After a gap of twenty years I have rediscovered my love of stage musicals.
I owe a lot to the form. It was the almost unbelievably fortunate circumstance of being asked while still in my 20s to update the book of Me and My Girl that gave me financial independence. “Book”, incidentally, is the jargon term for the written bits of a show that aren’t music or lyrics: the story and dialogue, in other words.
There are plenty who seem to feel that musicals are a low art form, something for the ignorant masses not to be uttered in the same breath as legitimate theatre, opera or ballet. Nor indeed, the same people would have us believe, are songs from the shows comparable in quality, authenticity or artistry to rock and roll, jazz, blues, hip hop and other popular modes. The songbooks of Porter, Berlin, Gershwin, Kern and early Richard Rodgers might be excluded from this anathema because their connection to staged musical comedy is all but forgotten and their songs can be accorded the status of swing and jazz standards.