There's nothing Broadway won't sing about, so sit back, relax, and...ASK WHY!?
by Raine (playwright/actor/partaker of strange musical theatre)
Last week I shared with you all some of my favorite dorky additions to the world of musical theatre; the musical scores set to the ideas of Batman, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings that I frequently jammed out to. Last week, I’m sure plenty of you wondered why on earth anyone would even write a play about Star Wars. Well, if you were in that “why” demographic – I’ve got something similar for you guys this week!
Welcome to Raine’s “WHY WOULD YOU MAKE THAT INTO A MUSICAL?” list. Now, since I don’t often like to go negative, let me give you guys a disclaimer: There are a good number of musicals on this list that I own the full discography to and Saturday-morning jam with very frequently. (To save myself a modicum of embarrassment, I’ll let you guess which. ) I'm also going to share with you what inspired each of these to become a reality - because the song in people's hearts shows up there for a reason and it's a lot easier to understand something when you see why it landed close to their heart.
GLEE: THE STAGE MUSICAL
Let’s start with the news that got me inspired to write a piece like this in the first place; A Glee stage musical has just been confirmed to be int he works. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a humungo Glee fan. Sometimes my friends are worried about me - But am I alone in thinking this might be a step too far? (I will embarrassingly admit that I want to know how they’re going to make the set for a high school choir room and hallway interesting for the stage, though.)
- Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuck, and Ian Brennan - the creators of Glee, was inspired to write it based on their own childhood experiences with school glee clubs and high school musicals.
I’m sorry, I’M SORRY! It made the list again. Maybe I’m projecting a certain amount of ridiculousness onto this play because of my own struggles with cat-lady status, but to complete the furball-filled mobius loop of crazy catdom – I can still say that at least I’m not Andrew Lloyd Webber and I didn’t write a full-blown musical about dancing cats.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber set his favorite childhood book, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats to music and created CATS.
I’m sensing a pattern in this list and I might be making it because of my awkward connections to each of these musicals, because I was in my middle school chess club and it was nothing like this. If my face-off’s were anything like what was portrayed in the video and my chess pieces broke out in ballet, I might have stayed for high school chess club. But hey, if you can get Josh Groban and Idina Menzel to sing about chess, you get some points.
- CHESS started because Tim Rice wanted to write a musical about the Cold War. He figured the best way to tell this was through the long-standing rivalry between the national U.S. and Soviet chess teams.
Let’s face the facts, no matter what type of story it’s trying to tell or motifs it’s trying to use, URINETOWN is literally a play about piss. While this might just be one of those really catchy plays I talked about earlier, I will absolutely admit that it makes me very uncomfortable. A mythical place where you have to pay to pee and this much meta gets me squirmy, even if it did perform at the Tony's.
- Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis wanted to make a piece of satire that parodied the entire form of popular musical theatre while also talking about big problems like the flaws of the legal system and capitalism.
HANDS ON A HARDBODY
The first synopsis I get when googling the musical that previewed this year is “In Texas, 24 people compete to win a car by seeing who can keep their hand on a pickup truck the longest.” Huh. I am envisioning is a bunch of touristy-looking people standing around a car fighting with each other, and when looking up images of the production...
...I think I'm not that far off!
- HANDS ON A HARDBODY was written into a musical based off of the documentary on the real-life event.
During my research however, I have to say it’s hard to put these in a spotlight when musicals like Little Shop of Horrors exist and a show about newspaper boys is still headlining Broadway. Can we just all admit it; Broadway can be a little strange? Well, I know that I don’t care. In fact...I love it!
roughly translates to “a 21 year old playwright, actor, and student living in Upstate New York.” Yes, she's got pink hair and piercings, but she's also scared of marshmallows and play Dungeons and Dragons, so there’s that. WEBSITE
EMAIL HER | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | OTHER POSTS BY THIS AUTHOR