It is curious to see the great star of the musical Wicked on Broadway, Indina Menzel, giving her voice to a character in Disney’s Movie, Frozen. This movie, that is an example of success, has won many awards, among them the Oscar for the best animation movie and music. However, does a musical produced in a theater such as Les Miserables or Chicago have the same success and prestige as the movie version? The advance of technology in the field of cinema that has been possible to adapt and improve the stories of books, real facts, and of course, musical theater presentations, makes everyone think the answer is no. Hence, even though the musicals produced in theater and for movies are very similar in the presentations, they have certain differences, such as audience and production that make one more successful than the other.
The audience is an important factor to determine the success of a spectacle. It is known that there is no spectacle without audience. The musical theater presentations are known for their number of people, which according to the Broadway League (n.d.), the 2013 season reached attendance of 11.57 million. However, the number of spectators has been decreased in comparison with the peak of popularity for musicals in the last century. The first reason for that is that the spectators of musical theater presentations were a more specific group such as wealthy and intellectual people that used to go to this type of presentation, and this pattern has been consistent until now, as it can be seen in the price of a Broadway spectacle that is very expensive. Second, the spectators have to go where the spectacles are set up, which makes the live presentation easier to decrease in numbers. Last, almost everyone in the world, which the person just need to purchase an inferior price to get to the movie theater, can access the musical films. The facility of watching by a cinema makes the people migrate from the old way of watching to a new and technological one.
The production of a musical is hard work for both, but it is different for each other. To captivate the audience, of course, the scenery must be the most perfect as possible. Whereas the scenery in musical films is very expensive, the theater is cheaper. For instance, the production of the musical Les Miserables in the screen movies cost $61 million according to Breznican (2012). In contrast, according to (needs sources), the musical on Broadway in 2006 cost $ (xxx) million. Also, the high expenses with the establishment of the sets are big, further, the scenery will not be used for anything else. On the other hand, the fixed scenery can stay for a long time, just with some repairs. Another part of production is the cast, in which they generally use famous actors in the films, or sometimes just give their voices for animation movies. Nevertheless, the cast in theater are usually unknown and real performers who studied to act in the theatrical environment. The production, also, is affected by the technology, in which the musical films are produced with high-tech tools. For instance, the camera that enables the visual 3-D effects can bring to the audience the same sensation of being in a theater or the use of animation to create a story such as the big list of Disney movies. On the contrary, even with the developments in the field of acoustics or the visual effects, the theaters continue being more traditional.
However, the musical films originated from the theater, then the similarities are unquestionable, mainly the singing, acting and dancing. If the musicals did not have singing, they would not be called this way. The singing is the main point of a musical that differs from a normal play or film. In both types, it is possible see the beauty of the performance through the lyrics that are being sung. The dancing is very popular in the musical theater presentations because it is a thing to entertain the audience. This tool is often found in films as well, not common in animation, but used.
Even though there are differences such as the audience and production, the magic of watching the performance in dancing, singing and acting are the same. This kind of art would be appreciated by the people through onstage or a cinematic production. However, in both ways of appraising, this is something beautiful to be enjoyed.
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