A jukebox musical, whatever its dramatic blueprint, is first and foremost a delivery vehicle for nostalgia. This is a popular thing and to a great extent a good one. It is no easy trick, though. Almost every song tells some sort of story. The stories in most songs, even the simplest ones, imply surprisingly extensive contexts, and taken together, these contexts tangle rapidly. There exist only a few possible fundamental ways to minimize those tangles.
Posts Tagged ‘Kansas’
That is the ultimate temptation inherent in turning classic plays into vehicles for screen stars. Those stars pull in audiences filled with the uninitiated, with people who fundamentally do not know how to watch a play, and who are too easily satisfied. Commercial success can be achieved with something half-baked. And half-baked seems to be more the norm than the exception with the successes that do result. Classic plays tend to require directorial shaping; stars tend to tempt directors to slack off. It’s not a good thing.
Director David Schweizer has employed the unique resources of a professional company to sand down some of the rough edges in the script, in a way smaller companies couldn’t do. Using those resources, he has sneakily transformed a mid-century work of American realism into something fantastical like Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It, and thereby has solved a lot of problems.