I was initially going to write a blog about how I have fallen out of love with musicals, hence my absence in blogging recently. However, I then realised that isn’t true and what I actually mean is due to location and lack of funds I have not seen any musical theatre. However, that probably isn’t true either and it all comes down to definition.
The term ‘musical theatre’ means, for me at least, the musicals going on in theatre buildings; so by that definition, no, I have not seen much to blog about. However, the broader term ‘musical’ opens up all the movie musicals (which I watched a lot of over Christmas) from the classics such as Singing in the Rain to the more recent Frozen. To an extent, this can also include me belting the Wicked soundtrack in my room whenever I’m home alone – personally I think I do a killer rendition of ‘Popular’. You have the same issues with what is the definition of ‘drama’ next to ‘theatre’ and when does a play become a musical? War Horse contains original songs but does that make it a musical or a musical play? This is in turn complicated when book writers such as Oscar Hammerstein called their integrated musicals a musical play. A tangled web of different terms and opinions but, as I say, this is why I love the genre.
To return to why I think movie musicals are important, it is because of accessibility. I live in rural North Devon where my nearest big city is Exeter (an hour away) which has amazing venues, which, like my local theatres, are too small for the massive touring musicals; this is why projects such as National Theatre Live! are so important, but sadly there aren’t that many musicals for it to show. Therefore going to the local cinema and seeing a film musical is amazing. From a performer’s point of view, it is also another area of work and a chance to hone voice skills; most of the key cast of Frozen are Broadway vets: Idina Menzel (Wicked), Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening), Santino Fontana (Cinderella), Josh Gad (Book of Mormon) and, although more known for her TV and film work, Kristen Bell trained in musical theatre.
From a younger perspective, films such as The Lion King and Frozen or even TV shows such as Glee are an introduction to musical theatre; I had never heard Rose’s Turn from Gypsy until a character sang it on the show. Of course, many movie musicals now start as a stage show or become one at some point. Frozen has only been in cinemas a few months and there are already plans for a movie sequel and a stage show.
So to re-think, no I have not fallen out of love with musicals and I’m not sure I ever can really; my issues are all monetary based. But every time I channel my inner Glinda, watch a YouTube video/musical or reblog something on Tumblr then I am indulging in musical theatre, and the mobility and community is yet another reason why I continue to love it.