What came first? The musical or the film…

Katie Rose (@katie_e_rose) writing for @MTAS_Official

I have loved the theatre for quite some time, and having studied it at university, I’m very intrigued by the subject below and would love to get your thoughts to!

During a recent  viewing; having missed it the first time round when it was in Dartford, mainly due to poor planning, but this time I was Successful this time with not one partner in crime but two, I took my seat to watch Chicago live for the first time, ( Hayley Tamaddon as Roxie, amazing….John partridge Billy Flynn, not so much but that’s another story). It wasn’t until my friend made a comment during the interval ‘I can’t stop thinking of the film‘ that I had a massive brainwave!

theatreland-jpegIt is rare to see today’s West end, or Broadway not lit up with a show that associates with a film nowadays, whether that be the musical was first and made into a film, or the film transformed into a live action production, but what is better I ask?

I have watched many film/show productions in my viewings and each I have had a varied experience coming away from the show saying ‘na I preferred the film‘ or ‘that was SO much better than the film‘ for example let’s go with recent production Funny Girl, which is a musical that is very close to my heart having watched the film with my mum and sister many times when I was little. funny-girl-filmI wasn’t going to miss the chance to see the live production (I saw Natasha by the way, she was fantastic!). I knew there would be added musical numbers, alongside the classics, but when I saw that some songs from the film were not in the show (I’d Rather be Blue) or had been changed (Swan Song to Rat A-Tat-Tat). Being that those in ways were favourites of mine, I came away a confused and little disappointed, nevertheless I still loved the show and funny-girl-showwas so happy I saw it. However  it wasn’t till after the show and a little research that I realised funny girl was a stage show before the film so actually the film was the one that put in the new numbers in to suit the director’s side of the story, but although I loved the live production I still came away loving the film more.

Barbara Striesand in the film in ‘Funny Girl’ and Natasha Barnes in the Live Musical

Going on to a film I thought was worse that the musical, roa-filmRock of Ages, now when this premiered in the cinemas I jumped at the chance of going to see it, and don’t get me wrong at the time I loved it, even bought the soundtrack after. However at that time I had never seen the live show, and when it finally came to the west end from Broadway there was no denying I would make sure I would get tickets and I was lucky to for its first year run. It wasn’t until I started watching the musical live where I became so confused! ‘Where was Catherine Zeta Jones part’ ‘how come Stacie doesn’t get with the reporter?’ ‘Wait Stacie didn’t sleep with Sherrie??’ And ‘who was this Franz, Hertz, and Regina??’ All the questions that were swimming in my head at times of the first act. The film had completely changed the story, all though the main story was still the focus (saving the bourbon room) the film had totally taken apart how the story was told and added in completely new characters, as I can only guess they roa-showthought it was better that way (or they wanted to seek tickets by putting a list celebrities who weren’t that good to begin with to sell those ticket…oops sorry that’s another story!) Now It wasn’t until I shut those questions aside when watching the musical, and began to take it as a brand new experience, I enjoyed every minute and could stop laughing. I loved it so much more, and went back a further 2 times before it closed, never watching the film ever (even though I fortunately bought it)

These views can be different for everyone and I think the prime factor in this subject is again everyone’s worry in some way…costs. I’d be lying if I didn’t think some prices of the theatre west end didn’t put people off purchasing tickets, and then when they see that it’s coming to the cinema which would you go for? A £13 ticket to a £40 sounds a lot easy on the pocket doesn’t it? And that’s where some of the issue is. Also some people don’t have the opportunity as many to travel to the west end, so either result to going to see the film versions, or be lucky to catch the musical on tour nearby. Wait until my next Entry blog to get some tips on this matter!

I’m glad to see that west end and theatre are starting to see this issue, and are now actually recording shows for DVD or TV viewing like ‘Shrek the Musical’ and ‘Billy Elliot’ and soon to be in cinema, and DVD ‘Miss Saigon’ and ‘Gypsy’ it brings another chance again for others to save some pennies and watch in the comfort of their own homes seeing the musical rather than the Hollywood film.

I will always be biased and always side with a lot live production musicals in the film/musical ration of the west end. And with ‘Dreamgirls’ (stage to film to stage) and ‘Finding Neverland’ (film to musical rumoured) coming soon I will defiantly try and see them. I am also intrigued to see how and what the film industry does with the confirmed filming of musical ‘Wicked’. The thing I have to remember is take them each as a New experience and maybe new story songs along the way, and try not to ask myself ‘that didn’t happen in the…’ each take is going to be different, and that will always be the way.

So what have been your experiences/thoughts on the above?


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