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BWW Blog: Dear Taylor Swift - Please, Please Write a Musical!

An open letter to the most theatrical performer I’ve ever seen.

Dear Taylor Swift,

First of all, I would be remiss if I didn't start this letter with a massive "Thank you!" for singlehandedly saving 2020.

Well, you didn't save last year, so much as you surprise-released two beautifully cathartic albums to add to your already incredible discography.

If the record-breaking success isn't enough of an indication, folklore and evermore contain some of your best work. While we fans love when you use your music to share a part of yourself with us, you're also extraordinary at telling stories that aren't yours at all.

You crafted narratives on these two albums that are so uniquely your brand of pure genius, with the Betty/James/Augustine trilogy, "no body no crime," "champagne problems," and "illicit affairs," just to name a few.

Taylor, I think it's safe to say you're one of the best singers and songwriters of this generation, and your work speaks for itself. You are an artist who knows the value of establishing an intimate relationship between lyrics and melody, using musical themes to evoke complex emotions and support the story arc. And your lyrics, oh your lyrics. Our national infrastructure wishes it was strong as your bridges. "All Too Well" alone could support a parade of eighteen wheelers.

You've conquered country, pop and now alternative music. You've won 10 Grammy awards (so far). You've topped the charts and broken your own records. What's next?

Here's my pitch: write a musical.

It could be anything. There is a lot of creative freedom in musicals, with opportunities totally unique to the theater world. As theatrical as your concerts are-I will never forget seeing people on stilts on the "Red" tour-it's clear that you have an eye for staging art.

You could do as Sara Bareilles did an adapt a movie into a stage musical, as she did with "Waitress." You could also come up with your own original story and music, and I have no doubt that any of the narratives you've likely already been mulling over in your head for the next album (probably called "meta-fore") would make for a great musical. Given the thematic inspiration for many of the songs on folklore and evermore, I'm imagining a musical similar to "The Last Five Years." But, honestly, you could just write a musical about your cats Meredith, Olivia and Benjamin. (I would like to see that, actually.)

In addition, you've mentioned that the "Speak Now" tour was heavily inspired by musical theater. You said that, "The first time that I fell in love with performing is when I went to go see theater in my hometown in Pennsylvania...I would see it done incredibly well -- going to see Broadway plays of 'Wicked' -- things like that just really inspired me from an early age to love putting on a theatrical performance where there are storylines and characters, and you're always seeing a scene change into another scene. I love telling a story in any way possible."

Besides, you're no stranger to performing in musicals. Your role in the Cats adaptation was, for me, one of the only saving graces of a movie that should have gone in the litter box.

A musical written by you would be fantastic not only due to your immense talent, but in part because your name would be listed among the few women, at least compared to men, who have written Broadway shows. You would join legends like Dolly Parton and Cyndi Lauper who took on the task of writing music for the stage. (I bet you could even talk people into calling the programs for the show Taybills. Just an idea).

Not only that, but a musical written by you could help revolutionize the theater industry.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, theater performers have been one of the hardest hit communities, due to the live nature of their work. Films and television shows can be shot while following health guidelines and released on streaming platforms, but producing live theater is nearly impossible right now. Broadway actors have taken to doing virtual concerts, and having "Hamilton" on Disney+ much earlier than expected was a light in the darkness for theater fans everywhere.

Lin-Manuel Miranda himself said that, "I think when theater comes back it's going to be in conversation with technology in an entirely different way. I don't think we go back to a world where a show premieres on Broadway, and then no one can see it unless they have two hundred bucks."

The "Miss Americana" documentary and your concert films indicate that you see the importance of making your art more accessible to the general public. When Broadway comes back, you could help lead the charge to encourage producers to do the same. You could use your fame, your talent and your skills to help democratize an industry that many see as elitist due to its expense.

Moreover, the show could be shot professionally and released on streaming services, or it could tour for years-or both! The possibilities are endless.

There's bound to one day be a jukebox musical about your life using your discography. (It'll probably be called something like "13: A Taylor Swift Musical"). Why not beat them to the punch? Write your own!

Taylor, your next career venture is likely to blow us all away, no matter what you choose to do. But after this very "Cruel Summer" (and fall, and winter, and probably spring), I'm screaming, for whatever it's worth, "PLEASE write a musical!"


Alexandra Lang

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From This Author Student Blogger: Alexandra Lang