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FOWLER’S FLIX 05.19.17: BROADWAY ON BLU-RAY

Shout! Broadway
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I don’t very often get a chance to review too many musicals---let alone Broadway musicals—so when a stack of them showed up in my mailbox, what a better way to brave this week’s high winds and torrential rains and ominous skies than with a song in my heart and a spring in my step, letting it pour outside while I enjoy a trio of ticket-worthy song and dance shows front-row and center from my couch…

Now when it comes to classic movie musicals from the golden era, I’ve always been partial to the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, if only due to the steady diet of their works my mother made sure that I imbibed on quite frequently on as a child. Cole Porter was always a bit harder for me to digest, his lush romantic literalism not as fun or airy as many of his contemporaries, so works such as Kiss Me, Kate (Shout! Broadway) have always eluded my sensibilities.

That being said, this 2003 filmic version of the Broadway revival, starring Brent Barrett and Rachel York, is an amusing lark, definitely less evasive and far more fun that the 1953 3-D misfire. When an egotistical triple-threat tries to get a musical adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew together, madcap backstage antics ensue, from gangsters and gambling debts to romances both ready and rekindling, with a few decent numbers (“Too Darn Hot” and “Tom, Dick or Harry” immediately come to mind) that keep the energy up for the most part.

While it also might not be an entry in the aforementioned Rodgers and Hammerstein black book either, one musical that was in definite household rotation that I’m more than happy to see—and singalong to—again is the absolutely gorgeous 1972 motion picture adaptation of Man of La Mancha (Shout! Broadway), featuring a stellar cast that includes Peter O’Toole, Sophia Loren and James Coco.

Retooled in a highly meta fashion for the silver screen by director Arthur Hiller, O’Toole is Don Quixote author Cervantes, imprisoned with his manservant during the Spanish Inquisition and forced to justify his writings to his fellow inmates, staging the epic adventures of Don Quixote and even more epic musical numbers that, true to form, dare any viewer to “Dream the Impossible Dream,” leaving not a dry windmill in the audience.

The waving wheat, on the other hand, sure smells sweeter than ever in the multi-award-winning Royal National Theatre production of the aforementioned Rodgers and Hammerstein’s absolute classic Oklahoma! (Shout! Broadway). Filled with a magic energy rarely captured live, this edition, if I do say so myself, even outdoes the 1955 cinematic counterpart.

Filmed during a 1999 performance, future Wolverine-star Hugh Jackman does his barrel-chested best as Curly McClain, belting out those rich musical numbers we’ve all come to know and love like “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “The Surrey With the Fringe On Top,” and, of course, the transcendent title cut that, as the 90 mile per hour winds blow outside, offers a little bit of blue skies bright Okie sun on an otherwise mandatory grey and cloudy day. Yee-haw!

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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