13: The Musical

Where I Watched It: Netflix

English Audio Description Available?: Yes

Because I always like to be honest about my bias, I will say for those who don’t know what I do other than “be blind” and “watch movies and tv shows”, I also work and have worked in live theatre. I’m quite familiar with this stage musical, as I was an assistant stage manager for a production, and my kids were amazing. So, I’ve technically seen the live show done a bazillion times. I’m also a person who would count Jason Robert Brown, the composer of the music and lyrics, as my favorite Broadway composer. His shows, particularly The Last Five Years, are among my favorite Broadway productions.

That being said, you could go either way with this. There’s an argument to be made that this film is going to attract Broadway loyalists, as it’s not quite as fresh as Hamilton or Dear Evan Hansen, nor is it as big of a property. In fact, the last time something by Jason Robert Brown was given a movie treatment, it was The Last Five Years, which starring Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick didn’t receive a wide release.

Admittedly, Tick Tick Boom is a little obscure, and I think Andrew Garfield helped bridge that gap. Debra Messing and Rhea Perlman won’t be enough to bring in the masses to this film. As a fan of the show as it is, I was somewhat enraged at how many songs were cut, yet new songs were written in their place. Why? Any Minute is hilarious and they cut it. They did the theatre scene, but without the song?

So, as a purist, I feel the same way i did when Dear Evan Hansen cut songs but had the time to write new ones, or Beauty and the Beast pointlessly wrote a new song that served the exact same purpose as if I Can’t love Her from the stage musical. Why commission new music in place of songs that already work and led to the shows success?

But, these kids are amazing. It’s perfect casting. I didn’t hate a single one. What I was given, when i get past the missing music, was entertaining. It wasn’t what I wanted, and i couldn’t fully embrace it, but I didn’t hate it either. And I think those that have never seen the musical won’t notice any difference.

As far as the audio description, I personally don’t like audio description on top of singing. I’d rather hear the singing. But that’s because I’m a musical nerd. I don’t care about the choreography I can’t see during the song, I came for the music. not everyone is that way, and I concede that some songs are repetitive enough to slip in some narration to add visual context. It’s not my favorite thing, but I’ll let it pass.

This hasn’t done well on Netflix, and was met with a rather unfortunate tepid reception from the few critics who bothered to watch it. As mad as I am that What It Means To Be A Friend was cut, I concede that the movie itself is actually entertaining. Therefore, i say go for it, especially if you aren’t familiar with the source material.

This show, after all, is the reason you have Ariana Grande.

You’re welcome.

Final Grade: B

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