Quality Versus Quantity- What makes a Musical Year better

We heard the concept of quality and the concept of quantity. Quantity is how many things we do and quality is the meaning. However, what is stronger- quality is stronger. What is stronger for a musical theatre year? Quality or Quantity. I will use 2018 and 2015 to explain.

I am in 2018, and it was the year I graduated from college. My mom did tell me I was seeing Lion King. Lion King so far was going to be the only musical I would be in 2018. Little did I know, the number of musicals I would see this year.

For whatever reason, I decided to look up the musicals for Central Piedmont Community College, the place where I started my college journey. I ended up seeing three musicals there: Oklahoma, Grease, and Newsies. I knew how well-done CPCC can do their shows. Oklahoma was my 5th date with mom, Grease was a date with my sister and one of our friends, and Newsies was a date with one of my best friends. Below are reviews for those three musicals.

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/oklahoma-review/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/summer-nights/

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/newsies-surprise/

Newsies at Central Piedmont Community College at Halton Theatre

Yes, I already saw three community college shows, but I felt like I was about to see my 4th professional show. Lion King was my first show with Blumenthal. It was a girl’s night out. I saw it with my mom and sister. Our seats were perfect- at the orchestra in the aisle. Review below. So, loved all four shows. I thought Lion King was the last musical of 2018- it was the only musical I wanted to see with Blumenthal in 2018. No musical in the 2018-2019 that came in 2018 was something I actually wanted to see.

Lion King at Belk Theatre in Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
Lion King at Belk Theatre

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/circle-of-life-lion-king/

Boy, I was wrong. Lion King wouldn’t be the last musical. I would see a 5th musical. One of the musicals I knew was coming was A Christmas Story. I went to the informance of it with Club Blume. The moment I learned that the same guys who wrote this musical also wrote The Greatest Showman, a musical I love, I decided I will watch A Christmas Story. I actually liked A Christmas Story- it was a funny and amazing start to the Holidays, and I cannot believe that dogs on stage can make you laugh.

A Christmas Story at Ovens Auditorium with Blumenthal Performing Arts
A Christmas Story at Ovens Auditorium

https://megsdailymusings.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/a-christmas-story-the-musical-review/

Yes, 2018 was the record hold of musicals- 5 musicals was the record of musicals, but did that make 2018 the best year of musicals? Let me take you to 2015, which had only one less musical.

2015:

Music Man- This musical started the year of musicals. It was the most light-hearted of all four of them. It was one of the inexperienced of them. I knew some songs and knew a bit of the plot. I watched it at Dover Theatre at Gardner Webb University. This was the semester I transferred to GWU- Spring 2015. I knew I was seeing Music Man that year. Well- I fell in love with Music Man by a college production. Little did I know, how much I would love that year of musicals or how many musicals I would see that year.

Pippin- This show was the main musical I wanted to see with Blumenthal during their 2014-2015 season. There seemed to be no sign of seeing Pippin. This show was more inexperienced than Music Man- I only knew one song- all I knew about the plot was coming from “Corner of the Sky”. I saw a preview- that was how I knew it was going to filled with spectacle. Well, one week before Pippin, my mom decided to buy tickets for Pippin- there was only one day left with seats together. So Pippin ALMOST didn’t happen. Pippin was actually darker than Music Man- I could tell from the first number. By intermission, I already wanted the album, and that is saying something because how do you already know you will love the other songs? Pippin was the FINAL inexperienced musical.

Pippin at Belk Theatre in Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
Pippin at Belk Theatre

Les Mis- I actually knew I was going to see a musical in the West End. The question was WHAT MUSICAL? I first found that I was seeing a musical in the West End December 2014- right away I wanted to know what musical. All Spring 2015, I wanted to know what musical. It needed to be Les Mis- it was my dream to see Les Mis in the West End. June 2015- my mom texted me French Flag Emojis and Musical Note Emojis, and that didn’t make sense, and then I was told to check my email. The moment I saw Les Misérables on my email, I ran up to my mom crying. I couldn’t believe it- I was seeing Les Mis in The West End. I still had to wait a month- after all, my family wasn’t leaving the US until July 28th- Les Mis was happening July 30th.

July 30th- when I saw The Queen’s Theatre, I thought I was pretending. Nothing felt real. Even buying the souvenirs- t-shirt, poster, playbill (that was a culture shock-buying it). Sitting down- noticing how close we were, and looking at the set. Nothing felt real- I thought I was dreaming. Then I heard it- the first note or maybe notes of the orchestra- then it hit me- I was living the dream. How is it that just hearing a few notes tell you that it is going to be more than expected? I ended up having an understudy as Jean Valjean. I was right- it was more than expected. I ended up crying sooner than I thought- I thought that reaction would begin at “I Dreamed a Dream”- it started after Valjean was released. It was like winning a lottery- seeing Les Mis in London.

