Magic of Musicals

Last week we had a cold, rainy California day (little known secret: SoCal is not actually 80 degrees and sunny year round. During the winter we’re more like 60 degrees and gloomy). Anyway, last week, I was inspired by the weather to watch Singin’ in the Rain. This film is a classic and one of my very favorite musicals. I just love all the dancing, and Gene Kelly oozes talent from every pore. And sexiness.

(They don’t make em like this anymore…)

But, anyway, I realized something about romance as I was watching it this time. The romance with Kathy gets a nice amount of screen time BUT a lot of it is done in song. Which made me realize musicals kind of get a leg up on other art forms when it comes to developing the romance. After all, what better way is there to communicate the pure euphoria of true love than having your character actually sing they are so happy? In the rain!

How’s a poor writer supposed to compete with the absolute delight evident in every frame of this musical number?*

Music and movement hit us on a visceral level that mere words have a hard time duplicating. It’s the ultimate Show vs. Tell deathmatch.

*It would take me pages and pages of dialgoue and interactions and internal thought to get the reader to believe my character was as in love as this. Gene Kelly makes me believe it in a little over 4 minutes.

Maybe this is why I write so much of my stuff to music and use certain songs to capture the mood of my scenes. It’s my own way of trying to steal some of that sensory passion that musicals do so very well.

So, what do you think? Do musical romances have a special magic that hits you right in the heart? Or are people randomly bursting into song just too corny to deal with?

~E.D. Walker

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