Saturday 27 February 2016

Discovering Kristin Chenoweth.. Belatedly

Until yesterday I’ve never heard of her.... So...the inevitable Google search promptly sends you straight to Wikipedia’s page on Kristin Chenoweth  where you are informed among much else that she joined the cast of The West Wing for Season Six.  Unfortunately  that didn’t help as I’ve just got to Season Two. It will be awhile before she looms into sight playing a character named Annabel Schott.

Having been born in 1968, over the last couple of decades she has starred on Broadway, has won Tonys and Emmys and appeared in some movies I haven’t seen. Bereft but...there you are. This is late I know. 

Kristin Chenoweth in The Music Man
I’m not sure why a version of The Music Man movie rose to the top of the DVD pile at a time when there are many other priorities, but there you are, again. It did. This version was shot in Canada by some team of unknowns working for Disney and it was always intended for TV. It went to air on ABC (America) on 16 February 2003. It stars Matthew Broderick, no longer a name to pull a crowd. Almost instantly you can tell the sweet faced boy/man whose life and career is forever stalled at Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (John Hughes, USA, 1986) is not going to insinuate himself into the slick talking Professor Harold Hill so immortalised by Robert Preston in Morton Da Costa’s 1962 big budget widescreen version. But there you have it.  Forty plus years after the original movie with Preston and Shirley Jones Disney seems to have got hold of the rights, or someone who did took it to Disney, for a TV remake. It was shot in Academy ratio with much steadicam filming, terrible choices of camera angle straight out of the Baz Luhrman anything goes school, much incoherent editing  and significant attempts to hide the fact that no matter how much Matthew Broderick may be steeped in Broadway and movie musical lore, he can hardly dance and doesn’t sing with any character either. His character has a spectacular dance somersault at one stage but I'm betting he was doubled for that moment. There you are, yet again.

But.... twenty two minutes or so into this very modest  achievement, the till now unknown Kristin Chenoweth,  lets out with a belter of a version of “Goodnight my Someone”.  It’s on audio here.  The show then lumbers along, sticking assiduously to the original with some marginal opening out. But one more pearl remains . It is the moment when Chenoweth’s  librarian Marian finally bursts forth into the show’s big romantic hit ‘Till There was You'.  You can find it here on Youtube. Watching the scene and its final one line joke about Hector Berlioz (that name replacing Rudolf Friml used in the 1962 version), it’s one of the few moments when the remake does a little better than the original version which you can compare    Then one of the disc extras is this version of the song sung somewhere else by the same Kristin Chenoweth. Flattened  me all over again.

Now its onwards toward The West Wing Season Six but in the meantime there’s this moment already posted and absorbed from the set. My goodness. 

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