This Week's Guest: Stephen Oremus
My guest this week started his musical career at a neighborhood friend's piano, hanging out and playing showtunes. These days he's doing pretty much the same, but he's accompanying Broadway stars and winning Tonys. Stephen Oremus worked on The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, Frozen, and 9 to 5, among many others, and was music director for the 87th Academy Awards -- a role that became a little tense when one of the winners had an unexpected message to deliver from the stage.
This Week's Recommendation: Showgirls
It was a real delight to reflect on musical dreams coming true, and so for my recommendation this week, I'd suggest taking a look at another story of an artist who reaches for the stars in the big city: Showgirls.
It is incomprehensible to me that I have not recommended this movie already, though episode 28 of Sewers of Paris features Patrick Bristow, who appears in the film as a choreographer with a short fuse. If you haven't seen this film, let me just prepare you: it is not what you would call cinema verite. Its proximity with reality is as close as that of some of director Paul Verhoeven's other films, like Starship Troopers and Robocop. It's the story of a woman who arrives in Las Vegas with dreams of dancing and glamour and fame, and she achieves it all -- but at the price of... well... her dignity, maybe?
I love Showgirls because it is weird and extravagant, and sexually sideways in a way that feels like the script was a mad lib. But it is not, I don't think, accidental. I don't believe there's anything on the screen that isn't supposed to be there, and as with Starship Troopers and Robocop, I suspect that the filmmakers knew exactly how insane this vision was. There are those who claim that Showgirls is a failure of seriousness, a fiasco of bad taste, and a train wreck of glitter.
But I don't think it is those things. I think it's about those things.