This week, I ask “musicals – Yes, or No?”
A sub-question would have to be “Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals – yes or no?”
Now, I like musicals. Always have, always will. When I was younger I was a sucker for the music, the drama, the dancing, the costumes! As I get older, that is still the case, but I also find myself enjoying the nostalgia, the cheese, the atmosphere. Musicals mean a departure from the everyday, an event, an evening out. Musicals were the tapes I retreated to on long car journeys.
I should stress, that by musicals I am mainly referring to stage productions. Musicals-as-films I am less sure of. Something about it doesn’t come across quite right for me. I am perfectly happy with my characters occasionally bursting into song (Grease!), but having the majority of dialogue sung on the movie screen doesn’t seem to have the same impact. Whether it is because of the medium, or the execution, or some combination of both I do not know, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I was NOT a fan of Evita (though I like the music). Phantom was OK, but then I haven’t seen the stage version, so I cannot compare. I haven’t seen Les Mis yet so again I cannot comment, but I have the suspicion it will be the exception that proves the rule.
Musicals can have story lines – Phantom, Les Mis. They can be a more-or-less coherent story built around a collection of songs – Mama Mia, Cats. They can be completely barmy – We Will Rock You. They can make you laugh, cry, see the world through new eyes.
So yeah, I like musicals. How about you?
Just don’t get me started on most movies-into-musicals. I am still recovering from Legally Blonde last year. *shudder*
(Side thought on the difference between film and stage:
It might be partly because musicals are much more about the auditory experience than the visual. You are not up close to the actors so the whole body and voice is essential to carry the message. On film, you have a crystal clear view of the actors and their tiniest expression, subtlest shift. Stage actors are proxies for the characters you imagine in your head from the songs sung (and words said). Film actors ARE the characters. Maybe?)