Forget Viva Forever!, Jennifer Saunders' Spice Girls musical which is to close after just six months, here are some of the most embarrassing theatrical flops the other side of the pond.
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Friday 08 October 2010
When I wrote Flashdance, in 1982, it was a hard sell; musicals were considered poison at the box office and Hollywood studio executives were put off by the notion that what I had written would in any way be thought of or described as a musical. The first director I approached was the great Bob Fosse. He was very drawn to it but, after giving me copious notes, he finally shrugged and said: "Look, the fact is, this is simply not a movie. What you have written is a stage musical and I would be willing to consider working on it for Broadway. But even then there is a central flaw in your concept – you seem to have all the choreography done as single dancers direct to the camera. You must have ensemble choreography for the stage."
Friday 24 September 2010
This life-enhancing harvest of 34 poems reveals Duffy as a poet who covers the stormy waterfront of desire, devotion and despair. From early collections such as Mean Time to a preview of the forthcoming The Bees, the Poet Laureate runs passion's gamut from wild infatuation through absence and infidelity, break-ups, grief and solitude. .
Wednesday 15 September 2010
The Young Vic has an admirable tradition of kicking off its year with a production that pulls in the local community to play alongside professionals in the role of chorus – and the venue has had some of its most signal recent successes in this department. It now launches its 40th anniversary season in joyous fashion with the belated British premiere of The Human Comedy. A flawed, affecting show by Hair composer, Galt MacDermot, this piece flopped on Broadway in 1984, but it fits the bill here to an almost parodic degree in its celebration of the healing power of community and the unifying nature of song.
Friday 30 July 2010
Can there be anything new to say about Anne Frank? No, and there is nothing really new here. On the other hand, the Anne Frank industry is so huge that there's a lot the ordinary reader doesn't know. This is truer in the US than here: only a quarter of American high school students can identify Hitler, Francine Prose says, whereas more British students can identify Hitler than Oliver Cromwell, to judge from recent reports. But the wider story of the Frank family and their helpers is less well known, and the first part of this book is fascinating.
Monday 12 July 2010
Three police officers were shot in a night of rioting in Northern Ireland.
Friday 09 July 2010
John Forsythe: Actor who played Blake Carrington in 'Dynasty' and the elusive Charlie in 'Charlie's Angels'
Thursday 08 April 2010
It is ironic that an actor who so distinguished himself in films and on Broadway before winning fame as Blake Carrington on television in Dynasty should perhaps still be best remembered for a role in which viewers never even saw him, that of the elusive Charlie in Charlie's Angels, whose disembodied voice on a phone line gave his girl detectives their new assignment each week.
Sunday 21 March 2010
Friday 19 March 2010
With their gently melancholy wit and bittersweet harmonies, Ishiguro's five "stories of music and nightfall" feel much like the Broadway standards that inspire them.
Tuesday 12 January 2010
There was a lot of excitement about the third dimension at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – with numerous manufacturers unveiling various kinds of 3D television sets and 3D computer displays. But when you looked more closely at the froth and hype and exuberance, almost all of it appeared to stem from people who had a strong vested interest in leaving us dissatisfied with boring old D, never mind how many pixels it could boast or the dizzying height of its definition.
Friday 06 November 2009
Robert H. Rines, who died on 1 November aged 87, was a lawyer, composer, inventor and physicist whose discoveries led to sharper resolution in radar, sonar and ultrasound imaging and who claimed to have seen the Loch Ness Monster.
Friday 25 September 2009
Tuesday 04 August 2009
Tuesday 30 June 2009
It is quite astonishing to look back and see what made the Broadway stage in the 1940s. It was a time of great daring and innovation when the boundaries between musical comedy and opera were less defined than they've ever been. Kurt Weill's final show for Broadway Lost in the Stars – his musical adaptation with Maxwell Anderson of Alan Paton's novel Cry, the Beloved Country – would be lucky to make off-Broadway today. And yet there it was – a deeply compassionate drama of division and reconciliation in apartheid South Africa playing the capriciously named "Great White Way" in an attempt to prick America's own racist conscience. And it took a Jewish refugee from Hitler's Germany to do it.
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