During our class discussion last Tuesday about why we study musicals, I started thinking about why I enjoy musicals more than just regular plays. I agree with a lot of what was said in class. Musicals add another layer or dimension to a story. Something that stood out to me in the discussion was a comment about how there are certain emotions that cannot always be expressed in normal speech. Musicals give you the freedom to say things that would otherwise seem melodramatic or foolish. So why are musicals my favorite? It’s not that I don’t like regular plays, but I never like performing in them nearly as much as I enjoy performing in a musical. Maybe it’s just because I am a musician, but I feel like I can really connect to the story of a musical. Music can be very moving and is often designed to provoke emotion. Music itself tells a story; in the context of a show it becomes even more powerful. There are certain soundtracks that I can listen to and feel almost as if I had seen the entire show. Musicals can make you feel something that does not leave you after the final curtain. I can barely get through the Les Miserables soundtrack without shedding a few tears. So many of the emotions present when you watch a musical come back when you listen to the music from the show. Ragtime is special because the story itself is moving. So with the added musical element, I can’t wait to see what effect it will have on an audience. It is easy sometimes to just sing through full company songs and go through the motions. I like how Professor Kelley always emphasizes the importance of putting meaning behind each note in a song even the ensemble parts. From these approaches, I hope the audience gets as much out of Ragtime as we do.
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