Tuesday, March 31, 2009

American Idol - iSmellConspiracy

American Idol - Top 9 - Performance Night - Theme: Popular Downloads From iTunes

So I didn't even bother to blog about the results last week so here I am doing it now. So long Michael Sarver. It was nice knowing ya. Okay, Top 9!!!

Sadly with Scott still there.

So, popular downloads from iTunes, eh!? What a plug for synergy while basically saying, they can sing ANYTHING. Possibly something even current! What what? American Idol is allowing their singers to be current? You know? As current as Ruben Studdard who sang on Thursdays results show? Oh yeah! (And yes, I was mocking Ruben there)

So we finally get Scott singing something nice and current! Like Billy Joel! For you Gen Y's/Z's/Apathy/whatever you want to call yourselves, it's not Billy Joe Armstrong (who is still probably beyond your base). Billy Joel was once married to Christie Brinkley... um...a supermodel from before Tyra Banks. Um... he wrote "Piano Man" and his music was used for the Broadway show Movin' Out. [crickets]. He was big once okay? And your mom probably threw panties at him. Well, maybe not, but he was big.

Anyways, everyone else sings more current songs except Kris Allen who sings an even older song. Thankfully he's NOTHING like Scott.

Anoop Desai
21 years old
Home: Chapel Hill, NC
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "Caught Up" - (by Ryan Toby, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, Jason Boyd, made famous by Usher)

Grade: C-

I really do like the guy but I also can't really take him seriously, especially with all that sneering and posturing and those eyes that keep piercing out "look at me, I'm sexy damnit" and you-will-forget-about-Sanjaya, which it almost does. Randy thought it was "vocally cool" but not the right song for him which I totally agree.

Megan Joy Corkrey
22 years old
Home: Sandy, UT
Audition: Salt Lake City, UT
Song: "Turn Your Lights Down Low" (by Bob Marley)

Grade: C-

I'm also starting to "get" the whole Megan sound, but I don't think she just has the voice to pull off what she's trying to pull. It's quirky and has a neat sound, it's just too bad Megan can't actually sing it like she's supposed to. Plus she looked half freaked out and uncomfortable singing it.

Danny Gokey
28 years old
Home: Milwaukee, WI
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "What Hurts The Most" (by Jeffrey Steele, Steve Robson, made famous by Rascal Flatts)

Grade: B-

ACK. That hurt the most. This is one of my FAVORITE CHEESY SONGS. I sing this at the top of my lungs whenever I hear it in the car (yes, that was me). I love the overdramatics of it all and considering Danny Overdramatic Gokey decided to do this, it should have been a slam dunk, but it sounded raspy and strained to me (even though everyone in the audience and judges loved it). Sorry, but it should have sounded like THIS. Or even Cascada's version like this. Seriously, I sing it better than Gokey. (And I'll prove it this weekend at Karaoke in Boulder, Colorado, see you all there!). The judges fawning over this proves once and again that they have this season half pre-planned.

Allison Iraheta
16 years old
Home: Los Angeles, CA
Audition: San Francisco, CA
Song: "Don't Speak" (by Gwen Stefani, Eric Stefani, made famous by No Doubt)

Grade: B+

Considering the song is SOOO distinctive (and one of my favorites), I thought this might be difficult to overcome, but Allison did a really nice job making this song her own, and if it weren't for some vocal straining on the change-up and that the second half seemed a little tired, this would have been aces. Meanwhile, the judges spent the whole time criticizing her outfit. Yawn. Is anyone else getting tired of the judges "witty" banter? And I continue to smell conspiracy with Simon's comment that she shouted the whole thing. And yet has he ever said that to Danny? or Adam? Something's not right here.

Scott MacIntyre
23 years old
Home: Scottsdale, AZ
Audition: Phoenix, AZ
Song: "Just The Way You Are" (by Billy Joel)

Grade: D

And this was different from every other week how? OMG, I just looked up at the TV. What did he do to his hair? I didn't think it could be worse? And I'm speaking as someone who knows I've had some hideous haircuts before. Okay, we've all to try to stay as PC and nice as long as we possibly could but seriously, I cannot look at him anymore, and they really need to put sunglasses on the guy, and then someone else with actual full sight to do a makeover. And then someone needs to put some duct tape over his mouth. The judges were nice to him. Maybe the reverse psychology might work? He's been saved everytime they criticized him so maybe we might finally get the nail in the coffin? Randy even says it's one of the best of the night. Something is seriously not right here.

