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Amanda Glam
home : features : amanda glam
October 2, 2022

5/19/2022 3:53:00 PM
Amanda's Picks

Amanda Glam
Entertainment Writer

Our friends at PBS have brought us Great Performances for 50 years and many of the series highlights have showcased music. On May 13, the series premiered the big-time London production of the 2021 revival of the classic Broadway musical Anything Goes starring Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney. Foster won a Tony for the role in 2011, and is a current nominee for playing Marian opposite Hugh Jackman in the revival of The Music Man. I had never seen her on anything except the TV series Younger.
I wasn’t quite as excited as I was when I signed up for Disney+ so I could see the screen version of Hamilton, which is phenomenal and still available. If you are a Broadway person without Broadway bucks, televised Broadway musicals are not a bad way to go.
The score of Anything Goes includes the title song and “You’re the Top,”’ “Friendship,” “I get a Kick Out of You,” and “It’s De-Lovely.” This old-school musical about mistaken identities, bad guys, good girls, bad girls, and good guys, set on an ocean liner is cute and fun. Foster is definitely the star of the show and as the smart and sassy Reno, she gets to belt out the title song and finally get the tap dancing started at the 75-minute mark. I really enjoyed Samuel Edwards as the male lead Billy Crocker, and most of the other cast is just fine. Robert Lindsay as gangster Moonface Martin and Carly Mercedes Dyer as his moll Erma, are standouts and provide the biggest laughs. The costumes and set are impressive. I want all of Sutton Foster’s gowns. While it might not be the same as watching it on stage, I’m all for saving money and hitting the fast forward through intermission.
It took me a long time to finally watch Come From Away, the filmed version of the 2017 Tony Award winning musical, on Apple TV+. You have to be in a certain kind of mood to sit down to a musical about the thousands of people stranded in a small town in Newfoundland after all U.S. flights were grounded on September 11, 2001. While I forgot every song a week after I watched Come From Away, the spirit, warmth and message stayed with me. The more intimate and sparse settings make it an ideal musical for the small screen.
There’s no Sutton Foster here. In fact there’s not a name in the cast I recognized, but everyone was terrific. The characters are all based on real people and their words and letters are incorporated into the moving and yes, occasionally funny story, and again, forgettable but pleasant songs. In a time where we might not be feeling the best about our fellow man and the world in general, Come From Away will lift your spirits and make you feel better about humans and the world in general.
Brand new to HBO is Dear Evan Hansen, the film version of the popular Tony-winning musical. Ben Platt, who won the Tony in 2017, reprises his role as Evan, an awkward and unhappy high school senior who, due to an unlikely event, becomes involved with the family of Connor, a classmate who committed suicide. The boy’s grieving mom (Amy Adams) is so happy that her son had a friend, that Evan starts telling lies about their friendship and thanks to our good friend social media, things soon spiral out of control. Fun musical subject, huh?
Unlike Come From Away and Anything Goes, this adaptation really opens up the story and within two minutes, Evan is in a car and then a bustling school. The songs are kind of talk/sung with the occasional big finish. Platt’s a bit too old now to convince us he’s 18. He does have a strong voice and excels at appearing sad and tormented. Adams has one song, but her emotional performance anchors the film. Julianne Moore as Evan’s distracted mom, doesn’t have much to do until later in the film, when she gets her own big song. Kaitlyn Dever, who was so good in the TV dramas, Unbelievable and Dopesick, is the most believable and sympathetic character as Evan’s crush and Connor’s sister. This isn’t a feel good musical, but it does deliver a powerful message about mental health, alienation and the importance of making connections. Unfortunately at 137 minutes, it’s way too long. I found myself longing for an intermission. Ultimately, even with an uplifting ending, Dear Evan Hansen borders on the depressing and will make you glad you went to high school before Facebook and Instagram.

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