Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wildcats, Here We Go

Is it a sign that I'm getting old when I can't bring myself to go to High School Musical 3? I saw the first two on DVD from the library and found them pleasant enough, but they don't excite me by any means. Still, it is a big, splashy movie musical that will no doubt have great choreography and a measure of musical excitement. So yes, when I find someone who will be brave enough to go with me to this teeny-bopper delight, I'll see it.

Until then, I share with you a review of the movie from a certified musical theatre lover, to give you a musical fan's perspective on Senior Year.

the Broadway Mouth
October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

You've Had a Good Run: Hairspray, Spamalot, Spring Awakening

It's a sad coincidence that three Best New Musical Tony-winners happened to post their closing notices within such a short distance of each other. Some people have used this happening to point to a weak economy, but I don't think the ending of these shows is so complicated. They had good runs, and their time has simply come.

Hairspray has been on its last legs for a few years, as evidenced by the casting of George Wendt, Lance Bass, Ashley Parker Angel, and a number of other "stars." The fact that it's ending at the same time as other shows, I wouldn't read too much into that. It was winding down. It's time has come.

Spamalot has been very successful and has toured successfully, stopping in my city twice. It has never been a favorite of the Broadway base, and its producers' dependency on stunt casting--Clay Aiken, Drew Lachey--started long before this recent economic crisis. It never had the heart of a Hairspray or the pizazz of Chicago, so it's not a surprise that it's not running forever. Comedies do close earlier for a reason; it's not a show that cries for multiple viewings at $100 a pop.

Spring Awakening was never destined for a long run. It's simply not commercial enough. As an adult, when I think of shows I'd like to see, the teen sex show doesn't appear on my list. Even as a person who loves musicals with intellectual content--like Parade or Marie Christine--a show about teenagers' sex drives doesn't strike me as deep. I can see why kids would like it, and I don't mean to undervalue its beautiful score or book, but I don't think it ever had the legs to run long. Again, before this "economic crisis," the show was showing signs of fatigue at the box office.

As Eva Person says (at least in the movie of Evita), "You had a good run. I'm sure he enjoyed you." The fact that these shows are all ending at the "All ashore who's going ashore" time of early January is a sign that they had a good run, and their time has come. It's not as if they are closing in July or two weeks before the Tonys. Most importantly, they all turned a profit and have either had successful tours or are embarking on one.

the Broadway Mouth
October 27, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Modernizing Movie Musicals: Epilogue

In my series on how to modernize movie musicals to overcome some of the typical criticisms of the genre, I looked at ways of better meshing the stage influences found in early musicals with modern audience expectations, to take the “break into song” cliché and essentially erase it.

The thing is, while I can diagnose, I can’t control audiences. Interestingly enough, the worst of all worst perpetrators of these hated and cursed techniques happens to be the most successful—Kenny Ortega’s High School Musical franchise.

Honestly, look at any clip of the movies, and you’ll see all my suggestions gone to waste. You have actors singing and dancing directly into the camera, pretty much acknowledging the audience that isn’t there during the dialogue scenes. Some of the kids are very talented singers, while others try their best. And while the musical staging doesn’t seem to come from a different performance style from the book scenes, a number of those kids graduated too quickly from the Nickelodeon School of Acting.

What’s most odd about it all is that it is helmed by Kenny Ortega, who did such a brilliant job on all fronts with Newsies. Whatever rules he worked with in that musical, he boldly threw away for the High School Musical series.

Recently on Nightline, Ortega spoke about learning to make film musicals from the master himself, Gene Kelly. Interesting, you can, indeed, see those old school influences in the HSM movies.

The Broadway Mouth
October 23, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Little House on the Prairie: The Show Doctor is In

If you read my earlier column, you know how much I loved (maybe even am smitten with) the new musical version of Little House on the Prairie. I don’t think the show was ever intended for Broadway, and it seems doubtful the show would ever transfer there; however, in case that should happen, here are a few “fixes” director Francesca Zambello might be mulling over.

1. I don’t exactly remember the lyrics of “Up Ahead,” the song which opens and closes the show, but lyrically, it ties together the expansive story. Somehow reprising the song in the middle of the show (or including a new song with very similar concepts) will help focus the audience on the main idea, which is Laura Ingalls as a symbol of Americans’ industrial nature and indomitable spirit. It would provide the audience with a clearer direction in the storytelling.

