Wednesday, April 26, 2017

False Musical Plots

My craziness has struck again. This time I decided to come up with musicals, using their actual titles, but summarize the plots completely wrong. Enjoy!

Wicked
About a bunch of candles that have just had their wicks installed. They have been wicked.

The Phantom of the Opera
The sad tale of Banquo's ghost in an opera version of the Scottish Play

Titanic
Inspired by Big, but he gets much, MUUUCCHHHH bigger!

Rent
About a rip in time and space... It is rent in twain!

Sister Act
A remake of White Christmas, focusing on the Haynes Sisters

Beauty and the Beast
A mysterious deformed creature haunts an opera house and trains a beautiful diva to sing

A Very Potter Musical
The Brady Bunch learns to make pots

Something Rotten
A musical about cleaning out the fridge at work

Cats
All the actors completely ignore the director, drawing a metaphorical parallel to herding cats

Hamilton
People get ill from eating a ton of ham

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
About a factory that churns out merchandise for the hit band "Charlie and the Chocolate"

Shrek
About a failed attempt at turning Star Trek into a musical. It was named with a mouth full of food. The person tried to say "Star Trek", but it came out all garbled.

The Buddy Holly Story
Two holly bushes become best friends

Once on This Island
Captain Jack Sparrow remembers the last time he was left marooned on this island. There was more rum at the time.

Elf
An elf moves to the Shire and revolutionizes the hobbits' gardens, songs and culture

Pippin
The Lord of the Rings from Peregrin Took's perspective

Young Frankenstein
A teenager learns honesty while drinking from a stein

Miss Saigon
Someone moves across the world from Vietnam and feels homesick. They really miss Saigon!

Aladdin
A boy is stuck in something, but what is the lad in? You don't find out until the end.

Urinetown
Where you are once you get downtown: you're in town.

Evita
A Spanish musical about avoidance

Sunset Boulevard
A musical about a road that is stuck in a time loop at sunset

Mamma Mia!
Super Mario Bros, the Musical!

The Drowsy Chaperone
An elementary field trip goes wrong when the overworked and underpaid parent who comes along falls asleep

Spamalot
The ultimate war against junk mail. Canned meat gets thrown across the stage.

The Civil War
A polite disagreement among gentlemen

Man of La Mancha
A Spanish man applies to Starbucks and specializes in making macchiatos​. (Mancha and macchiato literally mean "stain" in Spanish and Italian, respectively.)

The Wizard of Oz
After an exemplary career at Hogwarts, the potions master retires to sell potions by the ounce.

Ragtime
That time of the day when things get so dirty that simple tissues won't do.

Into the Woods
A sequel of Legally Blonde, where the main character is a huge fan of Elle Woods

Camelot
Set in the desert, where there are lots and lots of camels

My Fair Lady
The sad tale of Sansa Stark and her ill-fated direwolf

Bat Boy
In an attempt to sound cooler and more menacing, Robin rebrands himself

The King & I
The life and times of Priscilla Presley

State Fair
Iowa is rated as simply fair. Not great, not horrible, just fair.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Josh Groban's dog must be exorcised when he starts biting off people's hair

Hairspray
A mad scientist invents an aerosol can that sprays hair everywhere.

Matilda
The sad tale of an Australian swagman who stole a jumbuck and jumped in a billabong rather than be arrested. It involves a fair amount of waltzing.

The Slipper and the Rose
"Rose Tyler, I - "

Chicago
The entire cast gets blown across the stage by a strong wind

Carousel
Travelers at the airport are constantly losing their baggage because the baggage claim carousel isn't working right

Labyrinth
The third task of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, extended into a full length musical

Oliver!
An amateur gardener calls in the professionals to groom his olive tree

The Scarlet Pimpernel
A star-crossed lover picks the perfect red flower for his beloved girlfriend

Love Never Dies
An appropriately-named musical in which the lovers truly love each other, are utterly faithful to each other, and they both survive. In fact, they are vampires, so they are immortal.

Annie Get Your Gun
Annie must take extreme measures to protect herself from the ongoing threat of Miss Hannigan, Rooster, and their devious schemes to find Easy Street

Mame
About a serial murderer who can't spell right

Annie
All about Annie Oakley and her sharpshooting skills

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
A futuristic story of an innovative young lad who invents a coat that can project movies

Hello Dolly!
Dolly keeps missing the painfully obvious. I mean, hello!!

