Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Too easy


Avenue Q? I dunno, I dunno.

Sure, I'll admit, I'm curious.

I think the concept caught my attention. But browsing through the YouTube stacks has so far yielded very little of value.

Maybe it's the music -- like the lesser songs of Tom Lehrer, some seemingly funny set-ups and lyrics are drained of their oomph by warmed-over Broadway-with-a-vengeance melodies.

Or maybe it's a feeling of under-development. Like too many Saturday Night Live sketches, the thing never seems to get beyond its premise. (So the premise is all you really need to know, and the actual performance becomes kind of irrelevant.)

Is anyone ever going to write an interesting musical again? Should they?

3 comments:

the improvising guitarist said...

So the premise is all you really need to know, and the actual performance becomes kind of irrelevant.

Kind of reminds me of the Blaire Witch Project: fantastic idea, shame the movie wasn’t scary at all (the hazards of high concept).

Is anyone ever going to write an interesting musical again?

Well, a few years after Sweeney Todd there was Sunday in the Park with George which, to me, was more interesting. If Sweeney Todd was Sondheim pushing at the idiomatic boundary between the musical and opera, then In the Park was idiomatically a musical, but, subject matter wise, definitely in the (trashier end of the) high-brow territory. Kind of interesting that, around the same time, a reverse strategy was pursued by Oliver Knussen and Maurice Sendak in Where the Wild Things Are.
I think, after that, I find the more interesting (or, at least, crafty and accomplished) musicals in animated feature films… well, at least until Disney started hiring pop stars who didn’t have the song writing chops or familiarity with the idiom (‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’? *bleugh*). And Sondheim is purported to have been impressed by South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (as was I).

S, tig

Andrew said...

Hey tig:

Yeah. I loved both Sunday in the Park With George (though I think Todd is an all-around better work, and not just because it's flashier), and South Park (thanks for reminding me about that one). Don't know the Sendak musical you mention (but I do know his earlier one -- Really Rosie, with music by Carole King).

"Songwriting chops" -- how infrequently I hear that term these days!

Thanks for the comment.

Andrew said...

Here's high concept for ya:

Sunday in South Park with George.

Oh, yeah, I can see it now.