Connect with us

Entertainment

How the 'Pickwick' patter performance was a pleasing payoff for Pasek and Paul

Published

on

How the 'Pickwick' patter performance was a pleasing payoff for Pasek and Paul

Steve Martin had just one edit. He was completely game to sing this absurd, tongue-twisting, joke-packed patter song about three infants who are all suspects in the murder of their mother — but he hesitated on the line: “Should a baby get fried for matricide?”

“Guys,” he said from the recording booth, “I don’t know that we should be talking about sending babies to the electric chair. Maybe we could just do ‘Should a baby get tried for matricide?’”

The “guys” were the award-winning Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who co-wrote the song “Which of the Pickwick Triplets Did It?” for the third season of “Only Murders in the Building.”

“We were like, ‘Wait, not only did you solve something with an exact perfect rhyme, but it means we don’t have to electrocute babies and we can make it into a murder trial?’” Pasek says. “‘This is why you’re Steve Martin.’”

Pasek and Paul didn’t know it, but among his many other talents — comedian, actor, banjo player — it turns out that Martin is a huge fan of “The Music Man.” At one of Martin Short’s legendary Hollywood Christmas parties some years ago, Martin did that show’s rapid-fire patter song “(Ya Got) Trouble” and did it “word perfect,” says Marc Shaiman, the multi-Oscar- and Emmy-nominated composer, who was there. “So we kind of knew: Oh yeah, he’s gonna nail this.”

Advertisement

The latest season of the murder mystery comedy series gave Short’s character, Oliver Putnam, a chance to turn his murder mystery stage play into an outrageous Broadway musical called “Death Rattle Dazzle!” Martin’s character, veteran TV actor Charles-Haden Savage, plays a constable investigating the murder of the triplets’ mother — and one story thread in the season is whether he can get through the intricate song without going into a wild fugue state onstage.

“And the harder that it was to actually perform,” says Paul, “and the more alliterative or the more plosives that there were, the more twists and turns or the pace of the song, the more of a payoff for you as an audience. You’re wondering: ‘Can he actually do it?’”

Charles (Steve Martin) and Loretta (Meryl Streep) perform in the outrageous Broadway musical called “Death Rattle Dazzle!” in the Season 3 finale of “Only Murders in the Building.”

(Patrick Harbron / Hulu)

Advertisement

Showrunner John Hoffman brought Pasek and Paul, the songwriting team behind “Dear Evan Hansen” and “La La Land,” into the “Only Murders” writers’ room to create this faux musical. They wrote a lullaby for Meryl Streep’s character and several other theatrical numbers, working with handpicked collaborators including Sara Bareilles and Michael R. Jackson.

For the “Pickwick” patter song, they reached out to Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the theater veterans who musicalized “Hairspray” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” — and who actually gave Pasek and Paul their big break on Season 2 of TV series “Smash” in 2013. This was their first time all working together, and it was like having “second-time-around marriages with younger people,” says Shaiman, 64. “They’re really like…”

“…trophy wives,” Wittman jumps in.

The two duos instantly hit it off and gathered in a room with laptops to play in the sandbox of a shared Google doc.

“Who would have ever known that four people writing lyrics could even work?” Shaiman says. “But it flows.”

Advertisement

“It was like we were playing a board game,” says Wittman, the goal being “how fast you could type to make the other person laugh.”

Benj Pasek looks to the side as Justin Paul faces the camera for a portrait.

“The harder that it was to actually perform,” says Justin Paul, at right, … the more of a payoff for you as an audience.”

(Annie Noelker / For The Times)

It became a comedy writers’ room for songwriters, and they were all on the lookout for the best rhymes that matched words about babies with words about murder.

“Somebody would come up with ‘cradle / fatal,’” Paul says, “and then Scott would jump in and shout, ‘NEONATAL!’”

Advertisement

“And we would all just howl,” Pasek says.

When Charles first attempts the manic word salad, it sends him into the “white room” — a panicked void where stage performers go when they forget their lines. He discovers that making omelets, his soothing practice, helps him get through the song — but it’s an untenable crutch. Oliver brings in Matthew Broderick, playing himself with exaggerated smarm, who effortlessly breezes through the patter song.

“What can I say?” Broderick says. “I’m a vessel.”

Finally, during the sitzprobe (orchestra rehearsal) for the musical, Charles has to perform the entire song for an extra reason — to create a distraction and help his sleuthing partners, Oliver and Mabel (Selena Gomez), in their investigation into the murder of Paul Rudd’s character. So it’s a true nail-biter to see if he can get through this incredibly dense and complex tightrope that has been tripping him up all season long.

It was like that on set too.

Advertisement

“Everyone had wrapped, and everyone stayed,” says Wittman, who was in the Washington Heights theater where the scene was being shot. “The day had gotten away from them and they only had two hours to film the actual number.

“But Steve — not one bead of sweat. He nailed it every time. It was sort of thrilling.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Movie Reviews

Movie Review| Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024)

Published

on

Movie Review| Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024)
Marcus and Mike played by Martin Lawrence and Will Smith respectively, seem to be the duo that can’t be kept down. After running away with the most successful film of 2020, perhaps everyone could have predicted the bad boys would ride again. The…
Continue Reading

Entertainment

Jeezy and Jeannie Mai finalize divorce after custody battle over toddler turned ugly

Published

on

Jeezy and Jeannie Mai finalize divorce after custody battle over toddler turned ugly

Jeezy and Jeannie Mai’s marriage is officially over.

The “Put On” rapper and TV personality finalized their divorce Monday in Georgia’s Fulton County Superior Court, The Times has confirmed. After months of contention, Jeezy (real name Jay Wayne Jenkins) and Mai are now free to enjoy being single or to marry someone new.

