I was in New York the other day and had the chance to see Curtains. It stars David Hyde Pierce with a score by Kander and Ebb.
It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention. It’s not a great musical. But it’s a very good musical. And watching the cast put everything into it has a strange effect on me and I think on everyone who loves theater. You walk out of a good musical in a giddy mood of emotional catharsis. You’ve laughed and cried and been in awe of the creativity and talent that goes into the score and the choreography and the singing.
There are very few human experiences that leave you emotionally drained and joyous the way a musical does when it’s done well. Why is that? What is there about a musical that has that effect? And a second puzzle–if you film a stage musical it’s not just not as good as seeing a musical live, it’s awful. Why is that? What is it about being there in person that has such an emotional kick?