Some people say that the musical is a magical art form, a representation of the way the world ought to be.
The people who say this are either unnaturally thin types who savor the bitter tea of life before having a good cry about it or, worse, aunts. Right out of hand, I think, this association discounts musicals. Yet, if we but dig a little deeper we can find so many more reasons to detest musicals.
Musicals involve music, which may not be such a bad thing by itself, but they involve music in every single daily activity as if this were a good thing. It very clearly is not, seeing as how some of us become alarmed when strangers sing at us, particularly when we have hangovers to deal with.
As bad as the songs are, they’re hardly the worst part. Musicals involve what, after cool and logical analysis, can only be called capering. I suppose it’s supposed to be dancing (a wholly separate evil that I will not discuss here) but it’s mostly pantomime: peek-a-boo gestures, finger-waving, hair tosses and, so says a friend of mine, shimmying. Also, dancing puts musicals just a hop, skip and a jump away from the gratuitous leaping of ballet.
Then there’s the problem of subject matter. Musicals tend to focus on teenagers, French people or cats. All of those later three nouns should be wiped from the earth with a cleansing fire, which means that the preceding noun has it coming as well.
Let’s face it, the musical is a dead art form – or at least it would be if grizzly bears ate the performers.
We could, if we had but the artistic vision, completely reinvent the genre by including underfed and ill-tempered bears. Instead of pout-sing-shimmy we could have pout-sing-scream-maul. Think of the soon-to-be-legendary shows we could have: “Salmon on the Mind,” “Mauling in the Woods,” “Kodiak,” “Rend” and “My Fair Ursus.”
Think about it. Really. It gives you something to do in between checking your watch and rubbing your temples.
Brendan Buhler is the Daily Nexus editor in chief. In his spare time, he feeds those who caper to his pet grizzly bear, Snuggles.