Since Suicide Squad came out, I have seen a lot of pictures of Joker and Harley or just blog posts talking about them and occasionally I will see #RelationshipGoals on the posts. People are saying that they want a Joker to their Harley, and I’m not going to lie, that worries me a little bit. I don’t care what people ship necessarily or what they write fanfic about, but it very much worries me when fans look at a canonically clearly abusive relationship and claim that they want a relationship like that. These relationships almost always involve men with female victims, which makes it very disturbing to me as a woman that so many people view such relationships as romantic. It makes me worry for people’s safety and reminds me how much we need feminism.
Trigger warning for abusive behavior and relationships below the jump.
This month, Keke Palmer will be the first Black actress to take on Cinderella’s glass slippers on Broadway, following in the recent footsteps of the likes of Norm Lewis being the first Black actor to star in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera. We’ve talked a fair amount about colorblindcasting on this blog, and I’d say these are examples of the practice working for its desired benefits: making sure actors of color get a fair chance at playing a variety of roles, including leading roles that have long been considered “whites-only” territory. However, I’m asking the reader to consider: is Broadway seeing its first Black Cinderella, or merely the first Black actress to play Cinderella? What is the distinction and why does it matter? Allow me to elucidate.
Keke Palmer’s debut as Cinderella is September 9, right around the corner!
The friendzone and the entitlement it represents are a constant topic of discussion in the feminist community. This mentality presumes that men are entitled to women’s attention, and it also paints the rejected men as the victims instead of sympathizing with the put-upon women. They were Nice Guys, after all, why didn’t women reward their kindness with sex?
Is… Is the Phantom actually wearing a fedora?
I recently had the tremendous pleasure to see Norm Lewis as the titular Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and well, the performance was spectacular. But it also got me thinking about the way that the tragedy of the Nice Guy is often an implicit part of theatrical romances. And while at first I thought that these narratives vindicated the Nice Guy struggle, I actually realized that theatre is a great place to go to see Nice Guys laid low. Continue reading →
Any Phantom of the Opera phans here? Yes? Good, because I hope you’ve heard this news: in May, Norm Lewis is going to be playing the role of the Phantom on Broadway.
Norm Lewis, for those of you who don’t know, is a Tony-nominated Broadway veteran (he’s also in Scandal, for TV fans). In the past, he’s played such famous roles as Porgy in Porgy and Bess and Javert in Les Misérables. When he comes to Broadway on May 12th, he’ll be the first African-American to ever play the role of the Phantom on Broadway. (Robert Guillaume, another African-American, had previously played the Phantom in an L.A. production of the show.)
This is notable for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that this is yet another step toward more diversity in our theatre world. In regards to his getting the role, Lewis himself says, “I love the show but also (sic) to have hopefully set a precedent to see more diversity in casting.” This isn’t the first time Lewis has spoken out on the importance of diversity—he certainly recognizes his own position as a role model to aspiring performers of color. Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, he says, “These young, black men from high school and college, they come up to me saying, ‘You’re the reason I’m singing.’ I felt that way about Ben Vereen and Andre DeShields.”
Here at Lady Geek Girl and Friends, we’ve often said that having a diverse cast can only add to the meaning of a story, not detract from it, and I think this is a prime example. The Phantom was discriminated against because in every version of the story, his face was disfigured in some sort of horrifying manner. When we add race into the equation, this is probably going to become a little uncomfortable for the audience—and that’s a good thing. This is an excellent opportunity for a discerning audience to examine their own subconscious prejudices towards both people with disabilities and people of color.
And on a lighter note, I personally can’t wait to hear him take on “Music of the Night” or the more emotionally dramatic (and more range-y) “Point of No Return”. Lewis definitely has the vocal chops for this role—just listen to him singing “Stars” from Les Misérables as proof:
What do you all think of this news? Let me know in the comments.
Last time I talked theatre, I discussed how problematic the love triangles in musicals can be. I also touched on how two-girls-and-a-guy triangles can negatively affect women’s relationships.
Well, that’s a major downer, so I figured this week I’d look at some fabulous lady-duos and focus on the awesomeness of women supporting other women.
These first two are frighteningly similar in situation—Glinda and Elphaba from Wicked and Amneris and Aida from Aida. Glinda and Amneris help temper their fiery friends’ wills and teach them to enjoy themselves, whereas Elphaba and Aida help the more flighty ladies gain some perspective and learn what’s really important in life. Neither overwhelm or undermine the other—they both help each other to grow.
Wicked also brings us the most tearjerking-but-great anthem to friendship ever, “For Good”, so I’d be remiss not to post it here.
My third pair’s friendship isn’t quite as high-profile as the others, but I still think it’s worth mentioning. Phantom of the Opera‘s Christine Daae is close friends with Meg Giry, the ballet mistress’s daughter. Over the course of the musical, we don’t see Christine doing much for Meg, as she is beset by suitors and dealing with sudden fame. However, Meg is a constant presence, and is full of both pride and practical concern for her friend. Christine probably would have avoided a lot of crap if she’d spent more time listening to Meg.
There’s also Maria and Anita from West Side Story. Their relationship is a bit more complicated, but, like Meg, Anita just wants what’s best for Maria. Their friendship is sorely tested when boy drama—which here means that Maria’s boyfriend was sort of responsible for Anita’s boyfriend’s death, and that when Anita tries to help Maria and her boyfriend out anyways she gets the crap beaten out of her (and, in some productions, raped) for her efforts—intervenes. They are a good example of the fact that nobody’s perfect, and of the toll that outside stressors can have on an otherwise healthy friendship.
Finally, let’s consider Nettie and Celie from The Color Purple. (Yeah, they’re sisters too, but it still counts.) Nettie and Celie have a truly hard life, escaping a sexually and physically abusive father only to be separated for years when Celie is married off to another abuser. Despite this long, forced time apart, Nettie constantly thinks of Celie and even helps raise the children Celie had as a result of her father’s abuse. Celie gains strength and hope from the belief that her sister has it better than she does. It isn’t till the end of the story that they’re reunited in person, but despite the physical distance between them throughout the rest of the play, their bond never really weakens.
I sadly had some trouble compiling this list, which I think means there needs to be far more musicals with chummy lady leads. Of course, I haven’t seen every musical, so maybe I’m forgetting some—let me know what I’m missing in the comments.
Love triangles are by no means something that’s unique to the stage—they’ve been part of popular storytelling tradition for centuries. And if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to get sick of being asked which “Team” you’re on every time you consume some new media about a group of three people of differing genders. There are some very famous musical love triangles, though, and I’d like to look at a few of them and discuss why they’re problematic and why they almost always end up being unfair to the women involved.
This production of Aida really got literal with the whole triangle thing.
For years I’ve been clamoring for Disney Theatricals to finish up the trifecta and get the third of the Howard Ashman/Alan Menken-inspired Disney musicals onto the stage. The success of Beauty and the Beast led me to believe that both The Little Mermaid and Aladdin were just around the corner, but when critics trashed The Little Mermaid, I was afraid that Aladdin would never see the lights of Broadway.
On Jan. 22 my fears were put to rest, as Disney officially announced that Aladdin would be moving into the New Amsterdam Theater in Spring 2014.