Matt Giraud
23 years old
Home: Kalamazoo, MI
Audition: Louisville, KY
Song: "You Found Me" (by The Fray)

Grade: B-

Was I shocked Matt was in the bottom 3 last week? Not really. I don't think he's ever quite connected with the audience out there. And his voice is good, but not stellar. And he sort of lacks star presence.

So why would he perform in the middle of the audience. It took me a good 20 seconds before I realized where he even was. I didn't think it was his best performance and his voice isn't actually good as his fans say he is. On the other hand, the judges seemed to really dislike it and it wasn't THAT bad either. Yet again, it all smells fishy. Kara says he has to commit between R&B and pop rock. EXCUSE ME?

Lil Rounds
23 years old
Home: Memphis, TN
Audition: Kansas City, MO
Song: "I Surrender" (made famous by Celine Dion)

Grade: C+

Oh brother. Girl needs to realize her voice is NOT that strong and she needs to stop trying to be a big singer diva (so STOP singing Whitney, Celine etc. etc). She could belt it out, but too bad none of it was on the right note, and yet Randy and Kara basically loved her singing (even though it was STILL the wrong song choice). Except Paula. Paula actually sidelined without a compliment. Well, Simon didn't really like it either but at least he didn't sugar coat it. I smell half a conspiracy.

COMMERCIAL BREAK PAUSE: Um, I just saw the commercial for the Hannah Montana The Movie and between the minor glimpses of Vanessa Williams and Margo Martindale, I kinda want to see it now. (WTF is wrong with me?). Yes, I've seen the hokey show (though I do admit, Hannah's brother, played by overacting Jason Earles, makes me laugh) and it's just not as good as the far superior The Wizards of Waverly Place (which is apparently getting it's own movie!). And yes, I'm coming out of the Wizard closet. I LOVE that show. I'm actually planning a post for it soon. Can't you WAIT? I know you're excited!

Adam Lambert
26 years old
Home: Los Angeles, CA
Audition: San Francisco, CA
Song: "Play That Funky Music" (by Robert Parissi, made famous by Wild Cherry)

Grade: B-

I love that half the audience was dancing and really into it and then the other half (including the front row) sat there looking in horror. Which is pretty much what Adam does, dividing it to love-it or get-him-off-the-stage divisions. I swing both ways (on this issue, not in real life).

It was bold and cheeky and he totally knows how to play the audience (with a great shout out to the band) and I can SEE RIGHT THROUGH THE WHOLE ACT. The screeching wasn't enough to cover up the "performance" but sadly, for someone so determined to get off the theatrical stage and become a singing star, I think we've finally found a perfect replacement to take over in We Will Rock You.

Kris Allen
23 years old
Home: Conway, AR
Audition: Louisville, KY
Song: "Ain't No Sunshine" (by Bill Withers)

Grade: A

Kris is the only performer who consistently makes me look up at the TV. And not just cause he's so pretty (and yes, gosh darnit, he's so pretty). The moment I hear his voice and his clever arrangements, I have to just stop and watch. Do you know how many times I've gone back to listen to last week?

Okay, not the most current song this week, but as Paula said, it's a 30 year old song and he made it sound like NOW! Which is probably even MORE impressive. YES, finally the judges are fully on board. Though it almost looked like Simon didn't want to say it, cause it would go against their plan of an Adam-Danny finale.

The Final Round Up:

Best of the Night: By far and away Kris Allen
Second Best of the Night: Allison Irahetta
Third Best of the Night: Adam Lambert
Fourth Best of the Night: Danny Gokey

Seriously, at this point, I just keep the names Kris and Allison in the top spots and interchange them occasionally.

