What comes to mind when asked to think of the term Musical? Most people will say singing and dancing, and name off movie-musicals such as Grease, Singing in the Rain, (and a little more modern) High School Musical, and some might even say Glee. And in a way, each answer is right. But the big question is; how did we get to the modern day musical?
What is a musical?
A musical happens when various forms of performance (such as acting, voice, dance, and sometimes instrumentals) are interlaced together to relate and reinforce each other. The most common form of musical is called a Book Musical, which is a story told through spoken text and song (Felener).
A fine example (and probably, a very popular one) of musical theatre is Gene Kelly performing “Singing In The Rain”
Musicals And Film.
Many musicals start on the stage and are then adapted into movie-musicals, and vice versa. For instance, musicals like Grease, Chicago, and The Phantom of the Opera originated on the stage and were then manipulated to fit the big screen. This in itself is a big task, as the original was imagined with 2-D plywood sets and cars that don’t actually drive, and a gondola with no water.
Take for instance, The Phantom of the Opera. What started out as a minimal set and a few fog machines on the stage;
transformed into an actual boat, on water, in a dungeon.
While transforming a musical from stage to film is difficult, I feel the real challenge lies in the reversal - Film to Stage. When you start with a film, you have actual places where things take place; real, 3-D places that you can go and visit. Also, transitions happen a lot easier when it comes to film, because you’re not moving sets of places in between. So the real job is to recreate the real world into something that fits onto the stage, moves easily, and is within your budget.
(Click the images for video!)
What’s next for the musical?
Who knows what is in store for the musical! I for one hope that musicals will continue to be a source of entertainment - something I would go to for pure enjoyment; but I also hope that more and more musicals will surface that talk about the issues of today. After all, isn’t that what theatre is about?
HELL YES! Drama geekdom, it’s good to be back.