Where have catchy musicals gone

Has anyone noticed that musicals just don’t seem to stick in the head like they used to?  Yes, some rise to great fame and popularity like Cats or Wicked, but what do you remember about them 10, 20 or 50 years later?  Once their run is over, do you think 50 years later theatres all over the world will still be paying to perform them as they do Gypsy or Oaklahoma?

Think about it … “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair” became a commercial ditty, but got its start in the amazingly popular stage musical and movie, South Pacific.  Then There’s always “Singin In the Rain,” while that was a movie, it was still a musical and who can forget that tune?  Come to think of it, where did the musical and dancing movies go?

So, how many songs from “Cats” do you remember well enough to hum a few bars?  What about Wicked? They’re amazingly popular Broadway musicals, but the music from them don’t seem to have longevity with any age bracket.  Why is that do you suppose?

Well, I’ve read a number of blogs on the topic … the general consensus is that today’s musicals are actually being classified as “modern operas.”  The songs are actually the speaking lines set to music whereas the good old show tunes and memorable plays like “Funny Girl” or “Gypsy” even “Oklahoma” have the story happening in the lines and the songs are there to enhance the story line, but not be the actor’s lines.  Because of this, they’re memorable, they’re catchy … and today, in the new millennium, 50 years or so after they were originally produced, these plays are still the popular favorites for small and large theatrical groups around the world.

What’s going on in the entertainment industry these days with the types of productions being produced?  So many things are spin-offs, remakes, rewrites, spoofs … where’s the original works?  The truly new stuff as once came about in the early days of Broadway?  Research has brought me to realize that the smaller theatres wont do it unless the production is proven to bring in a crowd and make money and Broadway wont take much note unless it’s been performed in smaller venue’s.  Kind of a catch 22.

Has the stage seemed to have lost it’s draw to the world as the silver screen spin’s off the new “classics” like “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra,” and “Transformers,” or yet another Friday the 13th remake.  It’s all death, dismemberment, violence, big guns, high tech, blow it up bigger than the other guy and scare you out of your pants.  It’s no wonder the kids are doing this to each other.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved Transformers :), and I’m sure when the kids drag me to GI Joe I’ll probably enjoy it at least once, but I just wish there was more going on with entertainment than this.

I wish there were more opportunities to take the kids to the theatre, off Broadway, off-off Broadway, doesn’t have to be on Broadway.  But if I take them, I don’t want to see another rendition of Cinderella, or a stage version of a Disney cartoon and they don’t want to see a long boring drama … wouldn’t it be nice to walk out laughing with a tune stuck in your head that you enjoy humming throughout the house?