the musical remains its driving force

The primary business that makes this clogged artery [Times Square] the tourist heart of the city is theater, and the musical remains its driving force.

Perhaps the most ominous detail I noted in assembling the list of the decade’s most important new musicals relates to this troubling phenomenon. Only one composer-lyricist on this list had more than one new show on Broadway during the decade. His name was Mel Brooks*.

– Charles Isherwood, “Cue The Chorus: The Musical Endures,” NYT

Isherwood provides a timely survey of the decade in musicals, days before the start of the intersession class I’m teaching. There is so much material on this topic. I am used to having my critical and academic interests be more marginal — this is as if** I suddenly decided to write a paper on the atomic bomb, or something. Sources? Websites? Lyrics online? Everything! At your fingertips! Constantly! I’m The musical is so popular!

*We are going to see the touring version of the Mel Brooks YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN musical on the 14th, as a class.

**You know you’ve been in graduate school too long (and only one semester!) when your California-honed habits of using the word “like” inappropriately are challenged. Makes me sad.