Music theatre today forms an essential component of the popular culture in the United States. However, this is centered on the Broadway within New York City. Despite this fact, the Broadway musicals go on tours across all the major urban centers in United States hence, giving larger populations a chance of seeing the Broadway hits within a few years after they open (Allen, 365). This has influenced the movement of cultural trends from one town to the other.
During the early times up to mid of 20th century, theatre commanded more influence on society more that it does today. During that period, the general populace was more versed with theatre, be it a lively musical or a Broadway play more than nowadays.
However, this is not to say that on any given Friday or Saturday nights people are not lined up in New York so as to watch the productions of Phantom or the cats of the opera. Some categories of musicals and plays will never lose favor with the public, and are just like block buster movies which people watch again and again. As such, they hold a special place within the theatregoing communities (Allen, 298). Part of the reason why popularity of theatre has been on the decline can be attributed to lack of funding. Although great musical and play hits are able to maintain their vibrancy, new type of theatre has made its way within the American conscience. This is because it takes time for a given cultural practice to be replaced by another. The avid theatregoers have to keep up with several new plays, but the general American public has mostly lost interest with this form of art. However, the fact that there are too many types of entertainment, which are more alluring than attending a musical or a play has contributed to this decline. As such, theatre has been losing much of the influence it formerly commanded.
However, regardless of this fact, musical theatre is one live theatre genre which forms part of the current American popular culture. By 1990s, new mega musicals were not garnering public interest. In addition, the costs were very high to the extent that even long running hits such as sunset Boulevard and crazy for you could not turn in any profit On the Broadway. New category of stage musicals now needed a backing of millions of dollars by corporations for development in order to ensure success. This trend was proven by Livent’s Ragtime and Disney’s Lion King. Even Titanic and Rent were in a way fostered by much smaller Broadway based corporate entities. With the end of the 20th century, musical theatre was in a rather uncertain position and it had to rely on rehashed numbers, and versions of old movies which had been culturally accepted. Musical theatre has also greatly influenced the dance trends (Kantor and Laurence, 94). The folk dances from other countries found their way into North America through the musical theatre. This is because dance is one of the essential tools used in telling of a story.
Musical theatre, therefore spreads dance trends to various American regions hence influencing the culture of those countries where it is found. A perfect example is “Lord of the Dance”. It prepared to expand, as well as welcome the Irish Riverdance throughout the Northern America. This is a great dance routine especially in Irish pubs (Ganzl, 197). Because dance has always been popular worldwide, the American theatre’s influence has also spread wherever Americans have gone resulting into new subcultures among the American’s in the Diaspora. This has led to influences on other audiences and countries.