You Hate Musicals Because
You hate musicals because you let yourself be affected by people around you. But it’s too simplistic a reason sometimes. There are some instances where you love musicals and you are surrounded with people who are not as much into them as you do. And no, being “manly” doesn’t always have something to do with it.
This article would try addressing just a handful because even musical fans know when something is just too much for someone. That someone can be a friend or someone close that started his or her foray into musicals on the wrong foot or they just don’t like the whole song-and-dance approach to telling a story. In fact the point-of-view worth assuming is that of someone that has seen enough musicals to say “I hate it”.
Why you hate musicals?
– You hate musicals because sometimes it’s a lame attempt to kick a dead horse
Not all musicals get a second life like “Newsies”. Some projects should have really started out as musicals before testing the Hollywood waters first. While it’s unfair to go immediately negative on planned musical spin-offs of “Waitress” and “Beaches”, some classics better be left untouched if only the musical version would go in a direction that would go differently as that of the original.
A good example worth mentioning would be “Rocky The Musical”. In the same manner that “Rocky Balboa” failed to generate further interest in a Rocky film without Adrienne, it just doesn’t feel the same watching Rocky sing with perfect diction. He’s a boxer and talking in that manner that can easily be mistaken as talking with his mouth full brings in the raw charm. So you remove one of the main reasons why Rocky Balboa became such an endearing character to the underdogs and expect some appeal lost.
The same thing can be said about “Carrie”. It got cancelled after 21 performances according to The Telegraph. The original version that starred Sissy Spacek was a critical and commercial hit. It should have been left untouched after the sequel (The Rage: Carrie 2) bombed critically and commercially. Unfortunately, Hollywood is not one machinery that gives up easily hence the “Carrie” remake starring Chloe Moretz. Besides how can you make a hit musical based on a thriller featuring a girl with telekinetic powers largely based on staring at things? (The Chloe Moretz version had to lift her hands just to make her telekinetic powers work) Sometimes, talking ruins the thrill or terror, whichever comes first. What more if you made the characters sing?
– You hate musicals because occasionally it’s a way to capitalize on a box office hit
To be honest, some of the biggest hits are adaptations of a story inspired by something or someone that just when you think you know the origin, another origin surfaces. I am referring to “The Lord of the Rings”, one of the few young adult literary series that dared challenge the supremacy of the Harry Potter series both on the literary level and the cinematic level. Transcending Hollywood to Broadway though, it reminded fans of the similarities of LOTR and “Nibelungenlied” as well as Wagner’s opera quadrilogy “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (4 separate operas based on the Norse mythology). An interesting report can be read from here. In short, inspirations can be elicited everywhere. But it’s not a guarantee either of success.
Fan bases are not exactly fond of having their beloved franchises altered, no matter how minor, for the sake of fitting it in a different genre like musicals. How do you translate the Ents and the Orcs into 2 separate sets of Greek choruses presenting different point of views? With Variety already writing a scathing review of the Broadway version, it should not come as a surprise if it turned an amazing story into the kind of musical that the LOTR fanbase would throw under the bus.
– You hate musicals because some men are basically “eskaparate queens”.
Now hear me out. I don’t have a problem with gay folks in theater. I consider them some to be the most talented out there. And I found it fair that they got the exposure they deserve with musicals like “Rent” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. Most of them managed to overcome stereotyping and be remembered more for their performances, not for their gender preference. It just so happened that some performers try to insist that they are straight even if the evidence shows otherwise.
What is an “eskaparate queen”? It’s based on the word “eskaparate” here in the Philippines. The “eskaparate” is a closet with a glass door. So hiding in the closet when the door is basically a glass pane contradicts the purpose of staying there because everybody can see anyway. And some of you hate musicals because some men are not good at hiding themselves which defies the purpose of presenting a heroic prince (or king, or similar character tropes).
Sometimes, fans would go “Okay, dude, we get it. You’re not ready to get out of the closet. But we don’t need a bunch of articles and several interview appearances saying ‘I’m not gay’. Stop making it sound like being gay is a bad thing”. It’s not a bad thing. It never was. If you’re going to get into musical theater, be prepared for such catty remarks especially when you yourself are not good at hiding your cattiness. You’re no longer on stage but you’re still playing the act of a hot-blooded straight guy? You’ve got more issues than Vogue, I’m afraid.
– You hate musicals because killing, getting killed and dying doesn’t stop them from singing
It reminds me of some sentiments I overheard in cinemas while watching “Les Miserables”. On why they watched the film only to hate it later is besides the point. The catty remarks from the so-called TNL (tunay na lalake) crowd can be funny occasionally.
“Mamamatay na nga lang, kumakanta pa rin” (She’s already dying and yet she’s still singing)
The scene referred to is Eponine singing before dying in “Les Miserables”. The song is beautifully sung until the end where she runs out of breath and dies. Logical people view it as someone dying but still gathering enough breath to sing. Could have been worth commending for the effort, right? No. Saying your last words in the form of a song says much about your need for drama even at your last breath (reminds me of someone who died recently).
If such feedback is given to “Les Miserables”, what more for “Sweeney Todd”? The only reason I watched it almost a decade ago was Johnny Depp, not knowing that it is a musical. I consider that as a pleasant surprise that it was a musical. But I cringed at the scenes where he sang while slashing customers first and dropping them later to Mrs. Lovett’s meat grinder. This is not Clockwork Orange where the music served just as a backdrop to the annihilation going on around the place. The bloody characters are singing the show tunes themselves before, during and after the crime. In Chicago, the only time where a murder occurs in the middle of a song was in “All That Jazz”. In “Cell Block Tango”, the inmates were just sharing the murders they committed.
You hate musicals because “reasons”. Does it matter?
Usually for fans “hardened enough” against critics of musicals, what the naysayers say don’t matter as much especially if they spend more time bashing a genre they don’t even watch as much. Some fans just let these “haters” get into them and affect the way they view musicals. Not everyone likes musicals. But if some of these haters would go into preach mode and start shoving “the evils of musicals” down the throats of those who loved them, then we have a problem.
It’s often a matter of “live and let live”. Not everyone likes musicals but the fans need not force those who are not into musicals to like them too. Flip the situation over and you realize that the opposite analogy applies too. Let those who are not into musicals revel in their own ideas of pleasure while we, musical theater enthusiasts, would revel in our own ideas of pleasure.