I love musicals. I acknowledge that they are often racist, sexist, and improbable. Still, I willing suspend my inner cynic and believe that orphans will be adopted by gazillionaires; it is perfectly reasonable to dance in public or up walls; and that we will all find happiness after two hours and an intermission.
I have been entranced by professional productions of musicals. Seeing "A Chorus Line" on Broadway, "Phantom" in London, and Rock Hudson and Carol Burnett not in "The Odd Couple but in "I Do, I Do" is something I will still be talking about in the home.
It seems to me that the best venues for the musical are the community theatre and especially the high school. I love seeing my city councilman sing "The Wells Fargo Wagon is Comin'." My son was entranced when we ordered our Kung Pao Chicken from the high school soprano who played Maria in "Sound of Music" one year and "West Side Story" the next.
I think the transformations that happen to a cast are even more amazing as they rehearse, build sets, and perform together. Watching the ipod generation bond during the run of a show is amazing. It is especially magic to see the freshman cast as the 3rd Arab on the left take as much pride in and responsibility for a production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as does the senior playing Joseph.
Because I can't sing, dance, or paint a straight line I've never been in a musical. I did formulate the mud to spread on the costumes for a college production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and I am a good house manager. I am also an excellent audience member and know that every high school musical should end with a standing ovation.
Many adults who never sing in public did so in their high school musicals. Dale admitted in an e-mail that he was ... "A sailor in South Pacific, General Bullmose in Lil' Abner, and King Arthur in Camelot! I remember being in the musicals more clearly than anything I did in any of my high school classes!"
How about you? Ever been onstage or behind the scenes in a musical?