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Issue 11July 15, 2021
In today's issue we take a peak inside Peacock's limited musical selections and we share The Department of Cinemusicalization's Movie Musical Manifesto. 

Encanto!, Disney’s newest animated musical with original songs by Lin Manuel Miranda, dropped a first teaser. [YouTube]

Schmigadoon! premieres this Friday, 6/16 on AppleTV+ and this article by Tara Ariano takes a look back at the musical TV shows that have come before. [Vanity Fair]

• Jennifer Lopez and Concord Theatricals team up to bring multiple Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals to the screen—and she will be starring in at least one. [Broadway World]

• Bill Condon has been hired to helm the Guys and Dolls remake. Did anyone ask for this? [Deadline]

Annette premiered at the opening night of Cannes and reviews suggest that it’s going to be bonkers. The best news is it’s got puppets. [Vulture]

To celebrate the release of Schmigadoon!, we were going to review the back catalog of AppleTV+, only to find out they don't have one (yet). So instead, we take a look at what Peacock has to offer. The good news, you can watch these for free, uninterrupted, after sitting through 3 minutes of ads—but you can just use that time to microwave some popcorn.

Mamma Mia (2008)
Who’s Your Daddy? This is the question at the heart of this psychological thriller about three jaded men trapped on a secluded island after being brought there with false pretenses by a nefarious young woman hoping one of them will fill the daddy sized hole in her heart. 

The Meaning Of Life (1983)
In 1983, Monty Python provided the answer we’d been seeking since the dawn of time and the world has been in perfect harmony ever since. No, it’s not 42. You’ll just have to watch and find out.

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)
It’s only got 2 songs but those two songs are fabulous. I dare you not to cry watching “Dreams to Dream,” written by Will Jennings and James Horner, the songwriting duo behind “My Heart Will Go On.”

The Producers (2005)
The full circle film adaptation of Mel Brooks’ stage musical adaptation of Mel Brooks’ 1967 film. Starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Will Ferrell. 

The Wiz (1978)
Directed by Sidney Lumet, this reimagining stars Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor. 

At The Barn, our goal is to create original movie musicals, independent of the Hollywood machine. The challenge was (and will continue to be) figuring out how to make movie musicals that are uniquely situated for the screen. 

Musicals on film have a long history, going back to the 1930’s with musical revue films most notably made by Busby Berkeley. Songs in these films were usually pre-existing, and were unrelated to the plot. While these movies enamored audiences for decades, the musical storytelling was in its infancy.

Those films certainly evolved overtime, but perhaps went as far as they could with Singin’ In The Rain. There were, of course, exceptions such as the films of Ernst Lubitsch, that were experimenting with musical storytelling and laying the foundation for contemporary movie musicals.

Meanwhile on stage, musicals as an art form were becoming more sophisticated, with the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein among others, which inevitably led to a long history of broadway remakes. Why create new musical material when broadway serves as a tried and true filter of quality material.  
Since then, original movie musicals, that are not musical revues or stage adaptations, have been aplenty. But much like the stage musicals underwent an evolution, the film musical is long overdue for one. While In The Heights is being called revolutionary (and rightfully so) for showcasing Latinx voices, it’s still a big flashy musical. We think the future of musicals is in the opposite direction; small, intimate, featuring diverse voices, and taking big risks.  

We’ve identified 4 core tenets that we use to guide our own films, as well as critique others.
At the very heart of our manifesto is that songs must be in service to the story. This means we’re not interested in making musical revues like the Busby Berkeley films. Leave it to Damian Chazelle to pay tribute to those films. While we enjoy them, we are not beholden to them. For us, story is everything and songs are one of the most powerful storytelling devices we have. Disney animated movies have been doing this better than anyone else for years which is why we’ve painstakingly been deconstructing them to see what works.
We’re happy for all the wonderful musical films about performers (eg. all four versions of A Star Is Born), where the songs are actually songs that exist in the world of the movie (aka diegetic), but that’s not something we’re interested in making. Telling a story about a musician feels like a justification for making it a musical. We don't need a reason for our characters to sing, they're just going to sing dagnamit!
This one is pretty simple yet almost nobody does it. Though in their defense, it's been a challenging thing in the past—but with recent technologies, not so much. The point is, if you’re going to record dialogue live, you better record singing live too. This is especially important in our movies because they are smaller and subtlety and room for improvisation is necessary.
And now we come to the crux of the manifesto. The point that we will probably spend our careers trying to figure out what it actually means, how we can do it better, and how we can push the genre and evolve it in ways it hasn’t before. For us, this means surrounding ourselves with people who are far more talented than we are, who have unique visions, who are bold and willing to take risks. There have been very few movie musicals that have pushed the needle of what a movie musical can be. 
Movie Service Date
Central Park - Season 2 AppleTV+ Now Streaming
Schmigadoon (Series) AppleTV+ 7/16/2021
Annette Amazon Prime/Theatrical 8/6/2021
Cinderella Theatrical 9/3/2021
Everybody's Talking About Jamie Amazon Prime 9/17/2021
Dear Evan Hansen Theatrical 9/24/2021
West Side Story Theatrical 12/10/2021
Encanto Disney+/Theatrical 12/24/2021
Tick, Tick... Boom! Netflix Late 2021
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"Rooster Revue" is edited by Matt Andrews and Jeffrey Simon with contributions from the entire team at The Barn. Read past issues in the archive

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