddy issues! Lucy the Sexy Prostitute and Emma the Pure Fiancee and the absolute textbook virgin/whore dichotomy! "Confrontation," in which the Hoff wears HALF A WIG and flings his hair back and forth like he just don't care before ripping open his shirt in a rage-driven frenzy! Oh, Jekyll and Hyde. What an amazing piece of musical theater.

Wonderland, a musically derivative but visually spectacular musical in which our heroine -- having had her marriage founder because she is the sole breadwinner -- dreams about her estranged husband rescuing her from her dark side, who wants to take over the kingdom of Wonderland from her mother-in-law. Then this saves her marriage. THANKS, FRANK WILDHORN.

I am also a little bit familiar with The Count of Monte Cristo because of that half a kdrama I watched which was about a production of Wildhorn's Count of Monte Cristo, but seeing that show in full is absolutely on my bucket list because over-the-top Dumasian revenge is EXACTLY the kind of thing Wildhorn is best suited for.

Frank Wildhorn's current projects include a musical about Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, which I feel confident will include a lot of really dramatically angsty power ballads and a lot of sentimental and hugely problematic tropes about mental illness, and Excalibur, which is a Frank Wildhorn musical ABOUT KING ARTHUR oh my god it's going to be so bad, I'M SO THERE.

But let's be real, when it comes to Frank Wildhorn, I am always there. It is a beautiful hatemance for the ages. No matter how much bad his stuff gets, no matter how I may be seething with rage 3/4 of the way through the show, I SWEAR TO YOU, I WILL BE THERE!
skygiants: Enjolras from Les Mis shouting revolution-tastically (la resistance lives on)
Some things that make a post:

1. For anyone who was curious about the conclusion to the saga of Summer and the Pig-Dragon Boyfriend of Doom, [personal profile] rachelmanija has generously and hilariously read and reviewed the sequel. THIS IS A SERVICE TO US ALL, or at least to me, since now I don't have to read it.

2. I can't believe it has taken me this long to discover that the apparently thriving French tradition of musical rock operas about various historical events includes theatrical MUSIC VIDEOS.

For the record: research into this musical, titled 1789: Les Amants de la Bastille, reveals that the little girl is Charlotte Corday, the angsty rock singer is Camille Desmoulins, and the lady who looks like Marie Antoinette is Marie Antoinette. The frenziedly breakdancing Bastille prisoner is an OC who I think leads the revolution. Presumably because of his breakdancing skills.

There are a bunch of other amazing music videos from the production (my other favorite is Je veux le monde, in which a girl group of militant musket-wielding Lovely Ladies sing about the Fronde, but Pour la peine features some amazing stripping-and-table-dancing and a sad chorus singing about the rights of man.)

Then of course there is Mozart: l'Opera Rock. I have only watched one of these videos yet, but all you need to know that it is called L'ASSASSYMPHONIE and features Salieri being tormented by ballerinas, corsets, and a dude in a Mozart wig with an electric guitar.

France: you have clearly stepped up your game. America! WHY DO WE NOT DO THIS. Why is Phantom of the Opera not being promoted on YouTube by music videos of the Christine banging an electric guitar while Raoul and the Phantom breakdance in the background?! I am now retroactively disappointed in every Broadway show I have ever seen.

3. Yuletide! After much deliberation (and plea-bargaining with [personal profile] genarti to nominate stuff I didn't have space for), I think I have decided on my nominations:

7 Seeds (but which characters???)
20th Century Boys (KANNA AND KOIZUMI KYOKO and maybe Setsuko)
The Summer Prince (June and Bebel!)
Goddess of Fire (this is the epic pottery kdrama I am currently watching, I hope nominating it will get me to finish it before Yuletide! Anyway I want lady pottery mafia boss fic.)
skygiants: Enjolras from Les Mis shouting revolution-tastically (la resistance lives on)
I've seen two musicals recently! The first was Love's Labour's Lost at Shakespeare in the Park, and it was . . . not good. I mean, Love's Labour's Lost is not really the greatest play anyway - it has too many subplots and the main romance plots are deeply silly and have no emotional impact. This is a thing that you could really improve on in a musical version, if you wanted to. Instead, Love's Labour's Lost takes extra time and depth away from all of its lead characters, plays up the frat-boy aspects without resolving them or making them in any way sympathetic, and throws in valuable bonus features like Random Guy Who Sings A Love Song About Wanting To Eat Cats.

But enough on this, because the other show I saw last week was the recent revival of Pippin and it was AMAZING.

For those of you unfamiliar: Pippin is at least nominally about the adventures of Prince Pippin, son of Charlemagne, as he attempts to flail his way towards a life that is "completely fulfilling."

That is the show-within-a-show. The real show of Pippin is sort of about that, but it's also about performance, and the lure of spectacle -- the self-destructive seduction of the larger-than-life. So the fact that it is staged as a full-color circus filled with acrobats performing humanly impossible feats and choreography that fuses Fosse with Cirque du Soleil is, basically, perfect. (Also perfect is the fact that the actor playing Pippin can in no way keep up with the acrobatics. There's one hilarious moment during one of the songs where a couple of the acrobats are performing a balancing act and invite Pippin up to echo them; Pippin takes a step, hesitates, announces "NOPE!" and bops right back on down. EXACTLY AS IT SHOULD BE.)

