Pop Blitz for 1/20/2012

Happy Friday Popsters and welcome, finally, to the first Blitz of 2012!

What took me so long? I know, I know, but I had all of those freakin’ “Best Of” lists to get through and, I won’t lie, I’m VERY thankful to finally be on the other side of those necessary evils. In a word, UGH!

So without further ado, let’s get 2012, and this party started!

♦ The Tron Light Cycle

When I win the lottery, this will be my FIRST purchase! They haven’t invented a word to describe this for me, COOL doesn’t quite cover, neither does AWESOME!

Just watch the video, I need to collect myself for a moment.

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♦ Goodfellas: The Series Coming to AMC

Deadline Hollywood recently reported that AMC, the network who brought us Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, are planning a new series based on the film Goodfellas.

Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote the movie based on his non-fiction book Wiseguy, will co-write the series with writer-producer Jorge Zamacona (Homicide: Life On The Street). They’ll also executive produce along with the film’s producer Irwin Winkler and his son David.

This could be interesting if done well but, of course, they will forever be in the shadow of HBO’s The Sopranos. That being said, enough time has passed and I personally think we’re overdue for some new prime time goombas. I actually wish AMC would consider an ultimate mash-up and put a show together called The Mad, Bad and Dead Goodfellas! C’mon, be honest, would you miss a single episode of a show with THAT title, fuggedaboutit!

♦ Jirka’s Disney Girls

Like many other red blooded males, I’ve always had a bit of a thing for the Disney girls, so much so that, when I’ve been lucky enough to pay a visit to the Magic Kingdoms in both Orlando and Anaheim, I’ve required adult supervision. I’m not proud, just honest. Any guy who tells you he doesn’t have a soft spot, (or otherwise), for at least one of the Disney girls is lying. Yes, it’s true, I’ve heard women accuse us of being everything from “pervs” to “creeps” but these are the same women who get all goofy and gushy the second you bring up Aladdin or Prince Eric, so….

Recently I came across Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen’s blog on the web and, as you might rightfully suspect, I haven’t been able to stop smiling since. Jirka is a Finnish design enthusiast currently studying graphic design at the Arts University College at Bournemouth and I strongly recommended you check out his site when you have some free surfing time. The dude is brilliant, gifted and, judging from these models, very, very lucky. I only wish I’d have thought of this one myself.

Check out my WordPress brother!

♦ The Broadway Blitz

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about the Great White Way and there’s a lot of buzz about these upcoming transfers from stage to film and film to stage.

• Once: The Musical

The stage version of Once, one of my all time favorite indie movie musicals, is set to open on Broadway next month, following it’s very well received premiere Off Broadway at the New York Theater Workshop. The show features music and lyrics by the Swell Season’s Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová and will begin previews for its Broadway run at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on February 28th with an official opening on March 18th.

The film version of Once, written and directed by Irish filmmaker John Carney, came out in 2007 and launched the careers of Hansard and Irglová, who starred as young, star-crossed musicians in love. The two won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for their song “Falling Slowly” at the 80th Academy Awards in 2008.

Personally, I’m really torn about this one. I loved the film in large part due to it’s low budget intimacy, obviously much of that is going to be lost in a big Broadway house. For purely esthetic reasons I would like to have seen this show live a long and happy life in a more intimate Off Broadway theater. It’s my understanding the workshop production had a set that encompassed the theater and was designed to replicate the interior of an Irish pub, I love that idea and, again, hate to think the Broadway transfer is going to lose that element. Of course, staying Off Broadway would mean the producers would have to wait nearly twice as long to recoup their investment and we can’t have that now can we? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of capitalism but, when it comes to the arts, I despise the sacrifice of quality for the sake of quantity, it actually makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

The rave reviews for Once have been written mostly by theater critics who hadn’t seen the film prior to seeing the stage show, which is understandable, this was a small movie with a brief release in theaters. I’m predicting this show is going to be a big hit, in part, because most of those attending will be coming to the songs and story fresh.

With a bit of savvy foresight, The producers of Once actually took the cast into the recording studio this week to record the official Broadway cast album, something very unusual for a show yet to even begin previews. They wisely have surmised the audience is going be clamoring for the recording on their way out of the theater, I don’t doubt it for a second.

I doubt those who love the movie as much as I do will take to this show quite as easily. That being said, taken as a separate experience, I think we still may be won over.

Here’s your first look at the new Broadway musical, ONCE

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• Diner: The Musical

The Tony Award winning musical Jersey Boys has been packing theaters both on Broadway and on tour for over five years now so, why not take a shot with some Baltimore Boys? (Guaranteed, when the show opens, lazy theater critics will be using that one a lot.)

Barry Levinson’s Diner, the 1982 coming-of-age comedy about a group of friends growing up in Baltimore in 1959, is headed to Broadway later this year. Levinson, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay, will write the book of the musical, and Sheryl Crow is penning the music and lyrics.

In a recently released statement, Levinson said, ” ‘Diner‘ was a pivotal moment in my career, and since then I have continued to live with the characters, realizing there is much more to their story. I’m excited to be embarking on this stage version, which affords me the opportunity as a storyteller to expand on my original vision and let the characters express their innermost feeling and thoughts through song.”

