Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Sound of Music

      Hello there, Company.  I know that it has been a criminally long time and for that I apologize, but I haven't forgotten about you.  I am here today to talk about musicals.  You know musicals, those plays in which everyone busts out into song at random times.  I always thought that plays were supposed to be about real life situations, but I don't know many real life situations in which people walking around downtown or in a giant office full of cubicles just spontaniously bust into song for no reason.  It is not like the office is going to break into a song-and-dance routine because Becky just went into the office with Mr. Harrison and they closed the doors.  Gossip and heresay is done with whispers, not songs - everybody knows that.
     And then there's Cats.  Thank God that piece of crap isn't around anymore.  That was a musical, right?  And that is super unrealistic too.  I know cats, there are cats in my home, and I can tell you that they don't sing at all.  The one is mostly silent and the other one walks around making sounds like someone plucking a rusty banjo.  Either that or she sort of sounds like the sound board from Super Mario Brothers or something.  But whatever cats sound like, I can assure you that they do not sound like singing and dancing, okay?
     But on to the point.  The point today is that I heard an ad on the radio this morning on my way into the Worldwide Headquarters for A Christmas Story: The Musical and I thought to myself...they will turn anything into a musical these days, won't they?
     Really?  A Christmas Story?  What is with that?  How is that going to work?  How do you sing a song when your tongue is frozen to a flagpole?  That just doesn't work - the word will come out all mumbled and jumbled up.  It is ridiculous.  And the actors will get all sweaty wearing all those winter coats under those hot stage lights.  And how are you going to light the entire stage with just that one leg lamp?  There are all sorts of logistical issues with this.  And I know that lots of people love that movie and that it is a holiday classic, but that is because you can sit bundled up in your house on a cold winter day and watch it on continuous loop on TBS while drinking cocoa.  I am not sure that it would have the same charm if you have to bundle up, scrape the car, drive downtown, go into the theater, be packed in like sardines, pay an arm and a leg, etc. etc. in order to see it.  Some things are loved as classics because they haven't changed in years, and A Christmas Story is one of those things.  At least in my opinion it is.
     One of the friendly local high schools around here did a musical version of the movie Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels and that sort of threw me for a loop.  Out of all the movies made since about 1980 that I had on my list as potential musicals, that was pretty far down there right near Uncle Buck and Schindler's List and Biodome and anything with a Wayans brother in it.  But there it was, with all the characters spelled out and a list of high school kids who were going to be in it (Marilla and Lindsey L and Linsdey M and Heidi and Brittany and Morgan and Cheyenne and Kayla and Rainee and Keedra and Dylan) plain out there for everyone to see.  I almost went to see it just out of sheer morbid curiosity, not so much because I thought it would be good.
      So there it is, apparently somewhere along the way everything went up for grabs and can now be turned into a musical.  Next weekend I am going to see A&P: The Musial about a grocery store and all the foods found there, and Tuesday premiers House: The Musical based on the hit show on Fox.  I bet you didn't even know High Laurie could sing, did you?  And he has to dance with that cane.  Listen, Company and world, here is the deal: Just because Disney and now Fox has successfully turned high school into a series of musicals, doesn't mean everything works.  Or maybe it does.  Rocky: The Musical comes out next month. 

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