Infiltrating the Small Screen

If you saw the Tony Awards this year, you probably remember all the awards Hamilton won as well as the hilarious video montage showing all its original actors in featured roles on Law and Order. Musical theatre stars are becoming more and more visible on the small screen after Broadway success! Here are a few accounts of the stars whose small screen ventures you should see…

The Superhero Universes

Calista Flockhart starred on Broadway in The Glass Menagerie before her big TV career!
Calista Flockhart starred on Broadway in The Glass Menagerie before her big TV career!

Living at home with my superhero obsessed boyfriend, I learn a lot about the Marvel and DC universes. Lately, he’s been watching The Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. I was surprised to see such actors as Calista Flockhart (The Glass Menagerie), Victor Garber (Godspell), Jeremy Jordan(Newsies), and Laura Benanti (She Loves Me) on these shows. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the writing style compared to the Netflix streaming ones like Daredevil, Jessica Jones , and Luke Cage but clearly these actors gain a little more financial stability by taking advantage of their SAG cards. With more money and more flexibility rather than the “eight-show-a-week” schedule, there are some positives to the job shift.

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Beauty and the Beast

beastBeauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie as a child. I loved the spectacle, the love story, and the elements that Disney brought to the original Grimm tale (e.g. Belle’s yellow gown, the enchanted red rose, and the musical themes). A new live-action remake is going to be released on Saint Patrick’s Day starring Emma Watson, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Kline, Audra McDonald, Emma Thompson, and Josh Gad.

Original Productions

The original film from 1991 set a precedent for other Disney films as well as other cartoon films of its time. Alan Menken wrote the music that he later extended for a stage production that opened on Broadway in April of 1994 at The Palace Theatre. With lyrics by Tim Rice and Howard Ashman and a book by Linda Woolverton, the production was nominated for nine Tony Awards and won one for Best Costume Design.

beast1The 1991 film had many stars including Paige O’Hara as Belle, Jerry Orbach as Lumiere, Jesse Corti as LeFou, David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth, and Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts. Angela Lansbury was recently interviewed by Entertainment Weekly about the new remake. The 91 year old actress stated her confusion at Disney’s want to redo the story:

“I don’t quite know why they’re doing it. I can’t understand what they’re going to do with it that will be better than what we’ve already done. And how they’re doing it live — it may turn out to be very entertaining and wonderful. It won’t be like the cartoon that we did, but it’s a good story — it’s one of the famous fairy stories that is known worldwide by children. Therefore, why not? I don’t blame them for doing it. But, I’m sorry, they’re not really on our territory. We did it as cartoon characters, and that is quite different from live actors.”

A Great Remake Or Just a Money-Maker

A live-action remake for Beauty and The Beast could be great. The advanced CGI for the Disney castle will definitely be remastered in a new, enchanting way. Designers already seem to be taking advantage of the authentic, Bavarian aesthetic from the original Grimm Fairytale. The filmmakers could also be adding more of our favorite songs from the live stage production, which would set the movie apart. Then, Emma Watson will once more get an opportunity to be delivered from her perpetual place as Hermione Granger. Good things could definitely come of it!

On the other hand, the merchandise for the film will earn Disney more money and the box office earnings are expected to be ridiculous. I guess we’ll just have to wait until March 17th to see if it’s all worth it!

Click here to hear the first clips of Emma Watson singing as Belle!

Another Star of the Stage and Screen Lost

debbieAfter the passing of Carrie Fisher, we were dismayed to learn that her mother, Debbie Reynolds, had passed. After a stroke, she was hospitalized on December 28th. News of the hospitalization spread all over the internet until the news of her death surfaced hours later. Today, we remember her triumphs onstage and off that left us singing in the rain and feeling as unsinkable as Molly Brown!

On Broadway

Reynolds’ career began in film with her break-out role as Kathy Selden in Singing in the Rain. She proved to have the charm and the chops to make it on the big screen but her musical strengths led her to the Great White Way where she starred in Irene in 1973. If you read our posting about Carrie Fisher, you’ll know that this production was also her daughter’s Broadway debut. Fisher played an ensemble member in the show that was about an Irish immigrant, Irene, who has high ambitions to hang out with high society types.

After Irene, Reynolds did a special Broadway concert review in 1976 called Debbie at the Minskoff Theatre. With a full cast of male dancers and a few back-up singers, Reynolds shared some Broadwaylore with audiences for a limited run of 14 performances. In 1977 she starred in the US tour of Annie Get Your Gun as the title character. Then in 1983 she added Woman of the Year to her resume. Reynolds always shined playing the charming and beautiful ingenue.

A Legacy to Be Remembereddebbie1

Debbie Reynolds dazzled us for about six decades. She was even memorable for younger generations with her performances in Disney Channel Original movies, voice over work, and cameos in television shows like Will and Grace. We hope we won’t have to write another one of these articles for a long time, though an actress like this is worth remembering.