Give My Regards to
By Ayaan Abbasi
The lights dim, the curtains open, and the audience applauds for the amazing spectacle they are about to witness. A musical is defined as a “play or movie, in which singing and dancing play an essential part.” This art form has taken the world, specifically Creekside Middle School, by storm.
Take Hamilton for example. This integral piece of music has influenced students across Creekside. 7th graders Grace Kubek and Leah Tan all enjoy listening to Hamilton inside and outside of school.
Hamilton was introduced to the world in 2015. The hip-hop musical featured songs penned by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has won all sorts of awards for his creations, including In The Heights, and recently Moana. Hamilton centers on the American founding fathers. In the creation process, there was much doubt that this would be popular amongst audiences. Boy, were they wrong!
After a sold out Off-Broadway run, it quickly transitioned to Broadway. It spread around the nation, and to the world. It gained popularity for its giant sweep at the Tony Awards.
People also commented on its price for a ticket. For a ticket in June of 2017, the cheapest ticket in the back of the theater is about 600 dollars or more. The New York Times states that it has the highest price for a premium ticket. Not to add that all tickets are sold out for the next few months.
So what makes it so popular? Some say that it is because it centers on the founding fathers and uses a special type of music to convey its points...hip hop. Critics and audience members were astonished to see how much it affected them and how amazing it combined the two.
Tan states, “It’s not your usual musical. It incorporates pop, R&B, hip hop, and soul.” She went on to say how it was more of the music a person would hear on the radio, rather than on Broadway.
Hamilton is just one of the many musicals to hit Broadway and “strike a chord” with audiences. Other ones include Heathers. This off-broadway hit was based on the popular 80’s movie of the same
name. It has particularly become popular with teens. So much, a high school version was made for students to perform, further continuing the legacy of future Broadway legacies.
Another musical is called Dear Evan Hansen. It just came out this past year and has already gained positive reviews from most critics including Entertainment Weekly and Variety. Praise has come, due to the fact that it was one of the first musicals to feature social media as a major plot moving device.
Most students have heard about the musical, Wicked. One of the longest-running musicals is based on “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s songs have become some of the most well-known songs in pop culture. For instance, “Popular” has become an audition song that many singers choose to sing. The song “Defying Gravity” has become an anthem for the LGBT community and more.
Grace Kubek has supported this musical and is one of her favorite musicals of all time for it’s relatability to her life and many others likewise. She says it also teaches a lesson. “We’ve all felt as if we’re different in some way and it shows that you have to be able to look past differences.” This lesson is universal through adults and children alike.
What defines a musical? A musical is basically a story which includes singing or dancing. Its an art form which influences the whole world. It inspires people to stand up for their rights. It influences political arguments too. Take Hamilton for example. Earlier this year, Vice President Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton. Brandon Victor Dixon, part of the cast, spoke to him, during the curtain call at the end of the performance. “We are the diverse America,” he said to the audience including Pence. This made news worldwide, leading to tweets by Trump, and interviews with Pence on the subject matter. Last but not least, it influences the economy of New York. Over a billion dollars has come from ticket sales of musicals.
Many enjoy listening to musicals and seeing them because it tells a story through music. As stated earlier, valuable lessons are presented in musicals. There are also many history lessons. Hamilton teaches about the founding fathers and the tale of our beloved country. Newsies tells the tale of the newsboys in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It shows how the freedom of the press is applied in real life.
Leah Tan however doesn’t like musicals. “It has a different style, so I was never a big fan.”
New ways to experience musicals have been introduced during the last decade. Recently, Broadway musicals have gone digital. On iTunes and Spotify, you can listen to musicals from the 80’s or from 2017. Prices for a soundtrack ranges from about $10 to $20. Spotify allows you to stream them for free.
Many have seen the ads for “Kinky Boots” or “Wicked” coming to Indiana soon. Current and old Broadway musicals usually go on tour after they have gained popularity for audiences. This allows people who are unable to come see the musicals in New York can come see them in their home town. Musicals coming soon to Indy include Beautiful, Les Miserables, A Christmas Story, Finding Neverland, and Rent.
The opportunities to be in musical theater have risen tremendously. Children have a chance to be in productions with new youth programs. For instance, many students at Creekside participate in CYT and Civic Theater. Mckenna Barr, who is in Seussical at Civic Theater in June states, “Musical theater is a place where you can express yourself through acting, singing, and dancing. Creekside Middle School puts on a musical every year, directed by Mrs. and Mr. Johnson this year. Auditions usually take place in the 1st semester.
Musical theater continues to be a driving force in educating and entertaining people through songs and dance numbers. Which show will you go see?