I like to read reviews for shows before I see them. I know I shouldn’t, but since tickets for shows are so God Damn expensive, I’d like to save myself from spending money on a show that probably is terrible. I understand that sometimes reviewers are just harsh for no reason and people still love the show, but other times they’re spot on. Example – they hated Kinky Boots. I LOVED KINKY BOOTS. They hated Spiderman. I won’t waste money on even seeing Spiderman.
One of the most popular phrases reviewers use is “None of the songs were memorable” or “I didn’t leave the theatre humming any of the songs”. And being the introspective person I am, I was on the 1 train on my way home thinking about this. That phrase has never been true in my life. After a musical, even if I didn’t enjoy it, I have left the theatre humming at least ONE of the songs. I’m sure this has to be because I’m a singer but also a musician (sometimes they’re not one in the same), so I pick up songs really quickly, especially ones that have really catchy melodies (Everybody say yeah!).
I’ve noticed this a lot in more contemporary shows, especially with composers like Pasek & Paul and Andrew Lippa. And I ALWAYS disagree when a review says that their songs aren’t memorable. When I left The Addams Family, I was singing “Pulled” and “Crazier Than You” FOR DAYS. Those songs are SO catchy. I’ve been listening to the Dogfight album that just came out, and the title song is always stuck in my head, as well as “Come to a Party”.
Which leads me to a new thought – is the reason why a reviewer saying “none of the songs are memorable” because that’s a true statement, or the reviewer just doesn’t have the ability to recall music easily? I’m starting to think it’s the latter. Of course I surround myself with other musicians, or at least people who really respect the theatre, and even they are able to recall at least one melody from what we had just seen. I don’t think it’s difficult.
I guess I just think it’s very unfair to say that the music was unmemorable or “I didn’t leave the theatre humming any of the songs”, when the very cause of that may be the reviewer themselves.