Worst of the Night: Scott MacIntyre
Second Worst of the Night: Megan Joy Corkrey

Bottom Three Predictions: Matt Giraud, Megan Joy Corkrey, Lil Rounds

Going Home: Lil Rounds (maybe by not mentioning he-who-shall-not-be-named, it'll curse him to actually leave and not who I predicted)

For more on American Idol:
Click here for the most recent posts.
Season 8:
Top 2 Performance
Top 3 Performance, Top 3 Results
Top 4 Performance, Top 4 Results
Top 5 Performance, Top 5 Results
Top 6 + Matt (Top 7 Redux) Performance, Top 7 Redux Results
Top 7 Performance, Top 7 Results
Top 8 Performance, Top 8 Results
Top 9 Performance
Top 10 Performance
Top 12 Performance, Top 12 Results
Top 13 Performance, Top 13 Results
Top 36:
Group 1, Group 2, Group 3
Wild Card, Wild Card Results
Pre-Top 36:
Who Are You Going To Vote For?
Handicapping the Alleged American Idols

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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Better Off For TV

I just noticed that ABC is re-airing the first two episodes of Better Off Ted TONIGHT (Tuesday, March 31st) at 8pm (yes, against American Idol so really it's just burning it off but maybe you can tape it or something) for everyone to catch up before their third episode at its regular timeslot at 8:30pm on Wednesdays on ABC (right before Lost).

Because it is SERIOUSLY FUNNY! And it seems like nobody watched. Of course. Seriously America, you have no right to whine about the dying quality of entertainment if you're going to ignore this show (or Kings, Friday Night Lights etc. etc.)

The second episode was just as funny as the first and all the dynamics are there for the fresh new comedy. Portia De Rossi is back in what she does best, playing a cold harded bitch and tossing off those dry zingers in superspeed. Jay Harrington is a great affable centre for the zaniness that happens around him, and Jonathan Slavin is precious as the poor lab rat that works at Veridian Dynamics, the semi-evil-and-definitely-questionable-morally-speaking-company. Love that Andrea Anders is proving that she's better than some of her previous material, plus love that her character has a need to stick it to the man. And Malcolm Barrett is a great foil for Slavin and is a nice counterpoint to any black stereotypes (finally, a REAL Black character in oddly such a quirky premise).

Better Off Ted - Heroes - Ep. 102

Loved that Phil (Slavin) was still screaming post-frozen-and-then-unfrozen experiment and that while Veronica (De Rossi) wants to fire him, Ted steps in to save the day. And love that Linda (Anders) still needs to steal milkers. I don't know why since I'm lactose intolerant and I don't even drink coffee but I've always had the urge to take those things too.

And how funny/odd/scary was their new development to produce cowless beef. Or the fact that they actually test it on real people?

If there's anytime better to satirize the evil-corporate world, nows the time!

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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My Boys Are Back In Town

My Boys are back tonight on TBS (now on Tuesdays at 10:30pm, or in Canada, on E!Canada on Mondays at 9pm). It's one of my favorite comfort-food TV shows and when it hits its stride, it can be as clever as the best of them. If you've never seen the show, it's a bit like Sex and the City but with more men, more beer, and less gays (and I don't say that as a derogatory thing). Plus, it takes place in Chicago and definitely has more of that midwestern niceness feel.

My Boys - Welcome Back, Kalla Fötter, Private Eyes - Eps. 301-302

I got to check out the first two episodes and while I won't give anything away, we will find out what happened with P.J. and Bobby's brother Jack (Billy Burke, Twilight) while they're attending Bobby's wedding.

Meanwhile, the boys decide to have a mustache growing contest. It's ridiculous and hilarious and they milk it for what it's worth. Between all the relationship talks between P.J. and Stephanie (remember, now she's a best selling relationship writer), and the comfort of just hanging with the boys and all their boy talks, the season premiere definitely brings the 3rd season into wonderful stride.

We also get the conclusion to Bobby's wedding (the always welcomed Kyle Howard) though there's only a hint about Stephanie sleeping with Kenny.

In the second episode, P.J. finally lands a boyfriend but she hides it from everyone in fear of getting taunted, which of course leads the boys (and Stephanie) to play detective trying to find out P.J.'s secret.

Let's just say both new episodes felt so comforting and enjoyable that they flew by and I can't wait for the new episodes to come.

