Most people think of musicals as an acquired taste. With the singing, the dancing and the over the top costuming, it is definitely nothing for those who require a little more food for thought. The musical has been around for quite some time, many often citing its creation for people who were not educated enough to enjoy the opera and its foreign language division. For this, the lower-class opera was created giving a simple storyline an array of sing-a-long songs, with costuming and dance within the vernacular. Since then, the musical has evolved and taken leaps and bounds towards the future, reaching out to a far wider audience, while also remaining somewhat niche.
The Pop Musical is a phenomenon that has taken place within the last few years. These musicals started with the idea of incorporating a pop reference within musicals so that it adapated and related to more of a wider audience. For this reason, once it was achieved, the musicals became far more interesting and relative to the person viewing it. Since then, people have taken this small idea and put it into a far bigger scale and effect. The pop musical, can include such things as Mamma Mia, We Will Rock You, and the silverscreen affair Across the Universe.
In 2002, after many months of writing and arranging, Ben Elton and Brian May saw their creative efforts come to life with the musical adaptation of We Will Rock You, a jukebox musical that was filled with comedy and Queen songs. The story followed the story of people stuck in a dystopian future, where there was no original thought and the world was run in a very bleak manner. For this reason, one man strives to find originality and embarks on his journey through song and dance, breaking free of the mold and brings back the freeliving lifestyle of rock ‘n’ roll.
Mamma Mia! Is a musical that was put together based on the songs of Abba. The musical was arranged and composed with the help of original band member Bjorn Ulvaeus. The story was another jukebox affair that had a lovestory interspersed with Abba hits that remained entirely fictional with no biographical quality whatsoever. The events throughout the film mimicked the content of the songs exceedingly well and has become one of the most seen and highest earning pop musicals, gaining almost over $2 billion in revenue.
These two musicals set the way for Julie Taymor’s release of Across the Universe. The soaring affair follows the lives of a British immigrant who is set on finding his father and getting out of his dead-end life in Liverpool as a dockworker. From this point, the Beatles songs are poured throughout the storyline aiding the plot as well as making the film delightful from start to end. The film has gained severe cult status and has been nominated for several film awards.
These musicals are starting to have a life of their own, as they take over the world of musicals with familiar and exciting songs that the world knows – regardless of demographic. The three artists whose work has been exemplifed have all had songs which permeate our musical culture, and you have to admit; they’re all pretty damn good songs.
So if one of these amazing musical adaptations comes near a town near you, or you’re lucky enough to find a copy of Across the Universe, definitely take the time to check it out and take yourself into a world where Beatles, Queen and Abba are the reason for life.