Mamo #288: Say It With A Song In Your Heart

What is the state of the modern movie musical? With Les Mis as a base, we invite special guest stars Sasha James and Lindsay Ragone onto the program to assess the health of the genre. Unfortunately, no one sang their contribution.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo288.mp3

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Goon
Guest

After talking Les Miz with Lindsay at the last pub night, oh noes, I’m gonna rage quit this episode, aren’t I.. 😛

warning to Andrew and rot. or opportunity to form La Resistance and put up a barricade.

My general line about movie musicals though now, after seeing Les Miz, is to quote it: “It was never yours to keep”. I think like comic book fanboys, musical fans often have a sense of entitlement over the properties that make them often obsessed over certain changes/opportunites when it comes to translation, whether that be comic nerds obsessed over the look of Green Lantern’s mask or Spider-man’s web shooters… or in the case of Les Miz, close ups, and actors who can sing vs. singers who can act.

I think there’s not nearly enough movie musicals. I watched The Elephant Man the other week and like Elton John after watching Billy Elliot, was obsessed at how it could work as a musical. I can’t wait for Book of Mormon. I’m still pissed that Frank Oz’s Stepford Wives wasn’t a musical. He cast Jon Lovitz, Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick and DIDNT make a musical? But I think one of the reasons there aren’t more, other than people hung up on people singing, or just musical taste shutting out a segment of the audience, is the mindset of a lot of Broadway nerds who are so possessive that they quickly become angry at what Hollywood does to their beloved properties whenever the director decides to put their own stamp on it.

Like a lot of comic nerds as well, when discussing these properties with newbies, I find they often take on a very Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons level patronizing tone. THEY know better than you, THEY were there first. I find it very frustrating and I think it ultimately alienates their valuable perspective and discourages people taking risks with translations or even giving these translations the time of day. Somehow I find people who`ve read a novel of a film adapation are rarely anywhere near as bad as comic fans or Broadway fans. I avoided The Producers for years because of this sort of thing… I finally watched it… and it`s fine. Not spectactular but quite underrated and nowhere approaching the abortion that Broadway fans told me it was FOR YEARS. Likewise, with comic book movies you can only push so far with any adaptation lest you risk upsetting the comic nerd horde. Point being, I find this mindset very conservative, leading us to just tread water with more of the same…

..and you end up with reviews like this
http://www.imdb.com/user/ur17835189/comments
…where the reviewer `long time fans` are only talking about which individual pieces are missing vs. new inventions (which automatically thus suck), and how new players compare to the old, new performances vs. old. Everything starts getting so segmented that they can`t see the forest for the trees or even appreciate that what works for one medium doesn`t necessarily warrant inclusion or even respect, in another.

It was never yours to keep. Let it go.

Goon
Guest

Last extra thing: I think there`s a `cover version` problem when it comes to some people and musicals. The version they know is “the real version“ and that`s all that they can hear. It affects me sometimes at least. Like Across the Universe, and a good number of Glee performances.

And then there`s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which has the double whammy of not even making a crappy cover version, and replacing the originals with much worse originals. It`s like if they remade the Muppet Movie and replaced Rainbow Connection with a Nickelback original called `Rainbow bitch“

Lindsay
Guest

I’ve loved almost every single musical film released in my lifetime. Some have stayed true to the source material, while others have completely re-worked the story, music and choreography to properly adapt it to the screen. No matter how much it’s been changed I’ve always been accepting of a director’s vision when bringing musicals to the screen.

Les Mis was never mine to keep, and I never thought it was. I’ve wanted it to be made into a film for most of my life. All that I hoped for, no matter how much they strayed from the stage version, was for it be a film that’s GOOD. That’s not what I got. That’s why I dislike it. Period.

Goon
Guest

Lindsay, I had no intent to single you out with my first post, especially having not at the time heard this episode yet..

But when you say “No matter how much it’s been changed I’ve always been accepting of a director’s vision when bringing musicals to the screen. ” and pretty much the first thing you have to say in the episode is a detailed takedown of Eponine’s DRESS… I have to think your detailed show knowledge might be affecting your ability to absorb and experience a new vision (looking over the details/changes in a microscope in first viewing), or understand that some of us can actually ‘get it’ without having seen the show. On this podcast you say that you can’t understand Javert’s motivations unless you’ve seen the musical. The Mamo guys said they understood. When we talked about this last month I said I understood and then you told me “No, you didn’t”… and then repeated the same point.

