With "High School Musical" rolling into town (it opens Tuesday at the Capitol Theatre), it made me think back to high school musicals in general. I remember thumbing through family photo albums and coming across a picture of my dad in a skirt. We found it hilarious as kids. Turns out it was his costume for "Brigadoon." Seems like everyone took a turn at the musical.
Many times, I've read of Broadway stars that first found their love of theater by gracing the auditorium stage. My own days in the high school musical, sadly, feature no leading roles but plenty of fun. My sophomore year we did "Oklahoma!" — I was townsfolk. In "Camelot," my junior year, I played a fine flag bearer; as you may have read in an earlier column, it was voted "most boring night" by my younger siblings (they're not being mean — it's true). Finally I graduated to a singing maid in "My Fair Lady" as a senior. Ask around, you may be surprised who did the musical.
TIME WARP: It's just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right! The cult classic "Rocky Horror Picture Show" is about to hit the big screen ... again. Movie producers want to remake it by Halloween of next year. Many think it's impossible to improve on the last one — and many think it'd be easy. Either way, they'll use the original screenplay but may toss in a few extra tunes. No word yet on who will star.
HAIRSPRAY, PART DEUX: The creative team of the megahit is getting together again. John Waters has agreed to figure out a sequel to the movie musical, and Tony-winning Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are going to write new songs. Sounds like it'll hit the big screen in 2010 with tales of what happens to the Turnblad family. I'm not sure we really need this. ... Oh, and they're hoping to assemble the same cast (which means more John Travolta ... you can take that for what it's worth)..
MY FAIR KNIGHTLEY: We've heard about a "My Fair Lady" remake for quite some time, and now we're one step closer. Academy Award winner Emma Thompson has signed on to help rewrite the classic. I'm a purist, and I hate seeing anyone mess with it. They're going to use the Lerner and Loewe score, but they're going to "draw additional material from (the book) 'Pygmalion."' Skinny, skinny Keira Knightley is first in line to star in the project. No one has said anything about the singing. ... Eliza's songs are harder to sing than people realize. Can Knightley sing? Please don't ruin this show.
MTV: We've talked a lot about the network this week because of its reality show to cast the next Elle Woods on Broadway. Well, winner Bailey Hanks did all right. Her version of the song, "So Much Better," has cracked the top 100 on iTunes. Not to mention, she also helped downloads of the original cast recording, which moved up the soundtrack chart. Snaps for Bailey!
OH! OH! OH!: I almost forgot. The fabulous Bernadette Peters will guest star on (one of my faves) "Grey's Anatomy" on the two-hour season premiere. The episode airs Sept. 25 on ABC!