THIS YEAR'S HOT OR NOT CONTEST!
(CLICK THE PIC TO YOUR RIGHT!)
Yesterday, I talked about the TV ads for two of the four Best Musical Tony Award nominees (HERE). Today, I'll take a fast look at the other two: A Christmas Story: The Musical and Matilda.
A Christmas Story: The Musical
- This ad plays to all of the familiarity of the beloved film. It trades on the audience going in knowing what they are getting before they get there. People will part with money faster for a "sure thing."
- Using critical quotes adds legitimacy to fans on the fence and regular theatre-goers who usually snub shows made from films.
- You gotta love the film-like narrator, the vintage wrapping paper on the gifts, and the Ralphie (from the film) lookalike. And what else can you do but smile at that crazy leg lamp?
- Slick! And it doesn't contain a single second of the show - no pesky "original cast" to have to fess up about for future productions. The ultimate in "Broadway Green" - reusable with no changes needed!
- The floating letters emphasizing certain words in critical quotes does triple duty: you get plum critical huzzahs, key words ("extraordinary" and "believe the hype" are but 2 examples) emphasize why you NEED to see this, and it recalls the set and "discovery" of Matilda's brilliance.
- The narration giving way to the "Revolting Children" number is good: it gives audiences a sample of the score, and it tells us that the show is child-centric.
- Notice you don't see much of Matilda herself... emphasis is on the kids and their adversary, the evil Miss Trunchbull, seen in eerie light, staring evilly in a smoky room, versus the good girl of Miss Honey, sweet in her flower print dress and pink sweater, giving hugs.
- Notice, too, the emphasis of the mysterious - cross-cutting between all those odd, over-the-top characters: how could all of these oddballs fit into one show? - and again, lots of eerie colors - yellows and greens - and tons of soupy fog.
- And then there is the subliminal nod to Spring Awakening: doesn't a lot of that dance sequence look a lot like those "Totally Fucked" moves, anchored by a kid lead singing a la "The Bitch of Living"? Is this the Spring Awakening for the grade school set? Or does this show that even though the show is teeming with little tykes, that it will appeal to the all-important 18-49 demographic? What is more exciting than watching adult-sized children swinging on giant swings with carefree abandon?