Part of the Cultural Conversation


Our leading lady Melissa Ericco has penned an essay for the New York Times titled “I Love Performing Those Songs, But What About the Gender Politics?” In it she discusses the challenges involved in presenting beloved classic musical theater in our current climate of #metoo awareness.

It’s a pretty hot topic in the Broadway community these days, with current and upcoming revivals of Carousel (domestic abuse as a sign of true love), My Fair Lady (“Eliza, get me my slippers.”), and Kiss Me Kate (a good firm spanking - COMEDY!) Not to mention new productions of Pretty Woman and Mean Girls that seem to be locking in old stereotypes even more deeply.

Melissa makes some pretty good points about bringing new ideas and fresh intentions to classic roles in a way that avoids their inherently negative aspects (and she’s a heck of a writer!). But I’m not so sure I’m 100% on board. 

If the songs are the main reason those chestnuts are still so beloved, they can always be performed in concerts and cabarets. But to me it’s a bit unfortunate that a classic musical with problematic themes would be dusted off and remounted for the umpteenth time while so much new, fresh material is out there undiscovered.

Of course, Broadway is a COMMERCIAL enterprise. Producers and their investors can’t always be asked to pony up the huge sums required for Broadway productions just to take a chance on some brand new composer, and a recognized brand is always a safer investment. But I do think it says something about how far we’ve come when producers are hard pressed to find a classic musical to revive that DOESN’T crack under modern gender scrutiny.

Either way, it’s put us into the conversation. Didn’t realize our little skit would end up being so relevant! Now extended though 9/6.  Tickets

© Craig Waletzko 2016