Pete Davison: Musical Theatre is Gay

Posted on May 2, 2011 by

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I’d write about the fact Osama bin Laden is dead, but it’s probably already been done to death from every possible angle, whether it’s the morbid nature of the celebration of death, or the woefully ill-informed Facebook status updates that resulted from the event. It’s a big deal, of course, but I’m not going to write about it.

No, I’m going to write about how gay musical theatre is. Your interpretation of what I mean by the word “gay” is entirely up to you, thereby absolving me of any responsibility for inappropriate usage.

Anyway. Musical theatre. It’s one of those things that despite myself I find myself liking a great deal — at least the good ones, anyway. And by “good ones”, I mean ones with catchy tunes, preferably with some stupidly silly big chorus numbers that make a massive deal out of something relatively mundane, possibly with tap dancing.

The reason I’m thinking about musical theatre is, of course, partly due to the fact that I saw Chicago at the weekend, and partly due to the fact that I spent most of my 3 hour drive home last night listening to the Spamalot soundtrack. These represent two polar opposites of the musical theatre spectrum —Chicago is pretty serious, though it does have elements of comedy, and is pretty abstract by virtue of the fact that there’s no set, everyone female is dressed in lacy black lingerie throughout and everyone male is dressed in tight waistcoats, trousers and displaying rippling man-torsos. Spamalot, on the other hand, I haven’t seen, but the soundtrack is very much aware of the absurdity of musical theatre and embraces it to produce a particularly enjoyable selection of songs.

Not every musical gets it right, of course. I had the misfortune to listen to some of Whistle Down the Wind at one point and found it immensely tedious to listen to, and also it had crap piano parts. It left me with no desire to go and see the show — it might actually be good, but the fact the music was so dull and morose made me actively want to avoid it altogether.

Also, the presence of Andrew Lloyd Webber on every reality TV show vaguely connected to musical theatre makes me want to avoid anything he’s ever done. Although he does use more interesting key signatures than a lot of other composers, though that doesn’t make his stuff inherently “better”. That’s like saying Gears of War is better than Recettear because there are more polygons. Also, you probably know my stance on Gears of War by now.

I probably have a point somewhere, but the faint delirium of still being pretty tired is causing it to vanish into the ether somewhere. I shall attempt to sum up what may be my point, then, by saying that I, a heterosexual male completely comfortable in my own sexuality (except when on Twitter, when a number of people bring out a frankly terrifying amount of latent gayness) enjoy musicals and have absolutely no shame in this whatsoever.

And they are totally gay. Because they make me smile and fill me with joy.

Hah. See what I did there? I took the word “gay” and… oh, never mind. It just sounds like I like gay things now. Which, if you raid my iTunes library, probably isn’t that far from the truth.

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Posted in: Pete Davison