Tag Archives: Musicals

There’s a time for us…to love musicals.

When I was little, my favorite movie was The Sound of Music. I still know every song and scene by heart. In junior high—that ages me!—our school put on Lil’ Abner and I was the understudy for Daisy Mae. I loved musicals then and I still love them today. One of the great joys of my adult life has been seeing musicals performed—I try and get to New York at least once a year to see a show and have season tickets to my very good local performing arts center. Recently a friend and I went to go see the Tony award winning In the Heights. I thought it was excellent. The play covers three days in a mélange of characters’ lives in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights and was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards in 2008—it won four.

Seeing In the Heights got me thinking about my favorite musicals. When I was growing up the musicals I loved were those I saw on television: My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, The Music Man, West Side Story, Grease (still the highest grossing movie musical of all time), South Pacific and my beloved Sound of Music.  (Trivia fact: a woman named Marnie Nixon sang the parts of Eliza in MFL, Sister Sophia in SoM, Maria in WSS, as well as Anna in The King and I.)   Continue reading

What happened to the musical?

avenueq1Culturally, I think we’re in a pretty good space right now.  Musical artists are finding new and creative ways to reassemble the old quarter notes and eighth rests.  Books and movies?  Heaps of stuff going on.  Theatre?  There are many exciting new plays that come out every year.

But my first love was and will always remain the musical, and it saddens me immensely to see that it is undergoing a prolonged and painful slump.  Oh sure, American Idiot by all accounts is awesome, and ticket sales are finally boosting, and that new production of Mary Poppins is doing well.  But when was the last time you heard about a brand new musical – with brand new, un-recycled music – that was wowing the theatre world?  When was the last time someone actually did something original with the music and lyrics, and married it successfully with even a half-decent book?  In the last ten years, I could probably count five. Continue reading