Apart from Miss Dashwood's tag, this will be my first post for the "Celebrate Musicals Week" blog party. For my first entry I thought I'd explain why I love musicals so much and also give my readers an idea of what my tastes are when it comes to musicals. *Upcoming rant warning!*
I have to admit that I get really annoyed when I hear people saying that they hate musicals because they're all "cheesy" or "silly" or "too happy" or even "gay" (homophobic much?) It made me feel vindicated then when one of my Facebook friends saw the Les Miserables film because he was in complete shock about it. He really enjoyed it! He couldn't get over the fact that it was a "different" musical, that it wasn't like any of those other musicals that he'd seen before. The sad thing is that his former perception of musicals is still much too common. I've met plenty of people with his attitude. Most of the time they've only seen a couple of musicals like Grease! or Mamma Mia! or whatever and have automatically assumed that all musicals must be like this. And it drives me crazy! Musicals aren't all one and the same and if you say that you hate all of them then you're making a massive generalisation. It's like saying that you hate all books or all films just because you've come across a few that you didn't like.
When it comes to musicals the ones that I tend to love the most are awesomely dark, dramatic and epic musicals with serious themes and highly emotional songs. The idea that all musicals are all cheesy and silly really makes me laugh. I mean, really?! What about Les Miserables again? What about Phantom of the Opera? I've seen that show live three times and there are always some people crying at the end! It's a deeply moving story. What about Joseph? Sure it's got some bright and happy songs in it but Joseph still gets sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, and thrown in prison for years! Or what about Sweeney Todd? The main character in that is a serial killer! And his accomplice takes the bodies of his victims and puts them into pies! That show is basically Hannibal the Musical! I could also mention West Side Story, Oliver!, Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Blood Brothers, Miss Saigon, Next to Normal, Wicked, etc, etc. Heck, even The Sound of Music has got Nazis in it! None of these musicals could be described as cheesy or too happy.
The other criticism of musicals that I often hear is that "They are so unrealistic! People just don't burst out into song when they're randomly walking down the street like that! Where's the music coming from?!" This argument seems like an awful cop-out to me. How can people complain about musicals and yet be completely comfortable with Disney films having talking animals or toys? How can they complain about musicals and yet still be happy to watch superhero films? And as my favourite film critic Mark Kermode pointed out: if people can have a problem with characters bursting out into song then how come they don't have a problem with sci-fi films having the sound of explosions in space? Space is silent!
I'm sure you'll have already worked this out by now but I happen to think that musicals are awesome! : D There's just something about adding songs to stories that allows them to become very powerful, and the fact that the characters sing can allow you to connect very deeply with them and their emotions. Also, the sheer rush that you can get when you see a great stage musical live can be incredible. Even musical films - if they're done really, really well - can be amazing to watch. Also musicals are full of massively talented people, especially stage musicals. The actors do 8 shows a week where they sing, act and dance their hearts out. Also, acting in a stage musical isn't like acting in a film. In a film you can do multiple takes so if you get a line wrong then it's not really a big deal. There's no room for error on stage! They have to get it right every single time.
I hope you enjoyed this post and tomorrow I'll be posting a selection of songs from my favourite musicals. It's a big multi-musical fandom post. From Thursday I'll be writing exclusively on my chosen musical of the week, Elisabeth.