Sunday, July 25, 2010

Outlander the Musical: Post Scriptum

When I posted that last entry about Outlander - The Musical, I hadn't heard the rest of the songs. I just listened to the rest of the songs...and since I am not really a fan of most musicals, I unfortunately just can't get excited about this.

Why? Well, for one, I can't get behind Jack Randall and Jamie singing to each other. I just can't.

I was thinking all the songs were like "Is Tu Fuil ‘o Mo Chuislean"...and was picturing a beautiful, soothing, Gaelic show that was different from the "musicals" we're used to seeing on Broadway.

Please understand that I have the utmost respect for all of the talented people who are involved in all aspects of this project. I say 'more power to them' for doing it. But it's just not my cup of tea. I'm thrilled for all of you who are excited for this; I truly am. And when and if there is a movie or series, I'll be excited too.

In fact - maybe AFTER a movie or series has been made, shown and put to rest, I could possibly get behind this. I can't say enough to make sure it's understood that I'm not bashing this project at all. I don't want to be negative about it; just to voice my opinion. I have even revised this post multiple times, just to make sure everyone understands where I'm coming from.

(I just ended a sentence in a preposition... and that gives me the willies... so I need to shut up now.)


  1. New reader, Sara, here (I was the one that asked about vay-jay-jay in Gaelic a few posts back).

    Anyhow, I'm with you on this one... it's just *weird* imho.

    Also, did you see Diana's page? She mentions that the company that has the movie rights extended and added the rights for mini-series (not just a feature film). That makes me SOOOOOOOO excited! I would love to see HBO, Showtime or Starz take on a mini-series (think Sparticus: Blood & Sand)!!

  2. OK, here's my review of the snippets (note that it's hard to judge some of these songs with 20 seconds of music):

    "The Way Life Was": What's interesting here is the dialogue--Frank asking why thinks aren't the same as they were before the war, Claire saying that they're not the same people, I don't remember THAT being in the books! And I have to say, I kind of like this conversation--it definitely reveals a crack in Claire's feelings for Frank and makes a possible attraction to Jamie more believeable.

    "Falling": hard to review out of context. Seems a bit calm, almost hypnotic for what is happening, but it might be that that's the point--Claire is almost being hypnotized by the stones.

    "I Am Ready": LOVELOVELOVE this song. It's like the Scottish version of "Corner of the Sky" (from Pippin).

    "The Message": Don't love. Dougal seems too nice. Maybe full song works better.

    "Could I Surrender My Heart?" Hmmm. Not enough to judge.

    "Is Tu Fuil ‘o Mo Chuislean": SQUEEEE.

    "Such a Fool": Potential--need to hear more. Liked the dialogue better than the music.

    "Perhaps I Am a Witch": Not sure I like the Geillie singer. I don't think I'm going to like this song either. Too literal re: poisoning Arthur.

    "Farewell": Like the song, love the voice, HATE the bad circa 1984 Casio keyboard music.

    "Why Did I Marry a Fraser": Definitely need to hear this whole song--don't think a snippet does it justice.

    "Say the Words": Actually, one of my faves. The BJR is deliciously creepy.

    "Ellen's Son": Need to hear more. Has potential.

    "Safe": I don't have a good feeling about this. Not sure I like the Claire's voice.

    "The Right Road": Again, dialogue most interesting part: "Think about the kind of life we'll have, Claire--we'll be hiding in the shadows"--like he's trying to talk her out of being with him???

    To sum up:
    • I'm wondering how much the dialogue is going to give new meaning to some of this stuff, in the way the GN will.

    • Love the Jamie voice. Not a big fan of the Claire voice (I think the part's a little high for the singer--Randy Jackson would say she's pitchy, dawg.)

    • Mixed opinion on the songs--some I love, some, not so much.

    Will be VERRA interested to hear the whole thing!!!!

  3. Sara - we love new posters - welcome welcome welcome. Now - it has to be said. "Gaelic VaJayJay": awesome band name????? ;)

    Tracey - Randy Jackson/dawg almost made me tinkle.