2. There was a song in Act 1 (which I believe to be “Uncle Sam, Where Are You?”) in which the lyrics seem to be doing some fighting with the melody. Rewrite one of them.

3. “The Prairie Moves” is the other song in the piece that doesn’t soar. Steve Blanchard’s voice is perfectly suited to the moment, but the lyrics and melody simply don’t lift.

4. “I’ll Be Your Eyes,” the song in which Laura dedicates herself to Mary after her blindness, is so beautiful and moving. The problem is that as placed now, it requires too much of an emotional transformation from Mary in such a short time. She can’t go from devastated to content in three minutes.

5. “Wild Child,” Melissa Gilbert’s solo at the end of the show, should be an intimate moment between Laura and Ma. As currently staged, she starts to sing it to Laura in front of the family before heading outside. It’s too intimate of a moment, and it should be shared between the two. With the new staging, the song would be even better adapted to Gilbert’s singing voice, which has a natural intimacy to it.

6. The lyrics could use some additional refining to smooth over some of the off-rhymes, though I can’t remember noticing if there were tons.

7. Of course, there are the regional touches that would need to be fixed if the show ever made it to Broadway. It would not due on Broadway for Mary and Carrie to suffer deadly illness sitting on a kitchen chair or lying on a kitchen bench. Nor would it be acceptable to have wealthy, spoiled Nellie Oleson sleep on a big wooden table with a blanket, particularly when there’s such an effective backdrop.

8. Most obviously, the show would need an increase in actors and, oh let’s hope, instruments in the pit. This is a score that begs to be vast and open like the prairie, not limited by a regional budget.

The Broadway Mouth
October 21, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Little House on the Prairie

After hearing what all the reviews said, I went in skeptical. In fact, when I told people I was going, I said, “Well, I guess it’s not that great, but I still had to see it.”

First of all, it’s Melissa Gilbert. Everyone of my generation came home from school to watch Little House on the Prairie on a daily basis. Get men and women of my generation talking about Little House on the Prairie, and they’ll start talking about the episode with the raccoon, the one where Laura thinks Mr. Oleson has murdered Mrs. Oleson, the one where Albert dies. It brings back a flood of fond memories and stories, and in every one is Melissa Gilbert.

Not only that, but the show was playing in Minnesota, the home of Plum Creek, the location for all those snow-less episodes of the television series.

But just because there is a fondness for the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder doesn’t mean the musical Little House on the Prairie gets an automatic pass. It certainly didn’t with the critics. First of all, it has the rare almost all-woman creative team with very little Broadway experience. It’s directed by Francesca Zambello, who was lambasted for The Little Mermaid. Rachel Portman, who won the Oscar for her underscore to Emma, is an untried musical theatre composer. Lyrics are by Donna di Novelli, book by Rachel Sheinkin, and choreography by Michelle Lynch. It was also developed at the Guthrie Theatre, a nationally recognized and highly respected theatre but one that is not known for developing new musical works.

I’ll just cut to the chase. I loved it. I loved it. I walked out of the Guthrie more satisfied with Little House on the Prairie than after most of the shows I saw my last time in New York.

The story has been criticized for attempting to tell too much of the Ingalls story. In this version, which appears to be an amalgam of the books, the Ingalls family starts out in Wisconsin, Pa immediately dreaming of moving west. The family ends up in South Dakota, struggling through tough times on the prairie, fighting to survive the harsh winter.

During that time, bookish Mary contracts Scarlet fever, which causes her to lose her sight. Bereft of her ability to learn, her greatest passion taken from her, spunky little sister Laura becomes her eyes and, eventually, more when Laura takes a teaching position far away in a cold, God-forsaken community to fund Mary’s tuition at a special school for the blind.

During this time, gutsy Almanzo Wilder begins to court Laura, who will have nothing to do with him. Rejected, he begins to be seen around with Nellie Oleson. Though jealous, Laura can’t bring herself to admit that she is, indeed, in love with Almanzo. Now a teacher earning a salary, she has tried too hard to be like Mary to let herself go for a man such as Almanzo. Only when Ma encourages her to let the wild child inside her free does Laura allow herself to have Almanzo.