Pippin aside, the real lead role in Pippin is the part of the Leading Player - narrator, director, ringmaster - and we can pause here for a moment of appreciation for Patina Miller's everything:

I should mention, by the way, for those who have not heard this story before, that my last experience with Pippin was our middle-school production. This was hilarious in ways that are spoilery for the show, if anybody cares )

I feel like I've already talked a lot about this (it's just so novel for me to actually go see a GOOD musical, rather than one that's lolariously bad!) but a few last points:
- I had forgotten how good the Pippin score is -- not that the songs are so absolutely great in and of themselves, many of them are just kind of cheery 70s pop ballads, but context makes all of them so ironic! IT'S AWESOME
- it took me ages to recognize Terrence Mann as Charlemagne, aka Original Javert and Original Chauvelin, but once I did it was kind of hilarious to watch him get murdered by a bright-eyed revolutionary shouting about tyranny
skygiants: Bunny-suit Kenji from 20th Century Boys saying 'this is the defender of justice who's gonna save the world from danger' (love and peace are on hold)
You might think [personal profile] innerbrat and I would have learned our lesson by now about comic book musicals.


This time we dragged [personal profile] aberration to see a special this-week-only production of that work of sixties theatrical genius, It's A Bird . . . It's A Plane . . . It's Superman!

Don't they know the strongest man . . . CAN CRY? )
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (eyebrows of inquiry)
So for Yuletide, my roommate [personal profile] innerbrat wrote A Complex Problem, an AU of the Scarlet Pimpernel where everything is the same except Percy Blakeney is Peggy Blakeney and EVERYONE IS LESBIANS.

Obviously this is, like, the best thing ever and you should all go read it, but the other thing this meant is that we spent a lot of time in December watching various versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel, including the takarazuka production of Frank Wildhorn's Scarlet Pimpernel musical.

For those of you unfamiliar with takarazuka, takarazuka is a Japanese musical theater form in which all the roles are played by women. Takarazuka tends to feature epic drama and super extravagant costumes and glorious musical set pieces and a million bajillion sparkles. This means that takarazuka is basically the perfect way to convey the epic glory of Frank Wildhorn, who is ALL ABOUT staging as much of an epic extragavanza as humanly possible.

The download that we used was all in Japanese with no subtitles, but fortunately Debi and I have Wildhorn's Scarlet Pimpernel basically memorized (NO SHAME) and were therefore able to follow nearly all of the story . . . we think.

Picspam under the cut! )
skygiants: Enjolras from Les Mis shouting revolution-tastically (la resistance lives on)
So there were three of us last night at Bring It On, THE CHEERLEADING MUSICAL:

[personal profile] fahye, who had traveled around the world to see a Broadway show, and gotten up twice at 4:30 AM, and waited seven hours to get tickets, and been thwarted three times over by adverse schedules and surprise thunderstorms and dark theaters, and was ready to believe that New York had it personally in for her to prevent her from EVER SEEING A SHOW EVER;
[personal profile] littledust, who had managed to find THE ONLY musical playing on a Monday night in New York and gotten us there by sheer force of willpower;
and [profile] bookelfe, who had had her contact lens blown dramatically away by the wind an hour previous, and was therefore going to be squinting through one eye for the entire length of the show, but after everything else was willing to chalk this up as a sacrifice to the Theater Gods.

And we all walked out gleeful and delighted and singing, so that should tell you something, and that something is that Bring It On: The Musical is like a shot of sparkles right in the arm.

The short version: it's about LOVING WHO YOU ARE NO MATTER WHO THAT IS! and girls who are best friends or quite possibly in love! and flying through the air with the greatest of ease! and the TINIEST SPARKLIEST PSYCHOPATH OF ALL!

It's also kind of inherently about about a white girl who learns important life lessons from her ethnic friends, so, you know. On the other hand, the show-writers are super aware of this and do everything within their power to lampshade and deflate the problematic tropes that they're juggling. Also there is that moment when the geeky, awkward white cheerleader is lamenting how nobody can understand what it's like to feel like you never fit in, and the black trans cheerleader steps up and radiates ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME at her until she gets it, and it is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen on a New York stage. (THERE IS A TRANSGENDER CHEERLEADER! it's not a big deal! she's just great!) Bless you, Lin-Manuel Miranda. BLESS YOU.

That is the short version! SPARKLES. For the long version with detailed spoilers, READ ON. )
skygiants: Enjolras from Les Mis shouting revolution-tastically (la resistance lives on)
The back cover of Marie Lu's Legend informed me that the author "was first inspired to write Legend while watching Les Miserables one afternoon, and wondered how the relationship between a famous criminal vs. a prodigious detective might translate into a more modern story."

It is not Marie Lu's fault that this somehow explicitly led me to expect a genderswapped steampunk Javert/Valjean fanfic about an obsessive police officer with a black-and-white morality and the escaped prisoner she pursues over the course of three or four decades . . . but apparently somehow this is something that my soul desperately craves, because I was unfairly disappointed not to get it.

