Why Musicals don’t Suck?

It seems that musicals are starting to branch out from the confines of its theater houses yet again. Word has been going on for months that Les Miserablés, the third longest running musical on Broadway, has gotten a screen adaptation set to be released in December.

Movie adaptations of theater musicals have garnered mixed reviews through the years. Most of the movie-watching demographic of this generation—particularly the younger ones—are torn between calling movie musicals as “cheesy” and “boring,” or “art”.

The only recent (sort-of) musical that has actually garnered a cult-following was Disney’s infamous High School Musical, but it was only targeted at teens and not particularly at a large audience. At least, it brought back attention to the movie musical form.

In the last decade, movie musicals have appeared on box offices every now and then (aside from Disney animated films), like Moulin Rouge, Chicago, Hairspray, the Phantom of the Opera, and Sweeney Todd to name a few. These movie musicals, despite winning numerous awards, aren’t exactly mega box-office hits.

Some say it’s the unrealistic portrayal of people suddenly bursting into song in the middle of a tense or dramatic scene that sets them off, saying that it breaks the flow of the story. In a non-movie musical, Glee is actually taking these turn offs into a good light. People are no longer suddenly bursting into song, but the songs are actually integrated into the story without breaking its flow.

Musicals aren’t cheesy and boring. If one tries to get past that notion, they will find that many musicals deal with a wide range of topics like identity, culture, war, and even death. Musicals aren’t about people acting then suddenly singing onstage just to show off their talents. It’s about masking these topics into a form and presenting it into a form that people can easily relate to.

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