At first blush, the plot of Little House on the Prairie appears fragmented and unfocused; however, in production, the show is book-ended by “Up Ahead,” a song in celebration of the pioneer spirit, making this not just Laura Ingalls Wilder but Laura Ingalls Wilder as Willa Cather—a story in celebration of the American spirit, hard work, and freedom. Here, Laura is more than a spunky girl on the prairie, but she is the spirit of every American man and woman, able to face down times of death and sadness and, using his or her own inner strength, faith, and determination, to carve out a place of happiness and to thrive.

As has been said by many, Melissa Gilbert is not a strong singer. Her solo called “Wild Child” is an impassioned plea to Laura, to not loose sight of her American spirit, her inner wildness, the thing that sets her (and our country) apart. It is appropriately written to her limited vocal abilities, which is fitting. And what the heck, it’s Melissa Gilbert in Little House on the Prairie. All is good. Fortunately, Gilbert is more than comfortable on stage and gives a strong stage-worthy performance.

Billing aside, perhaps the brightest star in the show is no stranger to many, Jenn Gambatese as soft-spoken Mary. She’s perfect in the role and makes Mary a nuanced and multi-faceted character. In one of the best moments in the show, she handles her blindness with bravery and strength before her parents, then loses it completely with Laura, the tears literally escaping her when she can hold them no longer.

The other shining star is Kevin Massey as Almanzo, whose voice is golden and his spirit alive on stage.

The rest of the cast is fine. Kara Lindsay is a cute Laura, taking her from pre-adolescence (always a tough task) to young adulthood. Her voice has a certain Kristin Chenoweth quality to it, which is oddly fitting to the youthfulness of the part. Best of all, her spunkiness seems natural.

Like Ma, Pa’s character is appropriately sparsely developed, much like in the books. Steve Blanchard highlights both Pa’s strengths and weaknesses, bringing him a few giant steps closer to the real Pa than Michael Landon’s version on the television show.

Sara Jean Ford is a cute and naughty Nellie Oleson, milking her moments for some big laughs, and Maeve Maynihan is a cute, endearing Carrie Ingalls. Norah Long, in the small part as school teacher Eliza Wilder, makes a strong impression as well.

Musically, Rachel Portman gives Little House on the Prairie a strong prairie sound interspersed with Indian drum beats and traditional musical theatre moments. The score is thrilling, ripe with beauty, passion, and personality. In general, it’s a myth that you can leave a theatre humming songs. I’ve seen many of the greatest musicals ever written and have rarely left the theatre humming specific tunes. Here, though, I found myself singing several songs both during intermission and after the show.

Lyrically, Donna di Novelli’s lyrics could probably use some refinement as there are some off-rhymes throughout. That is not say, however, that her lyrics are not often clever and perfectly suited to the characters.

Among their best songs include the opening number “Up Ahead,” in which the settlers travel west, which was accomplished on stage through a beautiful bit of staging to replicate a wagon train. Laura and Mary get a really beautiful song called “I’ll Be Your Eyes” in which Laura promises Mary to be there for her. “Go Like the Wind” is a rousing song as Almanzo races.

That is not to say that there aren’t a couple of duds in the score. There’s a song in Act I, perhaps “Uncle Sam, Where are You?”, in which the lyrics never seem to align to the music, and Pa’s big solo, “The Prairie Moves,” is filled with big open vowels and longs to be as vast as the prairie, but even Steve Blanchard’s booming baritone can't make the song soar. It just doesn’t work.

Francesca Zambello’s staging is clever and appropriate for the regional stage. Michelle Lynch’s choreography is not particularly complex, but its strong infusion of country dance and movement is perfect for the needs of the show.

Perhaps the biggest complaint is in the orchestra. Portman’s music longs to be big, worthy of a far-stretching prairie, and there simply aren’t enough instruments to give the music the oomph it requires.

My first thought upon leaving the theatre, honestly, was how badly this show needs to be recorded. This is a rousing, heart-warming, get your blood pumping score filled with charming characters and great beauty. If nonsense like Happy Days can get recorded, let’s all earnestly pray that this score makes it to record, particularly with Kara Lindsay, Jenn Gambatese, and Kevin Massey.