It often sounds like a lot of Hooper haters are refusing to even acknowledge that for a large segment of the viewing public, this movie is working. My podcast co-host Greg saw it again on Sunday, and they are still clapping at the end. I’ve seen it 3 times, and the 3rd time may have had the most clapping, and that’s compared even to the advance screening where everyone claps at everything. People like it. But still we hear that “No, it’s just the HFPA and that there are no other musicals to compete with.”

Please.

But hey, we’ve hashed out a talk about editing in Les Miz and in the show you talk about ‘going bigger’ in regards to the choir, whereas I think of the movie as being at times purposefully smaller.. “intimately bombastic”… that’s fine, I don’t have any hangups about our disagreements with stuff like editing and I trust your editing background as heavily influencing your take on Les Miz, and I don’t need to try to convince you to like it.

..but you guys are saying how you literally hate Tom Hooper, that he hates music, that Russell Crowe is the worst thing to happen to music EVER… and it sounds so so so so so much like the usual hyperbolic comic book adaptation/franchise reboot/remake discussion that it’s not funny. It has differences, with dudes and their caped crusaders they get testosterone pumping and we may bully concensus, at least that’s not in the mix, but geez you guys… when we talked about it at the last pub night the first thing you did was look at me in abject horror, and the second thing you did was say that you’d “never forgive Tom Hooper for ruining my show”… and when you’re saying here that all your cherished properties are musicals, I’m still not entirely sure you actually do think it isn’t yours to keep. I still think musicals just open the door for a different group of people to be almost as/just as bad as the dudes. I’m not saying I’m some objective observer who is incapable of being the same way with their own cherished properties… I’m just saying that to some degree, I think you’re falling into obsessive fanboy vitriol.

Goon
Guest

All this said, the most dreadful, appalling, patronizing piece of anti-Les Miz writing came from someone who hasn’t seen the musical, and is coming from his own snobby place:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/01/theres-still-hope-for-people-who-love-les-miserables.html

“I was doubly embarrassed because all around me, in a very large theatre, people were sitting rapt, awed, absolutely silent, only to burst into applause after some of the numbers, and I couldn’t help wondering what in the world had happened to the taste of my countrymen—the Americans (Americans!) who created and loved almost all the greatest musicals ever made.”

“The music is juvenile stuff—tonic-dominant, without harmonic richness or surprise. Listen to any score by Richard Rodgers or Leonard Bernstein or Fritz Loewe if you want to hear genuine melodic invention. I was so upset by the banality of the music that I felt like hiring a hall and staging a nationalist rally. “My fellow-countrymen, we are the people of Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin! Cole Porter and George Gershwin, Frank Loesser and Burton Lane! We taught the world what popular melody was! What rhythmic inventiveness was! Let us unite to overthrow the banality of these French hacks!” (And the British hacks, too, for that matter.) Alas, the hall is filled with people weeping over “Les Mis.”

“Sentimentality in art is corrosive because it rewards us for imprecise perceptions and meaningless hatreds. ”

What a dick.

Rot
Guest

That last quote, I think a lot of Apollonian-minded film bloggers follow this flawed reasoning, seeing everything on a fixed spectrum of rational clarity. God forbid a sensation be imprecise, and maybe you get caught up in that nasty brute, emotion. Ick. How embarassing to be a sucker for sentimentality, and how unfortunate for the critic who needs to atomize his feeling with corresponding, socially demonstrable facts of craft.

I think nerd culture has overly complicated the experiential of cinema to the point that some become their own worst enemies. Not saying anyone in this podcast, I still have not listened to it.

It is all manipulation, even the sophisticated Haneke stuff, sentimentality is just one way to get around to the same end. It requires a bit of Dionysian acceptance on the viewer’s part, to accept the conditions of the world set before you but if you readjust some amazing experiences can come from it.

