Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 in Review: Top Theatre Stories #2

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean
At long last, it opened.  It has been decades in the making.  OK, maybe not in the making, but promised.  Yes, promised.  I have the "Souvenir Brochure" from the original Broadway production, from the original Broadway cast, actually, of Les Miserables.  In the back is a small ad featuring little Cosette and the promise of the upcoming film version of the show we just saw.  That was May 1987.

Fast forward to just over a quarter of a century later to yesterday.  Finally.  It.  Opened.  The film version of the musical finally opened.  (I still refuse to refer to the show as "the world's longest-running musical."  That would be The Fantasticks, which ran just under 42 years.)

Note the date...
Bravo to the PR department of the film.  They got the studio to move the film to the prestigious holiday time slot (and if you think that wasn't built into the hype, then you probably believe Miss Saigon will be on the big screen next year) once someone saw that the (again) much-hyped "live singing" style of filming this epic worked well.

Then came the waves.

First wave: "Exclusive movie stills!" Except I thought exclusive meant one place got them first and for awhile.  Apparently, that now means morning talk shows and every theatre website on the Internet.

Second wave: The first movie trailer: 30 seconds of hyperbole with the famous show logo being "inked" onto the screen. Plus the first of MANY coming soon banner ads on every site I seem to visit (I hate that Google Chrome tracks me and puts the ads on the screen that they think I want to see...).

Romance: Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne

Machismo: Eddie Redmayne and Aaron Tveit (center)

Third wave: Anne Hathaway.  She can sing!  She can be downtrodden!  She can get a haircut on screen!  "I Dreamed a Dream" is now in the subconscious of anyone who watches prime time television.  Thank God it isn't "Castle on a Cloud" or "Master of the House."

Media Blitz: One of more than a dozen "Official Movie Trailers"

Wave Four: Movie Posters Released!  Again with the "exclusive"!  They are, each and every one, exquisite.  I really mean it.

And like a tsunami after an 8.5 earthquake, wave five: "Exclusive Scenes from Les Miserables."  At least this gave the appearance of exclusivity, as different networks and different sites got different scenes (at first).  Truth be told, if we pieced together everything they've released, we probably already have access to the entire film save for the closing credits...

Bravo to the PR people.  You know how successful the campaign was?  On our annual Christmas call, my father asked me, "So, are you going to see that "Miserable" picture with that girl from The Devil Wears Prada?  Who does she think she is?  Meryl Streep?"  Don't judge him too harshly.  He saw that movie because he thought it would give us something to talk about. I doubt he will be adding his $10 to the grosses of this film, though.  But at least he knows about it.

Now that it is open, maybe we can stop talking about Les Miserables.

(Look for the number 1 theatre story of 2012 on New Year's Day!)


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