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If one musical survives 200 years from now

Theatrefanboy1
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Curious what your thoughts are. With opera or very very early theatre works having only one or a small handful. Surviving as references in modern times. What is the one theatre piece In the last 100 years you would hope That would remain in culture ( like a magic flute, king oedipus, Carmen...).

I would hope its Phantom
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Jordan Catalano
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Heathers.
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Sutton Ross
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 Brooklyn obviously. A show THAT BAD must be examined. 

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copskid949
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Weirdly enough, Be More Chill. It’s not my cup of tea, at the least Broadway version isn’t, but historically speaking I think its lifespan is a huge historical testament to the impact of the Internet on theatre.
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If streaming theatrical premieres becomes more commonplace many years from now, I would say Diana, which will soon introduce this trend.

(heads down to the orchestra pit during the Exit Music)
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TotallyEffed
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Hamilton is the obvious answer.
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Theatrefanboy1 said: "Curious what your thoughts are. With opera or very very early theatre works having only one or a small handful. Surviving as references in modern times. What is the one theatre piece In the last 100 years you would hope That would remain in culture ( like a magic flute, king oedipus, Carmen...).

I would hope its Phantom
"

Phantom, perhaps. It’s impossible to predict the taste of audiences in the future but I think shows too reliant on pop culture will not age very well. That makes Hamilton, for all its brilliance, questionable. But then there’s Hair which is definitely a product of its time that still plays, albeit as a period piece. I think Sweeney Todd will remain significant and play to future audiences. 

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TotallyEffed said: "Hamilton is the obvious answer. "

At this point, I’m pretty sure Hamilton’s gonna outlive the American government...

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Hamilton is already dated, but you are not ready for this conversation yet.

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henrikegerman
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Come from Away 
Not because it's the best or most daring.  And certainly not for its music. 

But for its historicity; for giving a tragic event intimacy and meaning in its little bit of life.  And for it doing it very well.

Ok, I made that case.  

The correct answer is Hamilton.

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Hopefully Seussical
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I’d like to expand this out to plays performed in the last 100 years. I think To Kill A Mockingbird might outlive the book. And I say that similar to why I say Hamilton will still be culturally relevant in 200 years. It will be continuously taught in the curriculum for our youth.
BLs68
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Call_me_jorge said: "I’d like to expand this out to plays performed in the last 100 years. I think To Kill A Mockingbird might outlive the book. And I say that similar to why I say Hamilton will still be culturally relevant in 200 years. It will be continuously taught in the curriculum for our youth."

 

With all respect - do you really think the Aaron Sorkin adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird is more significant than ANY other play from this century? More than A Streetcar Named Desire? More than Death of a Salesman? More than A Raisin in the Sun? Long Day's Journey Into Night? Angels in America? Virginia Woolf? I could go on and on and on. I don't even think To Kill a Mockingbird was the most culturally important play the year it premiered, let alone ALL of modern times. 

As for musicals, I'm inclined to say something by Rodgers and Hammerstein. If I had my way personally, it would be a Sondheim show, but I think R&H tick more boxes in terms of cultural significance. Sondheim's work may be widely regarded as some of the best work in the cannon, but he was standing on the shoulders of Hammerstein. And R&H had the perfect combination of mainstream cultural relevance, and high-art sophistication - whereas Sondheim has more of the latter, less of the former. R&H's work turned musical theatre into what it is today, and their musicals are still widely loved. 

As for which one? I'm not sure. Sound of Music is the most mainstream, but not necessarily the best. The King and I & Carousel are both brilliant, but both have significant issues that make them dated. So does South Pacific, but less so, I think, especially when it's directed tastefully. I'd say South Pacific. 

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sherie_worshipper said: "Hamilton is already dated, but you are not ready for this conversation yet."

So is Hamlet, and yet...

ImaginaryManticore
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It will have to be a show that can be separated completely from its original production, or probably any kind of theatrical production as we know it. People will need to listen to a recording or read a libretto and get why it works, if they're going to keep putting it on in some form. That removes anything reliant on spectacle like Phantom, I'd say. The same goes for it making sense with no cultural context.

I'm cheating and giving several options:

Hamilton - if the US is still around, this musical will be too. Countries love retelling stories about their own history. In 200 years no one will know or care what made it seem dated in 2025.

Sweeney Todd - because it tells a story that's already been around for years and does it very well. It never relied on 20th century character types or morality either. Nothing gets dated faster than comedy, but will rhymes about cannibalism ever not be funny?

And two that I want to survive but don't know if they will... Carousel and A Little Night Music. Carousel might be held back for any number of reasons, but it's such a great early example of the musical form Rogers and Hammerstein perfected. A Little Night Music is a comedy, but the humour is already based on old-fashioned social values, and it doesn't rely on it for the story to work.

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Sweeney Todd feels like the obvious answer to me: it's a period piece so it's not tied to any ephemeral trends or theatrical movements. It's structurally a classic revenge tragedy, and audiences 500 years ago would find almost nothing alien or unrelatable in it. The music is a universal amalgamation of about 100 years or so of popular and theatrical music in one, so it does not sound explicitly of one time and place; it's classical and opera and musical theatre and folk ballad in one. And perhaps most importantly of all, it wasn't designed as a minimalist chamber piece but its legacy has primarily become one. When Sweeney Todd becomes public domain, the number of expansive, expensive productions will be VASTLY outnumbered by the small and simple; there's still much more stripped-down and intimate Shakespeare around the world than grand productions, and a lot of the more universally appealing musicals do NOT lend themselves to the chamber treatment half as well as Sweeney does.

If American history, 20th-21st century pop music or the inspiring/transgressive nature of cross-racial casting ever go out of style or relevance, Hamilton disappears. But there's nothing in Sweeney Todd to date it any more than there is in Hamlet or Carmen.

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Am I living in a fantasy world? How is iambic pentameter not “dated?”
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I don’t see any reason why the major works of Rodgers and Hammerstein or Sondheim won’t be remembered as well as those of Mozart or Verdi are remembered today. 

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The only correct answers to this question are the ones that mock the question.

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darquegk
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Iambic pentameter might be out of fashion, but people are still writing in it and premiering major works in it.
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If one musical survives 200 years from now#22
Posted: 9/3/20 at 10:29pm

darquegk said: "Iambic pentameter might be out of fashion, but people are still writing in it and premiering major works in it."

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should...

IMHO I see Queenie as being more of a brunette...
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If one musical survives 200 years from now#23
Posted: 9/3/20 at 10:56pm

I just think it's silly to call great pieces of art "dated." Of course they are dated, they aren't brand new. Streetcar is "dated," but it's a timeless masterpiece. Eventually great works become classics.

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If one musical survives 200 years from now#24
Posted: 9/3/20 at 10:58pm
I’m gonna day Into The Woods. The source material never goes out of style and it can be reimagined in so many ways.
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If one musical survives 200 years from now#25
Posted: 9/3/20 at 11:41pm
It’s an interesting question. I always think the Pulitzer winners should almost be more popular than they are but Next to Normal, while it had a good run and made some money, wasn’t a crazy phenomenon. But I think it’s such a brilliant piece of theater and so relatable.

I watched Hamilton on Disney+ and it was fine. Some great writing, but I’d be curious to see another production of it.