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‘Mamma Mia!’ Provides Latest Boost to Musical Genre

July 20, 2008

By Erica Hansen Deseret News

I got to see a movie!

It’s exciting because as most new parents can attest, once the wee one comes along movies sort of become a thing of the past.

But I saw “Mamma Mia!” — the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical featuring the music of ABBA.

Aside from Pierce Brosnan’s horrid singing, the movie is really great. But beyond that flaw, isn’t it wonderful to see musicals back up on the big screen?

I thought that was a time long gone.

As Meryl Streep started into the title song, I sat there thinking, “Wow!! I’m seeing musicals up on the big screen! And I love it!”

Hearing the music — from ABBA to Lloyd Webber to the peppy “Hairspray” — on those big, fancy, digital sound systems is always a thrill. The other thing I like is seeing the faces up close and larger than life.

Mark my words, it will never replace the experience of live theater, but seeing the thoughtfulness, sadness, love, emptiness and joy on Streep’s face is a whole new experience — and worth checking out.

I’m not the only one who thinks so. “Mamma Mia!” had the biggest opening ever for a musical in the U.K. and the soundtrack is looking to top the charts as well (too bad Brosnan’s character isn’t more of the strong, silent type). And, they’re expecting the already strong ABBA albums to climb the charts — again.

Musicals to Movies: If you’re enjoying the revival of musicals on the silver screen, you’re in luck. There are plenty more in the works. Most notably, producer Marc Platt and Universal Pictures are planning to do “Wicked!”

Composer Stephen Schwartz said they won’t release the rights for the movie until it has peaked on Broadway (who knows when that will be) and no casting has been announced but talk about hearing music on the big ol’ sound system!

That’s not all Platt has planned. He will also be working on a new movie adaptation of the Lloyd Webber-Rice musical, “Jesus Christ Superstar”; “Nine”; and, with the help of Michael Feinstein, a new biographical movie, about the fabulous George Gershwin.

Movies to Musicals: Yes, both Broadway and Hollywood are equally guilty of stealing from each other. Now it’s time for the classic “9 to 5″ to hit the stage as a musical. Dolly Parton, an accomplished songwriter, did the music and lyrics, but she will not be in it. After a short run this fall in L.A., the show will move to the Marquis Theatre and open in April.

Spin Your Web: This is still in the movie to musical category … But listen up! Julie Taymor, the brains behind the brilliant and beautiful “Lion King,” is having open auditions for the three starring roles in the new musical, “Spider-Man.” Bono and The Edge, from the group U2, are doing music and lyrics.

Open call is July 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 74 Leonard St., New York. So, you think you’re a Peter Parker, Mary Jane or “principal woman 25-35,” and you have a killer pop/rock voice, this might be your lucky break!

E-mail: ehansen@desnews.com

(c) 2008 Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.




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