Chances are that if you’re watching live theatre in the Midwest, more often than not it’s tough to be genuinely surprised. That doesn’t mean there is any lack of talent or amazing shows that come through town. And we have a great theatre community in St. Louis. Yet there is a huge difference between seeing a show that you know will be amazing – and feeling completely surprised by something risky and new. Most shows we see are already proven, and who can blame them? It’s expensive to put on a show, and especially to bring us something new from Broadway. Yet this isn’t the case with New Line Theatre, who time after time produces shows that are different and widely unknown. Artistic director Scott Miller has a true talent for recognizing the potential in shows we might otherwise have never seen, and filling them with some of the best actors in town. With that being said, I introduce you to their latest success: Hands on a Hardbody.
Based on a documentary film which follows true events from 1995, Hands on a Hardbody takes the audience to Longview, Texas for an annual competition of endurance. The prize? A brand new pickup truck. And it’s a musical. How wonderfully strange and fantastic the synopsis sounds. But you haven’t seen or heard anything until you’ve been to the show.
Songwriter Amanda Green is no stranger to bringing us this sort of unexpected gem. My first introduction to New Line Theater was in 2012 with their production of High Fidelity, based on one of my favorite films. But a musical? Green was responsible for those lyrics, and the show was an absolute blast. And how about the surprise Broadway hit “Bring It On The Musical,” based on a 2000 high school comedy about cheerleaders? Green teamed up with the mega-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights) and Tom Kitt (High Fidelity, Next to Normal) on that one, which completely caught me off-guard with how fun it was. And now Green, along with Trey Anastasio (Phish) and a book by Doug Wright (Quills, The Little Mermaid), has done it again. This time with a musical about a contest to win a truck. On paper, it’s hard to imagine that the show could be so amazing. But I’ve learned to trust both New Line and Green by now, and both have yet to let me down.
What has happened to Marvel’s resident bad boy? Remember the days when Wolverine would go into a bar, get drunk, fight some ninjas, and then sleep with the waitress? Those days are over my friends. Everyone’s favorite Canuck is now the headmaster of the Jean Grey School, he’s lost his healing factor, and Marvel has decided to kill him off. The question I ask you is this: Why? Wolverine is arguably the most popular character in comics today. Why mess with it? Who’s to blame? Is there any way to save Logan’s balls? I will try to answer those questions and give you some recommendations for great Wolverine stories.
WWE Payback was just what the doctor ordered for the WWE: an entertaining pay per view.
It’s just a shame that the company has done a lousy job of promoting the last two pay per view’s. Both have featured some great wrestling and wonderful story telling. Sunday’s event kicked off with Cesaro vs. Sheamus. Paul Heyman shut the crowd up with their CM Punk chants right off the bat, saying that he was over at the United Center watching the Blackhawks. He isn’t the best manager in the business for nothing folks. Both men worked a stiff match, which was welcomed by the fans in attendance, as well as myself at home. There were several near falls, as both men took some hard bumps. I really thought Cesaro would win this match, and it looked like he had it as he went for the Neutralizer. Sheamus surprised everyone as he countered the move with a small package to retain the title. It was a great opening match. These two are nowhere near done with each other. I could see atleast another pay per view battle between Cesaro and Sheamus.
The next match up was the Rhodes Brothers and Rybaxel. Besides the Diva’s match, this may have been the weakest match of the night, but it still told a compelling story. Rybaxel got the win, but the main story happened after the match. Cody left Goldust alone in the ring, telling him he needed to find a better partner. And the split of the Rhodes Brothers begins. I look for them two to battle at Summerslam.
This past Sunday was certainly an eventful one for HBO. Game of Thrones nearly matched the shock of the infamous Red Wedding and John Oliver crashed the Federal Communications Commission. On May 15th, the FCC opened a period of public comment regarding it’s stance on “Net Neutrality”. What is Net Neutrality, you ask? I’ll let John Oliver explain. This was the segment that crashed the FCC’s website.
For those at work or those that don’t have 13 minutes to watch a segment about Net Neutrality, it’s fairly simple. The internet companies like Time-Warner Cable, Comcast and Verizon want to have different ways to access the internet, a fast lane and an “everything else” lane. Sounds great, right? Except that you probably won’t get to decide which lane you take – the sites you visit will. Netflix, Google and Facebook can afford to pay for preferential treatment for the best bandwidth to their site. Your blog about boutique barbecue sauce won’t be so lucky.
This week we discuss Maleficent and, since we’re discussing a Disney movie, we brought in a Disney expert – Jim Hill. Jim runs one of the premiere Disney sites on the web – JimHillMedia.com (covering theme parks, films and projects that almost were), a treasure trove of Disney past, present and future with a dash of other animation and theme park news as well. He provides us with the inside scoop on Maleficent and it’s production history.
All this plus a box office report from Kevin and a Video Recovery from Dan.
It’s Reel Spoilers #45 – Maleficent.
You’ve been warned.