Not that Legend is not good! Legend is a perfectly enjoyable dystopian YA novel about two SUPER TEEN PRODIGIES, one who is accelerating within the system (but only because she doesn't know all the terrible things the system does) and one who works outside the system (and is accused of terrible crimes, but has only ever committed the non-murderous ones), and how she's sent to bring him in because she thinks he killed her brother, and it's all very dramatic and interestingly world-built and involves government plague conspiracies and that's fine, I will totally be willing to read the sequel and see where it goes! I did wish that there was more of a clash of legitimately opposed ideologies, as opposed to the heroine realizing that everything she believes in is wrong. Spoilers. )

Anyway, it all worked out, because now that I've realized the tragic scarcity of YA novels with the EPIC MELODRAMA of Javert/Valjean slash fiction at their heart, I have simply decided that someday I am going to have to write my own, except with lesbians. (Working title: YOU KNOW NOTHING OF JAVERTINA.) You're welcome, world!

This also however begs the question of which OTHER famous musical nemeses should be updated into steampunk dystopian YA novels. I have provided some options for you, so please feel free to vote for your favorite! I will almost certainly not write it for you but YOU NEVER KNOW.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 38

Which of these FAMOUS MUSICAL NEMESES would you most like to see as the romantic leads of a YA novel?

View Answers

The Phantom/Raoul! HE's a foppish aristocrat! HE lives under the gladiatorial opera house where people compete in a singing competition to the death! Wacky circumstances force them to raise a baby together! (See Love Never Dies.)
8 (21.1%)

Velma Kelly/Roxie Hart! Both of them are showgirls arrested for spectacular tabloid crimes, but what Velma doesn't know is that Roxie's got an extra card up her sleeve: she's a RENEGADE ROBOT showgirl.
17 (44.7%)

Mark Cohen/Benjamin Coffin III! HE's a member of the secret BOHEME group that's spreading revolutionary viral videos . . . and HE'S the angry landlord who just got accidentally implicated in the conspiracy! NOW THEY'RE ON THE RUN TOGETHER.
5 (13.2%)

Sweeney Todd/Mrs. Lovett! Trapped in an oppressive society, they decided to rebel against the system by becoming cannibals and -- actually you wouldn't really even need to change the plot here. BUT WITH STEAMPUNK!
1 (2.6%)

Elphaba/Galinda! . . . is already a YA novel. BUT IT COULD ALWAYS BE ANOTHER ONE. This time with actual lesbians!
7 (18.4%)

The depressing secret of my life is that I would one hundred percent read all of these. (But especially Velma/Robot Roxie.)

skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (Default)
First of all, your regularly scheduled reminder: [ profile] fma_ladyfest signups are closing in two days! We have a multitude of awesome prompts already, and will continue to be ridiculously excited about this upcoming round until you are all sick of hearing about it and probably for a while after that. :D

Second, the last of [ profile] moonyazu9's top five requests for me: top five musicals, cut for embedded video! )

And now that I have talked at great length about my deep and true and slightly embarrassing love for musical theater, I find myself curious. I know there are some of you reading this who love musicals like I do, and there are some others who find it a completely inexplicable passion and are judging me AT THIS VERY MOMENT. Therefore: a poll! (I promise I will not judge you whatever you answer.)

Go to the LJ crosspost to vote on your feelings about MUSICALS.

If you want to talk about your favorite musical, that also would be welcomed!
skygiants: (wife of bath)
Title: The Host Club's Refreshing Interdimensional Tour!
Characters: The entire host club, plus assorted special guests
Word Count: 3351
Summary: Does what it says on the label, guys. In other news, this is quite possibly the silliest thing I have ever written.

Nobody will own up to having made the terrible decision to show Tamaki a science-fiction film, which is probably wise, since, whoever that person was, Kyouya seems quite likely to have them quietly assassinated as soon as their identity is revealed. )
skygiants: Koizumi Kyoko from Twentieth Century Boys making her signature SHOCKED AND HORRIFIED face (wtf is this)
SCENE: [ profile] innerbrat and [ profile] rushin_doll 's apartment, living room, evening
PLAYING: the television

DEBI: Hah, I see, that character is the Tallulah!
BECCA: . . . what?
DEBI: You know, like from Bugsy Malone.
BECCA: . . . what?
DEBI and ANA, IN HORRIFIED UNISON: You've never seen Bugsy Malone?!?!
BECCA: . . . what?
ANA: It's a musical! About gangsters! They all have funny moustaches! It's made for you!
DEBI: Also, there aren't any cast members over the age of fourteen!
BECCA: . . . what?

Needless to say, I have now seen Bugsy Malone, and have upgraded my '. . . what?' to an 'oh my god, WHAT?'

Cut for images )

I . . . I just . . . I have no room to talk, I know. I mean, I love Newsies. I am a wholehearted supporter of ridiculous fake moustaches and of terrible child-actor dancing in musicals. And yet . . . there are SO MANY CHOICES HERE I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.


skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (Default)

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