Given that I have been battling a pretty miserable cold & sinus infection the last week and a half and haven’t really thought of anything to write, I’ve been dormant for quite a few days. However, I just read the rather surprising news that Clay Aiken will be joining the cast of Spamalot as Sir Robin (the role created by the incomparable David Hyde Pierce). Yes. You read that correctly. Aiken is making his Broadway debut in Spamalot. What? Have Rent and Chicago a glut of mediocrity that they couldn’t find space for him?
It is incredibly unfair to judge a performance when the poor thing hasn’t even commenced rehearsals, but can I stop my reticence that this is a less than ideal situation? Granted, I am not a fan of his personality or his singing, so I have no desire to see what he does. But to put someone into a huge musical comedy, that while still doing good business, is nowhere near the sell-out monster it was upon opening. However, there does seem to be a die-hard fan base, so who knows? I’m sure he’ll be fine and sell lots of tickets to those screaming fans (Hell, I’m sure if Hanson took over the three leads, it would be a similar situation, but one nightmare at a time). But seriously, stick a fork in that show.
Could it be a Reba/Fantasia scenario? Perhaps. Or could it be closer to Sheena Easton in Man of La Mancha? Possibly. There is nothing about Spamalot that screams “Revisit!” I wouldn’t even go back for my beloved Marin Mazzie, the third replacement Lady of the Lake. I was there the week of the Tony voting while Sara Ramirez was out with her cold and the late Darlene Wilson was going on in her stead. The show was incredibly amusing and made for a fun, if not great, musical. How it won Best Musical over three higher quality shows is a staggering indictment of the commercial infestation of everything Tony. Enough evidence of the past few years shows that the Best Musical = Most Likely to Tour Successfully. It’s a sad state when the money overwhelmingly and blatantly surpasses artistic concerns. (How many of the recent Best Musical winners were genuinely the best in their league?)
I guess it all comes down to personal taste. Once was enough for me and I’ll cherish the good time I had. No need to revisit this machine, even for an auspicious debut such as his.
In other news, part of the reason I have been away from the internet so long is that I have become acquainted with the HBO series Entourage in the past week. Not having HBO or Showtime makes it hard for me to catch up with these acclaimed shows that have most people going crazy, I am generally a latecomer. However, much like I flipped for Weeds back in March, I went completely to pieces over this show. I could not get enough of it. Bought all the boxed sets and watched them all whenever I could. While I’m equally repulsed and compelled by the excessive lifestyles, I cannot get enough of the characters and especially the exemplary writing of the show. The narrative blends the fictional world of this entourage (inspired by Mark Wahlberg’s experiences) with the reality of Hollywood as a world of celebrity and business. The casting is phenomenal, from the four leads (especially Kevin Dillon) to Jeremy Piven’s acclaimed and awarded tour de force as Ari Gold, the hyperactive and ruthless high profile agent. (Kudos also to Malcolm McDowell and especially Martin Landau for stellar guest appearances). If you haven’t, do. If you have, I hope you love it half as much as I do. Rarely do I shill, but when I do, its not without reason.
“Let’s hug it out, bitch.”
Till next time kids.