Hello again, readers!
In the past week several articles have surfaced on the importance of the arts within Houston. It's reported in the Houston Business Journal, "that the local nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $977.7 million in annual economic activity in the greater Houston area." That is an astounding amount of money! What I saw lacking in many of the stories, if not all, was any kind of mention of musicals and companies like Theatre Under The Stars.
This made me wonder why the American musical is not seen as a culturally elite form of art. In other words, why is musical theatre looked upon as the "poor man's" opera, ballet or symphony?
I searched the internet to see if others have ever questioned this theory and sadly did not find much information. Is this just a social issue we accept in the hierarchy of high-class art? One blogger, Ryan Bogner, wrote the following in his piece "Bound By Broadway: The State of the American Musical":
"...musical theater exists primarily in the commercial mode, the form is looked down upon by many theater makers and is considered to be more akin to the latest big-budget Hollywood romantic comedy than a worthy form of artistic expression. This might be partially attributed to the fact that the form is relatively young and has yet to reach a highbrow status (if you start counting at Oklahoma!, book musicals as we know them have only existed for seventy years). But I believe that musical theater has matured to a point where it will be difficult to grow any further until it begins to be treated with the same reverence and aesthetic scrutiny that we place upon plays."
Perhaps the answer to my question really is because musical theatre is still the youngest of its art siblings aka the opera, ballet, and symphony. Why do you think musical theatre is excluded as a “fine art” form and looked at primarily as only a commercial product? Why do you see and/or love musicals?
Until next time,