The show closes tomorrow at the Guthrie, though my understanding is that it will tour. While the show as written is definitely worthy of the Broadway stage, I don’t know if it is really the type of the show that could make it there. It sold out quickly in Minnesota and was a definite audience-pleaser, but its Midwestern heart might just not be big enough for New York audiences. Hopefully the tour will reach enough cities to spread the word, and Little House on the Prairie will have a healthy life regionally. Of course, how much word spreads will also be dependant on the show’s ability to court a recording of the score.

The Broadway Mouth
October 18, 2008

Note: I will write soon about some suggested changes that be made to the staging and tweaks to the writing of Little House on the Prairie.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Directing The Diary of Anne Frank: Open Up a Can of Kale

When I was directing high school plays, I was constantly exhausted. You have to remember that I did this my first two years of teaching, which is brutal for everyone. Teachers in their first five years of teaching tend to work 60+ hours on a regular basis because everything is done from scratch (and I think English teachers need to work even more). You’re reading novels for the first time, learning short cuts in grading essays, creating engaging activities from nothing.

Add on to that 15-18 hours of drama practice, plus all the subsidiary directing duties (organizing with the creative team, dealing with high school student drama, talking to parents about why their child wasn’t cast as Hines for an hour, ordering lights, sticking around late for the lighting designer, finding costumes and props, cleaning, and so on), and you work a heck of a lot. In fact, my first year when I was directing the musical, I was working 100+ hours a week. I calculated my paycheck, and I figured that I could have been working at McDonalds for 100 hours and earned the same amount of money.

Those two years, I was constantly exhausted, getting four or five hours of sleep on a regular basis. Four times during those two years, I wound up with really bad cases of strep throat, one which laid me up for an entire week (they always happened during the plays).

When I was directing The Diary of Anne Frank, the play has the characters surviving off old kale. That was the semester I had three creative writing classes in addition to my two American Literature classes, which meant that there were about 95 short stories handed in (for two short story assignments), 95 poems (for about five or six poem assignments), and 95 plays handed in, in addition to the usual things I needed to do. It was a hellish semester.

Somehow in my mind, I had it that kale was fish. I was too busy to think about looking it up, so I just figured it was fish and determined that getting turkey Spam would be the best way of having a fish-like substance on the table.

In my last mad dash for props as we neared tech week, I picked up turkey Spam (in addition to cat food, a cat box, and cat litter for Mouschi) and showed my prop person how it should look on the plates.

I made the kids eat the Spam. I figured it had to be better than eating actual fish anyway (I don’t like eating things that swim, unless it’s a really gifted chicken or something), and it was easier to manage than fish. You just open the can, dump, and cut. No need to worry about choking on bones or a funny smell or anything.

It was so funny that first time with the Spam, the expression on the kids’ faces. I started out to cast the show different than normal—my Mr. Van Daan was originally a thin boy who dropped out (because he was upset he wasn’t cast as Peter)—but when he dropped out, my only other option was a somewhat round boy, who was very sweet and did very well with the role but wasn’t the brightest boy on the stage. That said, I actually think he did better than my original Van Daan would have. However, true to stereotype, he dug in to the Spam that first day with it. “Hey,” he said gladly doing his duty, “just eat it. It’s not so bad.” Everyone else groaned.

Nobody in the audience ever did ask me why my kale looked like meat, and it wasn’t until a few years later that I realized kale didn’t swim along the river bottom.

I guess we all learn at our own pace. And maybe Mr. Van Daan wasn’t the only one involved in the production who wasn’t the brightest.

the Broadway Mouth
October 10, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Modernizing Movie Musicals: Chapter 4 (Musical Staging)

On stage, performances must be big enough to fill a theatre. Acting for the stage is a very different experience than acting for a movie. If acting for a stage is somewhat exaggerated, acting for the screen is minimized. If you watch a movie and really consider how the actors are acting, it can almost be hilarious because it is so reserved. When you watch the snippets of acting performances on the Academy Awards, you can get a good feel for how unrealistic acting really is (the goal of which, just as it is with writing, is to create the illusion of reality and not to actually recreate reality).

