Musicals Thread (Gateways)

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!

In my continued exploration of old Musicals Thread prompts I want to revisit “gateways”. Because musical theatre isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, I always find it interesting to learn how someone discovered that they do, in fact, like musicals. Sometimes this happens because you go see a production, or maybe a friend shares their favorite musical with you, or perhaps it’s something that you inherited from your parents. Or sometimes, like in my case, you stumble across a show that captures your imagination and sparks a dormant love. Whatever brought you to musical theatre, I want to hear about it this week: what served as your gateway into the world of musical theatre?

For me, it was The Phantom of the Opera. Before I discovered that show I thought I didn’t like musicals. I thought they were silly and boring, especially the music. I was one of those people who scoffed and said “why would everyone just start singing and dancing?” I won’t even get into how ridiculous that was considering I was a huge fan of fantasy. I was just being stubborn for reasons I’ll never really understand. Thankfully, I eventually stopped resisting and gave musicals a chance. And it all started with The Phantom of the Opera. I discovered this musical because I read the novel and loved it. So, I figured I would at least check out this famous musical I was always hearing about. While it’s very different from the book I was hooked immediately by the spookiness and romance of the show. After that I checked out as many musicals as I could (and I mean that literally—I would check out the cast recordings from the library), and the rest is history! Well, not exactly.

The thing is, while Phantom was my first musical, it’s no longer my favorite. I still enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but I view it very differently now that I’m older. I’ll usually give it a listen in October because it fits the mood of this spooky month, and I’ll even put on the movie every now and then (I have many thoughts about the movie that I won’t get into here). But it’s not my favorite. My tastes have changed some, but that’s okay. It will always hold a special place in my heart for ushering me into the world of musical theatre, so I can’t be too hard on it. I’ve seen it twice on the stage, once on tour and once on Broadway (when your mom offers to buy the tickets, you go), and it’s still a magical experience. I completely understand why it’s still running on Broadway after all these years because the staging alone is just so captivating.

So, what about you? What served as your gateway into the world of musical theatre? If it was a particular show, do you still love it as much as you did when you first discovered it?