I like musicals.

There, I said it.  To be fair, I don’t like all musicals.  And I certainly wouldn’t say I like the genre as a whole.  But there are certainly some musicals that I can firmly state that I like.  I would not have made this statement 5 years ago, or even 3 years ago.  In fact, if you asked me if I liked musicals 5 years ago I most definitely would have said no.  I hated them.  And at that time I don’t think I had actually seen an entire musical from start to finish.  I didn’t have to.  I had seen enough of Grease to know it was crap.  And from that basis I decided all musicals must be like this, and therefore, crap (I still have yet to watch all of Grease and I still think it is crap).

My argument was simple.  Just as the plot seemed like it was gaining some kind of momentum it was interrupted by an extraneous song and dance number.  And then the plot resumed as if it had never happened (the characters seemed totally unaware that they had just spontaneously created and choreographed an entire song and dance out of thin air.  Impressive, but pointless).  The plot would carry on as it had before the interruption, and then it would happen again!  Over and over.  Plot development, irrelevant song and dance number, plot development, excrement, plot development, please shoot me, etc.  You get the picture.  It gave the story a jolting stop and go sort of feel.  It was nauseating.  I like stories with a beginning, middle, and end (interlaced with many explosions).  For me, musicals interrupted the flow of the narrative.

And then I met my girlfriend.

She likes musicals.  She likes lots of musicals.  She was unwilling to accept that I didn’t like musicals.  She MADE me watch as sorts of musicals to prove to me that they don’t suck.  She was right.  They don’t suck.  At least not all of them.  It appears that only the ones with John Travolta truly suck.

I was wrong.  It was unfair of me to judge an entire genre from a very limited understanding of the material.  Musicals, if well written and performed, can be wonderfully fun.  Let me take you through a few I have seen in the last few years:

  • Pirates of Penzance — My favorite musical.  I have seen the movie version as well as two live performances.  I am seeing it live again next weekend.
  • The Mikado — Racial stereotypes bad … but entertaining.
  • Sweeney Todd — I will not be eating meat pies any time soon.
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers — Oregon is weird.
  • The Sound of Music — A bit long.  Needed more Nazis.
  • The Music Man — I live in Ioway!
  • 1776 — My second favorite musical.  It is rather long, but there is some good acting and you get a bit of a history lesson.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show — This one freaked me out a bit.
  • Singin’ in the Rain — Great acrobatic dance moves.
  • South Pacific — Stewpot!
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum — Very funny.

I’ve also seen numerous Muppet movies.

(does R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet count?  Because that may be the greatest thing of all time).

So, with much reluctance (on my part) and persuasion (on my girlfriend’s part) I finally came to appreciate something I had previously despised.

Speaking of persuasion…recently, my girlfriend made me watch Persuasion.  It’s a movie based on a Jane Austen novel.  Apparently there are more like it.  I’ve been avoiding Jane Austen stuff for years.  It’s not that I hate Jane Austen, it’s just that it doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea.  A bunch of rich 19th century English ladies with “problems.”  No thank you.  Add some explosions and you might have my attention.

Will Jane Austen fill the void where musicals used to be?