The progression of theatre culture has been one to boggle the masses for years. Perhaps one of the largest enigmas in modern times is the evolution of the Broadway musical and perhaps inside of that is the evolution of culture itself. In a way, the great evolution of the Broadway musical is an art form that mirrors societal bounds—at best, yet most certainly at worst. I’ve spent the past few days scoping out the innermost heart of Brooklyn & Manhattan, but stopped off along the way to do the naturally inviting touristy attractions for a few moments. One of which was the new Musical, “Promises, Promises” starring Kristin Chenoweth and the ever-lovable Sean Hayes. The production is a revival from 1968 and features long pieces with attention-losing attitudes. In 1968, culture was a much different forte: time was just something people had and most of all valued. It was a seeking time of leisure and Americans spent more time finding themselves than defining one’s career.
"They just don’t make them like they used to"
A Manhattan friend leaned over to explain the theoretical basis of the evolution of value and leisure.
And it was true. The play was long and oft boring for some. In the moments that used to fill spaces of heavy-hearted sentiment, there was none. There was simply antsy tourists where once there was vibrant culture in the silences. Today, silence is uncomfortable. Pieces of the theatre where spoken word and innuendo made the thinker chuckle were chalked up to tiny lights in the audience indicating checked watches & shifting of bodies in less-than-uncomfortable seats. Broadway represents the impatient monster that has crept into free time in society. It’s like we have these few moments left on our hands and all we want to do is jab the glass to make the sand fall at a quicker pace. The New York Times gave the production a horrible review, calling it a bit kitchy and flat. Ah, there’s the rub—once again the flow is interrupted by impatient need for bigger/bolder/more interested/something to complain about. Hayes was called a freud for playing a phony role (as an ACTOR. weird, huh?). I’m sure all actors are most definitely the same in their personal lives as in on-screen, right? (See Lohan, Lindsay “The Parent Trap” vs. reality). Maybe we work too much.
Point is, if we want to start pointing fingers, perhaps we should lean to the idea that the whole Mad Men forte is certainly a little wack in the days of post-modern feminism. But no one seems to notice that inconsequential matter. It’s just entertainment, after all. Isn’t it? That’s all.