Rot
Guest

I haven’t listened yet but the troops have been rallied and for now

Exhibit A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnLSG5t_dc8&sns=em

Exhibit B. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCPoIsi8m08&sns=em

Goon
Guest

For general comparison, I think it’s interesting to note that among letterboxd users the way votes break down for the most popular musicals of the last decade. The first four have nearly the same breakdown of votes between 1 and 5, however when I talk about musicals with people I always expect they would break down like Mamma Mia does.

http://letterboxd.com/film/les-miserables-2012/

http://letterboxd.com/film/chicago/

http://letterboxd.com/film/sweeney-todd-the-demon-barber-of-fleet-street-2007/

http://letterboxd.com/film/moulin-rouge-2001/

http://letterboxd.com/film/dreamgirls/

http://letterboxd.com/film/mamma-mia/

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I should just post the paragraphs of notes I made while listening to this episode, but I won’t (for one thing, reading them might take as long as listening to the ep). Heh.

One question about your distinction between musicals and non-musicals – I don’t disagree with you, and I think “narrative or character development is furthered through song and/or dance” is probably about as close a one-line description of a musical as we’re going to get. I’m just curious, though, what that definition does to pre-Oklahoma! musicals (meaning the stage show, not the movie), insofar as Oklahoma! is generally considered the first musical to use music to further narrative. Would you not consider, say, Busby Berkeley movies (42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Dames, etc.) to be musicals, since every single musical number is in the context of a performance? I think you’d have to exclude them based on the above definition, but I’ve never heard anyone argue that they aren’t musicals. To be fair, I don’t totally buy the Oklahoma! argument – Astaire & Rogers movies have songs that are clearly part of the narrative, performed as courtship rituals or as the inner voice of the characters. But generally in early Warner musicals, there is little to no use of songs outside of a performance context.

RE: Les Mis. Oh, boy. I don’t even know if I want to get into this. I’ll just say that I’m a big fan of the show (I’d probably count it my favorite musical ever, as well), and I quite enjoyed the movie. I’m not a huge fan of Hooper (I didn’t care for The King’s Speech at all, and I’d actually say his direction in Les Mis is better than in that film – at least it feels intentional and consistent), but I think his choice to focus on the intimate is perfectly defensible, and the emotional content held through. My husband wasn’t familiar with the story at all, and he had no problem understanding Javert. I agree that moment wasn’t quite as devastating in the movie as it is in the show, but the motivation is perfectly clear from the lyrics. Other things were BETTER than I’ve seen on stage – I’ve never connected with the younger characters aside from Eponine much at all on stage, and this is the first time I haven’t felt utterly dismissive of Marius and Cosette. Really, though, I have no interest in convincing anyone they should like the film – I just wanted to speak up as someone who loves the show and thought the movie was very effective as well, since those lines are being drawn.

I think it’s interesting that Lindsay loves Chicago so much – I frankly love Chicago, too, but in spite of the dance choreography/editing. I think the dancing is filmed very poorly for the most part, but that’s also a personal preference for actually being able to see things happen and have a coherent space for them to happen in. It especially irritates me on Chicago, because that’s something that Bob Fosse excelled at in his films – Cabaret, Sweet Charity, All That Jazz, they’re all choreographed with an eye for the camera, but also with an understanding of physical space that actually works. That Marshall cut up Fosse’s choreography so much is just…irritating. Heh. That said, I haven’t seen Chicago since theatres.

RE: Casting. Here’s my biggest thing about this. So you want an A-list actor in a film to help sell it, and also because, frankly, sometimes film actors are better at acting on film than stage actors are, and you want the acting performance more than the singing performance. Fine. Why not just dub the actor with someone who can sing? Hollywood did this ALL THE TIME in the ’40s-’60s, and Bollywood consistently does it now. Common trivia question – what do Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story, and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady have in common? They were all dubbed by Marni Nixon for their singing roles, since they either couldn’t sing or couldn’t sing the particular range required for the role. We should be able to do the same thing now, and I think the lack of receptiveness to this idea is major drawback to modern American movie musicals.

I think the other major drawback is the lack of original movie musicals. You have a few in indie circles – Once, and even smaller-scale like Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench and How to Write a Joe Schermann Song – but when was the last wide release non-animated original movie musical? I can’t even remember. I’m sure this is a case of Hollywood conservatism, only wanting to take the risk on something that already has a following, but I would dearly love to see a return of original movie musicals.

And yes, this comment is still shorter than my original notes.

Goon
Guest

“We should be able to do the same thing now, and I think the lack of receptiveness to this idea is major drawback to modern American movie musicals.”

