REVIEW: ‘Les Misérables.’ Life’s Tough. Yeah, Well.
It should be noted right from the start that I am an unusual Ghey, but a typical filmmaker: I am entirely contemptuous of musical theater. Having said that, more often than not I have enjoyed the few Broadway or West End productions I’ve been to over the years immensely. It can be rocking great entertainment, but so can a magic show or figure skating or Cirque du Soleil.
To give you an idea of how bad it is with me, the few episodes of Glee that I’ve watched (most of its first season, actually), I fast-forwarded over the musical numbers. I cannot sing a whole show tune, just bits and pieces of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” because it has that mawkish Christmas carol quality that makes you all emotional, although you don’t know why. In fact, the more melodramatic and successful musical theater songs seem to have a lot in common with carols. I’m sure this has to do with some common key, or chord, or melody that brings out the weepies. I’d like a musicologist to explain the phenomenon to me one day. No rush, though.
In a way, show tunes are the Negro spirituals of the Gheys. They sing of our hopes, our sufferings, our dreams of appearing in fierce outfits high-kicking in front of an adoring audience, of finally being accepted as the fabulous creatures we really are, of being Liza and Judy and Patti. I personally might not feel any of that, but I certainly get it, and appreciate the important cultural role musical theater plays in Homolandia.