Musicals Thread (Summer Loving)

Welcome! The purpose of this thread is to talk about all things related to the wonderful world of musical theatre. Each week (or so) I will post a thread with a topic/question for everyone to respond to. This is also a great place to mention any new musicals you’ve discovered and/or general recommendations for other musical fans. Heard/seen any good shows lately? Have any theatre news to share? Tell us about it!

Summer is winding down, so before it’s over let’s talk about our favorite summer musicals! What musicals feel like summer to you? Are there any shows that you always want to listen to during the warm summer months? There are quite a few musicals that I think are particularly suited for summer listening, but the one I’m going to highlight this week is In the Heights: a musical about the oppressive heat of a New York City summer! But more than that, In the Heights is about community and stories, which just so happens to be what I study, and write about, and teach about, so I’m particularly fond of this musical. While I really enjoy the upbeat fun of “Carnaval Del Barrio”—perhaps the most summer feeling song in the show—and the sweetness of “Sunrise” and “When the Sun Goes Down,” my favorite song is “Hundreds of Stories”.

What I like about this song is the emphasis on the power of stories. Stories can give you hope. They can remind you of where you came from. They can teach you about the past so you don’t make the same mistakes as those who came before you. They can help you dream. But, most importantly, stories can help you create something new. My favorite book is called The Truth About Stories (written by Thomas King). I teach it every semester, and I doubt I’ll ever stop teaching it. The central thesis of the book is, “The truth about stories is that that’s all we are.” What King means is that we are literally stories—stories we’ve told about ourselves, our culture, our society, and the stories other people tell about us. The power of stories is that you can change them, and when you change the story, you change everything. This is part of why I love all musicals—because they are stories that comfort and inspire.

So, now that summer is coming to an end, I hope you enjoyed this rambling about a thing I like that kind of turned into a mini lecture! Now it’s your turn: what musicals feel like summer to you?