How to Enjoy JRB from 2013

If you like Jason Robert Brown‘s musicals and want to listen to the two that he made in 2013, Honeymoon in Vegas and The Bridges of Madison County, try not to listen to one without listening to the other. Independently one is frenetic, high energy, toe-tapping, and peppy, while the other is slow, languid, and none of the songs actually end, but taken together they even out nicely. Both have great music. Two sides of the same coin and all that.


‘Into the Woods’ and the Dumbing Down of the Movie Musical | David Toussaint

So we started watching the film adaptation of Into the Woods. Before we could finish, we read this article, both poignant and amusing.

As much as I love Meryl, I’m never going to buy her records, and I haven’t been this uncomfortable watching her in a film since, what do you know, Mama Mia! If we’re living in any sort of movie musical cinema revival, it’s time to start asking ourselves what we sacrificed to get there.

Source: ‘Into the Woods’ and the Dumbing Down of the Movie Musical | David Toussaint

The Schwartz Modulation

I’d like to introduce the term “Schwartz Modulation” to the Musical Theater community.

I want to start by saying that I have the utmost respect for Mr. Schwartz, as I believe he is a fantastic and prolific composer. Indeed, I would not have noticed this pattern had I not repeatedly listened to many of his works. Composers all have their own unique cadences and progressions that they like to use, and one that is particularly favored by Mr. Schwartz is what I now call the Schwartz Modulation (SM). Continue reading “The Schwartz Modulation”

“Ermen… Oops” or “Hello, Carol!”

Hello, Dolly! 1964 Broadway cast recording, track 4 “Sunday Clothes,” 2 minutes 50 seconds in. There is a short musical break and an “oops” by Carol Channing in the recording studio. The break is 8 measures long but Carol starts to say “Ermengarde” after only 4 measures. She stops herself but it’s still on the recording. You can clearly hear her say “Erme–” in the right channel. Funny what kinds of things you notice when wearing headphones. 🙂

other interesting cast album mistakes

2011 Henry Awards Ceremony and Preamble for Critical Musical Discourse

I found a blog just now called He Said/She Said Critiques. It’s a blog by two young theater professionals featuring critiques of Denver-area community and professional productions. They also have local theater information and audition notices.

I’ve read a couple of their reviews and I like their format. However I feel the Denver blogosphere needs the voice of a semiprofessional musician. Every time I see a review of a musical the first thing I look for is a critical analysis of the music. Unfortunately to get good at music you have to study it. For a long time. In fact, for your entire life. I’ve been playing piano for 21+ years now and I’m still not half as good as I want to be. I’ve music directed shows around town and I’ve played in pits. So I’d like to post some blogs/reviews here of the aspects of musical productions to which I am uniquely qualified to speak: the music, sound, direction, and performance. I hold an MFA from USC in film production where I specialized in rerecording mixing and production and postproduction sound. I also have a BA from UNC in Musical Theater. So I am uniquely qualified to offer my unique perspective on how I think musicals should be done at this level. Continue reading “2011 Henry Awards Ceremony and Preamble for Critical Musical Discourse”