Music to our ears — and multiplexes

[3 March 2009]

By Sharon Hoffmann

McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

Oscar host Hugh Jackman declared the movie musical is back. Is this the proof?


What: The stories of some artsy kids over their four years at the prestigious New York High School of Performing Arts. Playing their teachers: Debbie Allen, Charles S. Dutton, Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally and Bebe Neuwirth.

Directed by: Choreographer Kevin Tancharoen

Based on: The 1980 film, which spawned a TV series and a stage musical in London.

Opening: Sept. 25


What: A famous film director (Daniel Day-Lewis) suffers a midlife crisis while balancing the many women in his life: his wife (Marion Cotillard), mistress (Penelope Cruz), protege (Nicole Kidman, left), friend and costume designer (Judi Dench), fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), prostitute from his youth (Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson ) and mother (Sophia Loren).

Directed by: Rob Marshall (“Chicago”)

Based on: The 1982 Broadway musical, which was based on Federico Fellini’s autobiographical 1963 film, “8 ½.”

Opening: Nov. 25

“The Princess and the Frog”

What: The animated musical tale of 19-year-old Tiana, Disney’s first African-American princess, voiced by Anika Noni Rose of “Dreamgirls.” Tiana lives in New Orleans’ French Quarter during the Jazz Age and happens upon a prince who was transformed into a frog by an evil voodoo magician (Keith David). Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard voice her mother and father.

Directed by: Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “Hercules”)

Based on: E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess, a twist on the old fairy tale.

Opening: Dec. 25


What: Zac Efron plays Ren, a rebellious teen who moves to a town where dancing is not allowed (!).

Directed by: Kenny Ortega (all three “High School Musicals”)

Based on: Kevin Bacon’s 1984 film, which was based (loosely) on events in a small Oklahoma town, and spawned a Broadway musical.

Opening: 2010

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