Over on Mark Evanier's website, he posted here a video of the title number of a new Australian musical, Georgy Girl (The Seeker's Musical). Clearly, they hope to find the same lightning-in-a-bottle that made Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical such huge successes. I'm glad he posted the clip, and it was fascinating to see.
I had two problems with it.
The first is that there is actually a very real movie called Georgy Girl that has absolutely nothing to do with the Seekers, other than they recorded the title song. So, calling this musical about The Seekers "Georgy Girl" strikes me as bizarre, confusing and (to me) offensive. That's because if for some reason someone wanted to make a stage play of the movie, its title has now been used -- and even worse, used for something that really has nothing to do with the story of the show, other than it was the name of one of their hits.
The second problem is that I think the number is terrible.
I suspect that the show will do extremely well Down Under, where the group is from and utterly beloved, especially the lead singer Judith Durham. Maybe possibly it could have a chance of doing okay in England where they got their start. But I hope they don't have plans of bringing to the U.S. Keep in mind that I really like the group and have posted A LOT of videos of them here, and have even more to post. But they really only had maybe three or four Really Big Songs here in the U.S. (Though many more in Australia and the U.K.) By contrast, ABBA and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Carole King churned out hit after hit for years.
Also, though The Seekers continued to have reunion concerts in England and Australia and tour on occasion even as recently as 2014 (and maybe since), they retired 50 years ago and have not been a presence in the United States for half a century. When Jersey Boys opened on Broadway, it had been a long time since The Four Seasons' hey-day...but that had only been 30 years, a full generation less. And their music was still a continually-heard part of the American music landscape.
But beyond this, there's that hurdle that the clip makes the show look awful. Cheesy costumes that are overly-kitschy (I get "kitschy," this is the '60s, after all, but this is overkill), empty choreography, mediocre performances, a painfully bland set (for the show's title number, no less), and inexplicably boring and repetitive staging. (On the "big reveal" for the last line -- "And oh, what a change there'll be. The world will see...a NEW Georgy Girl," and she appears in her final costume -- I honestly don't have a clue why this final costume makes her look any hipper or newer or even much different than all her other costume changes during the number. Which is pretty much all she does during the song, change costumes and swirl.) The one good thing -- the song itself is great.
(By the way, for some inexplicable reason they rewrote the tense of the big last line. It's not future tense, it's actually, "And oh, what a change there'd be. The world would see...a NEW Georgy Girl." Perhaps it fits what's happening on the stage better, but given the fame of the song -- and that it's the show's freaking title -- it's an odd thing to do.)
Sorry. I try to be fair, and polite on these pages. And I know the artists put a lot of hard work into making a musical. And maybe the show is better than the title song. And maybe they'll fix things. And it should probably be a big hit in Australia which (rightly) adores the group. But going on this clip -- and it is the title number and probably their most-recognizable song (and to be fair I even watched three other clips, including the trailer -- I have to be honest. And try as I might to find something positive to say, it just doesn't look well-done and, at least for American audiences good enough for here.
And again, and I can't repeat this enough, I hate the show's title. I understand why they call it that. But it's still offensive to me.
Still love the group, though.
To cleanse the palate, here's how "Georgy Girl" is best done.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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