Jordana Spiro as P.J. Franklin:

Kyle Howard as Bobby Newman:

Kellee Stewart as Stephanie:

Reid Scott as Brendan Dorff:

Jim Gaffigan as Andy Franklin:

Jamie Keller as Mike Callahan:

Michael Bunin as Kenny Morittori:

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Best Renewal EVER

The best show currently on network TV (and while I haven't caught up with Battlestar Galactica yet so I can't comment on that, I can pretty much also include all of TV including cable) Friday Night Lights has been renewed.

And not just one season. TWO SEASONS!!!


No idea if Zach Gilford will be returning fully as Matt Saracen, and apparently there will be goodbye arcs (similar to Jason Street and Smash Williams this year) to Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly) and Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki) but if any show has proven they can deal with cast changes and such, it's this show, which moves along with characters as they do in real life.

Anyways, as long as Eric and Tami Taylor (the wonderful Emmy worthy Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton) are central to the show, it'll be okay!

And with J.D. McCoy and the way the season finale ended, it might be a whole fresh start to the series. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

And we won't have to worry next year because the renewal is for TWO SEASONS!!!

13 episodes each but I'll take what I can get! That means there will actually be a Season 5 of Friday Night Lights!!! The show I worried wouldn't last past the first amazing season is actually going to last 5 years!!! WOOHOO!

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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I Can't Believe I Watched Twilight...

So, um, I watched Twilight this past weekend and uh... I really enjoyed it. Really really enjoyed it.

And no, I'm not in love with Edward/Robert Pattison (though I will admit, that as much as I resisted, I did find him a bit swoonworthy by the end of the film and made me forget about his awful greasy haired appearances in public).

I am however in love with Catherine Hardwicke who does wonder with the direction and really makes the whole movie what it is. Seriously, brilliant direction. Because the whole premise could have been pretty hokey, but Hardwicke actually makes the movie quite elegant and edgy. Especially since I still can't take the book series seriously yet (I know I know, many of you (albeit all female) have told me to read it).

I also enjoyed the casting. Especially with the bevy of actors I always liked but never thought were that good. And yet, here they seemed really good.

From Billy Burke (My Boys, Gilmore Girls) as Bella's father, to Elizabeth Reaser (Grey's Anatomy) as Edward's "mom", to Peter Facinelli (Damages) as Edward's "father", to Cam Gigandet (The OC, Never Back Down) as rival vampire James, to Nikki Reed (The OC, Thirteen) as vamp Rosalie, to Kellan Lutz (90210) as vamp Emmett, to Sarah Clarke (24, Trust Me) as Bella's mom, to Rachelle Lefevre (Swingtown) as bad vamp Victoria, to Anna Kendrick (Rocket Science) as friend Jessica.

Even Kristen Steward and Robert Pattison seemed good in the movie.

Though instead of falling in love with Edward, I think I'm in love with Mike Newton played by Michael Welch. So adorable! And love him with Anna Kendrick. I really do like her from Rocket Science even though I didn't love that movie.

I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm giving Twilight a solid B+ and I would even consider an A-. Who knew?!

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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Peanuts Awakening - Dog Sees God - Play Review

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead - Six Degrees - Toronto, ON - **** (out of 5)
Written by Bert V. Royal, Directed by Lezlie Wade
Runs until April 4th 2009 UPDATE: It has been extended until April 18th

The peanuts gang have grown up and become all surly, angsty and all. After all, they are now teenagers in this modern unauthorized update of Charlie Brown and gang, and it all starts off when C.B.'s dog dies (put down actually for getting rabies and eating his best friend bird... get it?). Without giving too much away, the play then delves into an assortment of issues, from cliques, to homosexuality, to suicide and just general teenage rebellion. Fun stuff you know? But because of a thinly veiled allusion to Charles Schultz cartoon creations, there's an amusing twist to the whole affair as we sort of fill in the gaps with nostalgia from the famed comic strip.

While the play certainly has its problems, and partially counts on the (literally) cartoon caricatures to sketch out these now fully dimensional characters, it certainly attempts to deal with a lot of heavy issues while keeping the humour in balance, and partially succeeds.

