On How A Musical Revival Takes Longer Than One Year

Rebecca Traitser, oft of the NYO and some online zine called Salon, notes in the NYT that the studios haven’t quite ironed out all the details of that post-Chicago musical revival we’ve all been waiting for. Ignoring that Miramax-spun history of contemporary musicals for a moment (Moulin Rouge? South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut? 8 Mile?), it seems musicals need a certain studios ne savent quoi to escape development hell.
Some examples: Broadway films [Do we know that Joel Schumacher’s Phantom won’t bring on the Apocalypse?], classic musical remakes, hip-hop musicals, pop stars performing, and –shockingly–something original. [I would add animated anime-style thriller to that list if I’d moved forward with it at all in the last three months…]
The only musical in the article that doesn’t already bore me to tears is John Turturro’s Romance and Cigarettes, starring James Gandolfini and Susan “Rocky Horror” Sarandon. The producers call it “Pennies from Heaven meets The Honeymooners,” and say it’ll include covers of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Man Without Love” and Tom Jones’s “Delilah” along with original music and choreography. [Christopher Walken’s in it, and as Spike Jonze’s Weapon of Choice video proves, the man can dance.]
R&C is currently in post-production. Back in 2002, it was a Coen Brothers joint, they dropped out and left Turturro to direct. Greene Street Films is producing, and my boy Bingham Ray’s UA is distributing.