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Recently in Theatre With an “R” and an “E” Category

Much Ado About Nothing: A Joss Whedon Fan’s Early Summer Night’s Dream

As devoted Joss Whedon acolytes know, the Geek God has long had a relationship with the Immortal Bard, staging regular readings of classic Shakespeare plays in his humble home with various cast members from his various TV shows stopping by to speak Shakespeare's speech on their days off from mouthing Whedon's lines. Though these readings were sadly never taped for public consumption, it was a thrill for Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse fans (yes, there really are some of the latter -- I'm one of them) to imagine the possible actor/role match-ups that went on behind the closed doors of the Whedon homestead. How about Eliza Dushku and J. August Richards as Juliet and her Romeo? Or Anthony Stewart Head holding court as Falstaff with Nathan Fillion's Prince Hal sitting at his feet? With Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon finally invites audiences into his living room... literally. This contemporary version of Shakespeare's comedy of (mostly bad) manners was filmed entirely on the grounds of the director's home and features a rash of familiar Whedon faces trading in his pop-culture laced quips for the flowery language of another era. It's a delight for Whedonites, but -- I'm sorry to say -- a rather mediocre production of Shakespeare.

Rock of Ages: Five Jukebox Musicals We’d Like to See on the Big Screen

With Rock of Ages bum-rushing theaters on Friday and the recent news that Jon Favreau may bring Jersey Boys to the big screen (and don't forget that the Mamma Mia! movie grossed $600 million worldwide four years ago) movie versions of jukebox Broadway musicals could become Hollywood's next big trend. Considering how many of these pop-song fueled shows have come and gone from the Great White Way (particularly in the past few years), the studios certainly have plenty of fodder to choose from. And sure, most are terrible (Lennon, anyone? How about that Bob Dylan show, The Times They Are A-Changin'?), but we peered back into musical theater lore and came up with five jukebox musicals we'd actually pay to see in movie theaters.

Anonymous: Full of Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing

As a filmmaker, Roland Emmerich is first and foremost a savvy opportunist who cannily exploits topics and controversies currently percolating in the culture to grab attention for his particular brand of spectacle-driven entertainment. The Day After Tomorrow, for example, was a climate change-induced environmental disaster movie, while 2012 played off of the superstition that the world will end next year as the Mayans supposedly predicted centuries ago. With his new film, Anonymous, Emmerich has inserted himself another ongoing debate: Was William Shakespeare the actual author of such timeless plays as Hamlet, King Lear and The Comedy of Errors?

New Line To Bring You New Musical, Featuring Songs You Know By Heart

New Line is getting musical-happy. The studio, who just announced they were planning a sequel to last year's hit, Hairspray, have won a studio bidding war for the rights to the rock musical Rock of Ages, an off-Broadway show that pairs '80s rock ballads with an on-stage love story (a la Mamma Mia!) that's currently rocking out in New York.

The Goonies R Good Enough For Broadway, But Not Sequel

With Josh Brolin getting a lot of press lately for playing a letter of the alphabet and signing on to play Jonah Hex, I naturally wondered when someone would pounce to make a sequel his first big movie, The Goonies. As it turns out, Richard Donner -- who directed the 1985 hit about a motley crew of adventurous kids -- had already been working on a follow-up. Sadly, sequels just don't seem to be happening for Donner lately, and even with Steven Spielberg enthusiastically on his side, things just didn't quite come together, according to Variety. Goonies never say die, though, so Donner is working hard to make sure they'll live on... in a Broadway musical.

Abusical, the Musical: Spider-Man and American Psycho go Broadway

When Hollywood movies get made into Broadway musicals, it's not necessarily a bad thing -- that is, of course, unless you consider any Broadway musical to be a "bad thing." They certainly make money, and ever since The Producers blew up, movie-based musicals like Legally Blonde, Young Frankenstein and Spam-A-Lot have played to packed houses. Hell, even Evil Dead has enjoyed a long, successful run at its Toronto theatre and on tour. Recently, we reported on the proposed 9 to 5 musical, but that seems almost logical next to the latest news. Not only is the rumored Spider-Man musical still actually happening, but there's going to be an American Psycho musical, as well. Be still, my pulsating, gore-dripping heart.

It's Got a Good Beat, But Can You Maim To It?

by Tippi Blevins September 9, 2008 1:02 pm
It's Got a Good Beat, But Can You Maim To It?

It's like someone opened up the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, chanted a little something, and not one but two new possible Evil Dead projects popped out to possess unsuspecting audiences. Zach recently posted about the prospects of a fourth outing with Ash Williams and his demon-obliterating weapon of choice. Thanks to Screen Daily, today I bring you news of Evil Dead: The Musical. According to the article, producer Don Carmody and his partners are in negotiations to make a movie version of the Canadian and off-Broadway stage musical based on the Raimi films.

Two Gnomes Walk Into A Shakespeare Play…

by Kasey McDonald August 21, 2008 3:08 pm
Two Gnomes Walk Into A Shakespeare Play…

Hollywood has always loved Shakespeare. I mean, hard not to, right? But they do Shakespeare a lot. If it's not a direct adaptation of a play for the screen, it's one of those "retellings." Now, I won't say that the upcoming project Gnomeo and Juliet is the weirdest of the Shakespeare-inspired films out there, because there have been some really bizarre ones, but it's up there. Produced by Elton John, the animated film will tell the story of two gnomes from rival gardens who fall in love, sing Elton John classics, and try to help you save money on your next vacation. One of those things isn't true. I'll let you pick which it is.

Coming To A Theater Near You. Again.

by Kasey McDonald August 21, 2008 2:29 pm
Coming To A Theater Near You. Again.

Rent is coming to theaters. No, you're not having an acid flashback to 2005. The stage show, set to end its run on Broadway on September 7th, will have its final performance filmed and digitally shown in more than 500 theaters September 24- 28. The performance will feature the current Broadway cast and a couple of special appearances by original cast members. (I'm hoping for more age-appropriate roles for those original cast members, who valiantly came back and tried to portray characters a decade younger than they were in the 2005 Revolution Studios theatrical version.) You can check out the trailer for the special event.

Higher and Harder: Hairspray 2

by Kasey McDonald July 24, 2008 1:50 pm
Higher and Harder: Hairspray 2

Break out your brush and stay away from open flame, New Line is about to bust out more Hairspray. The studio has made a deal with the musical's creator John Waters to write a treatment for a sequel to the 2007 hit. According to Variety, director-choreographer Adam Shankman will return for another go, along with producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, as well as songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who've pledged to write new songs for the film. And while none of the original cast has signed on yet for a sequel, the story will pick up back in 1962 and follow the Turnblad family after the resolution of the first movie. Hairspray has grossed over $200 million since its release last summer, and New Line wants a new one for a summer release in 2010.

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