For this prompt, I had to think about what it means to be “audience of one”. I quickly realized this can apply to musicals. I feel like when you go to the theatre, the entire audience becomes one. You may have arrived with someone, but the audience is all seeing the same show. Even though every person is having a slightly different experience, you still react as one. The audience laughs, cries, yells, and applauses together.
The value of live theatre is responding to the actors. The actors have the ability to act based off of the audience’s reactions. It is basically a two-way conversation, which adds to the fact that the live show is always better then the movie of the same show. The crazy thing about theatre is that you always tend to forget that the actors are acting. That usually happens when you fully believe in the character. When you can see a character on stage and not the actor, then the actor succeeded. The characters truly become a part of you if the character seems real to you even if you know the character is fiction. Another power of live theatre is that everything happens in real time. The actors are acting at the same time you are seeing the show.
Recently I have seen five musicals live: one from this year and four from last year. Those musicals would be “Wicked”, “Sound of Music”, “Les Mis”, “Pippin”, and “Music Man”. I love all five of those musicals, but they each gave me a different experience. That is due to the nature of each show.
Out of all of those, I was the least experienced with “Pippin” when I saw it. When I saw it, I only was familiar with one song, knew what kind of spectacle was in it, and had limited knowledge of the plot. My knowledge was just as limited in “Music Man”, but I knew more songs. Despite never seeing them, I still knew those two were musical comedies. Out of all of the most recent musicals, “Music Man” was the only one that was free of any kind of darkness.
As for the other three, I knew what to except. That is because I already had fallen in love with them. For all three, I knew their plots, songs, and character. The thing with “Sound of Music” was that I had only seen the movie, and not the stage show. I was prepared coming into “Sound of Music” that some things would be different. I discovered a different order of the songs and noticed two additional ones.
As for “Wicked” and “Les Mis”, I had already seen each of them live three times already. Those two musicals are my top two favorite musicals. I am never going to pick which one is better. They are literally apples and oranges of each other. “Wicked” is the magical, fantasy-filled, dance and spectacle-filled, more relatable musical comedy. “Les Mis” on the other hand is the epic, inspirational, powerful, more emotional musical tragedy.
This blog post I wrote is about all four of the musicals I saw last year.
This other link is my review of “Wicked” from this year.