For Samuel French and HowlRound’s #MusicalsWeek, New Works Director and Festival Producing Director Branden Huldeen has an essay on HowlRound about New Forms of Musical Theatre. How is the art form evolving? Where are those changes coming from? How are we able to make change happen? …Should we?
So what is bringing the best new forms and changes to theatre? The work is slowly starting to reflect life and culture more accurately and respectfully. Theatre is becoming more diverse, and while it is by no means as diverse as society currently is, it is slowly getting better. Just look at my examples above and those shows would likely not have happened twenty years ago.
You also have contemporary writers in the theatre who grew up influenced not only by theatre but by the music of Ben Folds, the cinematic sweep of a great Spielberg film and the comedy of 30 Rock. Because our culture diversified, theatre had to diversify or it would not be true to who we are as people living in 2015. Unfortunately, theatre is slow to change on a macro scale. I always refer to our industry as a gigantic ocean liner; if you want to avoid that iceberg, you need to start turning the wheel many months or years in advance.
This is part of a week of panels and writing about musicals, led by our friends at HowlRound and Samuel French. Later today, at 2 pm ET, we’ll be leading a Twitter chat on this same topic of New Forms of Musical Theatre. You can follow along (even if you don’t have a Twitter account) and participate at #HowlRound. (We’ll post a transcript afterwards, in case you can’t join us live.)
The panels are being live-streamed, so you can watch tonight’s (also on this topic, and featuring Branden live and in person) and ask questions through Twitter, and also catch the earlier programs: Promotion and Protection of Musicals, and Diversity and Equality in Musical Theatre. Check out HowlRound TV for these, and more great content from HowlRound.
Thanks to all who’ve participated in this amazing series! NAMT members, don’t forget we have our own conference coming up in just a couple of weeks, so there’s plenty more new musicals talk to come. We’ll be touching on many of these same topics, so register by October 9 to attend, and follow #NAMTFC15 on Twitter.