Queen's Theatre in the West End- July 30th, 2015
“I Dreamed a Dream”

After Les Mis, I thought Les Mis was the FINAL musical. It wasn’t the FINAL musical. I would end in my childhood. How do you end in your childhood? That means ending in a childhood musical? Sound of Music was my final musical. I felt like a child watching a musical- that is something that non-childhood musicals can never achieve. Les Mis did make me a emotional wreck- but it wasn’t the only musical that made me cry. Sound of Music did that to me as well. It was during Edelweiss, my favorite song of the musical. Ben Davis, my Captain Von Trapp, took a slight pause (which was between the time he stopped singing and when the children joined in). His nonverbal allowed sadness to enter the picture- I started crying- I was like- that emotion was never in the musical. I think it was a combo of nostalgia, the nonverbal, and the nature of the song itself.

Sound of Music at the Belk Theatre in at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
Sound of Music at the Belk Theatre

What year do you think was better- 2018 or 2015? You might think it was 2018 because it had more musicals- quantity, but what what about 2015 where it had more quality, but a little less quantity. I will say my answer-

It was 2015-it wasn’t because it had LESS musicals than 2018. It is because it had MORE quality than 2018. I loved all four musicals- for one thing, the first two musicals were two new musicals that I fell in love with. I found it interesting that they were the first two since they were the most inexperienced. Then you get to the last two musicals- they had the most experience- only one of those I never saw live. Where is the MORE quality of 2015? It comes from Les Mis- I wasn’t seeing Les Mis at community college like 2013 or on tour like 2017. I saw it in the West End- that was my DREAM-that is like seeing more than one musical or winning the lottery.

11 thoughts on “Quality Versus Quantity- What makes a Musical Year better

  1. I bought myself a season subscription to my closest big theater for the 19/20 season. This year there are 6 shows, but a lady I know said usually there are 7. We think that because Hamilton and The Band’s Visit, two popular shows, are included, they lowered it. I have no doubt the shows will be well done, so I’m not worried about production quality too much. But in general, I think quality overall matters. If there are 20 shows in a season but they’re all little-known shows that no one really loves, then I’d much rather go see a fewer shows that I really really want to see and know I’ll enjoy.

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    • Quality defiantly is stronger. Quantity on the surface seems stronger- since there are more musicals- like 2018 was.

      However quality is so much stronger in so many ways- 2015 defiantly had more quality in musicals. Especially due to Les Mis in London. And due to loving all four musicals. Why it was a better and stronger year.

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  2. I prefer quality! I usually only am able to see one show per year–maybe a few more if there are non-professional shows in the mix–so I always hope that it’ll be a good one! I’m confident that Wicked’s going to be great, though, when I get to see it in a few weeks so I’m really excited!

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  3. This was so much fun to read. And I am a bit jealous of seeing Newsies, I have never seen it live but I did hear a few songs in a medley Jeremy did in a london concert.

    I like discovering new musicals so I can do exactly that if I do musical weekends in London where I book 2-3 musicals at a time. But then again I keep coming back to my fave shows just to see how they change after cast changes. But I keep coming back because the quality is great. Same here at home. If I like what they do onstage I go and see it several times just because they have great quality.

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    • I actually hope Newsies comes to the UK- I want audiences there to experience it. It sure will give actors a lot of opportunity- not so much actresses. I have seen it being so popular in my country so why can’t it transfer?

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      • This is what my mom’s response was when I told her that I hope Newsies comes to the UK- “is it because you want to see it in the Uk”

        I wasn’t expecting that response. Yes, I did experience seeing a musical in London. However, wouldn’t just go on a plane to go the West End to see a musical- it is much much much easier to see a musical over here in the states where I live- on tour. I can’t just literally experience a ton of shows in London- it is too too far away- I am more likely to make it back to Broadway than the West End- been to both.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Happy to hear it´s easy to go to shows for you. We have shows in Sweden too but basically it´s 1-2 in the autumn/wintertime and it is 2 hours flying from here to London so if I save money I do have that posibility 2 which is great 😀

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      • Charlotte’s Blumenthal Performing Arts has more than one theatre for the Broadway tours. I look forward to March every year- that is when they release the upcoming season- they have a very strong season coming- as in a musical for everyone.

        A long time ago- I wasn’t as into musicals- I only enjoyed them (that was back in elementary school). Then a love was sparked in middle school all due to seeing Wicked on Broadway, which lasted until the first year of college. I have been a musical theatre fanatic since my first year of college due to giving the Les Mis film a 2nd chance.

        My musical theatre journey has been incredible.

        Liked by 1 person

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