I've written two full-length musicals - one with co-author Justin Holcomb.
Even though I generally dislike them.
Well, dislike isn't a strong enough term.
Generally, I hate them.
But I've noticed something about musicals that you don't get with any other art form - the power of music to lift the emotional tenor of a narrative (ideally) exists in musical theater completely free of pretentiousness. Unlike Opera, for instance, musical theater isn't interested these days in tone rows or minimalism. Most people who go to see a musical aren't really interested in the music at all, really (if they did, they'd avoid Andrew Lloyd Webber's shows like the plague)- they're interested in the SHOW.
One show they'll never be interested in, however, is a little piece I wrote called - and this is the whole title, quotes, punctuation and all -
(otherwise known as The Musical that will NEVER GET PRODUCED)(
Two Musicalologists are hunting through the Rodgers and Hammerstein Library - a dusty old place with moldy tomes - and they come across a mysterious text to a show they've never heard of. The title is Rodgers and Hammerstein's Louisiana!!, and they open it up out of curiosity. Magically, Brigadoon-like, the play comes to life (a revival, if you will) with our two intrepid explorers trapped inside of it. This is the opening song from the musical-within-a-musical:
Johnny, our young hero of the two Musicalologists, falls in love with a character in the play - Linda (whom they meet just as the Showboat is coming up the Big River)- who happens to be the only person in the production that even recognizes their presence. To Herbert - who not only hates musicals but has smoked a lot of marijuana before all of this happened -the entire experience is a nightmare. But that doesn't stop him from messing with the actors in the show during one of their songs:
Johnny follows Linda into her cabin (which is a one-sided revolving unit). Inside is her father, who casts busts of famous composers as an avocation. Johnny goes off to change into more appropriate "Period Musical" clothing while Linda's father sings a gentle song to her:
Linda's father gives her a ticket to Anna Greengable's Charm School, where she learns the truth about beauty.
You get the picture - a musical about musical theater (its problems and its benefits) - with references to more shows than I can remember. Johnny eventually auditions for the show in a big Chorus Line ripoff, Oscar Hammerstein (the great and powerful Oscar) lets him in the show to replace Skeeter Masterson, a method actor. There's a Phantom of the Swamp, they build a barricade against him helped by Cats and Trains - it's a horrid mish-mash. But it's funny.
Well, it's funny to me.
(thanks to the actors who participated in this monstrosity - Justin Holcomb, Sidney Austin, Dana Maddox, John Moffat, Clay Yokam, and lots of others whose names I forget because I am a dum)
For a much more focused show, check out the other musical I wrote, with Justin R. G. Holcomb:
(click image to go to that show's page - all songs streaming!)