ROUNDTABLE: How does musical theater stay relevant?

By Cayman Watson

Musicals are growing in popularity among the mainstream and are becoming more dominant in pop culture. KNWD’s Cayman Watson sat down with three NSU students, Amira Moussa, Haley Crosby, and Emmy Leighton, to discuss the relevance of musicals in their lives and how they feel musicals are represented in the current culture.

KNWD: What are your top three musicals?

Amira Moussa: Falsettos, The Band’s Visit, and Come From Away.

Haley Crosby: Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and The Greatest Showman.

Emmy Leighton: Hair, Toxic Avenger, and Ruthless.

What is the role musicals have played in your life?

AM: I’ve always been into musicals and plays. I think that they got me through a lot of hard times and remind me that there is beauty and art in the world. That people still care about the arts. The art in a theatre can’t be replicated by a machine and that’s why it’s so special- because the arts REQUIRE people. That’s what I love about musicals. People, talented people are sharing their talent with audiences.

HC: Musicals have sparked many conversations between my mom, my sisters, and I. We’ve been watching/listening to Phantom of the Opera since [the film]’s release in 2004 and still find new things to talk about: symbolism, character motivation, etc. The list goes on. For me, musicals are the thing that my whole family enjoys and it’s something that brings us closer together.

EL: They helped me overcome my extreme anxiety and realize I am beautiful in my own way.

Do you think musicals are still needed today?

AM: Of course! I think the world would be bleak without the snappy and bubbly commentary that the theatre can provide. You can go to forget about your problems or even get a new perspective. I think that’s what’s so good about it.

HC: Musicals will always be needed. It’s not a trend or a fad. Sometimes if I’m having a stressful day at college, I just remember that I can listen to Wicked or Hairspray when I get home and it makes my day better.

EL: Yes because they bring social issues to the forefront of society.

How important is it for theater to be taught in schools?

AM: I think it’s so important that kids learn the arts from a young age. Whether it’s theatre, art, music- it doesn’t matter. I was put into all three as a child. I think that the arts help round a person out and it can be anything from therapeutic to helpful to a student’s academic life. There is truly something for everyone.

HC: It’s very important to have theatre in schools. It brings something to the monotony of middle and high school and gives kids something to do. It’s fun to act out a skit or create props.

EL: It is extremely important because it gives everyone no matter who you are an outlet.

How do you think the culture views musicals?

AM: I think over time that musicals have gotten far more popular and the culture, in America at least, embraces it a bit more than it ever has.

HC: Musicals are well received in modern culture. Not everyone likes them and that’s fine.

EL: I’m not sure how they are viewed by the culture I know that sometimes they are viewed as horrible.

Do you think shows like Hamilton, have played a part in pushing musicals into the mainstream?

AM: Yes. Without a doubt.

HC: Hamilton has definitely pushed musical theatre into the spotlight. I’m excited about the future of this show and many others because of that. Hamilton has shown that musicals can be diverse in music, like using hip-hop or rock to create the songs.

EL: I believe it definitely helped but there are way better musicals we should be pushing forward.

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