Musicals

All posts tagged Musicals

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Helen Morgan and Lillian Roth

Published October 8, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Helen Morgan’s lovely take on Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man from Show Boat is used to grand effect in Alfred Sole’s unusually powerful horror effort Alice, Sweet Alice. Introducing the pivotal presence of Mr. Alphonso, a creepy landlord who antagonistically preys upon the title character, Sole uses this number in the background to illustrate the strange emotional landscape of this sometimes pitiful, always unsavory character.

Morgan (above left), who died of alcoholism at an early age, had two biographies filmed of her life and troubled times. In an interesting coincidence, Sole cast Lillian Roth (above right), a singer and actress in the tradition of Morgan, in a small but pivotal role of a pathologist in the film. In reality, Roth’s path echoed Morgan’s on many levels, adding a nice layer of show business coincidence to this well loved film, which was recently given the deluxe Blu-ray treatment from Arrow Video. As with Morgan, Roth’s life was given a cinematic appraisal by Susan Hayward, who was nominated for an Oscar for her work, in I’ll Cry Tomorrow.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Horror Mash-Up: Fay Wray and Farley Granger

Published March 23, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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As with many superstars, Mary Astor and Constance Bennett among them, King Kong’s expressive Fay Wray found herself playing mothers of grown daughters onscreen far too soon. Nicely, Wray finds plenty of moments to bring a sense of charm and joy to her Mrs. Gordon Kimbell – no first name given!!! – in the 1953 MGM musical Small Town Girl.

Mothering musical sensation Jane Powell as she romances Farley Granger’s society playboy (while simultaneously wrangling her way through the rest of her loved one’s strong personalities), Wray is able to show moments of exasperated tenderness over her brood’s foibles and eccentricities while providing evidence that she is the force that keeps her family on the right track. Small Farley

Terror celebrants, meanwhile, will be pleased to see Wray, whose other horror credits include Doctor X and Mystery in the Wax Museum, share a scene or two with Granger. Granger, who proves here that he was one of the most striking presences in the Golden Age of Hollywood, is well known for his work in Hitchcock’s homoerotic masterpieces, Rope and Strangers on a Train. Besides that amazing contribution to the legacy of dark cinema, this eclectic specimen appeared in a variety of Giallo enterprises (So Sweet, So Dead, Something Creeping in the Dark, What Have They Done to Your Daughters?) and enlivened the beloved 1981 slasher The Prowler, which is highlighted by Tom Savini’s gruesome effects work.

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Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Bruce Davison

Published October 21, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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Beloved by the queer community for his Oscar nominated work in Longtime Companion, an acclaimed look at the effects of the AIDS crisis, the eclectic Bruce Davison has also worked with a number of classic film’s acclaimed divas.

Bruce-Davison-Mame-1974In the skittering horror of Willard, Davison shared significant screen time with Elsa Lanchester, the Frankenstein Monster’s favored bride. A few years later, he played the nephew of comedic genius Lucille Ball in the celluloid version of the musical Mame. In that project, he added the role of vocalist to the many notches on his creative belt.

Nicely, Davison is still providing layered and passionate support to many of gothic filmdom’s talented divas. His recent work opposite Lin Shaye in Insidious: The Last Key provided both performers with the chance to connect with subtle yet deep emotion. He also provided a glow of kind energy against the more nefarious outpourings of such genre pros as Meg Foster and Dee Wallace in Rob Zombie’s very personal Lords of Salem.

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Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Man Meat

Published August 12, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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The one thing that has always struck me as both unique and heartbreaking about the theatrical performance is its impermanence. Once it is done, it’s done and if you weren’t there, it isn’t even a vaporous speck in your consciousness. Of course occasionally, whether in rehearsal or secretively done during a performance, footage can be recorded for posterity.

Such is the case with Zombie Bathhouse: A Rock Musical. I wrote the book for this show that premiered during the Halloween season in Chicago last fall. Along with the ghastly limb chewing action and romance – (Yes, romance. This was a musical, after all.) – that occurred onstage; some ghostly presence got some recorded evidence of the show. Now we have a super cool music video of one of composer-lyricist Scott Free’s most aggressive numbers, Man Meat.

