Tune in Tuesdays: The Musical Edition

My first experience to theater was through musicals.  My mother loves them.  I was orphaned like  Annie, loving Tony like Maria, hiding in an Abbot with Liesl, and going steady with Hugo like Kim McAfee.  I knew all of the words.  The dance moves and steps.  One thing that these musicals had in common were that the lead was never a black girl.  Not a black person in sight actually.  Try dealing with identity issues as a kid and watching these stories.

But as I grew order I realized one thing…I hated musicals.  I don’t like the singin’ and dancin’ to express emotions.  Just breaking out into a song annoyed me.  They didn’t have anything that I could relate too. Oh, but we did watch musicals with black people in them; (my mother made vintage cool before it became Urban Outfitters) but they were sorta like this:

I couldn’t identify with those either.  There was a cultural difference growing up in the 70s and 80s.  Being an 8-year-old in the MTV age trying to sit though this was a recipe for disaster.  I think it all steamed from not seeing anyone my age represented in the stories.

As a college student I fell in love with the musical Once on This Island and Sarafina.  They are  by far my favorites.  Check out the uber-talented LaChanze as she sings the coming-of-age song “Waiting for Life.”  I think if I would have learned about this musical as a kid I probably wouldn’t be so annoyed with them now.  Afterwards, check out my favorite scene from Sarafina.

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