Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shorter David Cote


Seriously, Cote misses the only part of the comparison that could actually be insightful:
If there's a grain of truth to my point – that the British lack the cultural DNA to produce exciting, innovative musical theatre – why would that be? Historically, the genius of the American musical, as it evolved on Broadway, has do with the rise of immigrants, the advent of jazz and the frenzied urbanisation of New York in the first half of the 20th century. Out of that ethnic and commercial melting pot came groundbreaking works such as Show Boat, Anything Goes, Oklahoma!, Porgy and Bess, Guys and Dolls and others – a rich and varied songbook that paved the way for Sondheim's intellectually dazzling innovations.
Guess what? Today, London is a city of incredible diversity -- roughly 40% are from an ethnic minority. The largest non-white minority group is Indian, and you'd be insane to posit that they can't bring some of their culture and heritage to compete with the American melting pot of culture.

After all, although the 19th Century had an incredibly diverse Broadway, look at it today. It's not the home of diversity of styles it was.

So if the West End can stop looking with envy at what we're doing and mine the wealth of culture in their neighborhood, there's no reason they can't compete hit for hit with us.

1 comment:

Ian Thal said...

On the other hand, to use a cliché: America (at least its cities) is a melting pot, while the British government tends to encourage immigrant communities to remain culturally distinct and unassimilated, to a point that even generations down the line, some of these communities are still perceived as foreign.

While here in America, we may exercise a certain degree of ethnic pride amongst those of us who belong to minority groups but there's a healthy degree of curiousity about our neighbors' cultures as well.