Again, I must say - this is not my opinion. It is just the opinion of other people in my immediate social circle.
I do think that musical theatre is a medium capable of handling serious subjects... but there are a great many theatre-critics and members of the general public who think otherwise... and it is these people that make me ashamed to admit to liking shows such as "Imagine This", "Assassins" and "Kiss Of The Spider Woman".
I'm not saying I feel sheepish admitting to liking these shows because they are bad - what I'm saying is that I feel sheepish admitting to liking them because they are not well regarded in certain social circles.
I agree that musicals can do justice to serious subjects, and I too object to the way in which some critics dismiss attempts by musicals to address serious subjects out of hand.
I don't know why this is - but a great many people think of musicals as something light and frivolous and lacking in depth...
Only last week, I was having dinner with my brother and his girlfriend and she told me that her favourite book was "Crime & Punishment"... I mentioned that a musical version existed and she laughed, then said that there is no way that the medium of musical theatre could do justice to such a serious tome. "Musicals are best suited to lighthearted comedy and escapism" she said.
I agree with Jackissensational when he/she states that these are good shows and that commercial success is not indicative of quality, that's something each individual theatregoer has to decide for themselves...but much as I agree with those sentiments, I also objected to the rude and arrogant tone of Jackissensational's post - I would've greatly preferred it if she/he had made the point in a polite and civil manner, instead of doing it in an arrogant way.
Now, before this thread degenerates into some kind of flame war, let me say that I am overjoyed that so many people have responded, and that many people have said positive things about the shows that I mentioned earlier.
I honestly believed that none of them were very well liked nowadays.
(even the shows on my list that made money, like "Phantom", are so often dragged through the mud by critics and people on internet forums that it's easy to forget that the show was ever popular - there's so much negativity surrounding it)
Perhaps I was just wrong about the prevailing views on some of these shows... I've lived so long in Darwin (which is hardly the theatre capital of the universe), and it HAS been a while since I actively participated in these forums. So, I'm sorry if anything I've said has rubbed people the wrong way, that's not my intention.
Perhaps I should've made it clearer in my original post that there are some shows that I feel embarassed to admitting to liking in the company of serious theatre buffs...
(shows like "Phantom Of The Opera" and "Scarlet Pimpernel")
... people who consider mindless, mass-marketed entertainment to be beneath them.
And then there are others that I feel embarassed to admit to liking in the company of more casual theatregoers who quiz me about the shows I like...
(stuff like "Assassins" and "Kiss Of The Spider Woman")
... who have their own notions of what musical theatre should be.
It's all to do with expectation and perception of a given genre and sometimes people just look at things in a different way that isn't always easy to understand.