Monday, July 2, 2012

From The Archives: You Will Believe A Fish Can Sing

(This article was first posted on September 22, 2011 and has been altered since its' original publication)

Despite his numerous appearances in pop culture and film, the original feature The Creature From The Black Lagoon is considered by many to be the Gill-Man's finest hour.

As a study in contrasts, I thought that for day two of Creature Week we might take a look at one of his low points. Yes, it's time to talk about Creature From The Black Lagoon: The Musical!

On June 2nd of 2008, the (a great little website which you can view here) reported this:
With state-of-the-art stagecraft, acrobatic choreography and hilarious, toe-tapping music, the Creature will be brought to life in a story based on the original screenplay, updated to emphasize the element of romance and just a bit of comic relief. Original new music and dazzling production numbers will keep the attraction contemporary and lively.
And with those words, the great and mighty Gill-Man went through one of the silliest ordeals ever to befall a movie monster! But why you ask? Well, back in 2008 it looked like a remake of the Creature might actually get produced. Like so many previous attempts to revisit or reinvent the Gill-Man it was ultimately doomed to failure, but Universal was so sure it would come to fruition they created a musical stage play to help promote it.

The director's credit fell to Lynne Taylor-Corbett whose Broadway credits include choreography for "Titanic", "Chess", and "Swing" among others. The latter of those three, she also directed. She has also directed numerous Off Broadway productions and is a multiple Tony Award Nominee.

Gerard Alessandrini served as co-directer with Ms. Taylor-Corbett, and also acted as co-lyricist with Fred Barton who composed the music for the play.

These were not untalented people or hacks, and to be honest the production was lavish, fairly well staged and beautifully constructed. The problem was not so much in a misunderstanding of theater as it was their subject matter.

The basic premise of the play was that of a romantic comedy. The original film had been a thoughtful tragedy with a very human monster. The source material was subtle which is the opposite of a musical. Musical's work in broad strokes. Monster films have always degenerated into camp when their subtle aspects or humanity were removed.

So it was the Creature fell from grace and that's the reason why. On the plus side, while the production hardly does the Gil-Man justice, it is a hoot to watch! I might even be so bold as to say this musical does for the Gill-Man what Adam West did for Batman.

If anyone's curious, you can check out the entire play below. It's only about 30 minutes and seeing as how the production has been canceled for some time, this is the only way you're ever going to see it ... maybe that's a good thing, no?

Enjoy! ... or cringe, your choice.

For those interested in the theater personalities involved you can check out Lynne Taylor-Corbett's official website, you can read up on this interview with Gerard Alessandrini here or you can go to Fred Barton's official website.

But for those of you who are interested in even more Gill-Man news and trivia, stay tuned. There's more Creature Week coming up tomorrow!

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