I think the closest I’ve seen anything to this in the modern era is Zack Attack on Saved By the Bell. That aint your voice Slater! I know it, you know it!

Lindsay
Guest

I agree with you on your first point…I think the definition of a musical varies between classic and modern musicals (the podcast was specifically referring to modern). There’s a big difference between 42nd Street and Almost Famous for example; both contain musical numbers that are in the context of being performances, yet one is a musical and one is not. It’s very difficult to define, we were just trying to isolate reasons why films like The Commitments or The Sapphires aren’t musicals.

As much as I like the choreography and editing in Chicago, I wouldn’t even begin to compare to to anything Bob Fosse could have done. No one had a sense of choreographing for the cameras like he did. I’m glad you mentioned Sweet Charity because that film has some of my favourite dance moments in it!

I think the good acting/singing combo will always be difficult to achieve with film musicals. I’m not sure modern audiences would accept dubbed voices anymore (I believe the last time it was done – I could be wrong – was with Drew Barrymore in Everyone Says I Love You). Marni Nixon wasn’t recognized for her work for years because audiences didn’t used to be as knowledgeable about the filmmaking process. I think I read once that the producers didn’t even want to credit her so that it would seem like the actors were really singing. That would never work with todays audiences.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Audiences must’ve been really great at suspension of disbelief if they believed Audrey Hepburn’s singing voice in Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s was the same as her singing voice in My Fair Lady. 🙂 Although I guess with several years in between and no ability to compare things via home video the way we can now, it would’ve been easier to get by with it. (On the other hand Hepburn does sing parts of My Fair Lady herself, including about half of “Just You Wait, Henry Higgins,” but I guess that might slip by if you didn’t have a good grasp on what her own singing voice sounded like.) People today would definitely know that there’s dubbing going on, but I’m not convinced it wouldn’t work. I mean, people know Zoe Bell did Uma Thurman’s stunts in Kill Bill and they don’t dismiss that. It’s basically the same thing, if you think about it.

I use “Hey Big Spender” all the time as an example of a fantastically-choreographed and shot minimalist number on the screen. It’s been a while since I saw Sweet Charity in its entirety, but I hit that number up pretty often. That and “Mein Herr” from Cabaret are just perfection.

Out of curiosity, your thoughts on Rob Marshall planning to direct Into the Woods? On the one hand, that’s essentially all singing, so he can’t annoy me with how he shoots dancing, but it has the same stage-to-screen problem that “One Day More” has in Les Mis – group numbers performed by people who are supposed to be in different places, and there are a LOT of them. I just think it’s going to be a nightmare to adapt for screen.

Lindsay
Guest

OMG Big Spender and Mein Herr are also my favourites! So beautifully minimal, just perfect. Also the long dance sequence at the club in Sweet Charity is just divine.

There was actually some controversy over dubbing Audrey Hepburn’s voice in My Fair Lady. They didn’t tell her they were going to do it (although they’d always planned to) so they used her voice in the playback during shooting, then changed the voice in post. Apparently she was humiliated. The dvd has special features where you can see some numbers with her voice. I think Loverly sounded more natural with Audrey singing (if not quite as pretty).

I’m really glad that Rob Marshall is doing Into The Woods. I think he’s the right man for the but, but it could very well be a disaster (OR it could be amazing). I have no idea how they plan to pull it off.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

They could’ve really pulled off the perfect two-way insult if they’d had Julie Andrews dub her. 🙂 I think I may have heard Audrey’s version of Loverly – I definitely think she could’ve pulled that one off nicely. “I Could’ve Danced All Night” would’ve been tougher for her, but who knows. It sucks they didn’t let her know. That’s another issue with dubbing, though, and would be today – you basically have to tell your stars they aren’t good enough.

I’m skeptical about ANYONE doing Into the Woods, to be honest, but I’m trying to keep and open mind and hope he solves the staging issues. I for one certainly would never want to take on that job. I’ve thought for a long time that Into the Woods is basically unfilmable, but people keep proving the concept of unfilmability wrong, so what do I know? I hope it’s good. I really want to share it with my husband, but I know he wouldn’t get into the filmed stage version.

Rot
Guest

What is the problem of understanding with Javert? Even if from the story you don’t grasp his decision he damn well lays it out in song… With a voice to make one melt 🙂 Seriously though I liked Crowe in this, rusty voice and all… There is a performative aspect that is enjoyable, without polish you are reminded this is some bloke trying to sing.