Thanks to director Lezlie Wade, the Toronto premiere of the play manages to overcome the deficiencies with a strong cast and some ingenious (yet simple) direction. With a simple but clever set on the small stage at Six Degrees (part lounge/nightclub, and I believe former Yuk Yuk's), Wade manages to make the most of a small performance space. She adds little directorial touches that aren't scripted, but adds layers to the play.

Half the cast is probably most recognized from the Canadian television series Degrassi: The Next Generation and they do a fine job. Jake Epstein does a comparable job as central figure C.B. (though I was never a fan of his Craig on D:TNG). Adamo Ruggiero does a splendid job excising any trace of his gay Marco and tokes it up here as the consistently high Van (as in, Linus van Pelt), now sans blanky because the rest of the gang forced him to burn it up (which he then smoked up).

Mike Lobel doesn't stray too far from his Jay on D:TNG, but while there were still moments of first night stage frights (I saw this on the 1st day of previews), Lobel does a great job with his Matt (a now grown up Pig Pen). Like Adamo, there's a surprising stage presence that I didn't anticipate and easily holds the spotlight.

Meanwhile, it's too bad Paula Brancati (Jane on Degrassi: TNG) has a small role as Van's Sister (aka Sally), because Brancati takes her small bit and milks every moment. She's simply marvelous and only left me wanting MUCH MUCH more from the young actress.

While the above four may have had the most fame previous to the play, the other actors in the ensemble hold their own.

Ben Lewis probably handles the delicate and most poignant character Beethoven (a grown up Schroeder) best, with a stirring performance that really grounds the whole show. It's probably the most well-written character already but Lewis' performance is strong.

Alex Saslove is terrifically funny as Marcy (Marcie) but the overall ensemble's comedic timing still needed a bit of work but again, understandable on 1st night, and I'm assuming it'll get better through the run.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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My First Time in Toronto - Spring Awakening - Musical Review

Spring Awakening - National Tour - Canon Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****1/2 (out of 5)
Music and Lyrics by Duncan Sheik, Book by Steven Sater, Directed by Michael Mayer, Choreographed by Bill T. Jones

... and second, third, fourth... and... fifth time in Toronto (and now 14th overall, my reviews from Broadway here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). Obsessed? A tad. So you get the gist that I REALLY REALLY REALLY like this musical and at this point, I can't really say anything more about the actual musical itself. It's just great, from the lighting to the choreography to the music, it's a great melding of a modern score and current musical songs with an artistic vision shown on a populist musical stage all to tell a tragic story of youth and society.

So really, at this point, while I hate to compare, it comes down to the casts and the differences in performances, interpretations, comedic timing, and strength of voices and overall energy. And while the original cast is basically the gold standard, the current National Touring Cast, with a temporary replacement for the Melchior lead for the Toronto stop (ironically losing the Canadian Kyle Riabko who left the show for a few weeks to film a pilot for ABC), is pretty terrific.

Luckily, while Kyle is away, we have Matt Doyle (looking adorable as Eric's mancandy on Gossip Girl, Bare Album) coming up from Broadway to take over as Melchior and Matt's Melchior is strong and confident much like his voice. Simply AMAZING. Both in performance and voice (and he ain't shabby looking either, eh!?).

Since Matt was still filming Gossip Girl during Spring Awakening's first week in Toronto, ensemble member Perry Sherman took over as Melchior twice. 1st of all, as much as I love original Melchior Jonathan Groff, and then the Hunter Parrish, and now Matt Doyle, the beautiful Perry Sherman does a fine job as an understudy and while their seems to be some nervous trepidation at times, he uses that energy and presents a very different, even more naive, more understanding and tender Melchior than I've ever seen. It's a nice and interesting take and I was again, in love with a new Melchior.

Blake Bashoff (above, Carl on Lost) is terrific as Moritz and has a vibrantly clean pop-punk-band voice.

Former Canadian Idol contestant Steffi D (above) is shockingly good as Ilse. Shockingly I say because since I watched her on Canadian Idol, famed from the little cute bowties in her hair, I could NOT see her in this show, let alone as wildchild Ilse when I heard she was first cast in the role. Steffi D is such a talent though that she excised any cuteness and presents a raw yet tender Ilse yet sings Duncan Sheik's beautiful songs with such a powerful voice that I'm re-evaluating her whole run on Idol).

