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BWW Blog: TikTok... the Musical?

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BWW Blog: TikTok... the Musical?

Even though Broadway is on a longer than expected hiatus, one can only dream of what the possibilities are for new productions, whether it be in a small town community theatre, or on its way to a professional premiere, will look like once we enter "the new normal." While the TikToks of Hamilton Jr., Mean Girls Jr., and Tik Tok the Musical grace theatre kids' for you pages, these content creators provide an excellent jumping off point for the question at hand: What will Broadway look like after the shutdown? With pertinent questions hovering over the theatre community to make the art form diverse, equitable, and inclusive, we are certainly in store for something coming. Below are three broad categories that I brainstormed for what the future may hold for upcoming productions.

1. 2020 the Musical

This category encapsulates all things 2020. Whether it be the rise in Tik Tok, Zoom University, Zoom in general, the upcoming election, a story about quarantine, or the Black Lives Matter Movement, the start to the new decade most certainly possesses many storylines fit for the dramatics. From a laugh out loud musical comedy about COVID-19 to a serious exploration of the Black Lives Matter protests, I would not be surprised if a playwright, librettist, composer, or any other member of the creative team is drafting the next blockbuster production about this turbulent mess. Who knows, maybe the next big audition song on the "do no sing list" will be called "I'll Send You the Link" or "The Karen at Starbucks".

2. Funky Reimaginations

Even though innovative revivals have already graced the Broadway stage, it is important to know that many shows of the early musical theatre canon will become accessible to the public domain in our lifetime. What does that mean? Thanks to teachingcopyright.org:

"In general, works published after 1977 will not fall into the public domain until 70 years after the death of author, or, for corporate works, anonymous works, or works for hire, 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first." (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

This could usher a new era of innovation and creativity that have been previously tamed due to existing copyright laws. What would an Anything Goes, or Show Boat, or 42nd Street look like in the 21st century? As artists, we will be the ones performing, designing, and/or choreographing these reimaginations of these musical theatre staples. Daring directors might look into genderbending certain roles, creating LGBTQ+ storylines through non traditional

casting, or changing the setting of these well established works. Lifting these storylines out of its racist and sexist undertones will require answering some tough questions, potential revisions, and an artist's mind to create a bold vision while still honoring the work of our predecessors.

3. New Stories From New Communities

Unfortunately, theatre has typically been one of the last art forms to dip its toes into new and groundbreaking stories for a mainstream audience. As the theatre community rethinks what the traditional musical theatre canon can be and searches to expand accessibility to all underrepresented communities both onstage and behind the table, the theatre community is ready for the next daring and innovative story to sweep the nation by storm.


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From This Author Student Blogger: Shaun Collins