Groundhog Day
Old Ivy finally defeats the Chipmunks, and the mayor declares a holiday to celebrate. J. Pierrepont Finch gives a speech (sung, of course) at the ceremony.

Addams Family
Belle meets her future in-laws

Jersey Boys
A group of football players campaigns to replace their old outdated jerseys

The Falsettos
The show must go on, despite all the sopranos and altos having various unavoidable conflicts to the choral concert. The tenors and basses must cover for them.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Musicals Minus a Letter

One letter can make a big difference! A group I am in challenged us to come up with names of musicals, but take out a letter, and then explain the plot of this new musical. I had fun with this and came up with a bunch. I may be adding more as I think of them.

Lord of the Rigs
A hobbit trucker must take a semi to Mount Doom and destroy it (kind of a "Lord of the Rings meets Mad Max")

The Irate Queen
The Queen is not amused.

Unset Boulevard
An aging and crazed star of yesteryear must now remove the dishes, silverware and napkins that she carefully arranged on the street. Quick before that Cadillac drives over them! It does not end well for the driver of the Cadillac.

Little Hop of Horrors
Crazed bunnies resolve to "eat Cleveland and Des Moines and Peoria and..."

Spiderman: Turn of the Dark
The Dark Side takes a whole new form, turning to new forms of evil.

Vita
The first lady of Argentina celebrates life.

The Pantom of the Opera
An opera singer goes mute and must now mime their part.

The Hunchback of Note Dame
A hunchback gets dating advice and must take notes.

Le Mis
One person is very miserable.

Ear Evan Hansen
Evan gets an ear transplant.

Hailton
In a massive hailstorm, a whole ton of hail falls.

Beauty and the East
A beautiful maiden encounters ugliness and love out east.

Beauty and the Beat
Belle plays the drums.

The Little Mermad
Ariel is not amused.

Newses
Gollum joins the media and brings the newses to all those nasty hobbitses.

Ragtim
Tim has fallen on hard times.

Hell Dolly
Dolly is not amused.

Finding NeverLAN
The epic search for that place where there are no computer networks.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Tying
You can win or lose, but a tie is not an option.

Ciderella
A rags to riches story of a young maiden who loves apple cider and meets a prince

Gus and Dolls
The theatre cat finds a new hobby in his retirement.

Bye Bye Birde
Everyone says good bye to their favorite bird before it flies south for the winter.

A Yea with Frog and Toad
Frog and Toad win the election.

The Music Ma
A proud mother helps her musical child to greatness.

The Iz
The life story of Israel Kamakawaiwo'ole.

Alexander's Ragtime Ban
A prohibition tale of when dancing was not allowed.

Ida
Mrs. Strauss travels back in time and meets an Egyptian prince. It does not end well for either of them, but "the gods love Titanic."

Into the Wood
Villagers band together to enter a tree.

A Very Otter Musical
Hermione's patronus learns to sing.

He-Man of La Mancha
A very macho man takes on the pesky windmills.

The Black Rook
The epic tale of a chess piece's quest to checkmate the enemy.

Catch Me if Yo Can
A hip hop musical about a rapper's escape from justice.

Mamma Mi
A mother is very excited about the third note on the solfege scale.

Reamgirls
A group of girls finds stardom with the help of reams and reams of paper.

[tile of show]
About someone who lays tile.

[title of sow]
A pig goes from Ma'am to Mrs. to AA to BA to Doctor.

High School Música
A boy and girl meet at a fiesta in Cancún and find out they go to the same school in Oaxaca.

Ten Beach Movie
Like A Tale of Two Cities, but on ten beaches instead.

Little Omen
Starts with an ominous warning and goes on to tell the sinister story of four sisters.

Rankenstein
A mad scientist brings a dead man back to life using spare body parts and electricity, but things go south quickly when the creature's foul, rank odor withers grass, causes trees to fall over, and local animals to keel over dead.

The Fros
Dionysus and his servant Xanthius encounter a sinister group of hippies with frizzy hair while questing to bring back a decent playwright.

Hrek
Gesundheit!

You're a Good Man, Harlie Brown
The Peanuts gang learns to ride motorcycles.

Sow Boat
A boat sails up the Mississippi carrying a load of pigs.

Show Boa
The pigs on aforementioned bot got eaten by a snake.

