Friday, September 17, 2010

KING KONG ON BROADWAY-- SAY IT ISN'T SO!





As my partner John Nugent and I try to attract investors and please the ones we have for our Broadway aimed musicals, I am so damn amused when I read of outlandish attempts to bring crazy musicals and crazy musical subjects to dear old Broadway. If "Spider Man" were not risky enough, the newest tenant of Broadway in a musical of all things is "King Kong". Now I realize that my dear friends the Sherman Brothers tried to musicalize King Kong" as an animated movie. It didn't do very well-- almost a straight to video kind of thing. But a musical in which a huge audio animatronic King Kong is on stage singing is almost too funny for words! Somebody give me a break. You'd think the object lesson of Spider-man Turn Off the Dark would have been scaring producers off fantastical musicals that demand intense special effects to tell their story. But here comes King Kong—Live on Stage,And it's coming to Broadway in 2013. An Australian production company called Global Creatures (that alone is so funny) is behind the project. The show will feature a score by Marius de Vries and a book by -- now get ready for this one-- Craig Lucas, the serious-minded and respected American playwright who would seem to be in very unlikely territory here. Daniel Kramer will direct.The production will boast a cast of more than 40 onstage actors, singers, dancers and puppeteers. The design team is impressive as well, but my favorite member is Sonny Tilders who is credited with "creature design." That would be the ape, I should imagine, and maybe a dinosaur or two. Global Creatures has come up with a design for a robotic Kong. Carmen Pavlovic, chief executive of Global Creatures, said in a statement, "At its heart, King Kong is a love story (oh spare me, please) which is why we have chosen the more intimate space of a proscenium theatre to tell this epic tale. We want to immerse the audience in the emotional journey of the book and music as much as the spectacle of our pioneering animatronics and puppetry." If this is an emotional journey then I'm Peter Pan! The musical has been authorized by the estate Merian C. Cooper, the co-director of the 1933 "King Kong" film. Well, that's nice-- but money buys you anything in old New York! Broadway's booking some outlandish things of late, at least some of them are of Australian origin. In other news, it seems "Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical" has found a home in New York. Befitting the title of the piece, it's the Palace Theatre. Where else would the Queen of the Desert stay but a palace? The show — about a trio of friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship in the middle of the Australian outback — will begin on Broadway starting Feb. 28, 2011. West Side Story will exit the famed venue in early January. Imagine that A musical classic is dumped by a queen of the highest order. And I also hear that "Promises, Promises" will close January 2nd after only 391 performances. Another show that didn't make its money back. They even added two hit Bacharach-Hal David tunes "I Say A Little Prayer" and "A House Is Not A Home". They cast Kristen Chenoweh and Sean Hayes as the stars-- but Phantom reigns on after twenty-five years and "Adams Family" is still co-king of Broadway right next to "Wicked". We had a great music rehearsal last night at my friend's house. Tim Doran is so magical at the piano. He actually made everything in the score come alive. Thank you, Tim!

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