In many classic stage movie musicals, the filmic style gets tossed out the door when choreography or musical staging is brought into the picture. For example, according to choreographer Michael Kidd, the opening street scene of the Guys and Dolls movie was taken directly from the stage. If you watch that scene, it’s so stylized, it’s doesn’t feel like it fits in a movie. Actions are exaggerated, movement almost pantomimed, and for modern audiences, that simply doesn’t work because it breaks the reality of the world created elsewhere in the movie. Because movies require a reserved performing style, histrionic choreography or movement feels painfully out of place. It looks corny, and breaks the bridge between the dialogue and the music. When people complain that in musicals people just break out into song, my theory is that they are thinking of the classic musicals where there was one style of acting for the book scenes and another for the song and dance numbers.

In Mamma Mia!, there was an unintentionally hilarious moment because of this. I think it is during “Mamma Mia” that Streep leans against the wall and bumps her hips back and forth to the music. She is given a huge motion that doesn’t fit with the preceding scenes. It was a classic movie musical moment which announced THIS IS NOW A MUSICAL!!!!!!!. It was just one of such scenes that earned a chuckle from audience members at a packed screening I attended.

The greatest film musicals got this—Meet Me in St. Louis, Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music are just a few that pop into my mind—and they survive today among a wide audience because they got the mixture right. Some modern movie musicals have had directors who understood this—Dreamgirls and Hairspray are two key examples. For modern musicals to continue to find wide audiences (and earn big profit margins), directors and choreographers will need to continue to find the bridge between Broadway and film.

the Broadway Mouth
October 8, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Modernizing Movie Musicals: Chapter 3 (Getting Singers to Sing)

Of the recent movie musicals, audiences have been notably put-off by musical stars who can’t sing. The first thing I heard from plenty of average non-Broadway fans about The Phantom of the Opera was “The Phantom wasn’t that great of a singer, and he had odd pronunciation.” Most reviews noted how thin Helena Bonham Carter’s voice was in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Very few reviewers commented how great Pierce Brosnan sounded in Mamma Mia!. And my personal vendetta is against Jamie Foxx who murdered “When I First Saw You” in Dreamgirls. He went on record as saying he chose not to practice his numbers too much since Curtis is not a singer, but for anyone who has heard Norm Lewis’s “When I First Saw You,” they know how Curtis is supposed to sound.

The struggle between audience-drawing names and movie stars with musical talents is as old as movie musicals. Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood, and Audrey Hepburn all sang just like Marni Nixon. Vera-Ellen was a commonly dubbed dancing star, and many great actors couldn’t pull off their own singing for roles (or weren’t given the chance)—Angela Lansbury, Debbie Reynolds, Ava Gardner, Lucille Ball, and Christopher Plummer were all dubbed at one time or another. Even in modern times, Broadway stars B.D. Wong and Matthew Broderick found themselves dubbed in Disney movies.

The modern day response to having a star who can’t sing in live-action musicals is to cast them anyway and hope for the best. With the exception of Minnie Driver’s dubbed Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera, having musical stars who can’t sing strong enough for the roles hasn’t deterred anyone from letting them sing in a movie.

The problem is that musicals require the ability to sing well in order to act well. As an actor, the only instrument you have at your disposal is your body, and your voice is part of that body. If you are vocally unable to do something with your character, then you can’t appropriately act the part, just as if you are not physically strong enough to play a football hero, you can’t appropriately play the part. In a musical, if you can’t sing well, you can’t act well.

In the old days, stars were required to be phenomenally versatile—singers, dancers, actors. They were nurtured for movies that required them to be. It’s funny to contemplate Dean Martin, who was a typical star of his day—a very versatile singer and actor.

The problem is that these days, musicals are returning, but the musical talents are not being nurtured, so that when a movie musical is in production, there are only a few natural musical film stars from which to choose.

That’s not to say that there aren’t significant musical talents out there who would be very capable of being a movie star; they just need to be developed.

Studios primarily look at projects on a film-by-film basis. Nobody really gets nurtured to be a star. Patrick Wilson has made it far in film by building his movie presence movie by movie, not because someone decided to nurture his talent.

If I ran a movie studio, I would start building real music talents who can do the singing and acting. I’d start by casting them in small movie roles and working them into larger roles (which is how most stars make it). That way when there came to be a big movie remake of My Fair Lady, I wouldn’t be stuck looking at whose name might draw people in, but I could find stars who had the name AND the talent.

