The American Musical Theatre needs to have an Aesthetic Morality — because it does not yet have any sort of directional mandate for excellence — other than the annual, presumptive, parade of giving out incestuous Tony and Drama Desk awards to their own for shared masturbatory adoration.

Broadway musicals need to stop being remakes, with songs, of successful movies.

Broadway musicals need to innovate and tempt new ground and grind a greater thought with original script and songs.  I know original works are being written, but they are not being produced because of the lack of an Aesthetic Morality on the part of the monied producers and the compensatory thuggery of theatre owners.

Over the weekend, I saw a television advertisement for the latest immoral Broadway Musical monstrosity:  elf.

I was left confounded by the sheer inanity of anyone wanting to make the elf movie into a musical, and then actually bringing it to the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.  What’s the point?  For what reason?  Just to reshape a silly movie into a sillier live version for public cotton candy consumption?

Musical productions like elf are the perfect example of an Immoral Aesthetic — because greed and the bottom line are what propelled elf to the stage — not any sort of sense of memeingful artistic hubris.

That lack of ingenuity and effort leaves elf fallow in the whole and hollow in the specific and dead on the shelf — and I haven’t seen the show and I refuse to see the show — and yet I already know the deadness of elf merely because of its provenance.  You cannot make butter out of bullshit — except, perhaps, in the immoral minds of the febrile and non-aesthetic Candyland of theatregoers — who live to sit in a darkened auditorium and applaud anything for self-aggrandizement and to clap forward their God-given right to judge something worthy merely by acclamation.

The American Musical needs to have a core vision of virtue and a way to sustain that excellence beyond the “musicalized” movie — but that effort will take bravery on the part of the producers and theatre owners — and if past is prescience, then we are all completely doomed to see more meaningless, dead-on-arrival movies-as-musicals, prancing across the footlights for generations to come.


  1. The Addams Family.
    Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.

    All nice childhood memories — but why make them on Broadway?

    I will give you that Pee-Wee first found success doing his show on stage. Was it really necessary to bring it back?

    1. Billy Elliott.
      Mamma Mia!
      Phantom of the Opera.
      Legally Blonde.
      Grey Gardens.

      And endlessly on and on…

      They remake movies into musicals because it’s easy money and because it’s artistically safe and because the money people think there’s a “pre-built” audience based on the “success” of the movie.


      “Re-warmed, re-hased, movie mash served fresh and DEAD on Broadway just for you!”


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