Nicely, this leaves an imprint for both the work of director Dan Foss and one of the show’s inspirations, Joey Kissling. Foss, who was suffering from kidney and heart disease, died nine days after the close of the show. His imaginativeness helped flesh out the show’s structure and his love for the cast allowed everyone to overcome the emotional hurdles involved with mounting a larger production with ease.  Kissling, meanwhile, provided the spiritual outline for Michael, the show’s conflicted and defiant lead. Kissling succumbed to an aggressive form of cancer in the spring of 2016 and Michael was created in his honor. Now, thanks to the existence of this video, they both have a more permanent and much deserved legacy.

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Dan Foss directing the ZB cast.

For those interested in the production itself, please feel free to visit www.zombiebathhouse.net/.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Elaine Paige

Published July 22, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

 

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Some people may appreciate 1978’s The Boys from Brazil for its mad scientist Frankenstein-ian themes. Those who feel revulsion for the Three Men and a Baby films may enjoy this dark conspiratorial yarn for its swift deposal of Steve Guttenberg’s nosy do-gooder in the opening sequence. Musical theater buffs meanwhile might dive into this horror hybrid because one of its main themes, We’re Home Again, was sung by Elaine Paige, one of the multi-talented, undisputed queens of the ever glittering boards.

Paige has won countless awards for her work on shows like Evita, Cats and Anything Goes. Along with Barbara Dickson, she also introduced the pop world to I Know Him So Well, a powerhouse duet from Chess, co-written by Tim Rice and Abba’s Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus.

Paige, who recently celebrated her 50th anniversary in show business, is forever bringing good protein to the entertainment smorgasbord at www.elainepaige.com and https://www.facebook.com/elainepaigeofficial/. 

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Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Betty Buckley

Published May 27, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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She’s one of Broadway’s reigning divas. Fans of Carrie and Split also claim her as their own. But there are probably few as singular and solitary minded as the exquisitely talented Betty Buckley.

Interestingly (and in a twist of fate as unusual as herself), Buckley who played the kindly Miss Collins in Brian DePalma’s classic adaptation of Stephen King’s novel also played Carrie’s deluded mother Margaret in the widely panned, short lived Broadway adaptation of this beloved horror shocker.

Recent reexamination has given this work a renewed appreciation. But, as evidenced in the video below, Buckley always seemed to know the piece’s worth. Her performance here is deliberate, delicate and captivating.

Buckley, meanwhile, who is releasing a new recording called Hope in June, is always bringing heart and soul to www.facebook.com/BettyBuckley/ and www.bettybuckley.com.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Zombie Bathhouse Chronicles: Paging Dr. Martino!

Published October 21, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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Hmmm…That old performing truism about not writing something for a cast member that you wouldn’t do yourself has come back to haunt me, as of late.

For years, I’ve been working with composer-lyricist (and Chicago institution) Scott Free on a project called Zombie Bathhouse: A Rock Musical. After a number of readings (and lots and lots of rewriting and reimagining and… well, you get the picture), we were ready to hit those Midwest stages, last week, for a professional run. Naturally, our amazing and dedicated cast was firmly in place, when circumstances twisted, as they are want to do, and I found myself recruited – or ham that I am, did I offer myself up willing!?!? – to take over the role of the mysterious Dr. Martino, the man responsible for the many nightmares endured by the show’s tortured romantic hero, Michael.

Honestly, it’s the last position that I expected to find myself in…but after some inner grumbling and heavy sighing, I’ve actually found myself immensely enjoying being one of the many creepy cogs in a creative machine again. My artistic journey began in the theatrical trenches and I had forgotten how amazing backstage comradery can feel. It’s been very satisfying being part of a unit working for a common goal…and the fact that this, (quite possibly) my final theatrical stage appearance, is in a work of horror makes it all the more satisfying.

More than anything, though, this experience makes me respect artists everywhere all the more. There are so many beautiful things involved with creating something, but so many risks and heartaches, as well. Sometimes those negatives can even outweigh the positives…and, damn, don’t those failures fucking burn?!? But, still we persist. Therefore, I want to send up a salute to my fellow cast mates and to all who dare to risk, to dream and to falter, on a daily basis. We’re warriors, folks, and even the mysterious and totally unsavory Dr. Martino would probably have to bow down to that.

Zombie Bathhouse runs until October 29th at The Center on Halsted. Further information is available at

https://m.facebook.com/ZombieBathhouse/

Until the next time, Sweet love and pink Grue, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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