Out There #1 – Beware the Biomusical

A few weeks ago, Chaplin opened on Broadway to middling reviews. Ben Brantley described the portrayal of the Little Tramp as “devoured by a swarm of man eating cliches” and The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that “its impossible to believe that [Charlie Chaplin] would express himself in such prosaic, cliched terms.” All of this heat over the reduction of a beloved icon to a simmering pot of bland stew got me thinking – why do some biomusicals sail, while others arrive virtually DOA?

Which one’s the Freaky Club Kid?

The history of the biomusical, while not prolific in its output, traces back generations and has born a few hits and a volume of flops. Marilyn: An American Fable infamously tanked amongst a chorus of dancing plumbers showering attention on a bathing Ms. Monroe. Coco, starring Katherine Hepburn as the mother of contemporary fashion, was a critical disaster despite moderate financial success (because of the marquee star’s fanbase). And Rosie O’Donell’s Boy George and Leigh Bowery megaflop Taboo received disparaging pre-press rivaled only in recent memory by Spiderman: Turn of the Dark. More

Craigslist Ad of the Week – Nightmare Catcher ($30)

This nightmare catcher was made from recycled items and has worked great for me until recently… I don’t know if it’s subliminal thought or spiritual mojo, but my wife took it down after a year of being up. She said she thought I didn’t like it for some reason??? (I made it…) I’m not sure I understand this myself yet, but I asked her to put it back up because my dreams had started turning back to nightmares a few days before I’d noticed it was down. When she put it back up my dreams got worse. If anyone’s interested in a nightmare catcher full of nightmares I guess this would be the one for you. I’m not sure what anyone would do with energy like that, but if you’re interested call me at eight-five 0 two-seven 6-5 nine-one-5.

Craigslist Posting ID: 3279794859

The Year of the Child #1

When we decided we were going to launch our “Musical Notes” initiative, I was asked to write a weekly posting, tracking the journey of an Artistic Director over the course of a season. While this was a great idea, it posed one problem – “Musical Notes” was launching exactly when I was taking a 5 month parental leave from Acting Up Stage to care for my newborn twins who were born on June 13! I wasn’t so sure that people who wanted to know what an Artistic Director does would be all that interested in how many diapers get changed daily.

(As a side note: I was going to gamble that I change the most number of diapers daily compared to any Artistic Director/Producer in the city until I remembered that Brian Goldenberg from Angelwalk Theatre has triplets.) More

Jeff Lillico’s Triple Threat

What musical will you always remember for its choreography/dancing?

Fosse’s Foxy Roxie (Renee Zellweger) & her boys

What musical will you always remember for its choreography/dancing? Chicago, which I saw in London’s west end. I’ve always loved Fosse. I’m a big Michael Jackson fan, particularly for his choreography, and it’s been said his moves were very influenced by Fosse. Chicago’s choreography is so slick and sexy, I love it. 

What musical will you always remember for its music?

Ragtime. I saw it on tour many years ago and again at the Shaw Festival this year. More



Welcome to a brand new musical theatre blog, Musical Notes! Here you’ll find all the latest trends, developments and gossip about musical theatre locally and internationally. We’ll have exclusive interviews with actors, directors, composers, designers and more, and feature posts from other Toronto based musical theatre companies. We’ll also give you the inside scoop on Acting Up Stage, including the latest from Artistic Producer, Mitchell Marcus and our Banks Prize winners chronicling their journey over the next year.

So check out Musical Notes every day for the latest info on what’s going on in song around the city!

Have an idea for a blogpost? We’d love to hear it as we unite all Torontonian lovers of musical theatre under one virtual roof.