#AdventwithClowns Day 10 – Dear Evan Hansen (2021)

A film version of musical hit Dear Evan Hansen with original Broadway star Ben Platt at the helm proves to be a huge mis-step

“Can we try to have an optimistic outlook, huh?

Oh dear, it really wasn’t meant to be like this. Ben Platt has been intimately involved with Dear Evan Hansen since the start, taking part in every reading of the show through its eventual Tony-winning run on Broadway. So in some ways he’s the perfect guy to star in this cinematic adaptation, which just happens to be produced by his father, among others. But Platt is now in his late 20s, pushing at the limits to play a high-schooler, something director Stephen Chbosky acknowledges a little too blatantly with an almost Frankenstein-like treatment of prosthetics, make-up and filters that make him look like an android.

The other major problem is that this is a full-on adaptation of the musical, snatching us away from the suspension of disbelief of the stage to the harsh realities of a US high school drama. And without the fantastical flights of fancy that accompany the show’s theatrical journey – the transportative magic of Pasek and Paul’s soaring score, the ingenuity of David Korins’ digital-inspired set design  – we’re left examining Steven Levenson’s reworking of his own book with much greater scrutiny and I’m really not sure that its use of suicide and mental health hold muster in this IRL context. Continue reading “#AdventwithClowns Day 10 – Dear Evan Hansen (2021)”

Lockdown Review: Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration

On the one hand, so much to love with such an inordinate array of talent assembled to mark Sondheim’s 90th birthday. But on the other, where’s the editor, there’s a real sense of the rambling here too. Fortunately as this has been put together in lockdown (and very well too) it is easier than ever to skip to the bits you want (in the spirit of these times, I ain’t telling you who disappointed me).

For me, I loved the unexpectedness of Katrina Lenk’ ‘Johanna’, the cuteness of Beanie Feldstein & Ben Platt’s ‘It Takes Two’, and the energy of Alexander Gemignani’s ‘Buddy’s Blues’. And of the heavy hitters in the finale, Donna Murphy and Patti LuPone nailed ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘Anyone Can Whistle’ respectively, and there’s huge fun (if not finesse) in Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep & Audra McDonald giving us their ‘Ladies Who Lunch’. Continue reading “Lockdown Review: Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration”

The Curtain Up Show Album of the Year 2019 nominees

You can now vote for the Best London Cast Recording, Best Broadway Cast Recording and Best Solo Album here. Then fill in your details and click Vote and one lucky voter will win £100 worth of Theatre Tokens!

Best UK Cast Recording
& Juliet – Original London Cast Recording
Company – 2018 London Cast Recording
Follies – 2018 National Theatre Cast Recording
Heathers (Original West End Cast Recording)
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – 2019 Original London Cast
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical Original Cast Recording

Best American Cast Recording
Beetlejuice (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Hadestown (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Jagged Little Pill (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Moulin Rouge (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Oklahoma! (2019 Broadway Cast Recording)
Tootsie (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

Best Solo Album
Cassidy Janson – Cassidy
Ramin Karimloo – From Now On
John Owen-Jones –Spotlight
Ben Platt – Sing To Me Instead
Jon Robyns – Musical Directions
Hayden Tee – Face to Face

Album Reviews: Ben Platt – Sing To Me Instead / Cassidy Janson – Cassidy

A pair of album review from musical theatre stars singing their own songs: Ben Platt’s Sing To Me Instead and Cassidy Janson’s Cassidy

“Tell me you wanna be a better man”

When musical theatre actors turn to releasing albums, as inevitably they must, the majority opt to ransack the songbooks of musicals old and new, so it is pleasing to see a few people bucking that trend with their recent releases. And what’s more, Ben Platt and Cassidy Janson’s albums of original material feature a vast majority of songs written or co-written by themselves. 

Fresh from conquering Broadway in Dear Evan Hansen and with his sights set on TV (Netflix’s The Politician) and film (Richard Linklater’s Merrily We Roll Along), Ben Platt clearly has creative juices flowing aplenty and on Sing To Me Instead they reach full expression. 12 tracks of soul-bearing, emotionally driven pop that cohere effectively into an impressive album. Continue reading “Album Reviews: Ben Platt – Sing To Me Instead / Cassidy Janson – Cassidy”

10 questions for 10 years – Nikki + Joe Davison

Also celebrating their 10th anniversary, Nikki and Joe from Auburn Jam Music take their turn with 10 Questions for 10 Years

  • Where were you 10 years ago?

    This is a nice coincidence because ten years ago we were just setting up Auburn Jam Music! We also got married that same year, and didn’t have money to rent a space so we started the studio from the spare room in our flat. Living and working together isn’t always a walk in the park so we’re quite glad to now have the studio and home in separate places, with a nice dog walk between and a soundproof room if we need some headspace from each other!! Continue reading “10 questions for 10 years – Nikki + Joe Davison”

The Curtain Up Show Album of the Year 2017 winners

Best UK Cast Recording
42nd Street – 2017 London Cast Recording
Bat Out Of Hell The Musical – Original Cast Recording
WINNER: Dreamgirls – Original London Cast Recording
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Original Concept Recording
Girl From The North Country – Original London West End Cast Recording
The Wind in the Willows – Cast Recording

Best American Cast Recording
Anastasia – Original Broadway Cast Recording
Come From Away – Original Broadway Cast Recording
WINNER: Dear Evan Hansen – Original Broadway Cast Recording
Hello, Dolly! – New Broadway Cast Recording
Spongebob Squarepants – Original Cast Recording
Sunday in the Park with George – 2017 Broadway Cast Recording

Best Solo Album/Non Cast Recording
WINNER: Collabro – Home
Leading Ladies – Songs From The Stage
Marisha Wallace – Soul Holiday
Patti LuPone – Don’t Monkey With Broadway
Rachel Tucker – On The Road
Sheridan Smith – Sheridan