I figured the entire musical was in the film, were there numbers not incorporated?

I suspect Victor Hugo purists would take issue with the theatrical production too.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

As I said, I don’t personally think there is one. His psychological break is pretty clear from the narrative and lyrics. I think it’s not as emotionally impactful as it could be (my husband, unfamiliar with the musical or story, said he didn’t feel much at the end of Javert’s arc even though he understood his motivations – in the play, that part is a tear-jerker), but it’s perfectly understandable.

There are small bits cut out – half of “Drink with Me”, a little eulogy recitative after “A Little Fall of Rain”, and everything but the intro from a song called “Turning” that the women sing right after the battle, and right before Marius sings “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.” And one song added – the one Valjean sings in the carriage right after he gets young Cosette. And a few things moved around – “Do You Hear the People Sing” is in the first act of the play, right after “Red and Black” and before “One Day More.” But nothing really essential.

And yeah, I agree. I haven’t read the novel completely, but I’ve started it a time or two, and I think Hugo had way more on his mind than the character-driven, relatively intimate story focused on personal redemption that the musical version focuses on. The novel starts with a whole long section during the French Revolution, for crying out loud.

Sean Kelly
Guest

When I saw Les Mis on stage, the programme featured a summary of the story. I’m not sure if I would’ve understood Javert without it.

David Brook
Admin

I’m in the ‘enjoyed Les Mis’ camp, but I can see why people have issues with Javert’s character. Like Jandy said, I think his motivations are explained, but don’t come across very powerfully. Russell Crowe’s bland performance doesn’t help. He was one of my few sore points with the film. It’s not just his weak vocals, I thought he looked really rigid and uncomfortable for much of the time.

Sean Kelly
Guest

I should probably start my comment by listing all the stage musicals I’ve ever seen (there aren’t many):
– Les Misérables
– Evil Dead The Musical
– We Will Rock You
– Rock of Ages

(You can probably see a pattern about what attracts me)

Anyways, I don’t specifically going out of my way to see movie musicals, though I usually like them when they do (even Sweeney Todd – though it’s partially because I’m a huge Tim Burton fan).

I think people give too much flack to actors and the level of their singing ability. Yes, a stage actor probably does a much better job, but I’ve never been really bothered by how well somebody sings.

FYI, the song from ONCE that you were referencing as the most musical-esque is called “If You Want Me” (“The Hill” is much later in the film). In fact, I like calling ONCE a “Diegetic Musical,” since the songs are actually quite important to the film (even though the performance of them is part of the plot).

Lindsay
Guest

If You Want Me!! I can’t believe I forgot that title (I played the soundtrack on loop for months after I saw the film).

What did you think of Evil Dead The Musical? Seeing that was one of the best times I’ve ever had at the theatre…it’s just so campy and fun. Now THAT’S a musical I would love to see made into a film.

Sean Kelly
Guest

I absolutely loved it!

Sean Kelly
Guest

It’s kind of funny that people criticizing Russell Crowe’s singing in Les Misérables having seemingly forgotten that Crowe actually has a side career as the leader of a rock band – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/30_Odd_Foot_of_Grunts

Of course, singing pop/rock songs is much different than musical theatre.

Rot
Guest

I was kidding before I actually like Crowe in Les Mis in the way Bresson would use non-actors and embue the role with something grounded in a voyeur experience. Of the cast the most offensive to me was Amanda Seyfried.

Sean Kelly
Guest

Actually, I was quite impressed with Seyfried.

David Brook
Admin

Yeah but did you ever hear his band…

Sean Kelly
Guest

I looked up a couple songs. Not really my thing (I prefer heavier stuff), but not bad either.

Bob
Guest

For the most part, I don’t like musicals but I enjoyed this episode anyway. I’m staying far, far away from Les Mis for numerous reasons, but one of those is not Hooper. I liked The King’s Speech.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

This MAMO comes after I spent last weekend in New York city and went to see a Broadway play. My wife & I were interested in seeing Book of Mormon, but it was sold out, as this was a bit of a last minute trip. We went to get the discounted tickets of shows playing that day and ended up going to see Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.

