Thursday, June 21, 2007

Week 3, Thing 7

Our last task of the week is to talk about anything technology-related. At first, I was going to talk about the Internet Archive, because, I admit, I am a fan. And how fun is it to read old books online? Well, it can be when they include the neat book flip feature.

However, a friend pointed out the Online Musical Theatre Video Archive to me last night, and I've had too much fun looking at it last night to not give it a mention here. I had never heard of it before, and it appears to be still in the process of creation (if the fact that they stopped in the "s" titled musicals gives any indication). The videos on the site come from either the Tony Awards or from programs like the Ed Sullivan show or morning talk shows.

Here's a favorite show, Deaf West's Big River:

The show is based on Mark Twain's Adventures of Huck Finn. It might never have been a show that caught my interest, as the music runs more towards country/bluegrass/gospel, except the addition of signing added a powerful element to the show. There was a mix of deaf and hearing actors in this version of the show. The hearing actors spoke/sung the words for the deaf actors. For the first five or so minutes, you are aware that the character Huck Finn is not really speaking/singing his lines and it is Mark Twain doing the talking for both himself and Huck Finn, but, slowly you accept MT's voice as Huck's and it is all quite magical. Oh, I think I'm describing it rather badly. And, I know that I said previously that I didn't think I would be a fan of the music, but there are actually quite a few songs I love from that show. A couple sitting next to me walked out before the end of the first act, because it does have those elements in it that make Huck Finn a banned book in some places, but, if you look beyond that, it is a beautiful piece of work that is made more poignant with the addition of signing. Especially when Jim tells the tale of his daughter who became "deaf and dumb" due to scarlet fever but he didn't realize this until after he had hit her for not shutting the door when he told her.

The second featured show? 1776! Because, really, how can you resist singing, dancing, and snarking founding fathers? You just can't.

This is the Original Broadway Cast peforming "Sit Down, John" and "Molassas To Rum" on the Ed Sullivan show. I always said that despite the content, that "Molassas to Rum" has to be one of the sexier baritone songs.

Edited: Oh look! It appears that they now have shows all the way to "Z". How exciting!

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