Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Is the musical really back?

One of the big numbers at this year's Oscars was a tribute to musicals,where Hugh Jackman not only got to strut his stuff but also declared that "the musical is back!"

With the success of films like Hairspray,Mamma Mia and most recently High School Musical 3(have to admit that I didn't see the first two movies and not in a hurry to do so just yet),you can make a reasonable argument for that statement to be valid.

A strong factor in revived interest in the genre is our sorry state of economic affairs which cries out for some form of escapist relief. A lot of our best musicals came about during the Great Depression,after all:

The ongoing popularity of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog also backs that up,but there are a few down notes to this beat. Repo:The Genetic Opera had a number of obstacles in it's path,having the theaterical release date pushed again and again only to open up in a now-you-see-now-you-don't limited run.

Another slightly irksome trend is that even musicals are not immune from remake mania. Many of the big Broadway shows these days are re imagined versions of Hollywood big screen hits-Shrek,Billy Elliot and even Spiderman is due to hit the boards by 2010.

Don't get me wrong,I like some of these just fine(Hairspray and Legally Blonde,for example)and while there are still original shows out there,I fear that they're getting eclipsed by the instant publicity boost a movie to stage show has attached to it.

Coming this spring is a musical version of 9 To 5,with new songs for it written by Dolly Parton. That sounds like fun,but can't there be something a little more fresh from the farm be offered up to Broadway audiences(especially given the ticket prices these days)?:

Perhaps I'm being a Negative Nellie;currently in the works is a film version of the hit musical Nine,with Daniel Day Lewis and Nicole Kidman in roles once played by Raul Julia and Anita Morris(actually,Penelope Cruz is playing Morris' infamously sexy character-hope she can sing!).

Other opportunities for original musicals are bound to pop up,so a wait and see policy makes sense for now. It would be wonderful to have some modern equivalents of Fred Astaire,Gene Kelly,Cyd Charisse and Judy Garland to add on to our movie history.

The best is yet to come, as they say,so putting up with all that jazz may be ultimately worth our while:


Ladytink_534 said...

I'm glad the musical is back (supposedly) but I still prefer the original ones much, much more. Miss Fred Astaire :(

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