14 Musicals That Would Make Great Live TV Musicals

14 Musicals That Would Make Great Live TV Musicals (And not be ruined by Network tV)

*cough Rent cough Hair cough*

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Live TV musicals have become a popular treat as of late. With recent productions like "Hairspray," "Grease," and "Jesus Christ Superstart: Live in Concert," it's clear that there's an interest -- and maybe even a demand -- for this form of live entertainment. Not all live productions do as well as others, but more often than not they are well-received.

Fox has a live production of "Rent" lined up for January 27, 2019, and NBC is airing "Hair Live" in May 2019. Audiences, particularly the theater crowd, are concerned that censorship will be the ruin of these two iconic musicals when they hit the small screen. There's been much talk about what other shows could be done instead of these two, and here's my list of what I think would make great live TV musicals.

1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Playbill

Okay, I'll admit that this one would probably require some censorship since we all know what Sweeney Todd actually does for a living. But this dark comedy is gripping and entertaining, certain to capture your attention as you watch with trepidation as Sweeney goes after his victims. "Sweeney Todd" is an ensemble-based show as the background actors serving as a Greek chorus, which would allow the production scale to be bigger as well. I'd love to see Angela Lansbury make a cameo in this, or even return as Mrs. Lovett! Although I wouldn't object to seeing Helena Bonham Carter reprise that role.

2. Rock of Ages

The Hollywood Reporter

After the atrocity that was the 2012 film adaptation of an awesome jukebox musical, we deserve a better live version of the show!

3. In the Heights

Playbill

Ah, the show that kicked off Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway career. Warner Brothers recently announced that they will be making a film adaptation of "In the Heights," which has a 2020 release date. So why not have a live broadcast musical in the meantime? "In the Heights" has an amazing musical score and book with great opportunities for some creative sets. Hell, it could even be filmed on location in Washington Heights to add a gritty realness to the production. "In the Heights" is also a wonderful representation of Latinx community and culture, which doesn't always get a lot of screen time (let alone accurately). Bringing this show to TV would highlight the talent of both current and new Latino and Latina performers, and maybe even introduce new Latinx names to the acting scene. And of course, we all want a Lin cameo!

4. American Idiot

YouTube

Okay, so it may just be me who wants a TV musical of this show, but why not? "American Idiot" is just as politically relevant as it was 14 years ago. There's potential for some creative set design for this show, especially since the musical was originally performed with one set inlaid with multiple TVs and covered in newspapers. Plus, wouldn't it be cool if Billie Joe Armstrong came in to play St. Jimmy??

5. Legally Blonde

London Town

Now I'm not a huge fan of "Legally Blonde." But many people love both the original film and the musical, which means a TV musical would draw in a large viewing audience. And just imagine if Reese Witherspoon, THE Elle Woods forever and always, made a cameo!

6. Into the Woods

Playbill

Like with "Rock of Ages," this musical got a terrible movie treatment. (Although it wasn't quite as bad as "Rock of Ages." At least "Into the Woods" got some actors with musical backgrounds.) The movie cut out important parts of the show that would have made the storyline more comprehensive to audiences that weren't familiar with the musical and came more for Meryl Streep, James Corden, and Emily Blunt. The set design for this show could be amazingly dark and beautiful, truly making you believe that you've traveled with the cast "into the woods."

7. The Addams Family

Broadway.com

Who wouldn't want to watch a live adaptation of everyone's favorite kooky and creepy family? This would be a perfect live musical to broadcast around Halloween. Addams Family would be a lively and entertaining break from the traditional and, dare I say, over-broadcast Halloween movies (lookin' at you, "Hocus Pocus"). The music is fun and upbeat, with lots of Spanish flavor in its more modern-sounding songs.

8. Godspell

Jeremy Daniel Photography

After "Jesus Christ Superstar" was a big hit for Easter-time, why not do another Jesus-themed musical? "Godspell" has an amazing variety of songs from different genres which would allow casting directors to pull on different kinds of singers. While the set doesn't really change, Godspell is very music reliant and an entertaining show. It could perhaps even be done concert style like JCS was done, since the

9. Spamalot

Jesse Ashton Photography, Haines His Way

If you haven't heard of or seen "Spamalot," then you are seriously missing out, my friend. Spamalot is a musical "lovingly ripped off" from the films "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and "Life of Bryan." This show is wonderfully light-hearted and hilarious, and you can pull off a lot of cheesy jokes with Spamalot. Better yet, John Cleese could appear as King Arthur this time around, instead of Sir Lancelot as he was in the 1975 film.

