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!
Last month’s prompt was about settings. How important are the time and place to a narrative, though?
Almost ten years ago (oof!), I was longing to see a new production of Les Misérables that brought the story into the 21st century.
Les Misérables Highlights at Dallas Theater Center
The same words being sung among the modern-day sets and costumes only highlighted their universality. Countless productions of Shakespeare plays have played fast and loose with the setting to make the same point – indeed, we’ve gotten plenty of musicals that way, from West Side Story and Kiss Me, Kate to *checks Wikipedia notes* Play On! and Lone Star Love, to name a few. Are there other musical texts that could be seen and heard with fresh eyes and ears by making such external changes (bringing Jekyll and Hyde’s questions of identity into the social media age, maybe? Setting A Little Night Music anywhere/when with stylish formal wear, just for the aesthetic?)? Or are the majority too specifically tailored to their original context?
What do you think of such reimaginings? If you were going to change the setting of a musical, which one would you pick and how would you change it?