Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Posts Tagged ‘Musical

Nobody Needs to Know

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A song from Jason Robert Brown’s musical “The Last Five Years.” Beautiful song from a beautiful musical that is currently being made into a film starring Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick. Here, the song is performed by Norbert Leo Butz. And my soul dies, and I wish I were a tenor…

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Written by barryr22

January 4, 2014 at 11:11 pm

The Acting Itch

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So, the other night, I watched one of my closest friends in The Miss Firecracker Contest (She was wonderful in it by the way). However, watching her, I realized that I miss it. I miss the feeling of being up on the stage and having the rush  caused by the crowd. Yeah…I am a bit of an attention whore at times (most of the time unintentionally while I’m just being me).

Honestly, I’ve been acting since I was in 8th grade, and it’s become a part of me that likes to come out at times…I’m hoping that I can audition for something soon…maybe a musical…hmmm…Random.

Written by barryr22

May 17, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Total Eclipse: A Desperate Love Song

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So, today, I got the opportunity to attend the wedding of a very good friend of mine. During the wedding, the music was very well placed (not nearly as much music as I would have suspected from said friend…but that’s beside the point). However, it got me in the mood to look at my iTunes library. While doing so, I realized of my copious gigabytes of music I have 330 songs that mention the word love somewhere in their title. That’s not including those that mention love but don’t directly do so in their title. It got me to thinking about love songs. And I settled upon one of my favorites “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.

Now, some people may think that it’s a weird choice. However, I think that it speaks to something inside of each person. It speaks of that love that people desire to feel. The love another person feels that is like the sun or a “shadow on [us] all of the time.” Love is one of those things that no one can truly understand until it happens to them. It’s a very ephemeral thing which is wonderful when people find it. 

The song itself is an 80’s power ballad that everyone knows. Performed originally by Bonnie Tyler (who owns the song by the way), the song has had many incarnations including placement in a German Rock Opera called Tanz der Vampire and in the show Glee. All the versions are interesting to me and good in different ways. Tyler’s version is the quintessential version with    80’s-rific sound and a video to match. The Tanz version has beautiful harmonies and striking people performing it (excpet Kevin Tarte…I can’t approve of a vampire who sings in the daytime on a part bench regardless of the promotional stunt…it’s unseemly). The Glee version is performed admirably by Lea Michelle and Jonathan Groff and is edited well.

Why do I say that it’s a desperate love song? Well, listen to the lyrics. It’s about someone who has had love and now feels like they may lose it. They feel like they’re going to have a “total eclipse of the heart”. However, they are assured by their unheard lover that they should “turn around, bright eyes” because they will find the other person waiting for them.

Needless to say, I wish my friends the best as they embark on this new experience together. May they “hold on forever.”

http://thecreaves.blogspot.com/2010/05/total-eclipse-of-heart.html

I Miss the Mountains: Spoiler Alert

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In the show Next to Normal (N2N), Alice Ripley’s character Diana sings a song called “I Miss the Mountains” in which she talks about missing the pain that she had when she wasn’t in a drug induced stupor. She talks about when she was younger and how she misses the woman that she used to be. Yesterday, while at dinner with some of my friends, we were discussing N2N and this song came up. I was saying that I enjoyed the songs that Diana sings because 1: they’re beautiful and 2: they’re in my range if I sing them in lower octaves (I’m a baritone and the men in the show are all pretty tenortastic).

One of my friends who is familiar with the musical as well, we actually saw it as a group in NYC, made the comment that the song doesn’t fit with the overarching musical feel of the show. It is a rock opera, and this number feels very much like a power ballad…not very rock opera-y.  It doesn’t rely on the drum set or the electric guitar to convey the emotion…it mainly uses Alice Ripley’s voice and a few softer toned instruments like the piano and strings. It is a beautiful piece that shows that she has hope for herself to feel again (however derogatory this may be for her health and wellness). The imagery used in the song paints a wonderful picture of someone struggling emotionally against themselves and the medicine that is keeping them “balanced and on an even keel”. While “everything is perfect, nothing’s real” for them. Finally at the end of the song, she decides that she will risk it without medicine so that she can feel again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2CXMXEIPI0

But going back to the idea of the song not fitting, I agree with my friend. It is a beautiful song, yet it does seem out of place in the musical. With musical form, it is the odd ball. However, I will say that in my mind it does fit. The reason being that the song itself is a moment of clarity for Diana in the cacophony of the life that she lives in…of the musical that she resides it. It allows us a brief peek into the  calm that Diana is feeling and the fact that it doesn’t feel “normal” or real to her…it is outside the realm of reality that she has been living in…the song itself represents the drug induced stupor that Diana is in…it is calm and seemingly wonderful, but in reality, it is not what she is used to…it is not what makes her come alive. The fact that the music change is symbolic of the change that has occurred to her between this song and “My Psychopharmacologist and I”…it’s actually quite brilliant within the framework of the musical.

My other reason for the song is that I believe every musical writer writes with some idea in mind of having a stand alone song and “I Miss the Mountains” is this. If you watched it performed anywhere, you can get a feel for the song without having to have the overarch of the story. Honestly, I believe that it is good for any musical that is going to try to drum up publicity with concerts to have at least one number like that, and this one does just that. It gives enough of a hint at the story to be intriguing and has its own meaning and structural support as a solo piece.

So, yeah, I think it’s quite obvious at this point that I am enamoured with N2N…It’s a wonderful show that I would suggest everyone seeing if they get the chance. If not, I recommend getting the soundtrack and listening to it on repeat so that you can begin to fall in love with a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize Winning masterpiece.

