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 Post subject: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
A columnist in San Jose has gotten soem feedback on this question after posing it in a column on San Jose arts organiazations and left off at theater comapny that produces mainly musicals. What do you think?

Quote:
Readers raise chorus over theater column
By Leigh Weimers
Mercury News

Shakespeare was right, I guess. All the world's a stage (even if the current international drama is unpleasant).

When I confessed here the other day that I had overlooked American Musical Theatre of San Jose when I was thinking of the larger theater groups in the city, I asked what you thought. Are musicals creatures unto themselves? After all, the Random House dictionary defines theater as ``dramatic performances as a branch of art.'' No mention of singing.
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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 6:44 pm 
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No offense to you LMC - but what a tiresome subject...........


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2003 9:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: New England
Musicals are theater. Dance is theater. Opera is theater. Theater with no dancing and no singing and no orchestra is just the most ascetic form of the art (in my opinion).


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 7:29 am 
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The minute we start imposing labels and forcing art into arbitrary pigeonholes, we start killing it.

Not all art has to be weighty and introspective; some art exists for no other purpose than to entertain.

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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 10:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I agree that musicals are part of theatre is unarguable. Howver, how about the other issue adressed in the article, namely that musicals can be provide some of the most memorable and highest quality theatrical experiences?

Two for instances:

- the subsidised (from memory around £13m per annum) National Theatre here in London has controversially put on musicals such as "Guys and Dolls", "Oklahoma", "Carousel" and also the original prosuction of "Les Mis". Is this something a Natioanl Theatre should do?

- although most musicals contain at least some dance and many include a lot of dance by high quality choreographers, CriticalDance is the only dance website that I know that supports discussion about musicals. Is it an inferior theatre form, as this suggests?


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 11:33 am 
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Are musicals an inferior art form? Hmm, if by that you mean are they less serious and with less intrinsic beauty, I would suppose so, but then again, for that you would have to be able to distinguish where the line is to be drawn between operas and musicals. For example, I would have to say that La Boheme is a higher form of art than say, Cats, but I would have a difficult time explaining why. Both are serious, both have beautiful music, both are fabulous to watch and listen too, but there is a difference. Any thoughts, anyone?


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 11:44 am 
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By the way, I wonder what Ballachine, who crossed all of these lines , including Evil Hollywood :) would say?


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 12:13 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
And in addition to Balanchine, Ashton, Robbins, de Mille and MacMillan all worked on musicals.

My own view is that is we include Ashton's "La Fille Mal Gardee" as "Great Art", it's difficult not to include "Oklahoma" and "Carousel" for starters, which address serious issues and generate emotional power within the setting of a musical.

<small>[ 13 March 2003, 01:47 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 12:18 pm 
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I wouldn't say musicals are inferior to opera, but, not being an Andrew Lloyd Webber fan, I'd say that Cats is inferior to La Boheme.


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 3:50 pm 
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Location: New England
"La Boheme" vs. "Cats" is a poor comparison. We should look at "La Boheme" vs. "Rent", "Romeo & Juliet" vs. "West Side Story".

<small>[ 13 March 2003, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: citibob ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 4:17 pm 
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citibob, are you referring to the opera of R&J (by Gounod) or the play?


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 5:34 pm 
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There may be a simple answer, but what is the technical difference between an opera and a musical anyway, or is just an arbritrarily defined by the performing companies and their backround/age of the piece/language, and tradition?


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2003 11:07 pm 
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Take your pick. How does one distinguish between Opera and Musical Theater anyway?


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 7:31 am 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
Howver, how about the other issue adressed in the article, namely that musicals can be provide some of the most memorable and highest quality theatrical experiences?
Absolutely the most memorable show I've ever seen was the original cast revival of Man of La Mancha.

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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 Post subject: Re: Are musicals legitimate theater?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 7:31 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2002 11:01 pm
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Location: New Orleans, LA
A 1983 documentary on Balanchine's life for PBS made the following statement in the narration:

"To Balanchine's way of thinking, the distinction between high art and popular entertainment was not worth making."


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