Tony-nominated director Jason Moore (Avenue Q, Shrek) makes the leap to the big screen when his college “a cappella” comedy Pitch Perfect hits select theaters this weekend (before wide release on October 5). [Full disclosure: In college, Jason cast me as “The Young Fool” in his production of Big River…but I won’t hold that against him.]
I caught a preview showing of the film last week and I think Moore’s got a hit on his hands (and the early “sneak” release suggests that the studio thinks he does, too). In a way, it’s the perfect combination of his earlier work — mixing the sweet/sour snark of Q with the young adult vibe of his TV days (directing episodes of Dawson’s Creek and more) — not to mention a pulse-quickening sense of music theater (ably supported by arrangements from, among others, Next to Normal‘s Tom Kitt). The film mines huge laughs from its oddball supporting characters while Anna Kendrick brings a low key cool to the lead role. I think casting the Tony and Oscar nominee was Moore’s smartest move; she grounds what may be predictable about the story and never lets it tip over into camp.
And the musical sequence are a blast. Just check out the infectious fun in this clip, as rival singing groups “rumble” in a deserted lot like glee club jets and sharks…
So where does Moore go now? Could he be like two recent Broadway to Hollywood successes, who similarly played to their theatrical strengths in their film debuts? Cue the video…
“Inspired” by the fabulously fizzy Kirsten Dunst film, rival cheering squads square off in a musical written by some of the biggest new school talent in the business, Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q), Lin Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and Amanda Green (Hands on a Hard Body).
“While it has its moments of memorable wit and some appealing rhythmic Broadway-pop songs, Bring It On … has the feel of a daffy lark embarked upon as a summer-vacation goof.” New York Times
“…genuinely highflying, hyper-gymnastic and surprisingly savvy-sweet cheerleader musical…” Newsday
“Strong performances from a personable cast, athletically impressive staging and an engaging score combine to make Bring It On a pert and refreshing summer surprise.”Variety
“Not quite championship material, but an enjoyable teen confection that literally hits its share of heights.” Hollywood Reporter
"Over the Moon". Image via overthemoonbroadway.com.
How would you like to see some of your favorite Broadway stars live (including Donna Murphy, Marc Kudisch and recent Tony-winner Nikki M. James), singing original songs by Stephen Sondheim, Tom Kitt, Stephen Schwartz and more? We’ve got two pairs of tickets to give away to a star-studded concert celebrating the release of Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project, a 2 CD/book/e-book/documentary initiative featuring original lullabies written and performed by music theater’s best. With proceeds from the project supporting breast cancer charities and the event being hosted by the fabulous Edie Falco (The Sopranos), it all sounds like an unmissable, one-of-a-kind evening of song and good deeds.
So how can you attend the concert on May 7 at 8pm at the Stephen Sondheim Theater on West 43rd? Just tell me in the comments below which Broadway star you’d most like to come to your bedroom and sing you to sleep. Leave your comment by the end of the day Wednesday, April 25. I’ll randomly select two winners to receive a pair of tickets each and notify them via a reply to their comments on this post. [Do check back on Thursday to see if you’ve won and how to claim your tickets.]
And as a little preview, here’s some video of the record session for one track on the CD, “This Little World” by Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and performed by Raul Esparza.