Musicals

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Can Musicals Transfer to the Screen Effectively?

Into the Woods, The Last Five Years, Les Miserables, Rent: in the past few years alone, there have been multiple movie musicals released, often with mixed receptions. Is it possible for musicals to move from the stage to the screen and still retain their magic? What might some challenges be? (i.e. target audience; musical fans perhaps disliking casting when people who are not traditionally "singers" are cast – think Hollywood actors rather than Broadway, cutting songs for the sake of time, sound editing causing the magic of a live performance to be lost, etc.)

  • Sweeney Todd could also be discussed, since Johnny Depp isn't traditionally a singer, and his delivery is different and not as robust than, say, George Hearn, though arguably the vibrato may not be as necessary on film than it is on a stage. – Emily Deibler 4 years ago
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  • It is definitely difficult for musicals to transfer to film. Often times I would agree that it is a failure and mainly because the people that are heavily critiquing the film may have seem the Broadway version and it is impossible to emote the same feelings that are created when watching a musical live onto the screen. However, when I first saw Chicago the film, I think they did a phenomenal job with it and it may be because they kept some of the songs to maintain that live theater feeling in the way it was choreographed and presented. – Naomster7 4 years ago
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  • The struggle with musicals being transferred to film is that the excitement and raw talent that is present in live theater has been cut. It is just another film with singing and dancing in it and the awe of the story being performed live has died. However, the film Chicago, did a fantastic job of recreating the scenes and musical numbers as they would have appeared while viewing them in Broadway. The film was able to portray all of the talent that goes in to live theater. I think another to consider as well with this topic, is the concept of if musicals designed for film can be transferred to Broadway? – Naomster7 4 years ago
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  • Good topic! Although there are a couple of musical movies I enjoyed, I think musical should remain in the stage, with live performances and audience. Using famous actors who have zero musical talent just takes the magic away from it for sure. – Nilab Ferozan 4 years ago
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  • I think, as most have stated here, the biggest problem here is the reliance on "big name" actors, as opposed to truly gifted signers who are truly broadway stars. Yet, with that being said. A broadway actor is an actor, but there is a different format of stage acting that takes place that does not always translate well through cinema. This is kind of an odd catch-22. Overtime these beloved musical become cinematic adaptations, we, the audience, typically seem to be left disappointed. My favorite musicals are the ones from the 40's and 50's, when the amalgam between film and musical was a natural genre. – danielle577 4 years ago
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What Makes a Musical

Is it correct when people say that a musical must have a basis on stage? What, by definition is a musical? Should Disney movies count as musicals? Must musicals be live-action or can they be animated? Does Mary Poppins count? What strictly, is a musical?

  • I think for this it's important that the writer take all different examples of animation, live action, stage, film, different genres, etc. etc. etc. and compare and contrast them. Also, it'd be a good idea to look at musicals across the world, as well as, check out a good old-fashioned dictionary entry. – Jaye Freeland 4 years ago
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  • Musicals make for great topics. Especially when you look at context. During times of economic recession, war and great instability, musicals flourish as a genre. I love musicals as a genre and am so happy that it has been revived. I think Disney should definitely count as musicals, since they have contributed so many songs. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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  • It could be useful to compare the musical to the operetta (See Works of Gilbert & Sullivan). – JDJankowski 4 years ago
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  • It might also be interesting to show a possible connection between musicals and music videos. – green16 4 years ago
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  • What would be interesting is a comparison with musicals and movies with signing and see how they differ. If they really are different in any way. – VeeTee8 4 years ago
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  • Musicals for the stage and musicals that are animated or made as a live action movie do tend to differ in a few ways- these are often referred to as movie musicals, as acting for the screen is very different from acting on stage. Subtle differences do validate subgenres within musicals, and it would be worth looking into. Try looking into musicals that originally aired as a movie then moved to the stage (I believe Newsies was one of them, and there's many more) or vice versa. – HeartofAvalon 4 years ago
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Center Stage to Center Screen: Live TV Musicals

Examine the rise in live televised productions of musicals and their popularity. NBC’s "The Wiz Live!", "Peter Pan Live!", and Fox’s "Grease: Live" have all aired within the past year and a half. Are these broadcasts marketing ploys, artistic revivals of treasured classics, or simply a chance for those who live far away from the glamour of Broadway to enjoy the live musical experience without breaking the bank?

  • I would be interested in someone commenting on the play experience v.s. the TV experience. A play is more than something live, it is a performance that effects the audience differently than a recorded production immensely. – LaRose 4 years ago
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