Now that I don’t have a headache, I’ve decided to continue some thoughts on that list from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch because I feel as though she makes some good points. Even though I’m not really in the audience she’s referring to.
Anyway, it seems like Broadway shows now are catering to two audiences in terms of ages: those under the age of ten and those above the age of twenty. Where do the teenagers come in? Let’s focus on the girls though, because if a boy even thinks of Patti LuPone, he gets called a sissy.
Most forms of writings that should be memorable should have something to take away from them and a relatable protagonist is a good place to start. As Newmark points out, these characters have something relatable. And while not everyone gets to go to Harvard Law School, Elle does struggle to fit in at Harvard for her…well, perkiness and ditziness.
Most teenage girls are still stuck in the world of their white knight that will someday come for them. All three of the love interests of the female leads mentioned fit this description of that dreamy boy that the out-of-place girl eventually gets. And what do most teenage girls have, even the outcasts? BFFs.
It is also commonly believed that all girls are obsessed with their looks. If jaw-dropping costumes are onstage, it may make the show even more enchanting to the audience members in question.
As for the originality topic, it’s the fact that it’s the new thing that will be big. I bet that most teenage girls get sick of only loving Phantom and Les Mis. There is also the fact that all three shows are based off of a previous material, although most people I speak with that have seen Wicked are unaware of Gregory Maguire’s novel (which I greatly enjoy). I discussed this in an unpublished column on the death of new work on Broadway and pointed out that tourists, those in New York for a short period of time, would rather see something that they’re familiar with than see something by some guy named Tracy Letts.
I really can’t comment on the topic of “iPod-worthy scores.” My tastes in music is not like most teenage girls’ tastes. I consider an iPod-worthy score to be ranging from Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Kander and Ebb to In the Heights, Passing Strange, [title of show] and Spring Awakening. I can’t get past “The Wizard and I” because I’m too busy thinking “That’s enough violin tremolo, Stephen Oremus.”
And as for exciting dance numbers? I really can’t say. I’ve only seen Wicked and none of the dance numbers are exciting. I’m also the cynical jerk sitting in the Gershwin thinking, “Hooray, someone married five-hundred yards of black fabric and hydraulics. Should I be giving this a standing ovation?”