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Are musicals legitimate theater?
http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1107
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Author:  kurinuku [ Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:12 am ]
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Quote:
Another song and dance
by DEBORAH JONES for the Australian

YOU could say that the first musical was performed in Australia in 1796. In his Sydney theatre, thought to have seated a cosy 120 people, entrepreneur and former convict Robert Sidaway put on a staging of The Poor Soldier.

According to Currency Press's indispensable history of the arts and entertainment, Entertaining Australia, the show "combined spoken dialogue with songs appropriate to the action, written in ballad style".

...

Lovers of musical theatre agree it's not a vintage time for the art form, but it would be a mistake to think all is lost because fings ain't wot they used t'be 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.

published: April 13, 2006
more...

Author:  Guest [ Thu Apr 13, 2006 6:26 pm ]
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LMAO at this topic. Inferior? Let the public decide, look at ticket sales. For example, the touring production of "Wicked" completely sold out here, no tickets to be found anywhere, but the Kirov, was a complete ghost town, practically giving tickets away.

What would Balanchine say? hmmm, try this for some interesting entertainment. Watch a few old Balanchine ballets, than watch a few old Fred Astaire movies. I think Mr. B was a huge fan of the musical considering he "borrowed" so much choreography from them.

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Apr 14, 2006 7:56 am ]
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Let the public decide, look at ticket sales. For example, the touring production of "Wicked" completely sold out here


So does pro wrestling, but that doesn't make it superior, artistically, to Swan Lake.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Apr 14, 2006 8:15 am ]
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I'm puzzled, Guest, (sarcastic cries of "What else is new!" from the back): the article doesn't state that musical theatre is "inferior". In fact the author writes: "I have never felt the transformative power of art so strongly as with a transported music theatre audience." She does say that the current crop is relatively poor and that's a view many share.

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:49 am ]
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Stuart Sweeney wrote:
She does say that the current crop is relatively poor and that's a view many share.


...Including myself.

There's nothing wrong with being derivative -- some of the greatest musicals (Man of La Mancha, Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof, others) were based on other sources, but it seems to me that the thought process used to be, "Let's base a musical on _____ and if we do it well, we'll create good art and make some money" and now it's, "Let's rip off the plot of a Puccini opera (or do a 'tribute' to a 60's rocker), throw some spectacle at it, and we'll make some money".

They've completely omitted the part about doing it well and making good art.

Author:  Guest [ Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:42 am ]
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Right, and ballet companies putting up Swan Lakes, Draculas, and Nutcrackers only interests are making good art?

Its because these tired old ballets generate some ticket sales, nothing to do with art.

Ballet used to be "spectacle", but not anymore. Thats why I feel ballet is struggling so much today. When these ballets were made, you believed that the Willi's were floating across the stage, you believed that ballerina with the feathers and pointe shoes was really a swan, you believed that Nutcracker doll was transformed into a prince.

Today, it all looks fake, a cheesy storyline, bad acting, bad mime in comparrison to the other bad crop "spectacle" shows currently being mounted.

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:13 pm ]
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Quote:
Right, and ballet companies putting up Swan Lakes, Draculas, and Nutcrackers only interests are making good art?


Of course it's not their only interest; they'd have to be either hopeless idealists or complete idiots if that were the case.

It is, however, a prime -- often the prime -- criterion. If that's not true of the ballet companies in your part of the world, you have my utmost sympathy.

Author:  Alex R [ Fri Apr 14, 2006 5:04 pm ]
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With ballet companies you have to find a balance. I was speaking to one of my bosses a while ago and he pointed out that the BRB are very keen on producing new ballets, and part of their appeal is to help with this, but these are only likely to fill about 2/3 of the seats and therefore not generate much money, so the only way to get the funding they need is to put on the big, well known classics that they know are going to sell out almost every night.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:48 pm ]
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Quote:
Its because these tired old ballets generate some ticket sales, nothing to do with art.


Hi Guest! Those "tired old ballets" with great branding sure put bums on seats - no question.

But I can remember the first time I saw "Giselle", from my background as a contemporary dance fan. I thought the folksy opening and the eternal triangle somewhat trite and then Giselle commits suicide and we're into that disturbing and transcendental second Act. I was taken aback and still am, although I enjoy the opening scenes more now as well.

I sometimes see "Giselle" with a VERY critical Administrator, whose main interest is contemporary. And afterwards I have to allow her some space, she says "I'm Giselle'd out" - not so much a two hanky, as a three hanky job. "Swan Lake" and sometimes "La Bayadere" can have a similar effect.

Remember that the people mounting these works have given up their lives to this art form and that these are significant works which they will think about when they look in the mirror. I think these artists take these works very seriously as art.

Author:  Guest [ Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:02 pm ]
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By all means, I am not trying to discount the artists. I know there is mucho hard work being done to get these monster classics up and running. I am just making a couple of random observations and comparrisons between the ballet world and musical theater.

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon May 01, 2006 1:34 pm ]
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I think it is more apt to compare an old ballet brand like Swan Lake to an old musical theater classic like West Side Story. On Broadway revivals also put butts in seats on the power of the brand. My objection is that I don't think there will be too many classics from this period and that is a disservice to this generation of Broadway performer.

Author:  adamsong [ Sun May 21, 2006 4:14 pm ]
Post subject:  maybe

I think there are some musicals that are worth their salt, but certainly not cats. much like with literature and other written works, there are certainly musicals that could be considered ligitimate theater, and others that are just entertainment.

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