If you say your favorite musical is Les Miserables, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, or Newsies you don't know enough about theatre. -A tweet I stumbled upon this morning.
Hey guys, I usually avoid posting things on here that have any kind of negativity, however I thought this would be an opportunity to start a dialogue about this topic. THIS IS NOT MEANT IN ANY WAY TO ATTACK OR CALL OUT THE PERSON WHO SAID THIS. I just think this is an interesting leaping point for a dialogue on this topic! :) I have always unashamedly said that Wicked is my favorite musical since I saw it for the first time in 2005. I have had friends who have wholeheartedly agreed that Wicked is their favorite musical, others who have liked it but not found it to be their favorite and others still who have just not enjoyed it. Everybody is 100% entitled to their opinions, and I respect what people have to say. This post is not meant to attack this tweet, but to present an opposing opinion.
I have a problem with this particular statement as a big fan of all of the shows mentioned. Wicked and Les Mis in particular are two of my favorite shows. I have heard things in similar voice of this tweet for years of course, that Wicked is not the only good show out there and that people who think it's the only musical are uninformed and ignorant in the world of theatre.
Wicked is my favorite show though I quite agree that it is not the only great musical. I have seen numerous other shows that I have loved and that have stuck with me, including but not limited to Next to Normal, Rent, Newsies, Phantom, Les Miserables, The Book of Mormon, Pippin, Godspell, Kinky Boots, Matilda, Spamalot, Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde, Beauty and the Beast, Fiddler on the Roof, Mary Poppins, The Lion King etc. There are many more, but I do not consider myself ignorant in the world of theatre. I am very passionate about Wicked, but I also keep up with other musicals and go to see them whenever I can.
I am well learned in Shakespeare, having studied his work in Middle School AND High School. I personally think he is one of the greatest writers of all time, especially his monologues and soliloquies. He really knows how to tap into a character and get their thoughts out there in a very poignant and sensible way. Macbeth, for instance, is one of my all time favorite plays ever written. It digs so deep into human nature and comes to life on paper. Onstage however, when done right, it is bone chilling. I am familiar with mostly all of the Golden Age musicals, and have a high level of respect and admiration for them.
The point I am attempting to make is that Wicked, Phantom, Les Mis, and Newsies are huge staple shows in theatre because they are good, just like My Fair Lady and West Side Story were (and still are) big staple shows back in the day. Wicked, Phantom, Les Mis and Newsies will be shows that we bring our kids up on. Which brings up another interesting point. Many kids are brought to the theatre by their parents, and end up seeing one of these shows as their first Broadway show. Wicked was mine! I have since branched out and seen numerous other shows on Broadway and on Tour, but Wicked has just happened to stay my favorite over the course of the last 9 years. Many of these shows introduce people to theatre and therefore have a special place in their heart.
They all have a mass appeal that so many people can relate to and have stood the test of time. What is so wrong about that? Just because a show is popular doesn't mean that it is generic or bland, though I know some people feel that they are, which is their personal opinion. Each of these shows offer something totally different. I love Wicked for it's message of love and friendship, Phantom for it's hauntingly beautiful music, Les Mis for it's Christ parallel and deeply moving story, and Newsies for its feisty and underdog appreciating message. Why shouldn't my favorite show be Wicked? Why shouldn't yours be Les Mis or Newsies?
I feel that this tweet implies that those who love the mentioned shows haven't explored other avenues of theatre, which is not the case for many of us. Isn't the whole point of theatre that it it supposed to touch us all on a different level? Several of my friends do not like Wicked and though I have a very different viewpoint, I accept that not everyone is gonna think like me. I don't tell them they don't know enough about theatre! They do the same for me. I am not saying that people who don't like Wicked are not allowed to have their own opinion, but I AM saying that just because someone loves Wicked does NOT mean that they don't know anything about theatre.
What do you guys think? Tweet me @FlyingHighWKD, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post!