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Political and Social Implications in Musicals

Music theatre is rarely conceived as a politically and socially engaged art form in comparison to straight theatre, but a lot of famous musicals deliver important political and social messages and have plots based around social and cultural issues (Avenue Q deals with racism and more, Book of Mormon deals with religious stereotypes, Spring Awakening with gender and identity issues) or famous historical and political events (Les Mis). Although some of the musicals were born from politically engaged novels or plays, it would be interesting to explore how the musical form can engage with these types of issues in a satirical way, not only through the story and the content but also through the mise-en-scène and performance choices. Why have musicals (singing/dancing) often been considered purely in the light of entertainment and lightheartedness? Isn’t that reductive?

  • Another musical worth noting is Cabaret. That show takes place during the rise of Nazi power. It's a really powerful musical. – Cagney 7 years ago
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  • The Sound of Music would be another example that deals with Nazism. – Ryan Errington 7 years ago
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