Monday, April 20, 2009

Divas of Daytime TV

Last night I went to see the Divas of Daytime TV (Bobbie Eakes, Krystal on AMC, Kassie DePaiva, Blair on OLTL and Kathy Briers, Marcie OLTL) here in New York at Prohibition, a cool bar on the Upper West Side. I dragged a good friend of mine with me because I didn't want to go alone, and I'm glad that I did. The bar was packed with people. Thank god I had made a reservation for dinner, otherwise we would have had to have stood for the evening. I haven't been to a concert in a bar since I went to see Daphne Rubin-Vega and her band at the late lamented Cutting Room, so I wasn't sure what to expect from these ladies. I watch both AMC and OLTL and I can attest to their acting prowess but not their singing. Until last night.

These women are phenomenal singers in their own right but you put them together and they are dynamite. Seriously they could have sung for a good two hours and I would not have been bored and neither would the rest of the audience. They sang mostly covers and songs from their individual CD's but the standout of the evening was Kathy Briers (who played Marcie on OLTL) who sang Brickhouse. Now this song is usually sung by a man but she just tore it up. She started off by talking about how some girl called her fat when she was twelve and her father told her that she was built like a brick sh*thouse. How many fathers would tell their daughters that?

Of course there were soap stars in the audience. Jamie Luner who now plays Liza on AMC but is well known for her vixen roles on Savannah (why oh why did they cancel that show?), and Melrose Place (why oh why are they reviving that show?) was there and sat near me. I had two glasses of wine which is why I went up to Jill Larson and mentioned that I had seen her at church on Palm Sunday. One of the reasons why I normally don't go to events where I can meet celebrities, is that I tend to act like a big dork!

Now I must go and purchase Kassie, Bobbie and Kathy's CD's.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Any Dream Will Do

Last night I watched the reality show Any Dream Will Do on BBC America. The premise for this show is the search for a male actor to play the lead in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's first produced musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. This is actually the second reality show about choosing the lead for a revival that Lloyd Webber was producing. The first called "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria," detailed the search for a Maria for The Sound of Music, and the third was for a Nancy in a revival of Oliver!.

I didn't think I would like this show as much as I did, probably because it is so incredibly cheesy. The show started off with 50 guys being whittled down to twelve. The twelve would perform live every week with one of the guys being eliminated in each episode after a sing-off. The guys run the gamut from a singer who has already understudied in the West End, to a builder, to one singer who is of East Asian descent whose family didn't even know he could sing.

The best part of the show was when the top twenty were flown to Ireland to stay at Andrew Lloyd Webber's castle to perform for the townspeople in the small theater on the property. The audience members got to help vote for which of the twenty made it into the twelve remaining finalists. Gorgeous castle by the way.

The thing that really got me was the fact was two things, the guys have to perform wearing the technicolor dreamcoat that Joseph wears in the show, and the loser has to sing this song called "Close Every Door to Me," at the end of which the other guys take off the coat and he leaves. Cheesefest or what? The guys got to perform with back-up dancers, depending on their song, making it like some kind of seventies variety show. Not even American Idol would think to pull that off.

Being a former thespian, I loved the idea of using a reality TV show to give a newcomer a chance at a part in a West End show. They've tried this here with that show about Grease and on MTV choosing a winner to be in Legally Blonde the musical. But it somehow doesn't seem to have the same meaning as it does in the UK. Maybe because the UK is smaller and the film, theater and TV industries are all in one spot. Meaning that an actor can do a play and film a TV show, or a part in a film at the same time, which is a lot harder in New York.

In the states, it's all about getting that movie role or music stardom. Movie and music stars get to date models, appear in People and the other tabloids. Theater stars don't. In the UK, they appear in Hello! Magazine all the time. It's just so different over there. I mean John Barrowman, one of the judges, appeared in two TV shows here that went nowhere. He goes back home to the UK, does many West End shows and gets the lead in Torchwood which is now an international sensation.

Even though I know who wins, I'm definitely going to keep watching Any Dream Will Do.