I hear people all the time criticizing musicals by saying “why can’t they just say what they mean instead of singing and dancing about it?” and for years the only answer I’ve had was a smile and a shrug, but I finally just figured it out.
It’s because the words by themselves aren’t enough.
Outside the song, there would be almost no moving passion in Javert’s words “This I swear by the stars.” How would He Had It Comin’ be anywhere near as dangerous and vengeful without the lighting and the dance routine? The reprise of Wouldn’t It Be Luvverly is essential to underlining just how much Henry Higgins has changed and damaged Eliza Doolittle. The Mary Poppins chimney sweeps would just be weird guys off the roof if they didn’t have their whole zany song and choreography to make them a funny and interesting group. And there aren’t any words in any language to describe the complete change in Leslie Odom Jr.’s voice as the music cuts off and he solos “I…wanna be in the room where it happens, the room where it happens.”
The reason we have musicals–and the reason we have music in general–is because words aren’t enough.
Dance. Sing. Cook. Do what ever it is that makes your heart sing. Step by step, you’ll discover what you’re meant to do in your life, and with that my friend, you will fall completely in love with. You’ll find it, don't worry. All in good time.
Tomorrow is uncertain, who knows what it will bring. But one thing is for sure, love. With you, I have everything. And Happily Ever After, is the way these stories go. Used to think that’s what I wanted, but now I finally know. There’s no storm we can’t outrun. We will always find the sun. Leave the past and all it’s scars. A happy beginning now is ours.
OK, I'm annoyed. I saw a post a few days ago that said that people shouldn't be upset by the fact that Emma Watson is auto tuned in Beauty and the Beast because all movie musicals are auto tuned.
So, this is one of the many reasons the casting of a big name celebrity with little to no musical theatre experience bothers me so much. Audiences are starting to think that in order to be in a musical, signing talent is not a necessity.
Also, this person obviously hasn’t seen a musical that was made before the year 2000. Really, even later than that! More like, anything before 2010.
Here’s a homework assignment for this weekend. Don’t worry it’s easy. Look up:
Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald:
In watching some videos of these wonderful people, you will see how much work goes into the craft of musical theatre and movie musicals.
And, it bears mentioning, that at the time, these actors were “big names” and they were box office draws based on their singing and dancing talent. I’m all for bringing that back. If Hollywood wants to keep making movie musicals, then let’s bring back the movie musical star!