Friday, January 12, 2007


Is it heretical for a gay man not to like musicals? There are a couple of exceptions, I can listen to the Patti LuPone Evita, and am curious to see Grey Gardens,but that's about it. Given complete freedom of choice, I'd rather not know What (you) Did for Love, hear about your long, beautiful Hair, and if You're Still Here I'd appreciate it if you'd keep silent about it.

There are, however, a few times that I have witnessed a performance that has made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Patti LuPone was one of them: so much so that I cannot think of seeing anyone else in the part. It's just hers. One of the other ones is from a show that's now out as a movie: Dreamgirls. Now perhaps the fact that I saw this movie in the worst possible theater (AMC Universal CityWalk, the first and last time I will ever set Prada in that pest-hole again...), but I found the movie to be a bit overlong and underacted. Jennifer Hudson is very, very good in this, but she is for me overshadowed by Jennifer Holliday. Unfortunatley for Hudson, YouTube has the clip of Holliday singing "I am telling you" from the 1982 Tony Awards. Hudson's version is very good: you can see why she was on "American Idol" (did she win? I've never seen a whole episode of the show: Simon Cowell and La Seacrest make me want to shoot the TV), but Holliday: this is a woman who you can really believe is in the process of losing her man, her job, and perhaps her mind at the moment of this performance. Add to that the fact that she did this every night for how long?

Oddly, having sat through the movie, I was struck with two things: I think that Beyonce is being sort of unfairly eclipsed by Jennifer. Beyonce is very good in subsuming her normal voice to do a Diana Ross style of singing (they did add in a new number for her to Beyonce at Jamie Foxx: she is telling him she is going, and in no uncertain terms); Effie is a showier and in a way more pivotal role. Not that Miss Hudson doesn't deserve her praise, but I think Miss Knowles deserves accolades as well. The other thrill is that a lot of it was filmed in the building I work in. All of Jamie Foxxs offices when they make it big are one floor above me. Okay, well that was just a thrill for me, but I have to take them where I can get them.


elle said...

My gay father didn't like musicals either, so I think there may be clauses allowing for it in the official rules handbook. He was, however, obsessed w/ opera and loved to act in any amateur production he could, so frequently he took roles in musicals just so he could get on a stage. Blessedly, he had an excellent voice.
Haven't seen Dreamgirls yet, but how incredibly cool that the building you work in is in it!!

tmp00 said...

I know! Right? All I could think of when they had the scene in Foxx's office with the big blow-up of Beyonce was "gee, that's the room we had out Holiday potluck in last week!"