Remember when you were 11? How high did musicals rank on your favorite list of things to watch?
Today’s middle schoolers though (and to be honest, a ton of 13 – 60 year olds) are caught up in the Glee craze, elevating musicals to a whole new stature of cool. While generations past probably wouldn’t have given musicals a passing glance during channel surfing, Glee has everyone glued in week after week to watch high school characters break into song as a way to tell their story. It’s not to say that the story line isn’t somewhat compelling – tackling issues like teenage relationships, drug use, sexual orientation, and the general angst that accompanies the high school years. The writing itself is even quirky and kind of funny at times, with Broadway stars and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow making guest appearances. But the show’s insane popularity has to be attributed to the amazing use of music as a backdrop to any scenario (sadness, excitement, happiness, love, loss, etc.), as well as the incredibly talented singers and performers that make up the cast. And the best part? The selections focus on extremely popular songs from a huge variety of genres – and time periods. As they work their way through the hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today, it leaves every viewer watching feeling like they can relate and like the show is meant for them…an astoundingly unique feat for a show that’s all about teenagers.
So next time you see someone WAY too young to remember, or even know, Madonna’s “True Blue”, don’t be surprised if they start singing every single word. Glee’s made it ok to love the oldies again as much as you love Katy Perry – and depending on which cast member sang it and during which scene, maybe even more.