I always thought the Musical Review was the cop-out of the theatre world. I mean, c’mon - if you’re going to do a musical, do a musical. Make the costumes, build the sets, don’t be afraid of the talking parts, etc. The Musical Review, in my mind, was just a way for the singers to cut out all the non-singing parts, and pull in revenue from the little old ladies who couldn’t be bothered with other theatrical things. You know, like plot.
I should step back, though. This opinion started back in high school when the Iroquois Drama Club was pretty evenly split between the actors (“Let’s do ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’!”) and singers (“Let’s do whatever that show was in ‘Mr. Holland’s Opus’!”). There were also a handful of dancers (“Anything by Fosse, please.”), but they were about as popular as a third party in a bipartisan system, though not nearly as graceful. I could sing if I had the right coaching, and I could do the box step like no one’s business, but at the end of the day, I was an actor through and through. And yes, I always wanted to play Atticus.
So the animosity between me and the songbirds extends well into the present, though as of last night I can at least say that my opinion of the Musical Review has significantly improved. Lisa, a handful of my sisters, a certain doctor friend who got a speeding ticket, and I went to see “World Goes Round”, a collection of tunes written by the guys who wrote the music in shows like Chicago and Cabaret. And it was good. I was, surprisingly, entertained. My friend, Lou, was incredible, as always. Against my better judgment, I found I didn’t entirely miss the costumes, the sets, or even the talking, but in fact was able to follow the individual “plots” within individual songs.
And since it was only the really good songs from of their shows, it was almost like someone had just put together a really solid playlist of show tunes.
So there you have it. The Musical Review is actually the mix tape of the theatre world.
1 year ago