Here's a list of shows that they chose to write about this semester, along with the number of students who chose that particular show:
The following shows received one "vote" each:
We seem to have a very clear winner, as well as a strong contender in second place. Both Spring Awakening and Legally Blonde seem to have followed a similar trajectory in terms of public opinion. When the shows first appeared, there were certain contingents that were thrilled, albeit a drastically different set of folks for each show. Legally Blonde, although not a blockbuster, became a clear favorite with teenage and tween-age girls, most likely including a number of the young women who are currently enrolled in my course. But as time has passed, it appears the that bloom has faded from that garishly pink rose, at least for some people.
I find the case of Spring Awakening to be even more interesting. When the show first came on the theater scene, many heralded it as the future of musical theater, a bold and vital statement on the power of live theater to attract younger audiences. And, in many respects, they were right. However, I think these people -- and that includes this blogger -- were temporarily dazzled by the energy, style, and presentation of the show. And there's no denying the power that Spring Awakening has to engage, anger, and move. But I think as many people have taken a second look, the flaws of the show have become all too apparent: the minor plot points that go nowhere, the songs that bear scant relevance to the plot, the lyrics that veer past poetry into pretension.
Bear in mind that, in our first class, a number of my students chose Spring Awakening as one of the best musicals ever. So the theater-going public hasn't executed a complete about-face with regard to the show. However, it will be interesting to see how Spring Awakening weathers the passage of time, especially when the amateur performance rights become available.