Located on a small expansion shelf about midway between the Third and Fourth Circles, Musical Hell is presided over by Diva, a minor demon charged with passing judgement on the worst musicals ever committed to film. (She still hasn't figured out if this is their punishment or hers.) Take a seat on the bench and have your earplugs ready, because court is now in session.

New videos posted on the first Monday of the month. Other viewpoints, news, and general ramblings posted when they crop up.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Know the Score: Top Five Oscar-Winning Songs

It's Oscar time again!  This year we're kicking off by having a look back at five of my favorite tunes to win the Best Original Song award.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Galavant So Far: A Review in Filk

And so we’re halfway through
ABC’s four-week ‘do
About a hero known as Galavant

And goodness knows I’ve tried
To be on this show’s side
But I just can’t get into Galavant

True, I can’t be an absolute hater
Love the songs by Al and Slater
And sure, Joshua Stasse is hot!
But what about the plot?
It sure is sinking Galavant!

Now the main arc’s okay
(If quite a bit cliché)
With jaded Gal and Princess Isabella

The fractured hero’s quest
Is the show at its best
And Stasse, he does make you root for the fella

Yet Izzy’s betrayal is a chance missed
(Should have saved that for a plot twist!)
And oh, it would be good to go
In a two-hour show
But twice as long is Galavant

There’s all these subplots we must slog through
Mostly King Richard trying to woo the bitch queen
A trip to Sid’s hometown (his parents are Jews?)
And the worst joust in the land
A goofy pirate band
And gags like every sitcom you’ve seen!

And that’s just how it goes
Fun songs and cameos
But not enough to salvage Galavant

Though I will soldier through
I don’t have hope, it’s true
And I’ve one more gripe with Galavant

That the meta humor leaves me jaded
(Must the singing be lampshaded?)
Oh, it’s just not going well
Could end in Musical Hell
A sorry fate for Galavant!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Musical Hell Review: Geppetto (Plus: Social Media Madness!)

A new year, a new review!  Here's Drew Carey starring in Geppetto, providing himself with joke fodder for years to come!

And what's more, Musical Hell is now on Facebook and Tumblr for all your social media needs!  (And Twitter.  But that's been up for a while now.)  Like, follow, and do whatever!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Know the Score: Annie and Into the Woods

There are two musicals in theaters this holiday season.  Which should you see--and which should you avoid?  Check out the new Know the Score to find out!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Peter Pan Live: A Short Reviewlet

Okay, NBC, new rule: if you're going to keep doing these live musical events (and I sincerely hope that you do), you need to start casting lead actors who work.

Like last year's Sound of Music Live, Peter Pan Live was a very promising and occasionally entertaining production hampered by the fact that its stars were out of place and/or out of their depth.  And that's a shame, because Peter Pan has a proud television tradition to stand on.  I have good memories of watching reruns of the old Mary Martin broadcast, and the 1990s revival with Cathy Rigby has long been a home video staple.  Watching this production reminded me how good the score really is, alternating between joyously fun numbers like "I'm Flying" and "I Won't Grow Up" and haunting, reflective pieces like "Tender Shepherd"--a fitting juxtaposition for a story that's all about the innocence of childhood faced with the inevitability of growing older.

Such a pity, then, that Allison Williams and Christopher Walken fell short on Peter Pan and Captain Hook.  Though Williams sang well, and certainly displayed more personality than Carrie Underwood (who was out-acted by the sets, her costumes, and occasionally her guitar), she delivered only a fraction of the energy, joy, and arrogant bravado of the boy who never grew up.  Peter Pan is a little rougish, a little thoughtless, and a little naive--which is why the on-the-cusp-of-womanhood Wendy finds him so fascinating--but Williams seemed too self-aware and, well, mature in the part.  As for Walken...he pretty much did what everybody pays him to do nowadays, which is show up and be Christopher Walken.  Seldom has he done it with so little enthusiasm, however, only occasionally giving Hook a bit of villainous snarl and stumbling over his lines with an indifference that suggested he couldn't even be bothered to learn them.

The rest of the cast was admirable enough--Taylor Louderman made for a sweet, oh-so-British Wendy, and Kelli O'Hara was elegant in voice and figure as Mrs. Darling.  Christian Borle proved indispensable once again, doing double duty as Mr. Darling and Smee.  (Tradition dictates Hook doubles for Mr. Darling, but Walken would have been even less convincing as the blustering Edwardian patriarch.)  And if the Lost Boys didn't look much younger than the pirates they tangled with--I swear one of them had a hint of five o'clock shadow--they leaped about the beautiful Neverland set with infectious glee.

Updates to the material were inevitable, with mixed results.  We all knew Tiger Lily and her tribe of racial stereotypes would never fly today (no pun intended), and turning them into a multi-ethnic troupe of generic primitives was a reasonable adjustment.  Did we really need to beg the children to save Tinkerbell via hashtag, though?

If Peter Pan didn't fall flat on its face, it didn't really soar either.  Hopefully the kinks in this whole concept get hammered out before The Music Man hits the small screen.  Otherwise, there will be (Musical) Hell to pay.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Musical Hell Review: The Swan Princess Christmas

The holidays are upon us!  And what better way to celebrate than listening to some badly produced carols sung by creatures out of your nightmares?  Enjoy, if you dare, The Swan Princess Christmas!

And a gentle reminder that Know the Score won't be appearing until after Christmas this month, so that I may bring you my long-awaited reactions to the long-awaited Into the Woods movie.  Oh, and Annie too, but I don't have really high hopes for that one.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Know the Score: The Hunger Games

With Mockingjay Part 1 coming out this week, Know the Score examines the music of Panem, as presented by James Newton Howard and Arcade Fire among others.

NOTE: Due to YouTube's random and incomprehensible copyright standards, some countries may not be able to see the video.  Fear not, international fans, you can check it out on ZippCast instead!