The Playgoer: THEY CONSPIRE, THEY STRANGLE, THEY SING!

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Friday, May 13, 2005

THEY CONSPIRE, THEY STRANGLE, THEY SING!

Here's a new show I just received an email promotion about (I'm happy to publicize it in exchange for the ridicule)...

"THRILL ME: The Leopold & Loeb Story" is a new musical drama that recounts the chilling tale of the legendary duo who committed one of the most infamous and heinous crimes of the 20th Century. Set in 1924 Chicago, it chronicles the events that lead childhood friends Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb to forever be remembered as "the thrill killers
Performances begin May 16
The York Theatre Company
619 Lexington Avenue at 54th St


Do Leopold & Loeb really need a musical??? Whatever crisis Musical Theatre is in is not going to be resolved by taking on subjects that just don't cry out for it. The genre of true "Music-Drama", serious material which aims at a kind of chamber opera, is a valid and sometimes very satisfying one, in its elitist way. (Mark Blitzstein's treatment of The Little Foxes--Regina--is an interesting early example in the American theatre.)... But Leopold & Loeb??? Well, if it features a dissonant jazz-age score and does for 1920s murder trials what Chicago did, then I could be swayed. But it just seems so many misguided musical teams fix on a source that are either well worth avoiding to begin with (The Spitfire Grill, anyone?) or just fine as they were (yes, I'm talking to you, Anna Karenina).

Okay, maybe those examples are strawmen. And "Thrill Me" is obviously not reflective of a mass conspiracy (what could possibly be the motive? certainly not money!)--just the dream of a possibly very talented musical team. But, musical writers of the future, take note! Choose your sources wisely...



4 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a silly commentary for someone who doesn't even mention whether they've actually SEEN the show or not! Why not see something before saying it's a "dumb idea?" Making uninformed comments, to me, is much more ridiculous than writing a show about a seemingly alternative subject matter. Who knows...you might just be surprised :)

The Playgoer said...

Fair enough. It is irresponsible to criticize a show one hasn't seen. And I promise to follow up by at least checking out the reviews--and if ANYone says it's good, I will post that. (and maybe even see it!)

But be fair to me, too.... I never said the words "'dumb idea'", so please be careful where you put your quotation marks. If you read my post again, you'll see I go out of my way at the admit it could be good.

But if my greater point about the desperation of musicals in general (some of which I have seen!) got lost, then that was my bad.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't using quotes around "dumb idea" to indicate that you said it, but rather that it was a term that I felt summarized the tone of your post.

Anyway, fair enough. We'll see the notices when they come out. In any case, my point was that concepts that could be perceived as "not musical worthy" may actually make great musicals, if done properly. That's the beauty of "art and talent."

Best regards.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

How DARE you criticize the Playgoer?! Off with your head, I say!

Thank you,
Eponymous