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On the nose? The Menken musicals "I Want" songs / "My Shot"
Posted by: GrumpyMorningBoy 04:20 pm EDT 07/14/17
In reply to: re: On INTO THE WOODS - Singapore/Fling 11:37 am EDT 07/14/17

Whoever articulated that bit of writing advice did a GREAT job of describing that axiom very succinctly.

I mean, yeah. I agree that we're not gonna be in 'the land of a good musical' if the deep desire is completely on the nose, but I do think that INTO THE WOODS buries its desires a bit more deeply than most.

I think the Menken / Ashman musicals are a good example of shows which rely on "I Want" songs and moments. So, when I think about shows like LITTLE SHOP, and it really feels to me like Seymour is getting pretty transparent with us during "Skid Row (Downtown)." Seymour manages to reveal his depression, his opinion of God, his painful backstory, his deep insecurity, and his deep desire to be someone significant. I wouldn't say it's on the nose. But it's really damn revealing.

(Verily, it's SHOCKING what Ashman always manages to do in a few mere sentences. God. Gone waaaaay too soon.)

We could say the same about Ariel, Belle, and even Menken's non-Ashman protagonists like Quasimodo and Pocohontas.

I do think that Menken's examples are some of the most classic "I Want" songs. "Somewhere That's Dry" (ahem, "Part of Your World") is about as I Want-y as they come.

Pulling forward into more contemporary writing, I'm willing to say that "My Shot" pretty much puts it all out there. It may be easy to get lost in the words, but Lin-Manuel pretty much encapsulates all of Hamilton's driving desires right there in those five minutes and thirty-three seconds.

- GMB
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