  4. Tracey, love the summary. You're right on target, the Claire sounds pitchy, maybe thats why it bugs me so much. The snippet of "Safe" is super pitchy; actually leaves me wondering why they went with that take. But, who knows, I'm not a music critic.

    Like I said in the other post, I'm intrigued and want to hear more. Remember, it's an adaptation, so I think things may be tweaked a bit, like the opening dialogue between C&F.

    I'm still unsure who the whole BJR in Wentworth prison scene. I keep picturing a ValJean/Javier type song in my head. Difficult situations were handled with strong emotional/gut wrenching songs in Les Mis, so I'm not writing this off just yet.

  5. Wow Erin--BJR/Jamie TOTALLY made me think of Valjean/Javert as well! I actually think their song has more interesting potential than a lot of the other, more traditionally "romantic" songs.

    The other interesting thing this musical has me thinking about is what you'd need to leave out/change to create a real musical--or movie or miniseries, for that matter. For example, I think in a musical you'd cut the whole "Claire goes out with Jenny and then Murtaugh to search for Jamie" part--instead, you'd find out he's been taken by the English, you'd maybe have a version of the scene with Claire and Dougal in the cave, but that's it--it would go right to the scene with Claire in the prison warden's office.

    Another change: if in fact you're looking at something that's "closed" (ie, no sequels) rather than open-ended, does BJR need a more spectacular, Javert-ian death? I would think maybe.

    And also, how does the whole BJR/Jamie thing go down? In the book, you only see it through Jamie's eyes in terms of what he tells Claire. On screen/stage, do you see it in real time? Do you use some sort of a flashback device?

    Lord I find this stuff so interesting--I need to make friends with a screenwriter!

  6. I LOVE musicals! Although I do understand where you're coming from Carol.

    But, Tracey and Erin, I am with you guys 100% on your reviews. Love jamie's voice, but not with Claire's voice.

    Tracey, I think your evaluations of the songs are spot on.

  7. I love musicals and my expectations were high after hearing the wedding vow song. I really like that song. However, I didn't hear anything from the rest of the song snippets that would make me want to buy the CD. They sounded all the same. BUT.....I reserve the right to change my mind.

  8. I have to say that I've been thinking about O the M all day and writing the notes I'd give the composers in my head. :-)

    Here are a few:

    • I know they're keeping it simple for now (I really see this CD more as a demo for investors or for collaborators than anything else--obviously, there's a long road ahead if they really want to give "Outlander the Musical" a go), but I really feel the need for a big number that takes place in the Leoch hall--sort of "Master of the House" (from Les Miz) meets the opening number and "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast. You could get a lot of exposition out of the way, and also get a chance to see some of the more minor characters (Mrs. Fitz, Rupert, Murtaugh, etc.).

    • I don't know HOW this would work, but I want a Claire/Jamie/Frank song. Oooh--how about incorporating something as she's trying to choose at the stones-- maybe they're both making their case or whatever. Hmmm...

    LOL I have too much time on my hands!!!

  9. Tracey - I like your ideas. Both would be fantastic on stage.

  10. Tracey, those are some bomb ideas! (Did I just say 'bomb ideas'...?)

    I think that they need to give you a call ;)

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  12. Love your ideas, Tracey...The Claire/Jamie/Frank song would be awesome. I could totally see them both mentally "pulling" on her, making their cases for her to stay...

    But I gotta say...can any of you imagine how the "Canna Be Gentle"-scene would go down on stage? Would they even be able to include any of all the intimate moments from Outlander on a stage, and wouldn't the story be kind of tame without it?

  13. I have to agree with most of what has been already said. When I first heard about OtM, I was a little concerned. Then I heard "Is Tu Fuil ‘o Mo Chuislean" and put it on repeat; I loved it. Then I listened to the rest of the songs last night, and I'm back to not being sure. I agree that the Jamie/Jenny/Ian Claire song needs a longer bit before I can judge it, because the idea sounds fun. But the Jamie/BJR song just seems a little icky (it sounds nice, just the content is, well...) and I didn't really like the Geillis song at all (a) I thought she came off trying to be sympathetic and I prefer to think of her as a total nut case and b) like Tracey said, it's almost too literal.) The rest of the songs, I'm not sure if I like them. I definitely don't hate any of it, but I don't love any of them either. At least not right now.

