Hello Again, and Ronde and Ronde We Go.
Arriving into selected movie theaters nationwide, Hello Again, a movie musical casually based on the 1897 French play, La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler is a bit of a frustrating nut to crack.
Being very familiar with the play (it was done by the senior year when I was a young theatre production major at York University, Toronto) , this musical adaptation which first premiered Off-Broadway in 1993 with music, lyrics and book by the always fascinating Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party), plays out in the same daisy-chain staircase manner as expected.
It climbs and climbs up the social ladder exploring sexual conquests and how seduction changes as we ride up the hill from street-walking prostitute to powerful senator and how quickly we drop back down in the end.
It’s a very compelling play, and an equally fantastic idea for a musical, giving the writers obvious structure and moments for song and focus. The stage-show garnered eight Drama Desk Award nominations including Best Musical, three for LaChiusa (Outstanding Book of a Musical, Music and Lyrics categories), two for Graciela Daniele (Choreographer and Director categories) and nominations for actors Judy Blazer, John Cameron Mitchell and Donna Murphy.
Sounds like a great success to me and a show I wish I had seen, but maybe, after seeing this movie version, the stage is where this show is meant to be because the film, Hello Again, as directed by Tom Gustafson (“Mariachi Gringo“) and written by Cory Krueckeberg (“Getting Go“), doesn’t give us much to be excited about within the climb.
It ladders upwards giving us some glorious moments, but chutes back down just as often. I felt like I was playing that classic 1978 board game, ‘Chutes and Ladders’. And oddly enough, many scholars claim that the board game is basically a metaphor for morality choices and life in general. The “Emotion” interpretation of the game leans towards a concept that the ups and downs represent various emotional highs and lows that one goes through in life.
In Hello Again, we are definitely playing that game from one musical moment to the next. The highs and lows though aren’t morality or emotionally based, but tend to represent excitement levels in song and engagement more than anything. (for the full review, click here)