the gifts of the blahhhhh

Ok, so we’re going to see a musical tonight, and when Frank’s mom asked if we wanted to go, that reminded me that I never blogged about the musical we saw in December. We went with the whole family to see The Gifts of the Magi. Hmm. Well, this post isn’t about the performance of the show, it’s about the show itself. The writing. First of all, I think the story is dumb, boring, and depressing. And in the car on the way home, I learned that this is actually a children’s story! That they tell to kids! Because they want kids to be sad every time Christmas rolls around, I guess. “Santa’s coming. That makes me think of those sad people who sold their stuff to buy each other irrelevant Christmas presents! Waaaah!” If someone had read that to me as a child, I would have dreaded Christmas, I’m sure of it. I would have dreaded Christmas just knowing someone would be reading me that story! Even the end is depressing. At least with Les Mis, there is redemption and a marriage at the end and beautiful music throughout, and you are mesmerized. You don’t care that you’re crying over Fantine and Eponine and poor little Gavroche, because for the love of pete, the music when they die is heartwrenchingly beautiful. Not so with The Gifts of the Magi. The music is awful. Most of the songs are monotone, and when they’re not, the melodies make no musical sense. When I saw Les Mis (and I do realize that this is an unfair comparison), I never wanted it to end. I have the entire soundtrack memorized! Both parts of the Confrontation, even! But I couldn’t *wait* for the Magi musical to be over. To be fair, there are some funny parts to the musical. And most of the performers we saw were very good. But yeah. Why anyone ever decided to tell that story to kids is beyond me. Much less make it into a musical.

Ok, so since I’m pretty much a theater idiot, y’all tell me. Is it just me?

7 Responses to the gifts of the blahhhhh

  1. I did not realize that it had been made into a musical. I did read the original story by O. Henry when I was about 7 or 8. What I got out of the story was that no matter how much thought you put into a gift, it can be useless. Ergo, the gift is of little importance–the real value is in the love that prompts the gift.

    But for O. Henry, I have always been partial to “The Ransom of Red Chief”. Now that would make a delightful Musical.


  2. Well, if you liked the story, I’d stick to that. The musical is nothing to see.

  3. maggie katzen

    ha, the Squirrel Nut Zippers cover it in one tune, I think their last bit covers it:

    Darling, darling today is christmas
    What has become of your golden hair
    For Ive traded our only treasure
    These silver combs for you to wear
    Darling, darling weve lost our treasure
    My gift to you is a golden chain
    Though weve pawned away our only pleasures
    These gifts we give are not in vain
    The wise men came on christmas morning
    Their gifts of love they came to bear
    From that day on always remembered
    Our own true love forever share

  4. I like the Steve Martin version better: The Gift of the Maji Indian Giver!

    She gives up her cuticles for a gift of shinbobe polish; he gives up his shinbones for a gift of cuticle frames.

    very moving!

  5. Sean, that’s much better than the original!

  6. So what did you go see tonight and was it any better?

  7. there’s a mickey mouse version we have on dvd