Spamalt
A new concept introducing a malt shop at the local spa.

The Kin and I
Anna visits her family.

If/Hen
An iffy tale of chickens.

Flower Rum Song
Captain Jack Sparrow had a bit too much to drink.

A Christmas Tory
The family Christmas party gets a little too political.

Big Ish
It's kinda big, but not huge.

10 in the Shade
The dry winter when the Snowmaker visited.

The Secret Arden
About a town in Ontario that very few people know about.

Samalot
About a gallant knight named Sam.

School of RCK
An Algerian soccer team trains its players.

Fiddler on the Roo
A joey learns to play the violin.

Bombay Reams
An aspiring Bollywood star struggles through reams of paperwork to reach his dream.

Ale of Two Cities
London and Paris compete for the best brew.

Wet Side Story
It's raining in New York.

A Christmas Carl
An updated version of the classic tale, in which Carl Scrooge is visited by three hosts.

Airspray
A popular teenage show decides to promote compressed air. Everyone's electronics are cleaned.

Hairspay
A very hairy puppy visits the vet.

Wes Side Story
Wes joins the Jets.

One on this Island
The epic search for palm trees on islands.

Dr. Horrible's Singalong Bog
Dr. Horrible goes on a quest through marshy flea-infested bogs to reach the secret lair of the Evil League of Evil, singing the whole time.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast


The animated version of Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991. I saw it first on video, and it quickly became one of my favorite Disney movies. It was Disney's first musical to be converted to a Broadway format, and I further fell in love with the tweaks to the plot and the additional songs. So I was especially excited when I found out that they were making a movie live action remake of it.

I am happy to report that the new version is every bit as amazing as the original Disney movie, even making the occasional reference to Jean Cocteau's 1946 movie:


The new movie also answered plenty of questions that the 1991 version raised. I was wondering about some of them, and others hadn't occurred to me:


  • What happened to Belle's mother?
  • Why did Maurice and Belle move to "this poor provincial town"?
  • What is the name of this poor provincial town?
  • Where did they live prior to that?
  • Does Belle invent anything?
  • Does Gaston have any other reasons for wanting Belle, aside from her beauty?
  • Is LeFou the least bit concerned about Gaston's villainy?
  • Did any villagers besides Belle object to Gaston's war march against the Beast?
  • What was Gaston's occupation prior to the events of our story?
  • Were ALL of the Prince's servants turned into objects?
  • Was everyone in the castle at the time of the spell either the Prince or one of his servants?
  • What was the dog's name (who was turned into a footstool)? Who were her owners?
  • What happened to Mr. Potts?
  • How did the Prince get so cruel that the enchantress has to take such extreme measures to teach him a lesson?
  • What about the Prince's parents?
  • What happens to the enchantress after she casts the spell?
  • How does Belle get the heavy Beast onto Philippe after he's been wounded by the wolves?
  • Why do the Beast's servants care so much for him? Do they blame themselves at all for the Beast's condition?
  • Are all of the books in the Beast's library in English (or French)?
  • How does a moment last forever?
  • What is Cogsworth's first name?
  • Does M. D'Arque have children? (This is not actually answered.)
  • Was Gandalf ever transformed into a clock?
  • Did Gandalf ever meet Hermione Granger?
  • Did Obi-Wan enlighten anyone who didn't have "Skywalker" in their name? (Pun intended)
  • For that matter, did Obi-Wan ever meet Hermione Granger?

  • How does it look to have a snowball, dishes, rubble, mud, rubble and a falling villain thrown at you? (This is answered in the 3D version.)

  • Could there be more to the poor than meets the eye? Maybe they deserve more respect than we often give them? Are they sometimes the best of us?
  • Is everyone's hero necessarily heroic? What happens when our heroes disappoint us?
  • Both the Prince and Gaston start out as spoiled, selfish and unkind. How can their repentance or lack thereof inspire us to become kinder and unselfish?

  • What happens when the theater is almost empty because most people think there's nothing left to see, and Josh Groban starts singing your big brother's favorite song in the movie, and said big brother likes to sing, and is sitting next to you? (Hint: Josh Groban is suddenly a background singer.)

Beauty and the Beast is an amazingly well-done remake. Pro tip: stay to the end of the credits. There is no post-credits scene, but they save Josh Groban for last.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Overblown Controversy

Following are two recent posts that I shared on Facebook considering the controversy surrounding the announcement that LeFou is gay in the new remake of Beauty and the Beast.


