Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do you hear the people sing? Well, do you??

This is my favorite thing on the internet right now, and it's three years old. SA showed it to us on New Year's Eve, and I thought of it again last week when people were talking about the Les Miserables concert with the Jonas brother on PBS, and yet again listening today's Slate Culture Gabfest discussion of Rebecca Black and whether or not we have the right to be forgotten on the internet, and I found myself actively seeking out more clips.

I mean, where to begin?

I'm especially curious about the boy playing Marius. Aren't we all? Even in high school, how does casting that astoundingly wrong happen? There seem to be plenty of boys in the chorus who at least look the part, and their singing...well, it can't be any worse, can it? I mean, Motel in Fiddler, Seymour in Little Shop, but Marius? There's "yay, high school, everyone gets a chance!" and then there's...this. What I wonder most is, do you think he knows it's absurd?

I imagine Corky St. Claire directing this. How else to explain the berets (French!) and maybe the best touch, this completely modern sling and "ghostly" choir robes:

Going out and getting that sling is easier/cheaper than tying a dirty dishtowel around his arm? Okay.

But here's the thing. As painful as this is, I'm kind of genuinely in love with these kids. If you didn't make it through "One Day More," go back up and jump to the key change at 2:19. They are GOING FOR IT. If these kids have an ounce of shame, they are good enough actors to completely suppress it. No one is just going through the motions. As someone who cares deeply about the future of musical theatre, I have to admire these kids' passion. This isn't some $2,000 autotuned vanity video. This is a high school with, apparently, a terrible theatre department (but at least it has a theatre department!) doing an ambitious show because they love it. And some parent was proud enough to put it on YouTube (and smart enough to turn the comments off).

None of these kids is going to be a star, clearly (maybe Eponine, who is clearly the Rachel Berry of the group). But these are fans. They're future ticket buyers, and maybe even future producers and directors. I don't know...somehow their awful singing has cracked my heart of stone.


mcm said...

I respect your affection for them, and yet... all I can think is that I went to a high school with 140 kids and I'm pretty sure our shows sucked less than this. Like, a lot less. A LOT.

Adam807 said...

Oh yeah, it is BAD. Bad bad bad. It makes me wonder what the he'll the teacher is thinking. And no doubt that your shows were better. I think my elementary school shows were better. But in an age of arts programs being slashed, and in an art form people say is dying, I appreciate their enthusiasm separate from the actual performance.

Adam807 said...

HELL. Not he'll. Damn autocorrect.

naginata said...

LOVE! My brother was in a high school production of the Sound of Music that was so awful I gave myself an asthma attack supressing laughter with my step-dad. To this day I can sing "the hills are alive..." and we will laugh til we cry.
BUT to be fair, bad singing, terrible directing, miscast children and all they really loved doing it and you could tell. Kudos to all the kids out there that survive bad musical theater and still love the art form.

naginata said...

I'm radishcake but Google will only let me log in as my old blogspot name. grr.