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How Can I Keep from Singing? - Part I

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LORD OF THE MUSICALS

I swear by the One Ring that it’s true!

Next year, February, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a 1/2 drive hour away from where I live, the Lord of the Rings Musical will premier. We're not talking just ANY musical here people. We're talking about the most elaborate stage musical ever put together. Apparently, 27 MILLION dollars is what it will take to get this phenomenon to opening night. I've already bookmarked ticketking.com and I'll be ready to pay whatever it takes for me to be there opening night. I’ve already warned you that I’m a geek, this is just further proof.

When I first heard about the plan to put Tolkien’s masterpiece on the stage, I immediately thought about Howard Shore’s score from the three movies and how his musical genius enhanced the movie’s visual elements so well. The scene that sticks with me the most is from the first movie – the transition between the full orchestra that accompanied Gandalf as he fought and lost the battle against the Balrog to the singular ghostly voice that sung as the rest of the fellowship carried on to the impossibly white mountains, utterly distraught at the loss of their companion. That music left me sobbing in my seat, my husband handing me the entire box of kleenex as he knew just a few wouldn’t do. I know that scene would not have affected me as heavily as it did were it not for Howard Shore. That brings me to my next thought. How will the music of the musical compare to the movies? Can you really improve upon the movie’s score? What about the Oscar winning song "Into the West" sung by Annie Lennox? Can you GET any better than that? If you go to the official website for the LOTR musical, http://lotr.dynalias.com and listen to the music that accompanies the intro to the website, you might feel the same way I do, a tad sceptical. A.R. Rahman and Varttina are listed as the composers. Who are these people and will they live up the expectations of hobbit loving fans like me? Vartlina appears to be a newcomer and Rahman has been composing for a little over 10 years now but will his musical style work with this story? I plan to be there to find out. Now I just need to figure out what to wear (go ahead, say it, "typical woman").

Musicals.

They've certainly made their way into the dark little corners our not-so-mainstream lives haven't they? Just think about it! What is considered one of the greatest hours of cult television ever? A musical with singing vampires, demons and witches. Of course I'm referring to the Buffy sixth season episode called "Once More with Feeling", commonly referred to as simply "The Buffy Musical" Even those who are not Buffy fans can't help but marvel at the wittiness of the lyrics and story. Josh Whedon brought his cult show to a new level when this episode aired and the proof is on the internet and at the cons. There are web sites, fan-listings and groups dedicated JUST to this episode. Sci-fi and Horror conventions (not to mention cons dedicated solely to Buffy) have live performances of the Musical AND sing-a-longs as well. I may personally be involved with a re-creation later this year, (if I can hone my singing voice!)

Before there was Buffy, when I was quite younger, I remember renting this weird movie with a friend, going into my dark basement and watching it... the blood, the gore... the uncontrollable urge to just laugh until I choked on my cheezies. Sam Raimi’s the Evil Dead 2 was my first introduction to horror comedies. And it’s still one of my favorite genres. Years later when I had my three step-boys staying with us for a weekend, I rented Evil Dead 1 & 2 and Army of Darkness and we all sat down and watched all three movies. For that weekend, I was considered the coolest step-mom on earth. To this day, whenever they get a little out of line, I’ll hold up some long, narrow object and yell "SEE THIS? This is my BOOM STICK!" Cool step-mom indeed!

So why not make a stage musical of this cult favorite? Well, someone did. Check out www.evildeadthemusical.com I was visiting Montreal for a convention late last year when someone mentioned that The Evil Dead Musical was playing in town. I immediately went to purchase some tickets, but every show was sold out. SOLD OUT? I was devastated. I should have known, though. This production was put together by the JUST FOR LAUGHS International comedy group from Montreal, Canada. I would highly consider these guys and the shows they put on the funniest on the planet. It was no surprise to me that the Evil Dead Musical received fantastic reviews. I never did get to see it as even when it came to Toronto, the show was sold out before I could get tickets. I hope it goes back on the road soon.

The Just for Laugh crew are the same people who lured William Shatner on stage to parody himself and the I AM CANADIAN commercial slogan that captured all hearts in my country. Shatner’s performance can be heard here: http://www.gravitysucks.org/sounds/WilShat-Canadian.mp3

Which brings me to yet another one of my points.

Why hasn’t there been a Star Trek Musical? And I don’t necessarily mean the original series, although that would probably work the best. I just picked up William Shatner’s latest CD "Has Been" and, well, it’s fantastic! I was surprised...OK, I was shocked. William Shatner’s last exploration into music was scary to say the least, but this was so well done. Ben Folds’ took the captain’s chair with this one and managed to make Shatner sound respectable and talented. The song Has Been is worth the price of the whole CD, and so is Common People.

Don’t forget that Leonard Nimoy also put out his own musical recordings. I haven’t heard those yet, maybe someone could send me a one....

A great musical could have been created from any of the Star Trek incarnations... well maybe not Enterprise. But you get the idea. Brent Spiner of TNG had a cd out called "Ol Yellow Eyes is Back" proving once again that Star Trek Alumni do have other talents besides acting. (Oh, there are soo many jokes I could use right now.) Then there’s Tim Russ from Voyager. He’s had a few albums out and according to Star Trek fans that have heard him sing at cons, he has a seriously fantastic voice. I’d personally vote for Deep Space Nine as it has the most interesting conflicts between characters, plus I bet none of them can sing...

And what about Star Wars. Oh geez, there was that Holiday Special back in the 70's and what’s her name did sing... ugh, that was awful. And then there was the wookie porn bit where Chewbacca’s father, Crunchie or whatever the hell they called him, put on a 3D head set and dreamed about sexy women singing to him. I lost a chunk of my childhood watching that. Forget that I even mentioned Star Wars. I have no desire to see Yoda sing.

"Midnight, it is

A sound from of the Jedi, there is not

Sith has found a new apprentice, it did

Fighting alone, I am"

Nope, I couldn’t take that. After watching that ridiculous fight scene between him and Christopher Lee, I am already scarred for life.

Part 2 in two weeks - Joanne explores what comics would make great musicals.

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