Phantom taste

Nouveaux Tricheurs
News is that PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has now surpassed CATS as the longest running Broadway musical.
Is that worthy of celebration? Yes I certainly think it is. It is a milestone of the triumph of crap. Not just style over substance but crap over style and substance. The “style over substance” put-down always grants that a thing has style if little else, when in fact it may have neither. These days you only recognize style because someone’s large budget has declared it so.

Phantom of the Opera is crap. It has three quarters of a good melody at best, and the adaptation is awful. Phantom overtook Cats which had itself one full good song and retold an older story also badly. But don’t take my word for it, Google it!

What do they have in common, beside Sir Andrew Lloyd W? A Manhattan audience that doesn’t know art from something their precocious tyke made for them at school. The triumph that spanned the Reagan era and the present lawless frontier has yielded an audience of wealth mongerers, brokers, marketers, influence peddlers and their retenue that redefines philistine. They would applaud monster truck lap dances, for the irony of course. In the Alanis sense of the word I suppose.

Is Phantom of the Opera, good spectacle? Sure! Maybe like other mega-spawns of Broadway Vulgar, it should seek its own genre to dominate. Or step off Broadway to find its real competitors like Cirque du Soleil or that white lions show.

Operetta doesn’t presume to be opera, the Radio City Rockettes don’t pretend to present American Musical Theater. If we are celebrating the 8000 performance of Phantom on Broadway, that’s a lot of Broadway stage which could have been schlocking art.

This reminds me of the recent literary award given to Stephen King, for popularity.

Does it matter? I think so. It’s like giving the teacher of the year award to Xbox.

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