Ben Moss (above left with Bashoff), the youngest cast member on the tour, definitely has a future with his beautiful voice. Sadly, as Ernst, he doesn't have that many solos. He plays the role tenderly but due to his boy-next-door handsomeness and solid frame, his Ernst seems slightly more in control of his own seduction (by Hanschen) than original Gideon Glick (or replacement Blake Daniel). He does play up his first kiss a little too broadly with an overly acted reaction, but I realized it's the only way to register it to the back of the gigantic Canon Theatre (when I finally sat at the back cheap seats versus the stage seats I saw during the first few viewings).

And herein lies the main problem with the show on tour. At least in Toronto. It's playing at the ginormous Canon Theatre, which really should only house large spectacle spfx shows, and not these intimate more emotionally based musicals that get drowned out by the enormous size of the theatre. While I luckily sat on the stage seats the first few times, I did check out the show at the back of the Mezzanine. On stage, the cast had the same energy as the Broadway cast, though I did find they played up a lot of SOME comedic elements in the show, while others got lost, or unemphasized. Out in the cheap seats, that same high energy gets dampened by the distance, while the overtly comedic parts seemed just right. It's tough for the cast to sell it all to the back of the theatre while keeping the same emotional core to the show, and I still think it was a huge mistake for Mirvish to house Spring Awakening in such a large theatre.

Christy Altomare's Wendla (above, 2nd from right) was lovely and beguiling up close, but all of that seems lost when viewed from high above. Her voice, while not as strong as original Lea Michelle, is still better than Broadway's follow-up replacements, but again, by the time it hit's the back Mezzanine, the simplicity of her voice simply registers as thin. If there is one true disappointment, it's Sarah Hunt's Martha, who doesn't do justice to her song "The Dark I Know Well". In her defense, I have yet find anybody who could kill that song like original Lilli Cooper could. That girl made it truly tragic, but Hunt's is merely evoke's a bit of sadness.

Matt Shingledecker (above, left), who I saw on Broadway, plays Georg on tour. I don't know if he was sick or not but he seemed inconsistent night by night. Some nights his voice was strong as ever, other times, his solo in "Touch Me" seemed frail and tired.

Andy Mientus (above, centre) plays it up as Hanschen and manages to characterize and simplify the role, yet also making everything more clear. In the end, I did like Andy's performance in which he puts an extra little swagger into the cocky Hanschen.

Anthony Lee Medina plays Otto, one of the smaller roles, but he certainly looks like he's having fun, always rocking out at the upmost energy, looking like he's always going to run and fall into the audience (on all 3 sides).

Kimiko Glenn's Thea never manages to illicit a laugh from saying "He's such a RADICAL" just before "My Junk" but her followup hand-covered gasp is a nice touch.

I also have to make a special mention to Jared Stein, the music director who sits at the rear of the stage with the rest of the young band. Never have I seen a more energetic music director (or one so young and so hot!), who looked like he was choreographed into the show as much as every other cast member. Stein was constantly bouncing around, SOOOO into the music, that it was as much fun watching him sometimes as it was to watch the actors.

There's also been some changes in the tour to accommodate the technical requirements, but while it's too bad there had to be some changes made to the graveyard scene, they manage to make it work and still bring in the fog effect. I also noticed a couple of changes in the lighting cues but that's now me getting obsessive again...

So until next time...

(So yes, if I get nitpicky, the production has some flaws and challenges to be met in the large theatre, but overall, none are reasons enough to deny oneself the pleasures of this great musical)

Here's some clips from the cast's performance at The Eaton Centre from last Friday:

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm Not The American Idiot!

Apparently my scoop on the Green Day American Idiot musical is actually for REAL! And I beat the NYTimes by a full 10 days!!! (It's exciting for me okay? Even if no one except Esther really noticed and who also sent me the NYT article).

