Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Gotta Sing, Sing..." Why Musical Theatre is the best...

Ok, so I know that I'm pretty gay, but this is one stereotype that I'm proud to have!

Musical Theatre, particularly American Musical Theatre, has changed my life.

Let's begin as a child. I watched 7 movies over and over as a child. 6 of which were musical theatre: Mary Poppins, Hello Dolly, Grease, Grease 2, and Wizard of Oz (and Saved by the Bell Hawaiian Style is the non-MT one). (Look soon for a post on Saved by the Bell). Musical Theatre encompassed a lot of my life.

I would watch these movies over and over and over again. I love the way these movies would make me feel and how I could easily relive the movies by just thinking of the music. As I grew older, you know, like 5, Disney reached it's Animated Renaissance with Little Mermaid, and I found out something important about musical theatre (particularly the Disney genre): Ariel wanted something, she needed it, she had to have it, and she went for it (as with the other movies above). I've since come to realize that my love for Ariel has come from my homosexuality, because she wasn't excepted by her family for the person she loved. I can empathize with her, because I'm ostracized from some of my friends and family because of who I love. So as a young boy I saw myself reflected on the screen in a female mermaid!

Then there came other movie musicals. Best Little Whorehouse! OMG. MAN ASS. That's not the only reason I loved it though. I found this musical by the time I was 6. Again, I found something in the musical that I wasn't getting from the rest of the movies I saw: Adult themes and exposure to things that would matter later to me in life (like female prostitution).

Gypsy came next. We never had this on tape, but I saw this on AMC once and loved it. Mom and I stayed up past midnight to watch it all. Again, this musical was about being something that you're not. Changing who you are and why you do what you do. Louis was being forced to be her sister (which younger bother has never felt like that). And once she found something she was good at (stripping) she finally became confident.

Then I rediscovered Grease and Grease 2. This time, it was Grease 2 that really stuck on me. Just like the original, it has great music, but this time it was a male lead. And he hid in his "Charades" pretending to be the cool rider, while being the "nerd." By the end, after his reveal, he was some sort of combination of the two. Many years later, I auditioned for my high school musical theatre program with his song and little did I know that I had been playing in my own charades and it was only musical theatre that allowed me to confront those issues (discussed later). [BTW if anyone has a motorcycle and a leather jacket, I'd love to reenact the scene when Stephanie gets taken away from the gas station by "cool rider"]

Then something amazing happened! I went to see Beauty and the Beast on Broadway! That opened a new door. When I saw musical theatre live, I finally understood something. You can't lie when your in a musical. You can't lie when you sing. The need for singing comes from you soul and you can't lie from your soul (unless you truly believe what your singing). But look at RENT, despite all the deception that happens it's only when Roger and Mimi sing to each other, does all the truth come out. Sweet from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's musical episode even says something to that effect (and is the point of the episode that Buffy can no longer hide the fact that she is living in hell because she was in heaven)

My "charades": It was when I was performing in Little Shop that I realized I was gay. Because of the accepting environment of the cast of MT, I was able to accept myself for who I was, and just like Seymour, come to terms with who I am (I just hope I don't get eaten by a big plant).

Then came Wicked. Taking one of my most beloved stories from childhood (I had even dedicated the month of May as a child to the Wizard of Oz), and giving it a new twist. The musical explores the friendship of GaLinda (The Good, of the North) and Elphaba (The "wicked" witch of the West). I found this musical when my own friendships were being tested and tried! When I finally saw the musical, I felt like I could never be the same person, because the story was so soul searching, that I can't even describe yet how it has moved me.

Granted, some musicals are purely entertainment: Legally Blonde comes to mind right away, but most have truly struck something deep within me. And in the words of Ariel, "Watch and you'll see, one day I'll be, part of your world!"

(As Always, these aren't my pictures)

1 comment:

dancilhoney said...

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