Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Why I Love Musicals

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 SuperstarBlood BrothersMiss 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.


Mizzie-Me said...

I agree with EVERYTHING you said! :D I get insanely annoyed when people say musicals are always "light" and "nothing serious" and stuff like that! All of my favourite musicals are also of the tragic kind (*cough* Miss Saigon being featured as my musical for the week...). If someone said "I think spoken plays are always _insert adjective here_ " people would say "What on Earth makes you say that??" but somehow it's okay to classify all musical theatre into one big bunch! How?!

Indigo Montoya said...

Thanks! It felt good to let it all out! : D

Hamlette said...

" People just don't burst out into song when they're randomly walking down the street like that!"

Ha! Clearly, they haven't met me. I randomly burst into song whenever the situation warrants, I have a song stuck in my head, someone says something that makes me think of a song... and if I'm in public, oh well. I recall singing Captain Hammer's theme song in a Target parking lot last year as I returned my cart to the corral, and yeah... got a couple funny looks, but who cares? "Stand back, everyone! Nothing here to see. Just imminent danger, in the middle of it: me..."

Indigo Montoya said...

"Yes Captain Hammer's here, hair blowing in the breeze, the day needs my saving expertise" I love Dr Horrible so much! It completely counts as a musical in my eyes although I would love a stage adaptation : )

Indigo Montoya said...

"Yes Captain Hammer's here, hair blowing in the breeze, the day needs my saving expertise" I love Dr Horrible so much! It completely counts as a musical in my eyes although I would love a stage adaptation : )

Ruby Danderfluff said...

Dark, dramatic, and epic. Yes! Yes! Yes!

I can see what your friend meant when he said musicals were to "happy" and "cheesy". I only hesistate to call myself a "Musicals" fan if only because I haven't really been able to get into many of those kind of, I don't know, cheerful musicals (G&S excluded, that's's social satire).

Oh boy, the live music rush. Addictive, isn't it? I think you're right, though; productions really have to work very hard, much harder I think, to make quality, enjoyable musical films, since they have to do without the "wow factor" that a live performance offers.

Every time I think about how often stage actors have to perform, I really can't comprehend how they keep from just wrecking their voices and going completely nuts playing the same role night after night. Must be so taxing, and at the same time boring! I guess that just speaks volumes about their vocal stamina and dedication to their art.

Reminds me of a talent-search TV show on ITV last (?) year searching for an actor to headline the next "Jesus Christ Superstar" tour. Unlike most talent shows, this one went live every night for 1 week. It was absolutely amazing to see how many of these actors that, though they had incredible voices, just lacked the stamina to keep it up night after night. There was only a select few that did really well in maintaining the quality of the vocals.

Multi-musical fandom post?? Be still my heart! Can't wait to see it!

Indigo Montoya said...

There's no denying that there are musicals that are like that unfortunately. I get more offended when film critics accuse all musicals of being like that because they should know better!

I honestly don't think that any of the musicals that I really love could be considered cheesy. And the only really cheerful musicals that I like are My Fair Lady and Disney. You'll get more of an idea of what I like to listen to when I'll put the multi-musical post up at the end of the week : D

Yes the rush from a great stage show is amazing. There is nothing like it, nothing. And I did watch some of that ITV show. I didn't like as much as some of the other ALW talent shows but it was enjoyable. And the right guy won I thought.