‘The musical has a rich and varied history on television, where full length musicals, Broadway performances on variety shows, and musical episodes of non-musical programmes have all experienced cycles of success over the years. However, adapting the genre for serialised storytelling has been an immense challenge until the current decade. Prior to the unexpected success of Glee (2009-2015), musical television series were always cancelled a few episodes into their first season [see Cop Rock (1990), Hull High (1990), Viva Laughlin (2007)]. In examining the trend of non-musical shows containing one-off musical episodes at the turn of the new millennium, Kelly Kessler observes that these series “capitalized on millennial television trends as they embraced generic tropes of stage and the big screen that reconfigure the musical as something intertextual, self-conscious, and somewhat suspicious of its own historical idealism” (2015). Post-network era television and twenty-first century musicals share an increasing slant towards meta-narrative and generic hybridity, causing them to be a better suited match than in past decades. This paper will examine the traditional challenges of applying the musical genre to a serialised format and the factors that led to recent musical programmes like Smash (2012-2013), Galavant (2015-2016), and particularly Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015- ), succeeding in outliving the midseason cancellation curse through the use of self-reflexive texts that are both faithful to established genre rules and also intentionally deconstruct the musical.’
Wednesday, 18 April, 5:15 pm, ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19)
Refreshments to follow.