Thursday, August 11, 2005

Can't we all get along?

Subtitle: When Broadway composers collide!

Well, apparently Broadway composers have as much spare time on their hands as anyone else, and instead of channeling into something productive, like blogging for instance, they've decided to start a new feud.

Seems Composer #1 thinks the American Musical is "dead" (hmmm, where have I heard that before?) and Composer #2 (listed among those contributing to said deadness) thinks Composer #1 is a pompous ass.

Um, they're both right?

I liken recent big-hit musicals, such as The Producers, Hairspray and probably Spamalot (haven't seen that one) to Chinese's good while it lasts, but it kinda goes right through you. I don't think, however, that it's particularly new phenomenon. Certainly it's been true for at least 2 decades since the British Invasion led by Trevor Nunn and Andrew Lloyd Webber started.

And I bet back in the golden era (and I'm sure Greg may have a comment on this) there were more "fluffy" musicals for every serious piece. Are we in a special kind of hell with the jukebox musicals a la Mamma Mia? I'm not even sure that's unique. There were plenty of musicals back in the day that were simply revues of popular songs. (It's just that popular songs used to be more aligned with Broadway than these days.)

But like the actor who does a blockbuster every three years to support his indie film habit, the real question is:

Does producing the blockbuster, artistically-challenged shows enable the more daring fare to also be produced, or does it push that fare out?

I wish the former, not sure it's not the latter though.


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