Idol Chatter

wickedpicforic.jpgThe summer conversations often go like this:
“What are you doin’ this weekend?”
“Goin’ to a show.”
“Yeah, what movie are you going to see?”
There was a time when “show” didn’t mean TV or the movies—it meant live people on stage, right before your eyes, giving their all in a way that often caused us to rise to your feet. I fear that time is passing, and being lost on the next generations.
The Oscars and Grammys are known so much more than the Tonys. The stage is such a minor part of the arts scene outside of the major cities. I know they’re expensive, but my family and I are making more of an effort to see live shows when we can. Even if they’re in a small theatre, there’s something about watching live people performing that is more real, more authentic, and more inspiring than all but the very, very best of movies.
We recently took our girls to see “Wicked.” I’ve probably listened to the soundtrack about 100 times since then. If you’re a Broadway type, “Wicked” seems like old news, but there’s something about awesome stage shows—they don’t get old. And the imagination shown in the creation of a story that redefines “The Wizard of Oz” for our generation is as current as it is entertaining.

We’re also headed to see “Jersey Boys.” I’ve heard that there’s too much cussing and that there’s no need for it, but also that even the understudy guys are just awesome singers who bring really old songs to a really new crowd. I’m hopeful that our girls will learn about a time when there were actually those who made it music with their own sound, able to overcome the production trappings of today’s music culture.
I was thrilled that my daughter returned from her college study tour in the U.K. to tell us that she’d seen “Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables” over there. I was even more thrilled when I learned she’d gotten the same-day half-price tickets!
Here’s one other gentle reminder that there’s something special about the stage. Even when we’re just going to see our kids in the school play, or the class musical, or a church show, or even the weekly church service with singers on stage, I believe that live is much better than Memorex, or whatever other film is being used. The stage is a wonderful chance for personal inspiration that’s becoming more and more lost on the younger generations. I hope that’ll change, and we’re working on it in our home. There are a few awesome movies a year, and the rest are often a disappointing waste of time. But almost every stage show that’s been open for at least two weeks promises to inspire and entertain, and is worth the effort.

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