TV musicals

“King and I”: a stern, serious musical for all eras

Right now, PBS is helpfully reminding us of a key fact: Musicals can be very different. Very.
Last Friday (Nov. 1), the network had the relentlessly shallow “42nd Street.” It had sharp songs, zesty dancers … and a plot so thin that some (but not all) actors gave campy performances.
And this Friday (9 p.m. Nov. 8)? “The King and I” (shown here) is pretty much the opposite. It has some flaws, but dead-serious intentions.
Both are part of TV’s current musicals surge, outlined in stories at the left. Now for a few “King” comments: Read more…

A musical surge begins

Every now and then, TV remembers one of its highest callings – to give us full-scale musicals.
Then it forgets again, sometimes for years. But now comes a spurt; there are three musicals in eight days, covering a rich range
On Friday (Nov. 1), PBS has the relentlessly giddy “42nd Street.” The songs are peppy, the dancing is zesty and the story … well, no one tried to improve on the 1933 movie this is based on.
A week later, it has the exact opposite with “The King and I” (shown here). Once you get past the lush music and costumes, you have the serious story of a 19th-century despot. Read more…