For me, the most heartbreaking part of the furor over the rumors surrounding the upcoming Beauty and the Beast remake is Christians abandoning one of the most basic tenets of Christianity, to love your neighbor as yourself. It doesn't take more than a few clicks to discover that the rumors are way overblown, and more or less on par with the original animated movie. You know, the family-friendly movie you loved where LeFou is head over heels for Gaston, and (it sounds like this is reproduced in the new version) the wardrobe cross-dresses men in the battle. I've seen some people pledging to watch this movie as an alternative:


Expressing overblown contempt for something so minor goes against what Jesus taught, and is more on par with the actions of the Pharisees that He fought so hard against.

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. When asked who our neighbor was, Jesus used an example of a Samaritan, one of the groups most hated by the people He was teaching.

I'm not saying you need to go see Beauty and the Beast. Go or don't go. But if you refuse to watch it, don't tell people about the evils you think it contains that it doesn't.

As Christians, we are supposed to be a light to a dark, lost world. Instead, we're chasing away the people who need Jesus most because they disgust us. This is exactly what the Pharisees did. Jesus hung out and associated with these people. How many people that Jesus died for will spend eternity in torment because we chased them away by our scornful attitude?

****

I later realized that the recent overreactions and increasingly fantastical rumors about Beauty and the Beast are exactly what Gaston does in the story. He makes up a bunch of lies based on one bit of information and his fears, and stirs up vicious, destructive rage among the people of the village.


This is is an excellent blog post from someone who saw a preview of the new movie. She addresses the controversy and goes more in depth into the scenes referenced in the announcement.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Proposed Laws of Nature

Have you ever wished you could lobby for a new law of nature? Not just a legal law that can be broken, but a natural law that is impossible to break. Things like the laws of gravity (though, granted, I propose exceptions to that below) and physics. I've been pondering this lately, and these are my proposals so far:

  • Snow may fall and ice may form anywhere except on roads, driveways, sidewalks and vehicles.
  • Rain must cut it out before floods accumulate. If it must continue to rain at that point, the rain must relocate to locations more in need of water.
  • Natural disasters must confine themselves to locations uninhabited by people or animals. I would suggest Mars.
  • Hailstones must be no larger than your average pea.
  • Tsunamis must always crash out to sea, never inland. If there are boats or surfers in the proposed path, the tsunami must wait until they are out of the way.
  • There needs to be a limit on how thick fog can get. I would suggest a minimum visibility of 75 feet.
  • Wind must be considerate and not destructive.
  • Clouds must block the sun over the horizon at sunrise and sunset, at least during March and September.
  • Skin must be unburnable.
  • Wounds and maladies of all sorts must heal as fast as they do for Wolverine. However, replacing bones with adamantium would not be necessary.
  • Vision may diminish to a point where glasses are needed for minor correction, but it must never progress to the point of blindness. The other senses must never diminish.
  • Teleportation and human flight must be achievable and normal modes of transportation.
  • Food, water and coffee must always be available to those who need them.
  • Smoke and exhaust must be odorless and harmless.
  • Fire must not stray from its intended location, provided it is intended for use in cooking, keeping warm, and campfires (and other beneficial uses, as needed). If set with malicious intent, it must be impossible to set.
  • Meteors must avoid crashing on planets and spacecraft.
  • The Northern and Southern Lights must be visible to more of Earth, more often. When forecast, it must be visible. It is all right for it to be somewhat rare, though, as that would preserve the novelty. Just less rare than it currently is.
  • Science, healthcare, sports and the arts must always be held in high regard, and never repressed or under funded. They must be easily affordable both to provide and to patronize.
  • Food must always be beneficial to a person's health. An excess of food must not lead to an excess of weight.
  • Pimples must disappear, never to return, the instant a person turns 16.
  • Back orders on products, especially if they are essential, must be impossible. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Romans 13 and Civil Disobedience

I've heard several people cite the following verses to say we shouldn't be criticizing Trump:

Romans 13:1-2
Let every person be subject to governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

What if those governing authorities are clearly sinning and commanding others to sin?

