Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The day Broadway took over.

Today, Broadway is becoming more and more prominent in the lives of all.

With the introduction of hit shows such as Glee and Smash, and the rising popularity of the annual Tony award ceremony, musical entertainment is showing its "mainstream" side. Here, I am going to give you some  details of "the day (or new era) that Broadway took over".

1) Smash
(first season aired: 2012)
First, my personal favorite.

Smash is a television drama about what goes on behind the curtains of a *fictional* big Broadway musical.
The show is named "Bombshell" and follows the beautiful/tragic life of Marilyn Monroe.
From casting to pre-production to opening night, the characters of Smash duel for roles, sabotage competitors, and sing out their emotion. But that's not the only singing they do. Of course, since it is a musical they are making, numbers are introduced throughout the season, bringing in a nice mix of covers and original compositions. The best part for me is envisioning how a producer could pick up this idea, and turn the fantasy production into a real-life showstopper. And damn, could it be good.

2) Glee
(first season aired: 2009)
As much as any of us would hate to admit it (meaning I. I hate to admit it), Glee has played a huge role in getting musical-type entertainment into the headlines. For anyone who's not in the loop, I'll explain.

Glee is a television comedy/drama/whatever you want to call it, about a High School Spanish teacher who takes over the dying glee club and renews it. In this show, you have all the basic teenage hormonal drama- packed with love interests, sexuality conflicts, and other issues. But they sing! So what...it may be heavily lip-synced and auto-tuned, and yeah, there's no original compositions, but they are singing. My generation (sigh) has made them so popular, that despite the previously mentioned facts, there's no way anyone could ignore that Glee has brought music and stage performance to a new level of recognition.

3) The Tonys!
(first...tony award given: 1947)

Yes! The Tony award ceremonies! Every Broadway writers/singers/actors/producers/directors dream!
Think of the breast....*ahhem!* I MEAN prestige!
For those of you who live under a rock (also...why are you reading this all-about-theatre blog?) who don't know what the Tony awards are:
The Tony's (named after the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre) is an annual award ceremony -like the Academy awards, Oscars, etc..- designated to recognize the best and brightest of Broadway that year.
And despite being run by a panel of about 700 like-minded judges, they usually make the right decisions.
Most major Broadway shows have either been popular and won a Tony, or won a Tony then became popular.
How about a list inside of a list!? Listception (had to be done)

1)Guys & Dolls                   6)Fiddler on the Roof  11)Evita           16)The Producers

2)My Fair Lady                   7)The Wiz                   12)Cats           17)Hairspray

3)The Music Man        8)A Chorus Line     13)Les Miserables 18)Spring Awakening

4)The Sound of Music         9)Annie                       14)Rent             19)Billy Elliot

5)How to Succeed 10)Sweeney Todd  15)The Lion King  20)The Book of Mormon
                                                 And this years...21) Once

All of those titles should be recognizable to the reader.
All of those shows won "Best" in their category.
But...anyone notice something? They're all musicals. (durr) And these are some of the winners since 1947. If you're doing the math right now, that's 38 years worth of winners that I did not list.
So, what do we have so far? Well, the list contains about a third of all the winners for Best Musical.
But wait! there's more. You forgot the runners-up for Best Musical! In that category, there are over 182 musicals that placed below the winner. These include (but are not limited to) 

1)West Side Story  6)Grease            11)Into the Woods          16)Wicked

2)Gypsy                  7)Pippin             12)Beauty and the Beast  17)Rock of Ages

3)Oliver!                 8)Chicago          13)Smokey Joe's Cafe     18)American Idiot

4)Hair                     9)Dreamgirls      14)Ragtime                19)Catch Me If You Can

5)Follies                10)Joseph & the ATD  15)Mamma Mia!               20)Sister Act
                          And this years (popular) runner-up...21)Newsies

Holy Balls, did I get off topic.
Well, the main point of this whole article is to prove that musical entertainment is becoming more pronounced in our lives, right?
So tell me- how many of those titles did you recognize?
Maybe more then you'd expect, huh? Well there ya go. That has to be some kind of proof that the Tony's is worming it's way into your brain..like a parasite! Right? Right!?
Well okay, you get what I mean.

The essence of this article: Musical entertainment is all around you! Seek it out! There is a large group of fun, accepting people inching into daily society that are waiting for you to join them (not a cult).

But.. if you are really bent on not getting into our scene- persistently steering away whenever you hear those kids in the Black Box shout out a showtune, and changing channels as soon as you see Neil Patrick Harris doing his opening number- well...we'll probably just find you and force you to drink our fahbulous kool-aid. Whether you want it or not!
At which point you'll be whisked away to this heaven!
 (see you on the other side, Robin)

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