re: Is "Parade"moving to Broadway?
Last Edit: Chazwaza 01:52 pm EST 11/10/22
Posted by: Chazwaza 01:26 pm EST 11/10/22
In reply to: re: Is "Parade"moving to Broadway? - MistressAndy 01:03 pm EST 11/10/22

I actually think cutting the first "Big News", like the actual song the other bits are reprises of, is a big mistake. Not only is it a swell song that changes the mood and vibe of the show at a useful time to do so (after the reveal and reaction to Mary being found dead)... it introduces the character who represents the MEDIA, and sets up the context for a sleepier southern life and the lack of sensational headlines and stories to build a career and sell papers off of. The media thirst and irresponsibility in this case is a crucial element and I don't think they did the show any favors by cutting the heart of Craig's musical presence but then still making him seem like a lead character.
And the way Arden directed his "Real Big News" song aka "Big News II" (now the first one he has) as an evil soft-shoe song-and-dance-man number was bizarre and terrible in my opinion, and came out of nowhere in that production and version of the show.

And I definitely miss Fiddlin' John and that whole section.

I also think it is never made clear who Tom Watson is, let alone that he writes for a right-wing paper. We get quickly that he's a religious nut, but his sections feel so joltingly weird it's like I'm watching Mulholland Drive. All the additions of the "Hammer of Justice" sections are jarring and confusing and out of step with the way the score builds and sounds. Why they felt like the show needed all of that thrown into act 1 but they had to cut "Big News" (I assume for time/i think i read JRB say that was why) is beyond me. They should be building this world so that we feel we know and understand where the people involved are coming from before the elements all conspire for this injustice and hatred to become unstoppable... and knowing Britt Craig/the media as a human being before it gets out of control is important. We never get to know Tom Watson that way, and maybe we shouldn't (though I think it would be more effective... either that, or let him creep into the proceedings slowly and subtely until he takes over and take the minds of the angry townspeople, as it played originally), but all the "Hammer of Justice" stuff only further isolates him as a weirdo extremist from the beginning, both from what he sings and how is sounds compared to the rest of the score in act 1, and interrupts the flow of the incredibly crafted/built original court sequence.
I feel similarly about the other changes... "People of Atlanta" was an exciting and helpful song, Hammer of Justice is not. One of the really thrilling and effective things about how JRB wrote the original score was how musically it was able to ebb and flow and transition us in and out of sections of the story, and his tinkering with it has really messed that up in several places. Also the Judge's song "Letter to the Governor" is a brilliant song telling us about an aspect of the experience of the judicial system and the humanity of it and the soul-bearing, ethical wrestling that must be inherent in this situation... why was it cut? Let alone to make room for "The Glory"? "The Glory" as a scene and song brings the entire show to a halt, every time I see this version done, and I do not think the audience is with these characters enough to spend this much time with them. I am sure they felt the Judge didn't need a song as a character we hardly know, sure, but his position in the story is very important and we quickly understand what he represents and the position he's in... we have a lesser understanding when he is singing this slow unclear song with the Governor... i mean, blink and you'd miss it's even the Judge doing this with the Gov. That being said, I like the song by itself, I understand why they wrote it, what they think it's accomplishing, but it isn't worth it. I can FEEL the audience wanting to get back to the Leo and Lucille story. And especially with SO much time spent on "Pretty Music"... a fun song at least, unlike The Glory... with only a bit of Lucille at the end. And that is clearly written, the audience is with it. "The Glory" is hard to pin down... slow talking people talking vaguely about political strategy and life. I think it's good, and smart, I just don't think it works the way they think it does in the actual show. "Letter to the Governor" did a much better job of talking to the audience about what the audience's mind is thinking/wondering and craving from the story at that point. "The Glory" seems to work toward doing the opposite of that, ha.

There are also just LOTS of pieces of dialogue that built or paid off or said many things I feel are missing from the story and experience of this show and these people now, especially stuff dealing with Leo's legal defense or lack thereof, his lawyer, the people of the town, and the details about Leo and Lucille and their relationship.
They trimmed it down far too much for its own good.

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Next: re: Is "Parade"moving to Broadway? - HadriansMall 05:00 pm EST 11/10/22

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