I can't help feeling this evening that France has a long, a very, very long way to go before musical theater is recognized and appreciated not only by the general public, but by the theater going community itself.
I've just finished watching the 25th Molière Award Ceremony, the French equivalent of the Tony Awards. In France however, musicals can only compete in one category: "Spectacle Musical". There is no competing with "real" theater for best lighting or costumes, let alone best director. There is no choreography award, no revivals, no best score, no best actor or actress in a musical... Everything musical just gets lumped into the one category. Which is why we ended up with four very different types of show in competition: An opera (The Magic Flute), an adaptation (Mamma Mia) and two new musicals - Mike Brant and La Nuit d'Elliot Fall.
And the winner is... Peter Brook for The Magic Flute.
Okay fine, an opera by Mozart just won the only category available to original musicals. Peter Brook is a wonderful director and I'm sure the production was great, but still... Yet what I find the most disturbing is that not a single composer was mentioned. Now for Mozart or Abba, this isn't of earthshaking importance, but for Reinhardt Wagner, who wrote the additional music for Mike Brant (most of the songs in the show were hits from the 70's) and for Thierry Boulanger who wrote Elliot Fall, it's very important.
I simply can't believe that something as elementary as citing the book, lyrics AND music was completely ignored. I'm feeling quite up in arms for all of the composers who spend their time, energy and talent creating original work, only to find that the only person to be recognized is the director and, if they're lucky, the authors.
I could go on and on, starting with why an opera was even competing with original musicals in the first place, but I think I will just totter off to bed. If only the steam would stop coming out of my ears!