Let’s be honest, Johnny Depp may be a highly regarded actor, but he pulled off Sweeney Todd instead of really bringing the material to life musically. The same could be said of Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!, Uma Thurman in The Producers, Amanda Bynes in Hairspray, and a number of other actors in the recent string of musicals.

There are actors are out there who can pull off musical material—Hugh Jackman, Jane Krakowski, Anne Hathaway, Patrick Wilson, Emmy Rossum, and Catherine Zeta-Jones all come to mind. But obviously, that’s not enough.

I’m curious to see this promised remake of My Fair Lady. Kiera Knightly is a very talented woman; I just hope she’s musically talented. Eliza Doolittle is not a role that can be “rocked” through, learned in three weeks of musical training, or breathed through a la Helena Bonham Carter. No one wants an Eliza Doolittle with a thin voice being blasted at you through THX. Most moviegoers didn’t know how Mrs. Lovett should sound, but Knightly won’t have that luxury with Eliza Doolittle thanks to the still-popular original movie adaptation. And after all, it’s Henry Higgins who gets to talk through his songs, not everyone else.

the Broadway Mouth
October 6, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Modernizing Movie Musicals: Chapter 2 (Giving the Actors an Audience)

One of the worst moments in musical film—or at least the one that comes to mind for the sake of illustration—is in the bad adaptation of Kiss Me, Kate, when the two gangsters, out of nowhere, turn to the camera and start singing “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”

It’s a movie. There is no audience to whom you have to cheat front.

The musical numbers of a movie musical must be filmed as if there is no Broadway audience, which means that the performers cannot randomly turn to an audience. An entire movie can’t exist within four walls, then for short bursts acknowledge the fourth wall. For modern moviegoers, that changes the rules created by the conventions of film and is awkward. That's when people say musicals are not sophisticated enough for modern audiences.

You see this handled well in many of the recent musicals. When Jack Kelly sings “Sante Fe” in Newsies, he’s not singing it to the audience. It is a reflection of his own state in life, and it is sung back to himself. It is photographed from a variety of directions, so that he is not always facing the camera. When he is filmed facing forward, his expression reverts his attention to his own contemplations. When he dances, he is not performing a number for the audience; it is the physical expression of his emotions. Because of this, “Sante Fe” is not awkward at all.

You see this done beautifully and often by Adam Shankman in Hairspray. During “Big, Blonde, and Beautiful,” the dancing is photographed facing toward Maybelle and Edna. The audience still experiences that wonderful choreography, but it is given an audience within the movie. It feels natural, rather than having it all faced out, acknowledging the existence of a fourth wall audience.

Even when Shankman uses the traditional forward-facing style, as he does in the ending of “Welcome to the 60’s,” he places the camera at an angle, so that the characters aren’t performing to the fourth wall. This gives the choreography a sense that these characters all happen to be dancing in the same direction, as opposed to performing for an audience.

A good example of how this might have changed classic musicals is “I’m Going Back” in Bells are Ringing. In the show (and movie), it is the moment when Ella has finally exhausted herself with all of her own antics and secret identities. She feels she has lost the man she loves because of her antics, and she’s ready to give up being an operator. In the movie, as in the stage show, Ella sings the song facing the fourth wall, doing her choreography, including the Jolson bit, to the audience.

To give Ella an audience within the movie, a modern director might have Ella perform the song to her switchboard. It would be a natural outlet, since all of her problems stemmed from her job at the switchboard. In essence, she would be letting out her frustration on herself because of the people whom she tried to help, represented in her mind by the switchboard where she met them all. Ella might turn away, singing to herself in a manner similar to Jack in Newsies, but the focus is still on something within the movie—herself.

Modern audiences don’t buy musicals when they push the boundaries of reality too far. We know audiences have a high tolerance for creativity and artificiality in movies—the plethora of horror, torture, action, super-hero, and romantic comedies more than proves this. But it’s the random performance to a fourth-wall audience that pops up out of nowhere that creates awkward moments in movie musicals. To resolve this, be it in singing or choreography, it is key to give the performer an audience within the movie, be it himself or herself, another character, or another object. This keeps a consistent tone and focus throughout the whole piece, just as is done in every other movie genre.

the Broadway Mouth
October 2, 2008