In watching Singin’ in the Rain again, I came across an interesting thought from Baz Luhrmann—director of Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, and the Broadway La Boheme—on the DVD commentary track.
(Note: We he is referencing “we,” I believe he is including himself in the creation of his film Moulin Rouge in the discussion.)
“Singin’ in the Rain is made up of a lot of old music. . . . The idea of contemporary music, period setting. When Judy Garland is singing, “Clang, clang, clang went the trolley,” in Meet Me in St. Louis, the film is set in 1900 . . . She is singing big band 1940s radio music, the equivalent of Beck and Bowie, and, you know, just pop music. We are using our popular vernacular, our popular music, to understand character and story in another time, another place.”
Twice now I’ve discussed my thoughts on the subject of pop music on Broadway (most recently in “Musings on Hairspray Movie and Hairspray Stage” from September and “Give Them What They Want / Za Ba Zoovee” from June), and I find Luhrmann’s comments an interesting addition to the discussion.
the Broadway Mouth
October 21, 2007