10. Catch Me If You Can

Fanpop

The show's book is written like Frank Abagnale, Jr., the star of this show, is putting on a performance for an audience, so this would perfectly transition to a TV performance. "Catch Me If You Can" could even be staged like an old '60s live show in keeping with the kitchy made-for-TV feel of the show -- think "I Love Lucy" or "Bewitched." As long as Aaron Tveit isn't pulled on to reprise his role as Frank (because let's be real, the man certainly isn't passing as under 20 anymore now that his face shows age lines), this could be great!

11. Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Variety

Hedwig has some awesome angst-filled rock music, an interesting and important plotline regarding LGBTQ, and did I mention it won a Tony for Best Revival in 2014? Bonus if Neil Patrick Harris or Darren Criss returned to play Hedwig.

12. Les Miserables

Theo Wargo, CBS New York

It's a beautiful (albeit long) show with lots of big set pieces. It would be amazing to see what could be built and how the actors transition from each stage and scene. Also, petition to get Hugh Jackman and Eddie Redmayne to reprise their roles??

13. Sister Act

New Plymouth Operatic

This musical is based on Whoopi Goldberg's 1992 film and it's HILARIOUS. I saw a production of "Sister Act" last year and it's one of my favorites now. "Sister Act" is a beautiful show about sisterhood, love, and God. The music is modern yet appropriate to the '80s time period and will get you up and dance to some funky beats. There's also so much potential to highlight black musical talent in the theater world since several of the leads are black.

14. Beauty and the Beast

YouTube

Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, why not adopt this beloved Disney classic? The show has beautiful music, and an actress who can actually sing the appropriate keys to Belle's songs could be cast as the Disney princess. (Sorry Emma, you were a great acting choice but not the best singing choice.) We saw how exquisite and beautiful the sets for "Beauty and the Beast" can be in the 2017 film, and just imagine how amazing the costumes for the castle's enchanted residents would look!

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The Differences Between Live Theatre And Film

Film actors and stage actors aren't really that different... are they?
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Everyone has seen a movie and knows how amazing they can be. Theatre can also be amazing, just in different ways. Live theatre and film are similar in some respects but they are very different art forms. Theatre is familiar, larger than life, and lacking in special effects, whereas film has new material, less dramatic and obvious acting, and can be edited to show anything that is needed. Theatre and film are both visual art forms containing actors portraying characters, have scripts, and are widely appreciated, but they are not meant for the same place or people.

The biggest difference between live theatre and film is the location of the audience. On stage, the audience is far off and as they must be able to see and hear a performance to enjoy it, performers must act for the back row. This creates a larger than life performance which only works onstage. Whereas in films, the camera can always see you and the microphone can always hear you. Therefore, you do not have to act so over-the-top. Instead, doing less than you would in real life would be better. In fact, David Patrick Green states in his article, "The 3 Major Differences Between Stage and Screen Acting," that “reality is less enhanced when a camera and microphone become involved. In fact, due to camera-work, score, lighting, and other effects, it is sometimes better to do less than you would in real life because so many things are augmenting your performance.” In theatre, projection of your voice is a constant need, whereas in film you could whisper and the microphone would pick it up. Lloyd Kremer states in his article, "Theatre for the Film Actor," “Theatre is also much more demanding of the various vocal disciplines: volume, projection, and enunciation. In film work, many of these concerns are relegated to the Sound Man.”

Theatre is familiar in that the roles being portrayed have most likely been portrayed several times before, and the characters are very well known by the audience and the actors. Whereas in film, the characters with rare exceptions are being created for the first time. This makes portraying a movie character much easier than portraying a character in a play or musical. Green also states in his article, “the audience and critics will compare you to past versions of the same show. Because many stage characters have been played over and over, there is only so much leeway an audience will accept before they start to complain.” For instance, if Hamlet came onstage and said “To be, or to not be,” the audience would be enraged that you dared mess up a famous line of Shakespeare. Whereas in film, if you mess up a line the only people who will know are you and the people on set with you. Theatre is also familiar in that it gives actors plenty of time to get acquainted with their characters with rehearsal, but with film, that is not the case. As Eugene states in his article, "Stage vs. Screen: What's the Big Difference?" “...you will receive very little, if any, rehearsal time. Depending on the size of the role, you may not receive any direction. Films hire actors under the assumption that they will come to set performance-ready.”

