The first movie I ever saw was “The Sound of Music”. I forgot exactly how old I was, but I can tell you that it made a deep impression. I can honestly admit that I thought ‘Edelweiss’ was actually an old Austrian folk song till, well, till I was closer to 30 than 20. It somehow never occurred to me that an AUSTRIAN folk song wouldn’t be in ENGLISH.
Ever since then I’ve loved musicals. After ‘The Sound of Music’, it was a straight diet of animated Disney movies, so I didn’t really get deterred from the genre. I listened to classical and jazz music as a kid, so musicals were kind of a break from the norm for me. Musicals are definitely not for everyone. You need a commitment to your suspension of disbelief. As romantic at my core, that’s really not that hard for an hour or two. I love me some Broadway, but for me, a musical really hits its stride when it’s in cinema form. I say this because while the stage can be all well and good, that suspension of disbelief is limited when it’s contained on a stage. On the silver screen however, the whole world is at their disposal and what they can create a universe where through costuming and set design that serves their whole purpose.
Musicals are melodramatic by definition. Most of us don’t go into song and dance whenever we experience something, even something life changing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I personally love to sing and dance, but I so rarely get to do it in real life. That’s why I think you have to love the genre, or it won’t happen for you at all. The musical really takes so many cues from opera, with the overture blaring as soon as the production starts, you know the themes, you know what the rough outlines of the story will be, and then the show starts.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could live that emotionally truthful all the time? Tell each other exactly how we feel, full tilt, no holds barred? I think I could probably last maybe two days like that. However, at the end of two days, I’d probably be in love, had a huge choreographed number with all my friends in Central Park, and/or had an epic confrontation with my archnemesis. Given, I’m not exactly sure who my archnemesis is, but I’m sure there are enough people out there who hate me to start an application process.
Seeing “La La Land” this weekend re-awakened all sorts of feelings for musicals, and dammit, that’s a good thing. I know that it plays at a certain sort of nostalgia, and maybe I just need that right now. All I know is that I’ve been singing and twirling all around in my apartment. That combined with my overactive imagination and the vistas all around New York City makes me a very dangerous person to be around. Mostly because I may burst into song at any point and embarrass you utterly and completely.
Or we can burst into song together, that sounds like a much better plan. Also, there would be dancing involved, looking for takers.