Written by barryr22

April 13, 2010 at 11:59 am

The Power of Good Writing

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With the overflow of new creative works coming into being each day, it’s a wonder that so much of it gets acclaim for being “good” writing. In fact, most of it that is considered “good” writing is quite mediocre in comparison to some of the greats. However, that being said, there are some literary based works that have come out within the past little while that have caught my attention and intrigue me even more each day.

There are many television shows that have come out in the last several years that rely heavily upon the writing. In the midst of the Reality TV storm, shows like Heroes, Pushing Daisies (although it was canceled), Supernatural (the writing is good for what it is…a realationship between two brothers), Dexter, and many others astound me because they play with words and dialogue. Their sheer quality astounds me because up until recently the plot driven, story-based program has been crippled by the frugality and quick production time of the reality shows. I’m glad that good tv is starting to be back on the air because honestly there are few reality tv programs that I can stand.

My main example of amazing writing  is the musical Next to Normal which follows the mental breakdown of Diana, a suburban housewife, and the effects of this on her family. I will openly admit that I have become a little obsessive about the musical. For the past few weeks (ever since I saw it in New York), I have listened to at least selected songs from it…some multiple times. However, it’s because the writing and the music itself have so many layers that each time I listen I gain something more. The word choice is immaculate, and the themes, both musical and verbal, are quite awe-inspiring because they do something that a lot of writing/music nowadays doesn’t do. They make you think. They make you have to mentally interact with them to create their meaning instead of putting everything out there from the beginning. Each time I have listened to N2N, I have started to understand more of the subtext and am allowed another peek into the ethereal realm that it delves into…the unseen…Amazing writing does this…it makes us think.

Good writing whether in TV, novel, play, music, etc. should take us to places that make us think. It shouldn’t leave us feeling like we’ve reveled in the squalor (like many reality tv shows do). I hope that over the next few years we see an emergence of more clever, creative, and wonderful writing and that the crappy stuff saunters towards extinction…

Written by barryr22

April 5, 2010 at 2:41 pm

The Phantom of the Opera

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Recently, I got the opportunity to go to New York City for the second time. While I was there, I got to watch several musicals (my whole reason for wanting to go…there’s nothing like watching a musical on Broadway). Of these several, I got to see The Phantom of the Opera (POTO) for the third time, and honestly, I can say that I enjoyed and felt like I was watching it for the first time because new actors bring nuances to characters that I might not have ever thought of before. However, with this being said, some other thoughts came to my mind after I enjoyed watching the show.

I’m sure some of you have heard of the sequel to POTO that just premiered in England and will be making its way to Broadway in the fall. I have heard the music and the plot and believe that Webber is making a tragic mistake in trying to write this particular musical. Love Never Dies is set in Coney Island, New York where the Phantom runs a freak show. He lures Christine to him…and then, all hell breaks loose….it’s an odd concept. Also, most of the songs are slow and musically boring for me. It lacks the pizzazz of the original…My thoughts about the whole thing are as follows.

1. With POTO being in the Majestic Theater for the past 23 years, I wonder if they are going to try to replace it with the sequel. I think that this would be sheer lunacy on their part because POTO has never had an unsold seat (as far as I know)…I was there the other day, and all the seats were filled to brimming with people of all nationalities and backgrounds. It still mystifies people even now.

2. Will the sequel be successful? I think in my own mind that it will have some success because it is tied to POTO, but I also believe that the success will be short lived. Listen to the cast recording, and you’ll understand. Their voices are nice; however, the songs themselves have no substance….I started listening for  “Masquerade” or “Point of No Return” and heard nothing that reminded me of any of POTO other than they used the same characters…

3. Will this musical have an effect on POTO? Is this musical going to cause POTO to lose its popularity? Or is there nothing out there that can make this happen?….Honestly, I don’t know about this one…it’s a toss up because people are fickle. If people were predictable, then, this question would be more answerable in my mind.

4. Is Andrew Lloyd Weber losing his touch? Since the 80’s, Webber has enjoyed limited success with his music….he has opened a few musicals (Woman in White, etc.) that haven’t done well at all…has he lost his touch? I think that it may be because he is trying to find something fresh and new for himself when he should stick to his 80’s power ballad style…

My Semicharmed Musical Life

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Now, I know that some people will say that they constantly have music playing in their head and just burst out into random song all the time. However, the majority of these people are playing in the minor league compared to myself and others that surround me. Why? It’s because our lives tend to be overly musical at times (well, overly musical to normal people hence forth to be referred to as “normies”).

At any given time during the day whether wandering from my car to class, in class, at the tutoring center I work at, or at any number of businesses that are in our small town, I might burst out into song. Let me tell you it is a fun and exciting thing to do because it breaks up the monotony of my day. It helps me have a more bright and sunshiny day, and I hope that others around me feel the same way. There’s just something about it that is very freeing…if you’re free to sing in random places, to me it says that you have self-confidence and that you throughly enjoy music. Music to me is meant to be experienced in many ways. Whether it’s singing with a choir or breaking out with “The Phantom of the Opera” at Wal-Mart, it makes me happy.

Now, another thing I will say, having an “I don’t care what others think” attitude is good if you do sing in public places because sometimes the songs floating through your head that come out might be a little risqué. One day, I was walking through Wal-Mart when I burst out in the song “Sweet Transvestite” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Nothing will get you more looks than this in rural Tennessee or if you start singing Evita in a room full of Argentinians.  It can make you feel awkward, but at the same time, I just roll with it. I don’t make excuses as to why I do it. So, now, most people accept it and even joke about it.

I am a living musical….all genres come into play: country, pop, rock, musicals, r&b, etc. I am a treasure trove of random music across generational gaps and other barriers. I love my music and wish to share it with the world. If the world isn’t ready for it, they still “can’t take that away from me”. So, people you can love my nuances or just “beat it”.