Hello everyone and welcome back to another Friday’s Choice. Last week I talked about Virgin River on Netflix which you should go and check out if you haven’t already. Today’s #fridayschoice is going to be all about why I love musicals.
I think that it is obvious from my Theatre Throwback posts that I have spent a lot of time at the theatre watching musicals. I cannot wait to get back to the theatre and I know that the next time I get to watch a musical, I will be glowing with excitement.
Today’s Friday’s Choice is a little bit more personal because I am giving you all an insight into something that I love.
I think that when it comes to musicals, they seem to split people’s opinions. I don’t think I have met anyone who had a middling opinion on musicals, perhaps it is has just been my experience and I do not wish to make sweeping statements but whenever the topic of musicals has come up in conversation, my experience has always been that people tell me that they love musicals or they hate them. There has not been much in-between.
Something that has always struck me as interesting is that whenever someone tells me that they hate musicals (which is fine by the way, we all have our own interests), they tend to mention movie musicals as examples. Now there is nothing wrong with movie musicals, but I don’t think they are the right thing to base one’s opinions about musicals off of. A movie musical that has been adapted to suit a cinema screen is very, very different to a musical that is being performed live onstage, and I will be honest and say that I do not think all musicals are suited to movie adaptations because without the live element, the concept sometimes does not translate well onto the screen and then the movie musical sometimes does not make sense.
I have had people tell me that they don’t enjoy everyone bursting into song which is pretty key to a musical. I think that when you watch a musical live onstage, the bursting into song does not feel so jarring as it sometimes does in movies. In live shows, the orchestra is always playing and you can hear the introduction to the song, and because in musicals, the songs function as a way to share more of the story and move the story forward, the songs seem so much more natural which makes sense because they’re in their natural element and I think that when watching live theatre, some of the most beautiful and emotional moments in the musical happen in the songs.
I have been watching musicals for as long as I can remember. I would say that my family is rather musical, there are people who play lots of different instruments and I went to singing classes when I was very young. We were all always in the choir, things like that and my grandmother especially loved to sing. When I was little we would watch things like My Fair Lady and Oliver! so I have enjoyed musicals since I was very young and as I got older and started taking drama classes more seriously, I began to appreciate musicals on a deeper level too.
I love musicals because they are fun. Some shows have the most fun and upbeat scores and being in the theatre watching a show like Legally Blonde or Mamma Mia is so much fun because the energy is upbeat and the atmosphere in the theatre is amazing. There is a buzz in the air and I don’t think that feeling can be recreated anywhere else.
I think that there is a magical quality to live theatre – which I know, I know, that sounds cliché, but I think it is true. I think that the feeling you get when watching live theatre is almost indescribable. When you are waiting for the curtain to rise and you can hear the orchestra play a few bars before they begin playing the overture, there is such an incredible energy in the theatre. Everyone is excited. The lights have dimmed. Everyone is eagerly anticipating the performance and then it begins.
I love musicals because I love to be moved. I think that some of the most beautiful moments happen in songs. There is something about the way that music can capture an emotion that words cannot. I adore music. I adore reading sheet music. I love how powerful and moving and personal music can be. Everyone has a favourite song and I will bet there is always a reason behind why it is their favourite. There have been times when music has moved me to tears and I think that when a piece of art touches you on that level, it is very special.
It is great to enjoy a musical. It is great to walk away and say ‘I had a great time, that was brilliant.’
I think it is another thing entirely to walk away feeling moved. When a show resonates with you or you find it relatable or touching, that is the best feeling because the show becomes more than just a show.
I love musicals because visually, they are stunning. I am always so impressed by the production. The staging, the costumes, the sets, the dancers, the ensemble. A musical is composed of many moving parts and I have great admiration for anyone who works onstage and behind-the-scenes because everyone who plays a part in making a show happen is extremely talented and together all those components create something incredible.
Musicals are a little bit of a spectacle. I think there is a certain opulence in musicals that should be just accepted as a given. It is not the realism that is created in movies. A musical is a very immersive experience because the actors onstage will bounce off of the energy of the audience. Anything can happen live. Props can break, sometimes there are mishaps, there will always be rustling in the audience and so even though the actors perform the same script again and again, it is still a different show every time.
I think that musicals are a great way to appreciate all different aspects of the arts, if you love dancing then you will love the dancing in the show. Some shows are known for their incredible dance sequences. If you love music then what could be better than a musical? There are so many different, amazing songs and I think that sometime on Katelovesliterature.com I will talk about some of my favourite scores in more detail. If you love acting and usually prefer traditional plays, then I would say to give musicals a chance because there are some incredibly talented actors who have blown me away when I watched them live. Acting onstage is very different to acting onscreen so if you have a movie musical in your head I would say to forget about the movie. Set aside that expectation and go and enjoy live performances.
Of course I understand that tickets can be expensive and sometimes there are shows that I would love to see but can’t. What I will say though is whenever I know a show is coming that I know I absolutely do want to see – not a casual ‘oh that might be nice.’ – but a proper, ‘oh my goodness, I can’t miss that.’, then I will save up or maybe I will get the tickets for my birthday or for Christmas and any time I have spent the money on theatre tickets, it has always been money well spent because I have never had a bad night at the theatre. There are also different seat options and sometimes there are deals about so if it is something you love then keep an eye out for things like that.
I cannot wait to see a show again. The next show on my list is The Rocky Horror Show. I will hopefully be seeing this weird and wonderful show in October and of course, I will write about it so keep an eye on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature) for updates on that. I am very excited about adding another program to my collection. I will be seeing this musical with a friend of mine who loves the movie, but has never been to a live musical before so I have said already to put the movie out of your head because the show will be a completely new experience. So I am very excited for that. Roll on October.
This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know your thoughts on musicals. Love them? Hate them? What’s your favourite musical? Is there one that stands out? Is there one that moved you? Let me know, I love hearing from you. I hope you all have a lovely weekend.