So according to the NYTimes, Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) will direct the show for the Berkeley Repertory Theater in California this fall (Sept. 4 through Oct. 11 2009) after rehearsals this summer. (Apparently tickets and show details will be announced on Monday)

Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) is doing the orchestrations, but even more exciting, choreography for the last workshop was by Steven Hoggett who did the mesmerizing Black Watch!!! Seriously, the non-traditional choreography in Black Watch was breathtaking and literally brought tears to my eyes.

No word if American Idiot (which is in fact the name it will actually go by now) The Musical, based on Green Day's album, will ever hit Broadway but I'm sure that's producer Tom Hulce's (who also produced Spring Awakening) hope and long term plan.

And if you don't remember the awesome music, it's awesome!

Hmm... might be time to make a trip to the Bay area this fall. I've been meaning to visit my friend and her new kids anyways... this might sweeten the deal!

UPDATE: According to playbill, Tony winner John Gallagher Jr. (Spring Awakening) is attached in the cast of 20. No surprise considering Michael Mayer's involvement.

Apparently Mary Faber, Patina Miller, Theo Stockman, Alysha Umphress, Brian Charles Johnson, Gerard Canonico, Rebecca Naomi Jones, and Miguel Cervantes were in the last workshop (though Theo is now in Hair and Patina Miller moves to London for Sister Act so I doubt they will be involved, or at least Miller)

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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Juno You Love It

In Canada, The Juno Awards were on again and while the awards themselves matter as much as the American equivalent The Grammy's (as in, they really don't), the show is kinda fun in it's concert like format (that the Grammy's seem to have finally adopted of late). But since we really don't have THAT many stars, or a lot of money to produce the show, it's a lot more rough around the edges and a lot less glossy but I kinda like it that way.

Plus, they had Russell Peter's host again this year!

Since usually only one major internationally famous Canadian music star returns every year as the big headliner (though this year seemed to be both Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlan), the show does get to spotlight a lot more indie bands and artists (like Kathleen Edwards who duets with Adams).

Cause I forgot how much I loved The Stills.

And I love that Dallas Green is basically a "star" in Canada (for his solo "band" City and Colour and as part of Alexisonfire). No where else would he get so much recognition. Just cause he's probably too indie and not pop enough. So love that he actually gets played on Top 40 here.

I also didn't realize he MARRIED Leah Miller (host of So You Think You Can Dance Canada). I don't know how I feel about that (you know, cause it SOOO matters what I think).

I've also mentioned this in past Juno commentaries but Michael Bublé is very funny. His banter with Russell Peter's was precious, and when he took Peter's most famous comedy bit ("Somebody Gonna Get A Hurt Real Bad") and turned it back against him.

I love that Montreal band Simple Plan is big in the States. Cause I think they're bigger there than here. I love that someone named Pierre leads the band that is so big in the States. I don't know why but that amuses me (apparently it doesn't take much). I have to admit, I like their new song "Save You", even though ALL their songs are SOOO simple (uh, hence their band name?) and kinda sound the same.

So the big winner seemed to be Nickelback. Again. Groan if you want to. We all kind of do too. Yet SOMEONE is buying all their albums in both Canada and the States. Though I will confess, I actually liked their recent single "Gotta Be Somebody". Also, I've ALWAYD though Ryan Peake was hot (not that lead singer guy, oh please no, no, the lead guitarist).

Still, I think I preferred when Feist or Nelly Furtado sweeped. Usually it's whoever wows them in the states that wins big here. That's the general rule.

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

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The TV Blog Coalition - My Heart Belongs To My Greek Boys

Two of my favorite cable comfort TV shows return this week with all new seasons! Greek is back on Monday Mar. 30 on abcFamily at 8pm when Jesse McCartney joins the cast for a few episodes as a new pledge, while Michael Rady returns as Max, still Casey's boyfriend, much to Cappie's annoyance!

And My Boys is back on Tuesday, Mar. 31 on TBS in a new timeslot at 10:30pm. We had last left off just as Bobby was about to get married, P.J. had snuck off with Bobby's brother, and the other boys were... well... boys.

The new remake of Cupid premieres Tuesday Mar. 31 on ABC at 10pm. This time with the super adorable Bobby Canavale taking over Jeremy Piven's part (the one time he was still adorable... oh back in the day...). Don't know if the remake will be good but I'm hopeful!