They wed in March 2021 and share a 2-year-old daughter who has been at the center of their heated and months-long custody battle. Legal documents reviewed by The Times did not disclose the terms of Jeezy and Mai’s divorce, including a co-parenting plan. The former husband-and-wife duo also sealed other divorce documents, TMZ reported.

Representatives for Jeezy, 46, and Mai, 45, did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment on Thursday.

Jeezy, also known among his fans as the Snowman, filed for divorce from Mai in September 2023. Details about the ex-couple’s strained relationship came to light months after the September petition.

Advertisement

In December, Jeezy and Mai began trading scathing allegations of infidelity and attempts at controlling parenting time in separate motions concerning their daughter’s care. At the time, both stars were seeking permanent physical custody of their child.

The legal back-and-forth escalated in the months that followed as Mai accused Jeezy of improperly storing his firearms, and Jeezy accused the mother of his child of limiting his parenting time and taking their daughter on trips outside of Georgia without his knowledge.

The custody battle took a dark turn in late April when Mai unleashed a slew of allegations of neglect, domestic violence and verbal abuse against her then-husband in a 117-page response. Her court documents also raised new claims about Jeezy’s alleged lack of safekeeping for his guns and ammunition.

“The allegations are not only false, but also deeply disturbing, especially coming from someone I loved,” Jeezy said in an April statement shared with The Times. “This malicious attempt to tarnish my character and disrupt my family is ridiculous.”

The statement added: “It’s disheartening to witness the manipulation and deceit at play and at this time my main concern is being an active father to our daughter as I continue to fight for court mandated joint custody. Rest assured, the truth will prevail through the proper legal channels.”

Advertisement

Amid the final step of their divorce, both Jeezy and Mai have provided fans life updates on social media. On her page, Mai touted the quality time she was sharing with her daughter — including enjoying Filipino dishes during a trip to Palawan and riding scooters at a local farmers market.

Jeezy, on the other hand, has been enjoying views under the Tuscan sun. On Thursday, he shared a video montage of his solo trip to Italy, which included stops in Milan, Florence and Lake Como.

“Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself,” he captioned the video.

Times researcher Cary Schneider contributed to this report.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Movie Reviews

Chandu Champion first reviews: Kartik Aaryan's film touches hearts with its gripping storyline | Hindi Movie News – Times of India

Published

on

Chandu Champion first reviews: Kartik Aaryan's film touches hearts with its gripping storyline | Hindi Movie News – Times of India
Chandu Champion’, the sports drama that marks Kartik Aaryan‘s debut collaboration with Kabir Khan, is scheduled to release in theaters on June 14. The film is inspired by the life of Murlikant Petkar, India’s first Paralympics gold medallist.
The first review for the film has come from the people who watched the film at the special screening hosted by Kabir Khan.Those who have watched it have shared their verdict on social media. While Sumit Kadel called ‘Chandu Champion’ one of the finest films of 2024, Siddharth Kannan wrote, “It would be an understatement to call this @TheAaryanKartik ‘s best performance. Just like #MurlikantPetkar ji, he has risen over all odds and has made an indelible mark with his performance in the film.”
Sumit Kadel took to X and wrote, “#ChanduChampion is one of the finest films of 2024. It is a sports drama done right, telling the remarkable and legendary life of Murlikant Petkar. Director Kabir Khan narrates his story with great skill, research and most importantly honesty without going overboard. The movie explores every chapter of Murlikant Petkar’s life, which is full of heroism, valor, and courage. We see his journey from his village to joining the army, becoming a world-class boxer, struggling with his injuries, and finally achieving success at the Paralympics. His story is extremely inspiring, emotional, and powerful. #KartikAaryan delivers his best performance in this film. His body transformation is extraordinary, and he looks like a real athlete throughout. More than his physical transformation, Kartik’s emotional performance is what truly stands out. There are many scenes in the film where his acting will make you cry. He is sure to be a contender for the best actor award this year. #VijayRaaz lent strong support and the child who played Kartik’s Young version is brilliant. The first half of the film is excellent, while the second half is a bit slow and stretched at times. However, the last 20 minutes make up for these shortcomings. The major highlights of Chandu Champion are the boxing matches and the fantastic war scenes just before the interval. Overall Chandu Champion is a very honest film with a beautiful story, direction, screenplay, and many inspirational moments. Kudos to producer Sajid Nadiadwala for giving the film the scale and grandeur it deserves.”

On the other hand, Siddharth Kannan wrote, “#ChanduChampion… It would be an understatement to call this @TheAaryanKartik’s best performance. Just like #MurlikantPetkar ji, he has risen over all odds and has made an indelible mark with his performance in the film. #VijayRaaz, Nobody could have been a better mentor than you in the film for apna Murli. #KabirKhan packs a punch with yet another blockbuster. #Kartik, you have shut down all those who you would have once said, #HastaKaykoHai?”

Ramesh Bala tweeted, “#ChanduChampion Review : Kabir Khan is back in full form with this film. Emotions, actions, drama, relationships, motivation and unexpectedly killer performances. The film sticks to your mind. Kartik Aaryan deserves a standing ovation. Extremely watchable movie 🍿 full Paisa vasool.”

While seeing the movie, a few audience members who were invited to the private screening were also seen crying. Sharing the video of the same on Instagram, Kartik wrote, “First screening of Chandu Champion with the Man himself. An evening filled with honor, joy and tears with THE REAL CHAMPION. The Man who refused to surrender MR MURLIKANT PETKAR.”
The Kabir Khan film is based on the life and events of Petkar, the first Paralympian gold medallist, who bravely confronted every hurdle life threw at him. The titular role is essayed by Kartik Aaryan.

Kartik Aaryan’s Most Candid Interview On Chandu Champion: I Am Manifesting A Lot And That’s Why These Roles Are Coming My Way

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending