The first musical I ever saw was Carnival! In 1990 I was in London on a school exchange trip and we were taken to see the show. We were Soviet kids and completely weirded out by the whole thing. The genre was incomprehensible to us.
Ten years ago, N took me to my first Broadway show to see Color Purple. It was our first really big date, we were crazy in love, and I was predisposed to like everything on that trip. But we were both completely baffled by the musical. We didn’t get the plot, couldn’t understand the pronunciations, and left the show feeling utterly confused. A little later he took me to see Hairspray. I’m not easily bored but during this show we were both bored stiff. So we concluded it wasn’t our genre and stopped going.
This year, though, I saw two Broadway musicals, Lion King and Miss Saigon (today). And I adored both of them and had the best time. So I wonder. Have I become Americanized and absorbed the culture to the point that I now understand the genre? Or has the genre progressed so much in the last 10 years that it’s simply very superior to what it used to be?