This week we are learning about musicals. It seems that there are those that like musicals and those who do not like musicals. Even within the theatre community there those who enjoy musical theatre and those who can’t stand musicals. Almost everyone has seen musicals rather they know it or not. Those Disney animated movies you saw as a child (for example Aladdin, Lion King, or Beauty and the Beast) are nothing more than Broadway musicals in animation form with a little Disney magic thrown in for good measure. Many of the animated films were written by the very same people who write Broadway shows. For example Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice all wrote for Disney and Broadway.
The big question for the week is: Do you like Musicals? If you do like them what is it about the use of music in story telling that you like? If you don’t like them what is about the use of music in story telling that you don’t like? Remember those Disney count as musicals.
Yes I do enjoy musicals, but only certain types. Some things I like about musicals are they teach us history, musicals tackle social and political issues, it reminds people of how it you use to be, the connection you have with the characters or the story, and the most fun is the dancing and singing are amazing. I also like how musicals create a live performance acting out certain stories or books so then the reader does not have to create it themselves in their mind.
I liked musicals (Disney Princess musicals, especially The Little Mermaid) as a kid, but then I went through a phase where I disliked Disney and musicals. I think my feeling of distaste towards musicals was at least partly related to not liking musicals, but I also remember explaining to others that I didn’t understand the purpose of randomly breaking out into song to express one’s feelings or plans. I was under the belief that it was strange and unrealistic since people do not break out into song randomly and if they do, they do not have a song that is as well put together as the characters do in musicals. I was still convinced that musicals were dumb when my friend suggested that we see the Greatest Showman together in the theatre. I “knew” I was going to hate it, but I decided to go with her and I loved every minute of it! I finally understood why people like musicals. Movies and performances take you into a new world where you get to meet new people who you journey with through their struggles and adventures, routing for them. It is a wonderful experience, but eventually ends and you are suddenly cut off from the adventure, the world, and the characters you have grown to adore. The sudden cut off can make it difficult to go back to your reality which now seems dull in comparison. But the beauty of musicals is they provide you with manageable pieces of the fictional world that you can bring into your world. You can sing the songs and relive pieces of the story without having to watch the entire play or movie over again. I have rewatched the Greatest Showman several times since I first saw it in theatres, but I have listened to the songs far more times. Whether my friends and I are singing the songs together or I am singing alone in my car, it feels like I am experiencing the same magic that comes from watching the entire movie.
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