Welcome to the Musicals Thread, the Avocado’s space for anything and everything related to musical theatre! Every month I’ll post a discussion prompt, but please feel free to comment on other topics, from new discoveries to old favorites. If you have ideas for future prompts or would like to write a feature for the thread, let me know!
In a bit of a 180 from last month, today’s topic is humor in musicals. From witty lyrics to slapstick set pieces, all manner of comedy is ripe for cooperation with (or to provide a contrast to) the music. The ever-evolving nature of theatre means innovative directorial or acting choices or even a plain ol’ mistake can inject new laughs into an old show where the original authors might never have thought to put them. Even the medium itself will sometimes be the butt of the joke. This is the case in the satire Urinetown, which combines meta-humor (especially parodying the earnest idealism of others shows) with social critique and a heaping helping of literal toilet gags. One of my favorite moments, though, is the pair of shocking revelations about the tough-as-nails Penelope Pennywise’s true identity.
1. The female lead, Hope, is her daughter [GASP], and
2. she is Hope’s mother! [BIGGER GASP!!]
What musical (or character, song, moment, etc.) makes you laugh? Backstage stories are welcome, too!