Theatre and film are also very different in writing. Plays are written and then directors get ahold of the play script and adapt it to fit their stage and actors and sometimes even give it a bit of a modernized twist, whereas the screenplay for a film can be in revision as the acting is happening. For television shows, the scripts are written as the show is happening and the actors can get the script revisions while they are filming, whereas in theatre, the script is already written and no major revisions can really be made. In plays, every character has a description and it is the director’s job to decide how they want to interpret that onstage, whereas, in film, the director more or less makes up the character’s description. Lenore DeKoven says in the chapter “Directing: The Similarities and Differences between Film and Theatre” of her book, "Changing Direction: A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre", that “...the director’s work calls for an overview of the material and an awareness of the throughline and outlines for each character…”

Live theatre is very unpredictable. Anything can happen when you are onstage and it is an actor’s job to just roll with whatever happens and keep going. After all, “the show must go on.” Julia Kelso shows in her article, "Theatre vs Film: What’s the Difference?" many different things that could go wrong, such as “...an actor completely forgetting a line, a prop being misplaced, or that one stubborn section of the set breaking in the middle of a monologue.” On camera, you can redo the same scene as many times as you like, so you never have to worry about forgetting a line or tripping over something on the set.

Live theatre and film are very different art forms, meant for different audiences, yet both are essential to an actor and having experience in both often helps better your acting. Theatre is familiar to people, while film is brand new. Plays are written and then adapted, while screenplays are adapted while they are being written, and theatre is unpredictable and actors have to be flexible and willing to work through whatever happens, whereas with film, you get as many chances as you need for things to be perfect.
Cover Image Credit: henry edwards 2, now here this respectively

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I Went To My First Broadway Show And It Was Tony-Worthy

To be clear, this was my first Broadway show on Broadway, and I loved almost every minute of it.

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Let me just make the clarification now that this wasn't my first Broadway show I've seen. I've seen several at the Arizona Broadway Theater and also recently saw Wicked at ASU Gammage. However, this was my first ever Broadway show that I actually saw on Broadway. I was excited, to say the least. I knew it was at one of the smaller theaters on Broadway, but I was just as excited as I would have been for any of the other performances. It really all about the experience, and overall mine was great.

Deciding which show I was going to see was no small feat. I had a mini list that included Aladdin, Waitress, and Chicago. Deep down I really wanted to see Hamilton, but as a broke college student who recently started to make payments on their new car, Hamilton tickets were not even an idea. It really came down to what I could afford and what I would regret the most not seeing. So I chose Chicago. The ticket that I bought was relatively inexpensive since I sat in the far back of the theatre and would still have enough money left over for a commemorative t-shirt.

I was originally planning on going with one of my cousins that lives in New York, but her plans changed and I ended up going by myself. Some of you reading this are probably thinking, "aww that's so sad, going to the theatre by herself." Let me just squash that thought by saying how much I prefer going to things like that alone. I go to the movies alone more times than I go with someone else. That could be a whole other story on why I prefer my alone time, but in short: I'm an introvert. So I was fine seeing the musical by myself. My dad and I walked around Time Square before showtime. He dropped me off, and then we both went our separate ways for a few hours.

Like I said earlier, this was one of the smaller theaters on Broadway so it wasn't hard to find my seat. I bought my shirt before I went to my seat because I assumed there was going to be a line after the show. There wasn't, but I was still happy I got it earlier because then I could just leave after the show. My seat was literally four rows away from where the back wall of the theater was. Which was fine. I have great eyesight and I could see all of the stage clearly. That was until the large group of teenage girls sat directly in front of me and completely blocked my view of center stage.

During the first half of the musical, I was swaying side to side to get a view of the stage. I didn't want to yell at the girl and tell her to sit properly so the people behind her could see. Mainly because her mom was sitting next to her, and I didn't want that drama in the middle of the play. So during intermission, I moved seats. To my right, there were several empty rows of seats with no one for a few rows ahead of them so I thought "might as well." I made the decision to move because someone came and sat behind me about two songs into the music and started to complain that she couldn't see as well. So I took the liberty for both of us to have an experience and moved out of the way. The rest of the time was marvelous. I was able to see clearly. I sang along without having an older lady next to me judging my ability. It was fantastic.

The only thing that I wish would have happened, but I guess that only happens in lesser productions is when the audience gets to meet the cast and get an autograph. Of course, I didn't have a pen or sharpie with me so it was honestly for the best, but that would have been the cherry on top. Hopefully the next time I am in New York I have enough money to see another Broadway show. Maybe if I save up it could be Hamilton.

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