Saturday, 14 April 2012


Dear Reader,

So, another day, another letter. Musicals, this is one of my favorite things (sorry, rants.) I do have a number of problems with musicals. The dear lady wife has no problem with musicals, in fact she loves them. This is one of the problems I have with musicals. There are a few more, a bullet-pointed list perhaps?
  • A movie or theatre piece should not have major points of plot acted out with songs.
  • The same applies to dancing.
  • The same applies to incidental dancers.
  • The same applies to production numbers.
  • Unrealistic, candy-coated, sickly sweet worlds like those portrayed in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and the like don't exist and never will, (hopefully).
Does not exist.
Regarding the last point I understand that suspension of disbelief is required, I just have trouble suspending it from that height. Maybe it's a vertigo thing.

I also understand that I am a hypocrite of sorts. One of my favorite movies of all time is The Blues Brothers. At least one major point of plot is settled by a dance routine. There is also one production number. It is however, quite brilliant. 

Perfectly feasible.
Moulin Rouge is very good and I can sit through Chicago as well. So, enough of the hypocrisy. I do have another problem with musicals which I have alluded to on this blog previously here. It does seem that a musical can be about almost anything. Some examples follow in my second bullet-pointed list of the day, some more successful than others.
  • Spamalot - Eric Idle's musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This started on Broadway making an obscene amount of money and landed in London later when I noticed the billboard for it. At the time I was dubious to say the least. On reflection, I think I might quite like it.
  • Jerry Springer: The Opera - So an opera is still a musical right? Take the life of chat-show host and trailer-trash baiting Jerry and turn it into a musical. Obviously. 
  • Shrek: The Musical - The film was successful, so lets make a musical out of it. Hmm...
  • Sweeney Todd - Still running, this is the story of a barber who gets wrongly sent to prison. Upon release he sets up shop again, butchering his customers to music apparently. To clear up any chicken and egg questions coming my way, the musical was first, followed by the Tim Burton film adaption.
  • Shane Warne: The Musical - For those who don't know Shane Warne was one of the greatest cricketers Australia ever produced, a spin bowler extraordinaire. More recently he has hit the headlines in the UK for dating Liz Hurley (still ongoing apparently.) The life of a sportsman is of course a perfect subject for a musical, not.
  • Spiderman: The Musical - currently in production apparently. I kid you not.
This is all highly amusing and proves to me that one thing must be true of musicals: if people will pay for it, someone will give it to them. This is fine of course, this is capitalism. Shane Warne: The Musical might not work so well in North Korea.

Anyhoo, I think I may be done with musicals, more next week Dear Reader, when I nudge and nurdle the letter N.



  1. It sounds like musicals may not be your cup of tea, but don't rain on our parade! :) Musical theater doesn't have anything to do with realism - to me, it's about joining the emotional appeal of music with the dramatic narrative conventions of telling a story. Yes, there are more realistic ways of telling a story - but I would submit that most of them aren't as fun!

    1. I did my best to put a positive spin on this :) I hope your parades are always sunny!

  2. Hi Brian. I should be in bed trying to recuperate from this flu-like bug but instead, find myself reading through your posts and guffawing like a loon.

    Now following. :)

    1. Hope you're feeling better. I find myself guffawing similarly at your work too. Thanks for popping by.

  3. I really dislike musicals, although I tend to like musical episodes of TV series. The main ones that spring to mind are the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I loved) and the musical episode of Scrubs. I think the reason I like these musical versions is because they're actually singing for a reason! Great post :)

    1. I remember there was a musical episode of Moonlighting which was equally cool, but a long time ago.

  4. I hate that Movie Mamma Mia which is ironic because the little ad at the end of the post says Book Tickets for Mamma Mia.

    ON that note (E sharp) I must Whip Crack Away on the deadwood stage......