I’ve spent a lot of time around musicals in my life. As a result of that, I’ve internalized a few things. The problem that I’ve found is that some of the things that I, or at least my subconscious thought were facts, are actually, kind of bullshit. And when I look back on them, so many of them are musical theatre’s fault. So I’ve decided I’m going to do a series of posts about the kind of lies I’ve internalized based on those ideas. The first one being:
French people sing all the time
There are about twenty five million musicals that take place in France. Seriously, Cole Porter alone wrote like seventeen of them. Then you factor in the more modern things, like Les Miserables, Phantom of The Opera, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Sunday in The Park With George. Then you add in the movie musicals, like Gigi, An American in Paris. Basically it adds up to one thing, the French must sing like, all the time right? Apparently they don’t. Apparently, like most other peoples of the planet earth, the French do not walk around in large well-choreographed production numbers. I find this utterly heart breaking. Because all of these shows that I love LIED to my FACE.
Les Mis is the main culprit in this, to be honest. Somehow, the Paris student uprising of 1832, known as the “June Rebellion” should be epically scored. And it should be amazing. Honestly, I truly believe that if I got in to the TARDIS and went back to June 1832, I would see students running through the streets, distributing fliers and shouting that “the beating of their hearts echo the beating of the drums.” It just feels so real.
Of course what actually happened that June was that a few fires were set and barricades erected and everyone (except Victor Hugo) promptly forgot anything happened.
The Phantom of The Opera gets sort of an exemption because it’s about an Opera house, and if there’s something that I’ve learned in all of my years of theatre geekdom is that performers love to sing randomly. Seriously, my friends and I have been known to stage numbers everywhere from dorm rooms to diners.
The Scarlet Pimpernel gets exception because it’s awful and I’ve only ever met one person who likes it. So it doesn’t get much attention. I do love that book though.
And finally, last but certainly not least is Sunday in The Park with George. I love this show, although I’ve never even seen it. Because unlike the others I’ve listed here, Sunday is not an epic, nor does it take place in the 20’s. It’s an avante garde Sondheim musical about the nature of art, and family, and love. It’s also amazing. So if even an impressionist painter, Georges Seurat and his 20th century fictional descendant George sing constantly surely all of the French do.
Unfortunately they do not…
It really is unfortunate.