Meanwhile, here's what the other TV bloggers were talking about this week:

American Idol contestants keep getting criticized for their song choices, so Buzz whipped up a few guidelines to help the singers make their picks. (BuzzSugar)

This week, Sandie found out just how crazy French TV is. (Daemon's TV)

With the show coming back Tuesday, Scooter is hosting a My Boys Giveaway as well as a preview of the new season. (Scooter McGavin's 9th Green)

Is it Vance or is The Real World: Brooklyn actually watchable this year? 11 episodes in and Vance doesn't really feel compelled to smack anyone yet. Prank yes, smack no. (Tapeworthy)

This week, Jace took an early look at the two-hour pilot of Sci Fi's new drama series Caprica, the prequel to Battlestar Galactica. (Televisionary)

Marisa's not ashamed of her school girl crush on Demitri Martin. He can totally rock the neck brace. (TiFaux)

Considering the casting of Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, Matt thinks The Vampire Diaries will be as big as Twilight. Not that he's ever seen that movie. (TV Fanatic)

This week, theTVaddict.com put together our ultimate guide to TV stars on Twitter (The TV Addict)

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

More After the Jump...

Friday, March 27, 2009

No Pics Are Perfect - Monsters Vs. Aliens - Movie Review

Dreamworks can never quite catch up to Pixar, can they? Jack Black said it right. Put all your money and bet on Pixar. While Dreamworks animation have produced huge hits (i.e. Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar), they always seem to be genially entertaining but forgetable, while Pixar creates pure masterpieces. Pure art. Pure classics.

And most of that comes from the writing and the base idea. Because animation wise, both are pretty impressive. And Dreamwork movies creates some great marketable characters, but Pixar tends to do FILMS. Remy and WALL*E are amazing characters but you can't divorce them from their respective films (Ratatouille, Wall*E) but all I remember about Shrek is Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey, though I can't really remember what stories they went through.

This time, Dreamworks comes out with Monster Vs. Aliens (in IMAX 3D, basically the most fun part of the whole experience, though I'm not sure I'd pay the premium to see this movie, even though it's the main reason to go). Even the title alone doesn't have the eloquency of a future classic.

What it does have are some great marketable characters voiced by a great cast, basically FOX TV stars (Hugh Laurie and Keifer Sutherland) and folks from the current cool comedy group from The Office (Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms and John Krasinski), Comedy Central (Stephen Colbert), Arrested Development (Will Arnet, Jeffrey Tambor), the Apatow gang (Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd) and the go-to comediennes (Amy Poehler and Julie White). Then add in two A list blonde Oscar winners (Reese Witherspoon and Renee Zellweger) and you've got an A list voice cast.

Too bad there's not much of a script to work with (by Maya Forbes & Wallace Wolodarsky and Rob Letterman and Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger and Conrad Vernon).

Luckily, the main cast of monsters with Reese Witherspoon as Susan/Ginormica, Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach Ph.D, Seth Rogen as B.O.B., Will Arnet as The Missing Link and Keifer Sutherland as General W.R. Monger (not a monster but the monster keeper) manage to wring out as much as they can from a surprisingly joke-light filled story. Seriously, that Jello joke that you see in the ad is one of the funniest bits.

The movie, as the title suggests, is nothing more than a B-movie in 3D animation (which in on itself harks back to those matinee days with the red and blue glasses, only now with intensely crisp technology). Nothing more, nothing less. It's not even an homage as it is just a pretty basic plot where monsters are called upon to fight invading aliens (and really, it's first just an alien robot, and the alien (yes, singular) shows up later with his clones).

The script focuses on Susan (Reese, whose voice really is perfect for animation) who is a regular girl getting married (to Derek Dietl, schmarmingly played by the always lickable Paul Rudd) who becomes giant. Still, it never reaches any actual depth of emotion or character as it so tries to do. The most depth in this movie comes from the 3D animation itself (which I will admit, is always a lot of fun, if not somewhat dizzying at times).

Monster Vs. Aliens (in IMAX 3D) = C+

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com

More After the Jump...