In the same statement Sheryl Crow added, “I was already a huge fan of ‘Diner’ when Barry first approached me about writing a score for a theatrical retelling of his film. I knew exactly who these men and women were and I feverishly began writing.”

My inside sources swear the music is great and will surprise many who only know Crow from her top forty hits. I have to admit, this sounds like a very promising project with Crow and Levinson on board. I’m looking forward to seeing, and hearing, more about this one.

For giggles, here’s a classic scene from the film, featuring a shockingly baby faced Paul Reiser, Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Kevin Bacon and Mickey Rourke, I’d almost forgotten they were ever THAT young.

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• The Return of Carrie

She’s baaaaack! Everyone’s favorite menstruating telekinetic teenager is returning to the stage at the end of this month in a revamped version of the notorious 1988 Broadway flop!

Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, the cult favorite musical Carrie reunites the show’s original authors with director Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz) and MCC Theater for a newly reworked and fully re-imagined vision of this gripping tale. Set today, in the small town of Chamberlain, Maine, Carrie features a book by Lawrence D. Cohen (screenwriter of the classic film), music by Academy Award winner Michael Gore (Fame, Terms of Endearment), and lyrics by Academy Award winner Dean Pitchford (Fame, Footloose). The cast will feature Tony Award nominee Marin Mazzie (Next to Normal, Kiss Me Kate) as Carrie’s evangelical mother, Margaret White, and Molly Ranson (Jerusalem, August: Osage County) as the lonely, vengeful, yet fragile girl at the center of it all.

The show opens Off Broadway at The Lucille Lortel Theatre on Jan. 31st

I’m not saying I wouldn’t mind checking out this show but I am saying I’d probably take a pass on the front row seats.

Here’s a clip of a new song that was recently added to the show, Courtesy of Playbill.com. Enjoy!

• Les Miserables: The Movie

We’ve talked a lot about the movies becoming muscials this week, so it only makes sense to take a moment and look at a musical on it’s way to becoming a movie.

The film version of the Tony Award winning musical Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, is set to begin principal photography in March of this year. It has been rumored many of the cast members are currently in the studio recording the soundtrack they will be using on set, though a few casting decisions have yet to be officially confirmed.

The film will star Hugh Jackman in the coveted role of Jean Valjean, Russell Crow as his rival and hunter Javert, Anne Hathaway in the role of Fantine, who sings the show’s, arguably, most popular song, “I Dreamed a Dream“. Eddie Raymane, fresh from his starring role in last year’s My Week with Marilyn, has been cast as Marius, and will be sharing the screen and love duets with Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia), who recently accepted the role of Cosette, Valjean’s adopted daughter. Earlier this week it was announced that Aaron Tveit, best know for his work on the series Gossip Girl as well as his starring role in the Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can, has been signed to play the role of Enjolras, best friend to Marius and leader of the “Occupy Paris” movement.

It has been rumored but, as of yet unconfirmed, that Taylor Swift has won the much sought after role of Eponine and that Sacha Baron Cohen will step into the role of Monsieur Thenardier opposite an also rumored Helena Bonham Carter as Madame’ Thenardier.

Tom Hopper, Academy Award winning Director of 2010’s The King’s Speech, as well as HBO’s Award winning mini-series John Adams, is directing.

In a recent interview Hopper confirmed that Claude Michel Schongberg, the musical’s original composer, is writing a new song and new music for the film’s adaptation. Hopper also stated that he will be sticking to the musical’s essentially sung-through form and will thus will be including very little additional dialogue.

The film is scheduled to open in theaters 12/7/2012

• Andrew Lloyd Webber is Looking for Jesus

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Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced that he will search for the star of a new U.K. arena stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar via a new reality TV program entitled “Superstar,” that will air on the commercial ITV channel.

This follows Webber’s four previous reality TV searches staged on BBC1, for his productions of The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Wizard of Oz, as well as Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver!

In a statement Webber said, “Some of the best performances of this show have been in rock venues and I’m thrilled to see the show return to its roots. ITV is providing the perfect platform for us to find a new, British Superstar.”

The plan is for the production to open at London’s O2 Arena and then tour to some of the UK’s biggest venues.

Auditions for the TV show are to take place across the country during February and March in London, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. It is expected that the live shows will air in the autumn, and the tour is scheduled for late this year and early next year.

If you ask me this is all a bit silly, I mean, everybody knows Judas is the real star of this musical, DOH! 😉

As I’ve already reported, Jesus Christ Superstar is also returning to Broadway this season in a production originally seen at Stratford, Ontario’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival last summer, preview performances begin on March 1 at the Neil Simon Theatre, prior to an official opening March 22.

Let’s wrap today with a taste of Jesus! (they really need to remake this movie)

And that’s all the news that’s fit to POP for this week Popsters, have a great weekend, play nice and gather ye rosebuds while ye may, (don’t ask, I’m feeling punchy tonight.) Cheers!- Scott

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