Thursday, December 28, 2006

Plays vs Musicals

Musicals are always more popular with audiences then plays are. Musicals not only attract a larger audience, but also (on average) a younger audience.

What is the magical allure of the Musical? I think it has to do with the energy level - musicals offer music, dance and huge amounts of raw energy on the stage. The audience leaves singing or humming the catchy tunes, and feeling good. Plays are often more emotional, and more complex in terms of plot. Right now on both Broadway and in London's West End, there are more Musicals then Plays onstage. This is the usual for Broadway, but it is an unusual development for the West End.

I enjoy both Musicals and Plays, but find it alarming that there are fewer and fewer Plays being staged on a large scale. Even locally, Musicals are both more expensive to put onstage and more successful at making a profit.

As a performer, I find Plays much more of a challenge, as the character development is more complex and interesting. Don't get me wrong, Musicals are a different kind of challenge - remembering choreography, costume changes and music and words can be very complex. I'm talking about Acting - in a play there is nothing to distract the audience from what you are doing as an actor.

Are Plays an art form that is destined to Die out? Let me know what you think.

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2 comments:

kat said...

I don't think plays will die out, not by far. However, muscials appeal more to the masses. There is more to look at and more going on to catch the eye... something for everyone. There is music, dance, usually bright and colorful costuming. This gives people who are not just there for the sotry something extra to latch onto.

But plays - when done well - are just as amazing. Reservoir Dogs is a personal fave. Seeing that staged blew my mind.

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Happy New Year, Erica!

On this subject, I think everything is rather cyclical. Don't forget that it was only in the last ten years that the musical came roaring back from certain extinction.

Yes, not it's unfortunately the state of the play over which the prognosticators are predicting doom. But with costs so much easier to contain along with the wellspring of excellent playwrights out there today (along with so many thriving theatre companies), I’m confident they'll always have a place, even on Broadway.

Hope you have a Happy and Healthy 2007!

Steve

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