Boring on Broadway
Woke up this morning to a press release confirming the development of a new musical for Broadway based on the somehow grunge-free 1990s film Sleepless in Seattle, a film that was as out of touch with its era then (HELLO! Filmed in Seattle in the '90s, with a soundtrack consisting of not a single Seattle band. WTF?), as it will be when it's a musical now. I say this not just because I'm hopelessly unromantic (I am) or because I find news about any replication of the cloying romantic comedy genre akin to discovery of a new STD (I do), but really, I think Broadway needs a Sleepless in Seattle musical about as much as it needs... Well, a new STD.
Sure, you can just imagine the orgasm-faking song--oh, it's not that one? Surely, the AOL guy would have his moment--it's not that one either? Never mind, the point is, you can understand the motivation behind producer David Shor's effort, but the timing? I mean, if Guys and Dolls is stumbling now, and even Patti LuPone can't keep Mama Rose in clover, what will work? I'll tell you what, plays with something new to say, like West Side Story's current refurbished incarnation, which is already cleaning up, and--as the same Variety piece notes--Will Ferrell's comic lullabye to George Bush's tragically long goodnight. There's a time and a place for inconsequential fluff, but right now's not it. When money's tight, a night out means you're going for mutton, not an amuse bouche.
The production team includes director Joel Zwick, composer/lyricist Leslie Bricusse and orchestrator Ian Fraser. Nora Ephron, who co-wrote the screenplay, is conspicuously absent (maybe she's still feeling bad about her neck). However, Jeff Arch, the film's co-writer, will handle the book. It also turns out Arch is busy at work on a side project--a jukebox musical based on songs by the lite-rock band Chicago--which, come to think of it, just might be the show Broadway needs even less than a Sleepless in Seattle musical.
Update: Sleepless in Seattle, the horror movie, courtesy of The Stranger's Brendan Kiley
(Below, no denying Ian Fraser's classic contribution to popular culture: the Crosby/Bowie duet. Bowie: "Sir Percival lets me use his piano when he's not around." Crosby: "Um, and you know him how?")