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James Hibberd

'Viva Laughlin': Not a Musical

July 19, 2007 5:04 PM

The "Viva Laughlin" preview shows characters exchanging dialogue, then singing, exchanging dialogue, then singing. It plays like the scene at the end of "Chinatown" where Jack Nicholson is slapping a horrifying confession out of Faye Dunaway: "It's a drama! It's a musical! It's a drama . and a musical!"

But showrunner Bob Lowry says, contrary to just about everything written about the show, "Viva" is not a musical. "We're a dramatic television show-with music," he says.

Actor D.B. Woodside elaborates. "It's not a musical because there's never a character or actor who bursts into song," he says. "Every time a character sings, it's more revealing about who that character is. It's not because we're trying to run away from it."

Critics ask if the producers are essentially running away from the musical aspect of the show.

"We didn't want [the music] to be jarring," Lowry says. "We didn't want it to remove the viewer from the actual drama."


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Comments (3)


This will be the first show this season that will be cancel after 2 episodes.

Can I ask others who have seen the pilot this?

Will these characters always be singing over the vocal track of the original artist, or was that just the preliminary cut that got sent out to the press.

If it's gonna always be the actors singing over vocal tracks, I won't watch it.


Re: Will the characters always be singing over the vocal track?

That's how they did it in the BBC's original "Blackpool," so I'd imagine they'll do the same for the remake. It was always a clip track -- which was annoying at times, but produced some incredibly funny numbers (David Morrissey and David Tennant singing "These Boots are Made for Walking" comes to mind)

The problem is I think "Viva Laughlin" will be way less deliberately campy than "Blackpool" was -- which, to me, is a mistake. This style of show doesn't work as well as a straight drama.

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