As a mentally ill musical theatre fan, depictions of characters who share that trait with me typically fall into one of two categories: they a) don't exist or they b) make me rage. next to normal comes closer than most shows to getting it right, in a lot of ways. But where it fails, it fails hard.
I am in a fairly light mood today, so I thought I'd match that with a pretty light post. One of my favorite things to do is to play with music or other media by mentally flipping the script, changing the context in which it operates. Today I want to flip the script...WITH FEMINISM
The part of [title of show] that resonates most closely with me is probably the song I've included in this post—"Die Vampire, Die!". This song is, within the context of the show, about defeating doubts and obstacles to creative-sector work—writing, painting, singing. But I think the types of "vampires" spoken of in the lyrics are familiar to those of us doing advocacy work as well.
Musical theatre black women are often minor characters who show up to enlighten the main (white) ones with a Big Gospel Number, and then sink once more into the background. In spring 2006, not one but two shows premiered containing songs specifically lampooning this trope. And these are what I want to talk about.
Is your knowledge of musical theater limited to the Oscar-winning adaptation of Chicago and the latest episode of Glee? Welcome to this week's BitchTapes, a collection of female-led showtunes that are not about
being hopelessly devoted to a man-type character. (Sorry, Eponine.)
Track list, and space to share your own faves, after the jump!
I noticed the book immediately: a colorful, unmistakably travel-esque picture topped with a billboard that evoked both Broadway and freeway diners, staring out from a new display in my much-loved young adult section. But the best part? The display was for LGBTQ fiction.
Due in no small part to a summer-long marketing campaign complete with the newly-de-rigeur Twittered event, everybody's been talking about the new show called Glee. Produced by Ryan Murphy of Nip/Tuck fame, it lets everybody live out that fantasy high school experience of gaining fame and popularity while joining - I know you're in suspense - the Glee Club. Glee is the hot new thing so far this season, and has given work to some pretty darn good performers, including Lea Michele (late of Broadway's Spring Awakening), Jayma Mays (completely adorable if hurtling towards Poor Man's Red-Headed Zooey Deschanel territory) and Jane Lynch (who should be in everything ever).
The pilot episode aired in May this year, and felicitously closed with a rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" that rescued it from eternal association as the song that accompanied the letdown of The Sopranos' concluding moments. Unfortunately, if the second episode, which aired last Wednesday, is any evidence, it's all downhill from here. The advertising campaign, as is so often the case, is far more clever than the show itself.