Apparently all I’m ever going to do now is post musical theatre videos and lose my mind over them.
THERE IS A DROOD HIGHLIGHT REEL UP ON BROADWAYWORLD AAAAAAHHHHHHH!
So Drood. Which was The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and then became Drood, and then is now apparently The Mystery of Edwin Drood again. It is one of my all-time favorite shows. It’s basically a musical that someone wrote specifically for me. A Dickens-based murder-mystery choose-your-own-ending show-within-a-show set in a Victorian music hall with a plum role for a female tenor who can do a Cockney accent? Like, no one will ever convince me that I didn’t just conjure this show up through sheer force of will sometime in my mid-teens.
I remember Jaime once trying to get me to listen to “Wages of Sin” on one of our many car rides, insisting that Princess Puffer would be a fantastic role for me, but I don’t think I paid much attention, because I was young and silly and perhaps it just wasn’t time for the show to find me yet. Then my friend Carly got into it at SF State, and a pack of us went to see it, and WHOOSH. HOOKED. It’s not like it was a revelatory production or anything — in fact, if I recall, their Puffer in particular sucked balls — but it created a world in which I very much wanted to play. I tracked down the original cast recording (the full version, with all the different “Out on a Limmerick”s and “Murderer’s Confession”s), and eventually was gifted the published version of the script by a dear family friend.
Fast forward a whole bunch of years to this past summer, when several of my Carousel cast-mates and I discovered we all shared a fondness for the show. This led to us discussing it with one of the company heads, who also happened to love it, and then jokingly suggesting to her that we do a staged reading, and then actually doing a fully staged reading about a week later. I edited the script down to about 90 minutes, and cobbled together music from karaoke tracks, the original recording with a bit of vocal scrubbing, and MP3s I begged my piano-playin’ cousin to record. Samantha and I put together a basic set. Michael gave us some Graciela Daniele-inspired choreography. We performed to a house of about thirty in our big rehearsal space, and it was the most amazing theatrical experience I’ve ever had in my life, hands-down.
And now, the show is back on Broadway, with an awesome-looking cast, some revisions, and — at long last — a performance highlight reel!
This. Looks. SUMPTUOUS. Just from that first little montage, I can tell the got the feel exactly right. It even looks like they kept some of Graciela Daniele’s brilliant original choreography. And those costumes! Everyone seems like they’re having so much damn fun. Okay, actual clip time.
“Two Kinsmen”: Hahaha, awww, Will Chase is sporting almost the exact same facial hair he had for A Little Princess at TheatreWorks waaaaaay back in the day. Oh, Will Chase; Smash may have catapulted you to new heights, but to me, you will always just be the dude from the musical with the monkey puppet and that one song with terrible lyrics. Anyway. Give it, Stephanie J Block. I am on-board with all of it, from the sassy hair to the weird thing where you sing out of only one side of your mouth. God, this show just makes me so happy for no quantifiable reason.
“Moonfall”: Will Chase is giving me anguished piano playing, but I don’t know that it will ever top the angst-faces and trembling lips of Marc Baron Ginsburg in our reading. Good heavens, Betsy Wolfe is busty.
“Wages of Sin”: Chita. Chita. What are you doing? It’s like she’s not even saying words in parts, just mimicking sounds someone made at her right before she went on. Have you ever said “nuptial” before, Chita? Because it seems like you haven’t. And what is this tempo? It’s almost double the original. She looks flustered. This…this is not her role. She’s a grande dame of theatre, of course, but she’s not the kind of grande dame this part requires. Cleo Lane owned that stage; took her time, savored every word, was in total control. Chita’s running around like if she doesn’t get it all out now, she’ll forget it. Don’t even get me started on that vague suggestion of an accent. Lordy, what a disappointment. CHITA STOP SHOWING EVERYONE YOUR LEGS IN EVERY NUMBER. JESUS. WE GET IT. YOU ARE IN VERY GOOD SHAPE FOR A MUMMY. CONGRATS.
“The Writing on the Wall”: This song is so goooooooood. Yes, Holmes’s lyrics are a little overly verbose, but man, that might actually be why I like him so much. You have to go into this show with a vocabulary. They appear to have taken this song down a whole step for Block, and I ain’t mad. I mean, I don’t know that anything will ever be as thrilling as crazy-ass Betty Buckley belting her face off on this, so why kill yourself trying, right?
BOTTOM LINE: It sure is a good thing I don’t live in New York, because I would either send myself into crippling debt by seeing every single performance, or get arrested for locking Chita in her dressing room and attempting to go on for her myself.