Musicals have always baffled me. I enjoy them, but remain baffled.
Do the characters all agree ahead of time that singing is acceptable? Do they make a pact to keep a poker face when someone breaks into song? Where are the musicians? In musical world, do they do their own choreography? Who decides who gets to sing lead?
Nothing brought these questions more to mind than “Glee“. I watched the first season, most of the second and loved their versions of popular hits. But despite my enjoyment (and watching with a like-minded friend helped) it took a lot to suspend my disbelief. I mean, I do sing in real life – I come by that honestly (thanks, Dad) but it’s mostly a bar or two of song with altered lyrics (“Someone’s pretty whiny in the kitchen, someone’s pretty whiny I knooooooow” that kind of thing).
Recently I had a life-changing moment and musicals suddenly became completely plausible.
We were in the van and #2 son asked, “Why did God even MAKE spiders? They are the worst.” And without missing a beat I turned around and sang the entire first verse to a song from my childhood (teachers, take note, singing sticks with you, I learned this song more than thirty years ago).
Tiny little spider swinging from a vine
Looking for a place to tie your line
Making frilly webs wherever you may go
Oh, my busy friend, who made you so?
God the Father don’t you see?
Put together all of me
He made fox and fish and fowl
Frogs that jump and snakes that crawl
He made all.
The boys looked back at me with mouths slightly slack, shrugged, and went on to the next topic. JUST LIKE IN MUSICALS.
Haven’t made my case yet? Another example.
The boys were playing with a neighbour friend for a large portion of the day. Things were going really well – everyone was getting along, lots of giggles, a very fun afternoon. #2 Son asked if they could play inside for a while. The toddler was napping and it was so nice outside it seemed a shame to go indoors, so I replied, “no, we’re going to stay outside.” He asked me why not and again I burst into song:
It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood
A beautiful day in the neighbourhood
We’re staying outside
We’re playing outside
We’re going to say outsiiiiiide
(tune: Mr. Rogers theme song)
They shrugged and went off to ride bikes. A few minutes later he asked again (that kid is persistent) and I began my song. I had just finished the first bar and his friend said, “oh, there she goes again.”
Ok, so not exactly like a real musical, but it could happen, it COULD.