Musical Theatre Rant

I think it’s weird that a lot of people say that they don’t like musicals and yet they don’t realize how much musicals have penetrated their everyday life. For instance, in class today my professor played a commercial for Müller Yogurt, and everyone thought that the commercial was pretty good, but what I realized that many may have not was that the song playing in the background was from the musical “Hair” made in the seventies. Additionally, Gwen Stefani came out with a hugely popular song entitled “Rich Girl” a while back. I would hear over and over again from people about how much they liked the song and how amazing it was… but did they know that the lyrics were taken from a song from the award-winning musical “Fiddler on the Roof”? Nope. Also, in a Family Guy episode one of the main characters breaks into “Shipoopi” after making a touchdown, a clear yet unrecognized reference to “The Music Man”. If I were to ask some of my friends if they would watch/listen to something remotely musical I would get a large array of responses ranging from a disgruntled shrug to a “hell no!”. But upon informing them that they were exposed to musical theatre unknowingly I receive a “oh, that’s cool”, or “really?”. They refuse to have anything to do with musicals unless it’s presented to them in an ‘un-musical’ way. I think that most of people’s aversions to musical theatre and any of it’s offspring is due to the mere fact that it has gotten a bad rep over the past few decades as being outdated, glittery, and corny. That’s why Broadway is doing so poorly, they need to be updated, at least a bit, in order to get people to pay that much to see a show. In all, musical theatre is creative and clever and poetic (at least the good stuff, Legally Blond the Musical isn’t exactly a masterpiece), crossing over to movies, pop music, and literature. People just need to see it for what it once was – an onstage expression of an artist’s ideas – and make it that again.

I think that this a perfect example of how in order to get people to experience things sometimes you have to introduce it too them slowly, almost under the radar, until they are ready to accept the fact that whatever it was wasn’t as bad as they thought it was going to be.

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