Monday, November 28, 2005

Gut-Wrenching!: A Guided Tour to Popular Musical Theater

One of the greatest perplexities of the modern era, and indeed any epoch in recorded memory, is the combination of “music” and “theater” to create “Musical Theater”. Indeed, most of this century's greatest scientists, theological thinkers, philosophers, and rationalists have spent great portions of their careers trying to formulate an explanation of musical theater, but all have inexorably failed.

Of all of the attempts to rationalize musical theater, the most famous was probably Einstein’s “Special Theory of Musicality.” Published in 1937, Einstein’s brilliant hypothesis attempted to explain the presence of musical theater here on earth using only a few simple premises. Some of the basic laws of musical theater that Einstien laid down in the famous publication were as follows:

-All musical theater spectators, traveling at a uniform speed in a vacuum, will find the show equally distasteful.

-No differentiation in the motion of the observer, aside from leaving the theater, will improve the dire quality of the show.

-The relative shittiness of John Travolta is a constant.

-Metrosexuals at the normal rate squared times gaudy show tunes plus Donny Osmond equals Musical Theater >>> m(2)G+D=M

At the conclusion of the pivotal paper, Einstein deduced that the presence of musical theater was meant to balance out the general disparity of good and bad on earth. For all of the wonderful, magnificent, pivotal accomplishments of man, an equally evil musical theater incarnation would appear, thus fulfilling Newton’s Third Law that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Unfortunately, Einstein’s robust theory was finally disproved with the premier of Seussical the Musical, for even the combined good of mankind in all of recorded history could not equal the malevolence that was Seussical.

Contemporary musical theater can generally be set into several subgroups.

One such subgroup is the historical settings group. These abysmal and oft insulting musicals include Evita, Les Miserables, and Miss Saigon. The movie version of Evita features the popular trollop Madonna and the dashing Spanish conquistador Antonio Banderas. It tells the story of one woman’s struggle to sleep with every man in Argentina and the epic quest to perfectly frame Antonio Banderas in every shot. Les Miserables is set further back in history, during the French Revolution. It is a time of sorrow, depravity, death, and toe tappin’ finger snappin’ upbeat musical numbers. Interestingly enough, it also chronicles France’s only military victory(all be it one over itself). Finally, Miss Saigon harkens to the most seedy, repulsive, drug laced, and prostitute filled areas of the Vietnam War era, as well as some other events outside of the hippy movement.

Another notable musical subgroup is the feline based group. Cats is certainly the most popular and obnoxious feline musical. Its now famed trademark is a cast of people dressed as rather terrifying “cats”, oddly enough. The makeup/costume combo results in what I would best describe as the love children of KISS’s Gene Simmons and a large predatory Savannah feline. The impressive gymnastic abilities of the cast furthers the illusion of the “cats”, and there is no doubt in my mind that many young children leave the theater holding a deep fear of some sort of superhuman homo/feline crossbreed. Another famous entry in the feline subgroup is The Lion King Musical. Much of the music for ‘King’ was penned by Queen Elton John in the original movie. John’s presence unto itself gives one great reason to give the show a wide berth. However, I am left pondering why it took so long for Elton John to make his way to musical theater, I mean, it seemed pretty inevitable right?

A final and most despicable musical theater subgroup is the “70’s” group. Certainly mankind has collectively attempted to forget, often with the unforeseen assistance of cocaine, everything to come out of that decade. Sadly the musicals of the era, like lime green shag carpet, continue to mold and fester in the proverbial rec rooms and VW vans of humanity. The crème de la crème of 70’s Broadway crap was Grease. Staying true to its title, the movie version of Grease featured the slick and well lubricated John Travolta in a performance that made Prince’s Purple Rain look astounding. As bad as Grease was, however, we should recognize that it at least showed some lucidity in setting the show in the 1950’s, with a solid decade between it and the 1970’s. Jesus Christ Superstar took it a step further and put in place a massive 2 millennia ‘safety buffer’. While this action was commendable, the musical itself, a rock n’ roll retelling of Christ’s last days, was utterly incomprehensible and offensive. It managed to agitate not only Christians but atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Maoists, and pretty much the entire human race.

Currently, many of the world’s intellectuals are hard at work trying to refine and perfect Einstein’s famous theory. If and when they do, it is possible that we will understand the root cause of musical theater, and thus be able to destroy it. Until then, we are left to sit back and do our best to enjoy the show.


Debris Trail said...

I'm not so sure Junker... the whole point of musicals is to put your brain away and go with your feelings... period. They are supposed to be a fluffy/romantic/touching/shallow experiences. Next thing we know, you'll be putting down chick flicks.

Personally, I love "Musical Theatre".

Old Mother said...

The best musical I saw was Yul Brenner in "The King and I". The story line was sappy, but seeing the dynamic Yul Brenner perform one last time before he died (the following year) was worth the ticket price.

I would choose a musical any day over ballet or a foreign-language opera. Personally, I find Rudolph Nureyev prancing around in his very tight tights more offensive than Donny Osmond in his coat of many colors. At least Marie isn't hanging on his arm and he is far enough away that the shine from his teeth doesn't blind you.

I dislike chick flicks so feel free to trash them any time. You have my permission.

Junker said...

Apperently neither of you has had the misfortune of witnessing "Grease", or "Jesus Christ Superstar".

After you weather those, come back and let me know what you think.

Debris Trail said...

I saw JCS.... dumbest hippie-fest ever: Eric Cartman would've exterminated them all.

Shaken said...

Remind me not to read about Andrew Lloyd Weber's schlock so soon after dinner. It's resurrected bad Memories. Curse you JunkPile.

Sycorax said...

I like Gilbert and Sullivan's stuff, but that's about as far as it goes.

Balbulican said...

One word.


Music, theatre, humour, tragedy and intelligence need not necessarily part company at Broadway.