I’m a Man. I Like Musicals.

What is it about musicals that frighten men?

Does their masculinity somehow come into question as soon as an actor breaks out of character into a lush baritone?

Well, here’s something shocking: I love musicals. I can even name a whole slew of them right off my tongue that I recommend:

Holiday Inn (especially appropriate this time of year), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (just watched it again yesterday), The King & I, Annie Get Your Gun, Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady (Watched it again a couple days ago), Mary Poppins (perfection!), …

All right. I could go one, but you get the picture. I’ve heard people say that they hate musicals because they are so unrealistic. Exactly. That’s one of the reasons I love musicals. A song comes on when mere sentiment isn’t enough anymore. That’s the best thing about music. It’s emotional. It allows a film to explore emotional elements and human avenues in different ways than a simple drama. Musicals can bring the emotional level to new heights. That’s what I loved about Les Miserables.

Musicals also allow all kinds of wonderful silliness to happen. Just picture the wonderful chimney sweep song in Mary Poppins. It’s joy on a broomstick.

Perhaps men need to grow up a bit and admit that it’s all right to allow yourself to be sniveling emotional wreck every once in a while. What shows your manhood more: cheering two men tackling each other at the fifty yard line or having a man step out from the crowd, tap his toe on the wood floor, reach for his girl, and sing her a serenade? Which takes more guts? Which ultimately has more meaning?

Boys grow up tackling each other, picking fights, and showing who is the toughest in the neighborhood. But let me see that same cocky kid whip off some coherent line in front of a girl that he is attracted to; well, you know he’ll be shaking in his shoes. It’s the real men who step up, awaken their vocal chords, swallow hard, look the girl in the eye, and belt out a sweet towering note of love. That’s vulnerability. That’s humanness.

So I will contend from now until eternity that real men are not afraid to like musicals.

Or at least that is my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.


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