What if, say, God commanded Moses to tell Pharaoh to stop enslaving the Israelites and release them? (Exodus 3-12)

What if God commanded Samuel to criticize King Saul multiple times, and at times Samuel had to carry out the orders that God had commanded Saul to do, because Saul refused? (1 Samuel, 1 Chronicles)

What if God commanded Nathan to tell King David that having an affair and committing murder were terrible sins, leading to a very eloquent prayer of repentance? (2 Samuel 11-12, Psalm 51)

What if God commanded Elijah to prove to Queen Jezebel and the prophets of Baal that their idolatry was evil, causing Elijah to run for his life? (1 Kings 18)

What if God commanded Jeremiah to send a messenger to King Jehoiakim with a scroll full of the King's evil deeds, and Jehoiakim cut up the scroll and threw it in the fire, leading to God sending their kingdom into captivity? (Jeremiah 36)

What if God commanded Esther to talk to King Xerxes to inform him that the order he had rubber stamped to stamp out an entire people group was evil and murderous? (The book of Esther)

What if God commanded Jonah to tell the King of Nineveh that they were evil and destined for destruction - and God had to use extreme measures to get Jonah to obey and criticize the governing authorities? (The book of Jonah)

What if Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego engaged in civil disobedience by refusing to bow to the statue of King Nebuchadnezzar, and were thrown into a blazing furnace for it, but miraculously survived? (Daniel 3)

What if Daniel had to tell King Belshazzar that the mysterious writing that had just been written on the wall meant the following? "God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. ... You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. ... Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." (Daniel 5:26‭-‬28) Belshazzar didn't survive the day.

What if Daniel directly defied orders to worship only King Darius, and got thrown into the lion's den, and miraculously survived? (Daniel 6)

What if Jesus - God in flesh - blasted the religious leaders for their hypocrisy, over and over and over? (The Gospels)

What if Peter and John told the governing authorities that they would not obey their command to stop spreading Jesus' message, saying, "Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him?" (Acts 4:19)

What if Stephen told the governing authorities that Jesus was right, they had murdered Jesus and Jesus had defeated death, causing them to stone him? (Acts 7)

What if Paul - who wrote Romans 13:1-2 - criticized the Roman authorities for breaking Roman law by beating him and Silas, leading to them apologizing? (Acts 16)

There are so many more examples, but those are the ones that come to mind. We are commanded to submit to authorities. We are commanded to pray for them. We are not commanded to refrain from criticism when they are wrong. Paul said to expose wrongdoing (Ephesians 5:11). Paul wrote Romans under the rule of the evil emperor Nero, known for his brutal treatment of Christians.

Now, what if many (though not all) of the people currently citing Romans 13 were some of President Obama's sharpest critics? What if they so recently defied what they themselves are now preaching? Is this hypocrisy not exactly what Jesus repeatedly accused the Pharisees of doing?

What if our current president claims to follow Christ, but claims never to have needed to repent of anything?

What if he repeatedly ordered his supporters to violently throw people out of his rallies while campaigning?

What if he has had multiple affairs and bragged about rape, later trying to pass it off as "bathroom talk"?

What if he openly mocked a man with special needs, and has repeatedly denied it despite video evidence to the contrary?

What if he has passed a temporary ban on thousands of people in mortal danger from fleeing to safety?

What if he is working to dismantle needed healthcare policies without first proposing a replacement?

What if he represses the freedoms of speech and of the press guaranteed in the First Amendment, by telling the media, National Parks, scientists and others to shut up?

What if he fired the acting Attorney General because she chose to follow the orders in the Constitution rather than the President?

What if he has inspired (intentionally or not) violent acts of racism, sexism, Islamophobia, Christophobia, homophobia, xenophobia, and several other phobias, throughout the US and even as far away as Quebec?

Again, there are so many more examples of how this man has been "weighed in the scales and been found wanting."

---

So what are we to do?

We are to respect the office of President.

We are to submit and obey what he tells us to do, provided that doing so would not go against the commands in the Bible and the Constitution.

We are to be upright, following God first, then the law, then the president.

We are to fight for the less fortunate.

We are to stay informed and fact check what we hear. Let's not automatically support or oppose what we hear based solely on the fact that Trump said or did it.

We are to pray fervently that God will give wisdom to President Trump, and lead him to repentance. We need to pray that Trump will become the wise and compassionate president that we need.

We are to hold out hope and not despair.

We are to remember that God is bigger and greater than Trump, and God will prevail.