I have a not-so-original objection to musicals, which is that it’s hard to buy the idea of ordinary people bursting into spontaneous song. Or, spontaneous with the help of an awkward segue. It’s always something like, “Hmm…how shall I put this? Let me try to explain…” (CUE MUSIC).
What makes this song-bursting especially dubious is the notion that any given person –and everyone around him or her, because they all join in — has musical ability. And, often, dancing skills.
Being a lousy singer, I’m always thankful that musicals are unrealistic.
What if I were in an argument with someone and, out of frustration, they began singing their convictions? I’d have to answer in song, and my point would be lost under my off-key droning.
If the whole town, from the mayor to the shopkeeper, suddenly burst into song around me (god forbid), I’d have to pack my bags and get on the next Greyhound bus. I can’t so much as mouth along convincingly.
I even get uncomfortable when a song comes on the stereo or radio that everyone knows and they all start singing along to it. I don’t know the lyrics to anything but “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “The Humpty Dance.” So you can forget me joining in for “Bye Bye Miss American Pie.”
All that said, I can’t help but love this video, from the wedding featured in this week’s Vows in the NYT. It starts as a toast, but turns into a surprise group rendition of the great Fiddler on the Roof song, “L’Chaim.” Behind the spectacle of it all is the fact that a) there’s professional talent involved — the groom is the writer of the Broadway musical In The Heights — and b) they rehearsed for a month.
Now that’s some serious follow-through.
People come up with these schemes all the time, but at least in my experience, they rarely pan out:
ME: “Hey Sis, for Father’s Day, why don’t we write a rap about Dad and perform it with our husbands?”
SIS: “Yeah! Great idea, I don’t have time this week but maybe next.”
ME: “That’s cutting it close, why don’t we get him those Tote’s over-the-shoe boots he wanted instead?”
I’ve got to give it to this wedding party and their organized teamwork. I’m waiting for the musical where a character says, “Hey guys, we should sing about our feelings. But first, let’s look at the calendar, see when we can all meet, and then book a rehearsal space for the next four weeks.”
If they did that, I’d be a huge fan.