The World According to Keitho

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Why did they remake the Music Man?

Posted by keithosaunders on October 17, 2010

It’s a quiet Saturday night in the Bay Area.  The Giants won their playoff game earlier this evening == a tense non-pitching duel between Tim Lincecum and Roy Halliday, and now there’s nothing to do but scan around for some decent TV, an oxymoron if there ever was one.  I was flipping through the channels marvelling at how many Pac 10 football games there were when I stumbled upon The Music Man.

After watching for five minutes it became clear that this wasn’t my father’s Music Man  —   the one with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones.  This was a remake with, of all people, Mathew Broderick in the Henry Hill role.  I realize that Broderick was good on stage in The Producers, but he really doesn’t have the voice, or the dancing skills to carry an entire musical.  Kristin Chenoweth had the Marian the librarian role and she fared much better.  Have you ever noticed something about Chenowith….she is the smallest person with the biggest voice. — you wonder where it emerges from.

Do you remember Jim Nabors, the actor who played Gomer Pyle in the 1960s television show?  He had this high-pitched southern drawl, kind of sing-songy, and a little whiney. Every once in a while he would guest on the Carson show, or sing the national anthem at a ball game.  You’d be steeling yourself for Gomer’s twang when out would come this booming baritone.  Remarkable.

Hollywood should leave these old musicals alone — we’re too cynical for them now.  Too much CGI has dulled our senses.  The theatre is a different story, though.  I saw South Pacific at Lincoln Center two years ago and loved it.  What a privilege to get to hear those Richard Rogers melodies sung with full orchestra and a beautiful production.  Carousel, which I saw 14 years ago, was one of my great theatre experiences.

I’ll leave you with two more from my daughter, now that she’s sitting next to me watching Hannah Montana.  Miley Cyrus has a much lower speaking voice than her singing voice.  She’s the anti-Nabors!  I am also informed that Justin Bieber has a high speaking voice and a high singing voice.  We’ll put him in the Michael Jackson category.




3 Responses to “Why did they remake the Music Man?”

  1. Chenoweth is shockingly tiny when you meet her in person. She’s like a porcelain figurine that walks, talks and can sing opera. And yeah, she basically can sing anything because of that operatic training. Pretty talented, that Chenoweth. But she’s the reason why musicals get made nowadays. So she can be Marian the Librarian!

    Really, Kristin was perhaps born 20 years too late. She would have been fantastic as a counterpoint to long and lanky Carol Channing in some Jules Styne show… or maybe something by Cy Coleman. It’s so odd that she often finds herself playing characters that are supposed to be likable but really aren’t so much. Her roles in Wicked and TV’s “Pushing Daisies” are the first to spring to mind.

    And if you don’t mind a little plug, I’d suggest you come over to check out our pop culture blog: where we make a regular habit of discussing all things related to tv, film, theater, music, and more! It’s why I bothered to start a blog here actually. So, if you get tired of those Hannah Montana reruns (or my Yankees commentary!), come check us out over there.

  2. Justin Bieber? NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

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