Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Maybe It's Time for Bands to Stop Making Musicals

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Musicals are always sort of a strange animal of the stage...it doesn't seem like people often want to see all singing and dancing shows that are all that groundbreaking. Although there are exceptions, the most successful musicals seem to play on stories we're already familiar with (Wicked or The Lion King, for example) or use music that we already know (Movin' Out, Mamma Mia, and the like). So, if you're in a popular band that has a catalog of songs that can be loosely adapted into a narrative, a Broadway producer has probably made an inquiry into whether you're interested in putting on a show. Apparently, someone got to the Flaming Lips with that proposal, and they're considering it, according to the Guardian:

Could the Flaming Lips' acid trips be heading to London's West End? The Oklahoma band have revealed plans for a psychedelic stage musical based on their 2002 album, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. "It's a big deal," singer Wayne Coyne said this week. "It's hokey and wonderful and poignant and powerful."

"We've done 14 or so records, and you're always scrambling around trying to do something different," Coyne told Billboard. And so the band are collaborating with director Des McAnuff, co-creator of the stage version of The Who's Tommy. "It's really become a perfect combination of my fantastical robot-world vision and [McAnuff's] little, internal, humanistic version of what that music is," Coyne explained. The show will integrate about 30 songs, "a big chunk" of the Lips' discography, taken from Yoshimi as well as 1999's The Soft Bulletin and 2006's At War With the Mystics. "I really believe it could work," he added, "and luckily I don't have to do much."

Maybe the resulting musical will be amazing, but there's a line where the creativity that comes with being young, cash-strapped and forced to come with ideas that fit with minimal budgets is corrupted by having a million dollars to execute a concept. Hopefully, that's not the case with this project and a chorus of clean-cut Broadway twentysomethings won't be singing "Fight Test" like it was Rent's "Seasons of Love", but who knows? Maybe I selfishly don't want someone else taking control of my vision of some of my favorite songs.

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