Thursday, April 5, 2012

Musical TV Remakes

Recently I took my daughter to see "Annie, Jr." at our local Jr. High. I was reminded of all the less-than-professional performances my dad attended to support me over the years. She absolutely loved it and even said, "When I go to Jr. High, I think I might like to be in a show..." Yes, my heart was warmed...

She asked later if we could borrow the movie version of "Annie" from my dad. Turns out he no longer has it, but my brother has both the original 1982 Film version and the 1999 made-for-TV remake, with Victor Garber and Kristen Chenoweth. He loaned us both. We started today with the remake version-- I don't remember why I didn't watch it when it aired in 1999, but we enjoyed it together.

I couldn't help but draw comparisons between "Annie" and the 2003 made-for-TV remake of "The Music Man" which also features Garber and Chenoweth. "Annie" is so far superior to the weak effort of "The Music Man", it's impossible to not see the differences. Of course, I only watched "The Music Man" the one time it aired, and vowed never to watch it again-- I like Matthew Broderick well enough, but his presence and voice weren't up to the role of Harold Hill. And, frankly, Chenoweth is talented, but she simply didn't fit Marion. I adore the original theatrical version, and I was so annoyed by the remake that I think I didn't dare watch the TV "Annie" on DVD, expecting it to be just as weak and depressing.

But I've been pleasantly surprised. Kathy Bates? Brilliant. I thought Carol Burnett was perfect in the theatrical version, but Bates brought her own thing to the role and it was excellent. And Audra McDonald was wonderful, as expected. It was fun to see the show with a broadway-caliber cast. And the little girl who played Annie was spectacular AND her hair wasn't distractingly obnoxious.

If you haven't seen it, check it out! But I vote for avoiding the 2003 "Music Man". Unless you like torture-by-TV.

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