Just the other night the Lord & Master and I settled in for a PBS special about the long and lovely career of Tony Bennett. Unfortunately, the minute the opening credits began, we knew we were in for a hour of craptainment courtesy of one Mr. Rob Marshall.
Perhaps you remember his bombastic efforts at the helm of the film version of Chicago? His genius idea for that mess was to have Roxie Hart “imagine” all the musical numbers, so the poor audience wouldn’t go mad wondering why people in a musical burst into song and dance numbers. Not to mention the gargantuan chuztpah of tossing out the original Bob Fosse choreography.
And I’m not even going to get into casting nonsinging actors in lead roles. Yes, I’m talking about you, Renee Zellweger. You who were too chicken to sing onstage at the Oscars because you knew you didn’t have the chops. True, it’s been a Hollywood specialty since the days of Natalie Wood – and Rita Moreno, (even though I loves ya, Rita) – in West Side Story and Audrey Hepburn – a goddess, but not one who could carry a tune – in My Fair Lady.
Or maybe Nine? Granted, not a masterpiece of any sort even on Broadway. But leave it to the Marsh Man to use whiplash editing and weird casting to run the show into the ground. He has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Raul Julia must have been rolling over in his early grave, where I am sure the screeching of Kate Hudson, that blonde monument to nepotism, reached.
Out of sheer morbid curiosity we watched the Tony Bennett extravaganza, complete with Marshall’s signature cutesy stunt casting and overwrought production numbers. Whatever happened to pointing a camera at the man while he stands there and sings?
When I thought things couldn’t possible deteriorate any further, the sleepwalking songstress herself, Diana Krall, did her patented flat, whispered massacre of melody. It seems to me the least a singer can do is remain awake while in the act of singing. This Ms. Krall refuses to do. Her popularity mystifies me. I can only hope her twin boys drive her crazy when she isn’t catching a nap onstage.
See, her eyes are shut. Awake and sing, dammit!