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Original musicals on Broadway

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frontrowcentre2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/05
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Original musicals on Broadway#1
Posted: 5/19/08 at 3:21pm
In short, there aren't many.

Not including revivals, there are just 4 musicals running on Broadway that have original stories and feature original scores:

AVENUE Q

CURTAINS

IN THE HEIGHTS

PASSING STRANGE

The rest are all retreads of movies, novels, an opera, or feature catalogues of older pop tunes.

I find this troubling.


Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

Updated On: 5/19/08 at 03:21 PM
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Smaxie
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re: Original musicals on Broadway#2
Posted: 5/19/08 at 3:25pm
I'd say four completely original musicals on Broadway is a lot at one time. I never have bought into the idea that adaption=bad for Broadway, just so long as the work itself is good.
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
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frontrowcentre2
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re: Original musicals on Broadway#2
Posted: 5/19/08 at 3:34pm
Good point and there are many stage adpatations that actually enhance the source material, or (as in RENT) create an etirely diffferent experience (from LA BOHEME.)

Still - I wish for more originals...shows that you go into not knowing where they are going, rather rthan sitting and thinking "that's different from the movie..."

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

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Mealz1042
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re: Original musicals on Broadway#3
Posted: 5/19/08 at 3:42pm
well there's a difference between something like Legally Blonde, which is very closely based on the movie, and something like rent, where la boheme is more inspiration than anything else. I mean you could then argue that In the heights is based on a neighborhood and on people in Lin's life, or that Passing Strange is based on Stew's travels and experiances, or even that Avenue Q is based on Sesame St. I don't disagree with you but I guess what I'm getting at is that everything has a starting point.

And as for revivals, while it is not NEW material, the fact that those shows are still powerful today, says a lot about those shows.
<-- Gwen Stewart, SOLoist at the last show of RENT
Cages or wings? Which do you prefer? Ask the birds. Fear or love, baby? Don't say the answer Actions speak louder than words. (Tick, Tick... BOOM!)
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ggersten
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re: Original musicals on Broadway#4
Posted: 5/19/08 at 3:58pm
I don't think in the last half century, there have even been that many "original" musicals that were successful.
Tony winners that were original by your definition would seem to only include 15 shows:
Avenue Q
Contact (?)
Titanic
Will Rogers Follies
City of Angels
Chorus Line
Company
1776
Hallelujah Baby
Forum (?)
Bye Bye Birdie
Fiorello
Redhead
Music Man
Kiss Me Kate (?)
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frontrowcentre2
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re: Original musicals on Broadway#5
Posted: 5/19/08 at 4:02pm
I am glad we have revivals. Especiallythis season when we had 3 of such exceptional quality.

Funny thing. When SOUTH PACIFIC was announced there were posts right here on BWW from some of the younger members saying things like: why arethey doing SP? My high school/community group did that show. Its long and boring... NOW, of course they are clamoring for tickets. We need revivals to bring back the classics and some overlooked gems. (110 IN THE SHADE for instance.) That said I don't want Broadway to become like the Metropolitan opera running on steady stream of re-mounted classics and seldom producing anything new.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

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Weez
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re: Original musicals on Broadway#6
Posted: 5/19/08 at 4:26pm
There's nothing really wrong with adaptations, a la 'Rent' or 'Legally Blonde'. Even the great, good, and glorious 'Oklahoma!' and 'West Side Story' were based on other sources. It's the effin' jokebox* musicals that do *my* swede. XP

*spelling intended
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JoeKv99
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re: Original musicals on Broadway#7
Posted: 5/19/08 at 4:35pm
Can we just create a standard response to this tired old "ORIGINAL musicals are in short supply" BS? Every few weeks someone posts a variation on this base canard and smugly complains about a lack of original thought on Broadway.

As everyone will (has) point out, "Original" does not mean better in a Broadway show. It is an adaptive medium. The vast vast vast majority of musicals (and operas for that matter) take their plots from an earlier form. (Shakespeare, too actually- why not mix it up with a "tired old derivative Bill" thread for a change?)

And if you want to talk about actual "original" thought- look at your examples. I can not speak to Passing Strange or In the Heights, but there is NOTHING particularly "original" about taking Sesame Street characters and putting them in the real world or another backstage whodunit, compared to say taking Romeo & Juliet and reshaping it to comment on current events.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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MisterRussell
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re: Original musicals on Broadway#8
Posted: 5/19/08 at 4:40pm
God, not this old gripe AGAIN?
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nitsua
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re: Original musicals on Broadway#9
Posted: 5/19/08 at 4:42pm
Ivan and I are writing an original musical! ... we just haven't finished it yet.
"Writing is like prostitution. First, you do it for love, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money." ~ Moliere