Friday, April 17, 2015

Random Thoughts About a Few Broadway Musicals.

Lots of Broadway musicals opening -- April is to the Tonys what December is to the Oscars. I have random thoughts, which are not to be read as opinions on these shows, which I have not seen.

Both Gigi and Finding Neverland are getting terrible reviews. I know as well as anyone that critics often just don't get it, so I'm very reluctant to take the fact that reviewers have found these shows boring and/or incoherent at face value. But it's interesting to me that both shows' producers set out to excise what they felt was an uncomfortable whiff of sex with children in the source material.

I find it really sad (and not a little homophobic) that just the idea of friendship between an adult man and a group of boys makes people immediately think about pedophilia. One of the things I liked most about the film Finding Neverland was the strange tenderness of that longing to be a part of the boys' lives. It's more complicated and infinitely more interesting than sex.

Gigi is a whole other beast. The movie is basically about a girl being groomed for prostitution, so the sex is more than just prurient audience projection. But the novella on which it's based was written by Collette, who is kind of known for having interesting things to say about men and women and love and sex. Why, when you have such rich, juicy source material, would you decide it's a good idea to make it "innocent"? Sometimes I just don't understand people.

I guess what I've done here is implied that these shows are bad because they took the sex out, and I don't know if that's true or not. Like I said, I haven't seen the shows. These are just thoughts that come into my head.

The show that's not getting bad reviews is The King and I at Lincoln Center. Oh my god, I want to see this show! Rogers and Hammerstein musicals bring me the greatest pleasure and I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. The songs! The songs!

One of my two favorite R&H songs (Something Wonderful) is in The King and I. (The other is Something Good from The Sound of Music. Nobody does ambivalence about love like R&H.)

Here's Terry Saunders from the movie soundtrack:

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