It was both incredibly good at times and incredibly, incredibly bad. However, for the parts that were really bad, I was able to put it into the “it’s-so-bad-it’s-good” category and was able to enjoy the horrible cheesiness of it all. Meanwhile no where else will you see people doing dressed as Spider-Man doing circus level stunts swinging above the crowd. Or see a live-action mid-air battle between the Gobin & Spider-Man once again above the crowd. Unless Disney ever puts on it’s own live action stunt Spider-Man stunt show like the one with Indiana Jones that they have at Disney World. It’s just pure craziness that these things made it’s way into a musical.

If anyone goes and has a choice of tickets, try to avoid the seats towards the center. Towards either side is good as you have a better view of Spider-Man swinging across the audience. The second & 3rd floors aren’t bad either as several times Spidey stops on those levels before jumping off again.

The best BAD moment, is just about anything with the Lizard, who is a guy with an inflatable Lizard face & arms coming out of his chest, and an inflatable tail poking out behind him and pulling his lab coat over his head to hide he human head. Anytime the Lizard got on stage I was laughing.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Also I have no idea how a Sandman musical would work, however, I would be interested to see a Neil Gaiman penned musical. As Gaiman has mentioned it was one of the things he would still like to try his hand at. However, I imagine he might be interested in doing something original rather than an adaption.

That said, I much rather see him get his Death: The High Cost of Living movie made, rather than finally make his musical.

Speaking of which, a number of years ago, I saw the off-Broadway musical of Coraline. An adaption of the book, as I’m not sure but I think the movie was still being made at the time. Music was by Stephin Merritt, mainly with toy pianos slightly off key. It was quite the strange and unique take on the material.

Rick Vance
Guest

Sandman is always weird for me partly because everyone seems to love it except for me and because it is held up as this story that can transcend to every medium by its fans and I can’t see the crossover or the logistics of it.

antho42
Guest

I am with you Rick Vance, I do not like Sandman; I just do not like Neil Gaiman’s writing. Having said that, I do think it can work as a play, musical, or a cartoon.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

I’m curious, since Sandman is such long series, what did you read. As the story arcs have quite the range and people seem to get very different things out of each arch, with people’s favorite’s being all across the board.

Yeah, I think the logistics of translating Sandman into another medium would really be hard. Whoever would attempt it would have to be fearless to change the material to fit the medium, whatever it might be. However, it has such the fanbase that loves the comic so much it might be hard to pull that off.

That said, with the success of DC animated movies, I would really love them to try to take on some Vertigo properties like Sandman. Because if there is any medium that might pull it off, it is animation where you can show it’s crazy fantasy world without pulling back.

antho42
Guest

I read the first 2-3 volumes. I did not like the world that Gaiman created, because I felt that he did not provide a compass for the reader. Everything was fantastical — even the real world — so I always felt disoriented.

Rick Vance
Guest

I have read all of it and Endless Nights because it wasn’t boring and I was continuously curious about what the deal was.

I also do love a lot of the artists involved it is just I do not like Gaiman’s voice at all.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Fair enough. I’m curious if you’ve read any of Gaiman’s material and had the same reaction? Because while I tend to like the bulk of Gaiman’s work, he is a writer that while has similar themes has quite the range. Here’s fans of his who just like say American Gods & Anansi Boys but then dislike Stardust and Neverwhere.

Matthew Price
Guest

Part of the reason I think you might have a hard time imagining this is that you haven’t seen that many musicals. Sandman is something that in my wildest dreams Sondheim would tackle. It has big themes around the power of belief that I don’t think anyone has successfully tackled in any other medium, and it also has characters that need to raise their emotions above the norms in a way that musicals are particularly suited to. There is no close analog to what Sandman could be yet – but you could build on the structure of something like Assassins, but with the theatricality of depth of Sweeney Todd – and you’d come out with something greater than the sum of its parts.

Musicals are one of the only theatre forms still comfortable with monologue and direct address of the audience, something else that a thematically complex show like sandman would very much benefit from.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Yup, just because I have no idea how Sandman would work, doesn’t mean anyone couldn’t pull it off.

I had a Mirvish season subscription one year, but still overall the number of musicals I’ve seen is quite small. So yeah, my knowledge of the medium is very much on the novice spectrum.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Giving it some more thought, I’m surprised that someone hasn’t bothered to do a theatre version of Sandman’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Except for the fact that I imagine dealing with DC to get the rights to it might not be easy.