Sunday, October 6, 2013

Careful The Spell You Cast

'Tamper with what is true
And children will turn...'

I understand the world of the movie musical is riddled with disappointed Broadway actors. It is understandable, it is usually the actor, and their stage version of an iconic Broadway character that usually helps to inspire a movie to begin with. You act and belt your way through hundreds of performances, only to find a less talented, but better known, movie actor gets to take on the role. Such is the case with 2014 release of Into The Woods.

The original Broadway cast (Bernadette Peters, Ben Wright, Joanna Gleason, Chip Zien et al) were each standouts in their respective roles. The release of new images from Rob Marshall's film had me a bit angry that another Broadway superstar is being left at the curb. The Witch became one of Bernadette Peters signature roles, a tour de force performance and perfect blending of actor with role. I love Meryl Streep and am sure between Rob Marshall's directing, Sondheim's music and Streep's own incredible talent she will pull it off. I am also sure there will be a fair amount of movie magic to ensure Streep can pull off the witches difficult song repertoire.

Streep has a nice voice, hits all the notes, but having seen her sing in movies and live, she also lacks the power and strength to really do justice to the songs Peter has made her own. Streep is an actress, and therefore will act he way to success as the witch, but most of the witches most powerful moments come through song and I am not convinced for a second Streep can pull them off without quite a bit of help. I know this is not new, happens almost every time a non-singer is cast in a movie musical, but in this case it seems even more unjust. Peters is only 1 year older than Streep and could have pulled off the role without any difficulty. I hate the fact the Witch will soon become a Streep role instead of belonging to the woman who gave such a heartbreaking performance singing Stay With Me. Thankfully, the original cast production was documented for all time on a great DVD production so unlike other past Broadway triumphs, this one will remain with us long after the movie version has come and gone.

Above Chris Pine.
Below: Pine with fellow prince Billy Magnussen

1 comment:

MostFun said...

Thank you for this posting Tye! I never knew that Peters was ONLY one year older the Streep. I love B. Peters and her interpretations of Sondheim's songs.