The Greatest Show

What constitutes a great show? That leaves you walking away, thinking that was incredible. As you may have guessed (whatever gave it away?), I have been to the movies to see The Greatest Showman. Twice. Because apparently once was not enough. Why did I enjoy this movie so much? Was it because if felt like somebody sat down with a sheet of butcher’s paper and brainstormed everything that is great about musicals and circuses and then crammed it all into the one movie? Maybe. Or was it the acting? The costumes? The stunts? The cinematography?

After I saw it for the first time, I went home, walked inside and ordered the soundtrack online (yes, I do still buy CDs. Because that is what plays in my car). That was New Years Eve. Thursday morning, I was singing my way to work. Sunday, I was back at the cinema, trying not to sing along. And there’s my answer. I really enjoyed this movie. But I love the soundtrack (and in case you’re interested, the dudes that wrote the songs for this also wrote for songs for La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen. The latter having spent a year on Broadway before cleaning up at the 71st Tony Awards). But the question still remains – why did I enjoy the music to this so much when other musical soundtracks I’m not particularly fussed about? 

How do you answer a question about taste? Why one person will love something and another could hardly care less. In the world of music, for me, it’s jazz. I can appreciate the talent and skill but it’s all just a bit of a shoulder shrug. I don’t even hate it, I just feel nothing (to express this using modern vernacular, the correct terminology would be ‘meh’). And I think that’s the thing with music. You have to feel something. You have to love it or hate it. It can be technically correct and performed perfectly. But if you don’t feel anything, it hasn’t achieved what it set out to do. And the opposite can be true. A few things can be a bit off but if it’s still giving you all the feels, then that’s a success story. 

That’s what makes a great show. When you are emotionally engaged. And if you add in a bit of fire and freedom, that’s when you’ve got the greatest.