I recently discovered that I can add sub-pages to my blog (just like a real live Web site!), but at first I was at a loss as to what I could put on those pages. Surely not the newsy stuff that comprises my regular blog posts: more perennial stuff of continuous appeal.
Then more recently I've came across The Drama 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Plays of All Time by one Daniel S. Burt. The book has actually rekindled my interest in regular old non-musical plays. (Please don't think less of me, dear reader: I'm still hopelessly devoted to musicals.) I've been buying up the scripts to some of the plays that Burt lists, and having a grand old time discovering great playwrights old and new.
But Burt's book got me thinking about creating a list of my own: The Musical 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Musicals of All Time. I love lists, both reading through them and creating my own. But I discovered that the effort was a bit more challenging than I initially had thought. There simply aren't as many musicals as there are plays, let alone great musicals.
This is a simple fact of history: straight dramas have been around for literally thousands of years, but the musical, as we currently know it, didn't really begin to evolve until 1866 with The Black Crook. And most of what came after that, at least for the next 50 years or so, was unadulterated crap. We didn't really start to get musicals of any quality until the early part of the 20th century, and most of the musicals that we pay any attention to these days were written after 1940.
So I was at a slight disadvantage in compiling my list, but soldiered bravely on. And in the process I even came up with a list of 100 runners-up, and was then inspired to compile a running list of musicals that just plain outright suck (IMOHO). I consider all of these lists to be living documents: I've already made numerous changes, and will continue to do so as the spirit moves me.
The pages are listed on the sidebar to the right, or you can click through the links above. Take a look and let me know what you think. I would imagine there will be some consternation and uproar, but dialog is good. Just don't expect it to be a democratic process. As I say rather tactlessly in the introduction to my 100-best list, the criteria are mine, and if you disagree you're free to create your own. Then you can send it to me, and I can tell you you're full of beans.
Whatever that means.