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Musical machismo

March 25th, 2010

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a strange phenomenon. I’m referring to multiple, almost dismissible references to those Broadway favorites whose lyrics are forever seared into the back of your mind. I’m serious, it’s everywhere. You know what my favorite part about it is? They’ve almost all been made by men.

I mean, I expect myself to be busting out some box steps and singing at the top of my lungs, but to walk into the newsroom and see two 22-year-old self-proclaimed chauvinists jamming out to “Defying Gravity” was a bit out of the norm. It was quite entertaining though. The boys were taking a study break for a bit of inspiration and what better song to choose that that one? “No wizard that there is or was, is ever gonna bring me down!” See?

Later that week, in not one, but three of my classes, the song “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” came up. It was pretty funny watching professors Brian Macaskill and George Bilgere reference the song and then hum the next few lines in their heads. “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” said by graying men with their doctorates is always amusing, but picturing these two in lederhosens added to the hilarity.  Even professor Patrick McBrine sang a bit of the ditty in my medieval literature class, changing the lyrics and adding his own medieval-themed words.

My professors aren’t the only ones making musical references, though. It’s been the trend for television shows to do musical episodes. One of my favorites, by far, has been the rendition of “West Side Story” in “Scrubs.” It only lasted for a few seconds, but seeing Turk and J.D.  snap and sashay down the hallway made the season. “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” took it to the next level by writing their own musical. Their “The Night Man Cometh” was definitely a hit. Charlie can compose a musical for me anytime as long as he doesn’t let Frank, Dennis and Mac anywhere near it.

I think the reason that this phenomenon has caught my attention was because of my past. You see, I grew up without cable, so I spent my time watching musicals on VHS over and over. I’m pretty sure I watched “Fiddler on the Roof” about 73 times. The best part of it was that my dad would generally watch and sing along. His favorite musical is “West Side Story” and it’s very apparent when my niece Aaliyah is around.  “Aaliyah. I just met a girl named Aaliyah,” he’ll sing.

I grew up thinking my dad was the best man in the world. I thought he looked just like Indiana Jones and could solve any problem. I especially thought that he was awesome when he would take me to the musicals. I remember going to see “Grease” when I was, maybe, eight and listening to the soundtrack the whole way there and back. Though, these days, he doesn’t resemble Harrison Ford and he can’t decide my life for me, I still thank him for the fact that when I was little I thought that every man was a musical fan.

I find it sad that these days it’s not necessarily “cool” or “macho” to be a fan of musicals. I think that all men should embrace the awesomeness of singing and dancing through life events. I encourage all men to go against this oppression of appreciation.

Why not swing around the light posts in O’Malley once in a while and belt out a line from “The Music Man?” Why not learn every word to “9600” from “In the Heights” (it’s pretty hip, despite the fact I described it as hip)? Why not let the world know that you absolutely love “Wicked”? You’ll feel so much better, probably attract more girls (or at least cooler ones) and you’ll bring me one step closer to achieving my life goal of living in a musical.