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  15. So, I wrote a big long comment here and just erased it - meaning no disrespect to all the hard work that seems to be going into the idea of a musical. Let's just say that I didn't really care for most of the songs I heard (some rated an "ok"). Some good ideas, but not enough to tempt me into the theatre yet.

  16. Tracey - help me with this!!! Is the Jamie in the recordings really a tenor??? I know that is the Broadway standard for romantic leading men, but don't you think he needs to be at least a baritone? And I do find it too ironic - Jamie shouldn't be able to sing at all!! LOL!

  17. Hmmmm....his voice struck me as closer to a baritone than a tenor. But let's go to the videotape:

    (From Allan Scott Douglas' website)
    Singing - Very strong High Baritone with Falsetto. "

    HA! I'd say that's a good description of "closer to a baritone than a tenor" ;-)

  18. BTW, in roaming around Mr. Scott Douglas's website, look what I happened to find--the ENTIRE song of "I Am Ready"! It looks like this is sung at the gathering when Jamie doesna take the MacKenzie oath. Go here to hear:

    So. I haven't listened closely to the whole thing, but here's my brief impression, from best to worst:
    • Love Allan Scott Douglas's voice--great accent.
    • Love that "je suis prest" is actually said.
    • Love that there is at least some bagpipe action happening.
    • REALLY trying to remind myself that all of the music has been done, I'm sure, on one synthesizer, but still--it occasionally sounds like something I'd have played on my Casio down in the basement back in 1984.
    • Hoooh boy this is hard to say but....sometimes, not always, but sometimes the lyrics sound as though they were just trying too hard for the rhyme, y'know?

  19. Tracey, thank you for the link....I must say that even though Scott Douglas (is that his name?)has a very nice voice, this whole song seems out of sync, for some reason...The beat is off or something. I can't describe it.
    I love the bagpipes...

    Drums of Autumn SPOILER!!!
    I know this has nothing to do with this part of the series, but whenever I read the later books, I always wondered what Roger would sound like when he was singing and especially to Bree on their wedding night.
    This would actually come close to what I imagine Roger Mac might have sounded like before his hanging.

  20. The Geillie comment made me think of the song "To Keep My Love Alive" from "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" (Sir Thomas had insomnia
    he couldn't sleep at night.
    I bought a little arsenic
    he's sleeping now all right.)
    Can't wait to check this site out!

  21. FWIW, DG offers an excellent commentary regarding the "adaption" of the story on her blog. It's in the comments section of the Outlander the Musical post.

  22. Oooh--thanks for the tip Erin! Highly recommended reading--I felt like I was spying on DG/AS-D's correspondence a bit, but really interesting to hear all the ins and outs of how the songs were produced.

    And I have to say that I reaaaaaaaally want to hear the Jamie/BJR song.....

  23. Well, I finally got my computer here at the house operational enough to be able to listen to the snipets and I must say... I agree with nearly everything everyone here has said. It's wonderful and exceedingly odd at the same time. And the strangest thing happened while I was listening (maybe it's just that it's 3 am and I'm suffering from insomnia) but, anyway, in my mind the music and the graphic novel got combined and I suddenly had a whole "Beauty and the Beast" thing going on in my head - you know, a Disney-type adaptation of a classic story, complete with characters that burst into song... Of course, I guess the subject matter is a little heavy - let's face it, sex and rape are not standard fair for Disney - but I think that's maybe the whole point. It's really hard to mesh these songs (and the singers, for that matter, no matter how lovely their voices) with live-action stuff... they just sound really 'animated' to me.

  24. Christie - If I knew how to insert a graphic into a comment, it would most certainly be of Belle and the Beast... AFTER he gets changed into a prince. This is totally what is conjured up in my brain now. And it's kindof hilarious. PS - How about Enchanted?! Half animation - half live action. NICE!