Wednesday, January 10, 2018

That Was So Brilliantly Done Once I Thought About It

I am a fan of musical theater. Despite the jokes, straight men can enjoy and appreciate musicals just fine. My favorite musical of all time is Man Of La’Mancha. It is a great story, but on top of that if you listen to just the songs themselves, you get told the story. A truly good musical tells the story with the songs.

I hate Grease, mostly because the story is pure crap and fully lacking in morals. Also the music does not at all tell the story. Grease started off as musical review that they then tried to put a story to and as far as I am concerned it didn’t work.

There are musicals I have enjoyed and ones I have felt are over rated. I have my opinions.

One that I enjoyed on both stage and film is Chicago. A few hours ago the song ‘Cell Block Tango’ got stuck in my head. Singing it over and over again to myself I realized there was a true brilliance to it concerning the story that I had never seen before. In many ways it represents the type of things songs need to achieve in musicals.

The songs is about all the women who are in the prison for murder. We have only one major character participating in the song. The rest of the women are background characters and are only seen for this song, except one. Each of them gives the story of their murder along with their justification of doing it, if they had done it. Well all but one of them.

The one exception on the scene, the only one who does not brag about committing murder and only she says in English is ‘uh uh, not guilty’ for her part. She clearly does not speak English and very much comes off as the only one of these women who is actually not guilty. This is also the only character development we get for her. Yet she ends up laying a huge role in the play. Her name is Hunyak.

The only other scene featuring Hunyak is when she is put to death for being found guilty. She is the only character we see actually suffering punishment and is the only character who is most likely not guilty.

It is her death that wakes our main character up to the reality that there is a chance of her actually being found guilty. All the rest of that one song is just filler for her character getting developed so her death can be significant. And it is an enjoyable song that can get stuck in your head.

To have such a minor character get developed on such an important manner in one verse of a song is brilliant story telling. I love it when I see something so cleverly done. This is what more writers need to strive for.

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