Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Is Anybody There?

I know, it's been literally forever. I blame it entirely on work. Teaching theatre is probably one of the most exhausting difficult things I've ever done (with the exception of AWE). I also think it's possible that only Lena and Alex ever read this blog to begin with (love you both). But I have to rant. Now.

I love musical theatre. I respect the art form. I have a great passion for it and I'm fascinated by not only the history of it but the concept of it. There are few things in this world I love more. Therefore I am more than a little frustrated when fellow artists denigrate pieces of art I hold dear. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but I feel like musicals get more than their share of judgements based on little to no information. Maybe because it's so easy to produce a bad musical. People see a bad show and get turned off for life. Or maybe it's just the Brechtian quality of the alienation of people bursting into song which intimidates people happier with naturalistic realism. Whatever the case, there are shows that deserve to be taught, appreciated, and shared that get written off so quickly because they are perceived as dated, silly of fluffy. Many are. Don't get me wrong. There are some shows I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole...but that's because there is a rational reason which I could explain and back up and still sing you a few songs from the score.

I'm a teacher of musical theatre. I can say that now with some certainty. I'm tired of it being the red headed step child while at the same time being expected to be the bread winning. It's a paradox. Musicals are not the popular art form they once were. Of course they are still popular theatre (look at what's making the most money in the New York theatre scene) but it is not a part of popular culture the way it was in the golden age. That's why it's called the golden age. We will probably never see another My Fair Lady album topping the Beatles on the charts. There will never be a generation that knows a musical composing team as a household name. I know that to love what I do makes me born in the wrong era. But I don't think I was. I think instead that I was born to be a keeper of history, a critical examiner, a supporter of whatever comes next. But being that makes it that much more frustrating when people disregard and don't listen. Listen at least. Look. Examine. That's all that I ask.