alestar wants me to write a musical with her. I am obsessed with James Hampton. 1+1=2, and so alestar and I are going to write a musical about James Hampton.
Has musical theatre always been this bland, this substanceless, and I just never noticed? Or are people so desperate to find unused material that they turn to inferior songs just to try for something different? I'm so tired of the perennial ditty about being ready for a hypothetical change without or within, that may or may not be just around the bend, that may or may not involve the new love of your life or the decision you just made, all while using metaphors of flying or soaring or reaching or singing. You have to find your corner of the sky. You have to get to the other side of the tracks. Oh, to be a movie star. If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere. You want to be in someone else's story. You're not afraid of anything. You're gonna learn how to fly -- ~high!~ (and papa will watch you). <Disney> You want to go the distance. You want to make it out There, or just around the river bend. You want more than this provincial life. You want to be a part of that world. You want your reflection to show who you are inside. (Props to Aladdin, btw, for eschewing the Want Song since the whole plot is a Want Song. Though "A Whole New World" will suffice.)
You want to find the movie in your mind, you want to dream the impossible dream, this is the moment, damn all the odds, fine, fine, but what does any of that actually mean? Just TELL US already. Oh my god, writers, at least say "let's open up a restaurant in Santa Fe!" or "i want to be evil! i want to hurt flies!" instead of "something hypothetical has changed within me, something hypothetical is not the same, I'm through with playing by the hypothetical rules of someone else's hypothetical game," but it will take three minutes of belting above C to decide that all this means is that you're going to eschew lesbian sex with your best friend Glenda. Just. :( I'm really tired of it all, and my want song right now is: No More. (There should be more DO NOT WANT songs in the world.)
of the 275-ish 30-second monologues that I saw this weekend, I'd say 80-90% of the female monologues were about women reacting to relationships with men: ones they'd been in, ones they were in now, ones they wanted. And they were nearly all boring. I was just. Really. Bored. The male monologues were mostly about things happening. There were a bunch of times that I thought "hey, I'd love to do that monologue" before realizing that I couldn't because it was gender-specific. And I only thought about that about the male monologues. I find this depressing, and I find it discouraging, and I find it sad.
I also find it depressing and discouraging and sad that among organizations dedicated to promoting innovative new musical theatre:
- the recipients of the Fred Ebb Foundation award for excellence in songwriting have all been men
- the recipients of the Shen Foundation grants to promote important new musical theatre have all been men
- the recipients of the Signature Theatre American Musical Voices project have all been men
- the recipients of the NAMT new works program 2009 grant have all been men minus one female lyricist
- the recipients of the ATW Jonathan Larson 2009 grant have all been men
- the recipients of the NEA 2009 musical theatre grants have all been men, with the exception of Being Audrey, the short-lived and snidely received musical by Cheryl Stern and Ellyn Weiss. (Because, as we all know, "watching a middle-aged woman cavorting like a teenager or twentysomething is embarrassing.")
God forbid real women should cavort. Or picture themselves as Audrey Hepburn. Or have adventures. Or write musicals. No wonder the monologues for women are boring. And I randomly clicked just now on the 50 greatest movie monologues of all time, and no wonder only 2 monologues on this list are of women. One of which was only added because "we need more ladies."
Gee, you think?