Oct 21, 2012

My Life in Musicals

It is no doubt that musicals is the greatest invention of mankind. By combining singing, dance, and acting on a single stage, it is as demanding to the actors/singers/dancers as it is rewarding to the audience. Back when there were no TV or cinema, attending a play is a huge affair. People dress up in tuxedos and evening gowns. There will be live orchestra, bell boys, and door gifts for every audience.
Musicals play a huge role in my life since I was small. With cliche, I grew up with the Sound of Music, fell in love with Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables during my adolescence, and slowly came to appreciate more mature and less well-known musicals such as Follies, A Little Night Music, and Carousel.
As I start drilling books for an important examination come December, I can't help continuously watching and re-watching YouTube clips of my favorite musicals. They are a huge distraction for studies but one that I gladly endure. 
So in this post I would like to share with you some of my all time favorites and just show you why musicals are the greatest invention on Earth.
First, a group of Puerto Rican immigrants discuss about their new life in Manhattan with very energetic dance moves and a thick accent. The seven minutes summarizes the paradoxic American life pretty concisely and has stayed in my heart since I heard it for the first time at 14 - America from West Side Story.
Next up, a prospective father soliloquizes about his future son (or daughter) - Soliloquy from Carousel. I am sure any parent had had such a moment full of expectations for their child - "or President of the United States, that'll be all right too." Here we can see the macho father hoping his son would not be "boss him or toss him around." It is only much later that he realizes "my kid ain't even been born yet!" and "what if he, is a girl?"
"You can have fun with a son. But you gotta be a father to a girl." He reflects.
Finally accepting his responsibilities, he states "she's got to be sheltered in a fair hand dressed in the best that money can buy! I never knew how to get money but I'll try, I'll try, I'll try! I will go out and make it or steal it or take it, or die!"

Finally let's go back to Edwardian England where a 18-year old wife and her middle-aged husband who is being pursued by an actress are invited to a weekend in the country by nobody but the actress herself. Realizing that she has to beef up her strategies for the weekend and accidentally spilling the news to her Mum, we realize chaos brewing as this act closes the first part of A Little Night Music.