Category Archives: Music

Peter Pan and Wendy at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC

This is the last weekend to catch Peter Pan and Wendy at the Shakespeare Theatre here in Washington, but tickets are still available for all remaining performances.

This being the 21st century, the show is notable for its non-traditional casting. Not only is Tinkerbell played by an actress, rather than by the usual flashlight beam or laser pointer, but Nana the dog is actually played by a dog, instead of by a man in a dog suit! Peter Pan and Wendy are given equal billing in the title. Most transgressive of all, Peter Pan is played by a young male, instead of by a mature lady!  Pretty woke, eh?

Here are some images from the show’s website:

The Darling Children's Bedroom

The Darling Children’s Bedroom

Pirates!

Pirates!

Yes, Pirates! And smart pirates, too. Not a one of them is smiling at that crocodile.

The Pirate Ship

The Pirate Ship

Tinkerbell

Tinkerbell

Wendy and Peter

Wendy and Peter


A Memorable Performance

Peter Pan has been performed on stage for more than a hundred years, but only rarely has a production been more memorable than the one that has become known as the “Greenport (Long Island) High School Peter Pan Fiasco of 2007”.

And cheers to the young cast, who kept their heads through all the chaos, knowing that The Show Must Go On.


Playing Peter Pan

In the Elizabethan Age, women were barred by law from appearing on stage, and female roles were played by men. In theatrical versions of Peter Pan, on the other hand, the role of Peter Pan, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, was traditionally played by a mature woman.

Some examples:

Jean Arthur was almost 50 years old when she played the role in the1950 Broadway production, and she was such a brilliant actress that she made it work. The show had music by Leonard Bernstein, and Boris Karloff playing the Captain Hook/George Darling roles

Mary Martin, 41, won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in the 1954 Broadway version. After the show had closed, the cast reunited for a live broadcast of the production on NBC TV. It attracted 65 million viewers, which, at the time, was the biggest audience ever for a TV show.

Cathy Rigby was only 20 when she first played the role in 1974, but she starred in the musical’s 1990 Broadway revival, and then toured the show. She played Peter Pan into her 60s, retiring in 2013.

Frozen Medley by Oxford’s Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue is Oxford University’s award-winning all-male a cappella group. At Christmas every year, the group releases a charity single for the benefit of Helen & Douglas House, the world’s first children’s hospice. It provides end-of-life and bereavement care to children and young adults, and to their families.

The 2019 single is a medley  of songs from Frozen and Frozen 2.

You can download the single from Bandcamp. The list price is £1.50 ($1.94), but you can pay more if you’d like to increase your contribution to the hospice.


Minor note: Good medley, but why on earth did they chop off the end of “Let It Go” without singing that final killer line: “The cold never bothered me anyway “?

Another Christmas Ad from the UK: The Argos “Book of Dreams”, with an 80s Flashback

This is the 2019 Christmas ad for the Argos “The Book of Dreams” catalogue.

The little girl in the video is nine-year-old Nandi Bushell, who has been drumming since she was three. She has her own YouTube channel.

Here she is a year ago, joyously covering Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times”.


When one of my nieces was a little older than the girl in the videos, I told her father that I’d promised to buy her a drum kit for Christmas, but only if she guaranteed that she’d practice drumming at least two hours a day.

I couldn’t make good on my promise, because shortly after I made it, he and his family moved, and didn’t leave a forwarding address.


Bonus

Here’s the full video for Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”.

I had some friends who loved Simple Minds until the band made the unforgivable mistake of becoming popular with the mainstream. That meant that they’d sold out, man, and were no longer acceptable to the fashionably unfashionable crowd that I hung out with at the old 9:30 club.

Me, I could never remember which musicians I was supposed to sneer at in any given week, and went on blissfully playing my tapes of New Gold Dream (81–82–83–84) and Sparkle in the Rain despite the band’s fall from counter-cultural grace.

New, Improved Version of Titanic

And it didn’t cost nearly as much as the original!

This is from Studio 188. From the I’ve found on the Net, I think they’re Russian, but beyond that I can’t find much information. They’re supported, in part, by Patreon contributions.

I’ll be posting more of their very clever “Low Cost Videos” soon.

Jojo Rabbit — The Most WTF Trailer of 2019

Jojo Rabbit is a black comedy about a 10-year-old boy and his imaginary friend, Adolph Hitler. And the thing is…it’s apparently really good!

Jojo Rabbit won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, which is significant because 10 of the last 11 People’s Choice winners went on to get Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, with four of them winning the big prize itself.* According to Vanity Fair, “No film in Hollywood is enjoying more Oscar buzz at this exact moment than Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit.”

Roman Griffin Davis plays the boy, and Taika Waititi himself plays the imaginary Hitler. Also in the cast:  Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson, and Stephen Merchant.

Jojo Rabbit is based on the book Caging Skies, by Christine Leunens. Leunens, whose grandfather spent years in a German labour camp during WWII, is an American-born New Zealand-Belgian novelist who has lived one of those amazing lives, jumping from country to country and from career to career, succeeding brilliantly in all of them.

Jojo Rabbit will be released on 18 October 2019.


And because there’s no such thing as too much David Bowie, here’s the full German-language version of Heroes. Bowie recorded the song in Berlin, in the summer of 1977, during his German phase.


Obligatory show-stopping scene from Springtime for Hitler

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* Recent People’s Choice Award Winners at the Toronto Film Festival that Went on Receive Academy Award Best Picture Nominations

(Movies that won the Oscar are in boldface)

(2008) Slumdog Millionaire
(2009) Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
(2010) The King’s Speech
(2012) Silver Linings Playbook
(2013) 12 Years a Slave
(2014) The Imitation Game
(2015) Room
(2016) La La Land
(2017) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(2018) Green Book

Geographer — “Summer of My Discontentment”

Geographer is a San Francisco synth-pop band that’s been doing dreamy stuff for more than a decade. The first single from Geographer’s most recent EP seemed like an appropriate song to post on this last day of summer, 2019.

This has certainly been the summer of my discontentment. The issues I wrote about in Going on Hiatus and After The Flood—An Update remain unresolved, which partially accounts for my lack of postings recently. Turns out that my earlier optimism that I was over the worst of things was mistaken, and that my life is basically on hold through (at least) the rest of the year.

Anyhow, I’m back, again, and will be posting more in the days to come.

The Cats Trailer We Need. The Cats Trailer We Deserve

When the grotesque trailer for the movie version of Cats was released a few weeks ago, the reaction was near-universal horror. Remember that scene in The Producers when the theatre audience responds to the first song from the musical Springtime for Hitler with stunned disbelief? It was like that.

For anyone who has (understandably) suppressed their, uh, memories of the disaster, here it is again:

YouTube to the rescue. A YouTuber mashed up shots from the trailer with clips from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, and has given us a trailer for Stephen King’s Cats:

Vast improvement, isn’t it?

King himself has tweeted his approval.