Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To Glee or Not to Glee

If you want to read another blog post praising Glee and containing phrases such as "OMG I LUV LEA MICHELLE!1!11!" . . . then you've come to the wrong place, because I'm not a huge fan of Glee.

Yes, I said it. I. Don't. Like. Glee.

Some people gasp at this statement, especially when they know I'm a theatre fanatic. Doesn't every theatre person love this show? Well, apparently not.

Alright, so I don't absolutely abhor this show. I've seen a few episodes, and there are some things about it that I do like. Some of their renditions of popular songs aren't too bad, I loved the episode with Neil Patrick Harris, and Jane Lynch is hysterical, but overall, I find Glee overrated, and frankly, a bit annoying.

First of all, there's Lea Michelle. Her singing is alright, but her acting is obnoxious. I understand her character is supposed to be annoying and a bit over-the-top, but just watching the scenes with her makes me frantically search for the remote to change the channel.

The over-dramatization of high school just makes me want to roll my eyes. Sure, they need some drama to keep the show interesting, but in the episodes that I've seen, there's so much that it makes it seem unrealistic. After all, I go to high school, and it's rare that I see THAT much drama, unless people are purposely trying to create it.

The cast also tends to butcher most of the songs they sing. There have been a few renditions that I've enjoyed, such as Aerosmith's "Dream On", but the majority I can't stand. Lea Michelle's "Don't Rain on my Parade" is pretty painful, and so is their version of "Hello, Goodbye" by the Beatles. And  don't get me started on "Sweet Transvestite"! The song is about a male transvestite, and you have a girl singing it? Do I need to define the word transvestite for you?

And don't get me started on the masses of "fake theatre buffs" the show has produced - teenage girls who claim that theatre is their life, but can't name you a single show tune or musical except for the ones that they've done on Glee. They say they love theatre with all their heart, but don't even know who Rogers and Hammerstein are.

But there are some good things about the show. Maybe there are more fake theatre buffs, but this show is exposing people to more musicals than before. Even if some of them won't bother to listen to anything other than Wicked and Legally Blonde, I've met some people who have really had their interest in musical theatre sparked because of Glee. Some have asked me about different musicals and for suggestions on which musicals to check out. I've even gone to some of my friends parties and they played show tunes! Alright, maybe they were the crappy Glee renditions, but still.

So maybe Glee is one of the most overrated shows on TV and doesn't live up to all the hype it gets, but it does do some good things. After all, if it's introducing people to the wonderful world of theatre and making people curious about this great art form, then it can't be all that bad.

- Marina

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Theatre - Just as Addicting as Sweets

Anyone who knows me knows that I love sweets. Especially ice cream. It takes a ridiculous amount of willpower to keep myself from splurging on it everyday. It's addicting, and if I don't get ice cream at some point during the week, I go crazy. I need that sweet, sugary sensation to keep a hold of my sanity.

For theatre people, being part of shows, whether it's acting, directing, or being on tech, is the same way. It's addicting, and when you don't get to be involved with shows for a long time, you practically go through withdrawal because you miss the excitement, and even the stress, that you live for.

Why do I bring this up? It's happening to me right now.

I haven't been involved with a show since August, and unless something changes, I won't get the chance to be involved in another one until after Christmas. I haven't been able to do the shows at the community theatre I volunteer at due to the fact that I wouldn't be able to get there every night because of other stuff that's been going on in my family. I was supposed to be assistant directing my school's play, but that got postponed until further notice because of some bad news. So what am I doing in the meantime?

Going absolutely crazy.

I've been to see a few plays, including the one that's currently playing at the community theatre, and I'm ushering for one of the shows this weekend. I've been reading some plays, watching some musicals on DVD, and going to tech night at the theatre, but as anyone who's ever been involved with theatre will know, it's not enough.

When I'm not involved with a show for more than a month, there feels like a part of me is missing. I don't have to go to rehearsal? I don't have to go to a show? I just have to sit around? It doesn't seem right! Theatre is what I live for, and I hate having too much free time on my hands!

So for the next few months, I'll probably be in this awful mental state and eagerly anticipating whatever show comes my way next (I'm still not sure which one it is, since I'm not too sure about dates for everything yet). Because theatre is like sugar - no matter what you do, you're always going to crave that feeling of being part of an amazing live performance.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Don't Knock it 'Til Ya Try It: La Cage aux Folles - the new Broadway cast recording

Ah, La Cage aux Folles.  I'll admit, I've never seen this musical. I haven't even seen the original French film that it's based off of (although I plan to), but I have seen The Birdcage, which I love. But ever since I bought the original cast album off of Itunes last year, I've fallen in love with the music and I've been dying to see the show.

I'll admit, when I first heard that a new cast album was coming out, I was skeptical. What could possibly top the original? George Hearn sang all those songs so well, along with the rest of the cast. It couldn't possibly be as good as the original. Curiosity got the best of me, though, so I bought this new recording the morning it came out, and guess what? All my doubts about it were proven wrong. I haven't stopped listening to it since, and as much as I hate to say it, I actually prefer it to the original.

Alright, alright, I admit, Douglas Hodge isn't as good a singer as George Hearn. I still listen to Hearn's versions of A Little More Mascara, The Best of Times, and of course, my favorite show tune of all time, I Am What I Am instead of Hodge's. The orchestra isn't as good either, because as we all know, the size of Broadway orchestras has shrunk over the years. But aside from those few issues, I like listening to the new version better.

First of all, the new recording is clearer, as you might expect. I couldn't always understand exactly what the singers were saying on the original, but on this one, I can understand nearly every word. It's also nice to have a lot more dialogue, which helps you really understand what's going on in the story if you listen to the album the whole way through. Not only are there tracks devoted to some of the important in-between conversations that explain important plot points, but even the songs themselves have more dialogue. This is most notable in Cocktail Counterpoint, the title song, and Masculinity. Some of the songs have been extended, too, such as With Anne On My Arm, in which there's a part with Jean-Michel singing and Georges reflecting on his son's announcement that he's getting married. ("But after all he's a great kid/So full of charm for a straight kid!")

So, sure, there's aspects about the original recording no one can ever beat, and Hearn's I Am What I Am will never be surpassed, but don't knock this cast album until you take a listen. It's well worth the money, and an awesome cast album overall!


Saturday, October 16, 2010


Hey everybody who's reading this blog! I thought I might as well make an introductory post before I actually start blogging.

I'm a high school junior who absolutely loves theatre, which is why I've decided to start blogging about it. I've been involved with theatre since I was 13, but didn't start seriously pursuing it until last year. I'm not much of an actor, but I do a lot of tech work at a local theatre and granted that situations get better over the course of the year, I'll be starting to assistant direct school shows. In the long run I hope to pursue a career as a director or a producer for shows.

So, what should you expect from this blog? All sorts of stuff! I plan to review shows that I see, cast albums that I buy, discuss some of my favorite and least favorite shows, and give some of my thoughts on different things going on in the world of theatre. I hope to update once a week, if not more.

Until the next post,