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Book Review: Breaking Into Song, Adam Lenson

Music and lyrics have infinite potential to communicate ideas. Big ideas and small ideas, long ones and short ones. Songs populate every corner of our lives and communicate every feeling and emotion.Adam Lenson This is universally true, no matter who you are, or what your life experience, music has an ability to touch a person in ways the spoken word simply cannot. Musicals can give its characters their moment, using the song to convey so much more than a conversation or monologue ever can, and allowing the audience a chance to feel that moment on many levels. So why…

Summary

Rating

Unputdownable

Written from the heart, the passion Lenson has for the subject jumps from the page as you read

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Music and lyrics have infinite potential to communicate ideas. Big ideas and small ideas, long ones and short ones. Songs populate every corner of our lives and communicate every feeling and emotion.

Adam Lenson

This is universally true, no matter who you are, or what your life experience, music has an ability to touch a person in ways the spoken word simply cannot. Musicals can give its characters their moment, using the song to convey so much more than a conversation or monologue ever can, and allowing the audience a chance to feel that moment on many levels. So why then are people’s opinions of Musicals so polarised?

In ‘Breaking Into SongAdam Lenson writes a series of essays considering that love/hate divide around musicals, and how both sides can, even should, re-consider their point of view. Lenson expertly and engagingly examines this binary view and discusses how both audiences and those creating musicals need to stop thinking in black and white and see the rainbow of possibilities that could be.

Theatre is there to disrupt, to pose questions, and help us grow as people – there are so many musicals that do just that and can continue to do so if given the freedom and space. Throughout the book Lenson talks of how he himself has been reframing the conversation around musicals, hoping to challenge the fixed views that many hold, and so and make the medium of musicals accessible to new creatives and audiences around the world.

The book is thoughtful, honest, relatable and, at times, amusing – I may never get the idea of a ‘poopy baby’ musical out of my mind. Breaking Into Song is very clearly written from the heart, with Lenson’s passion for his subject jumping out at you from the page. And most importantly, it is a book that is fully accessible to those who might find academic studies into the topic difficult or just plain boring to read. It is written with plenty of examples that are easy to relate with for even the most casual of theatre goer.

Adam Lenson writes ‘I have a profound belief in what musical theatre is capable of but first we have to give it the chance to express itself, to give it the ability to rise above the stigmas and preconceptions that so often hold it back’ If you want to know more about how this can be, then this is definitely the book for you.

Author: Adam Lenson
Published by: Salamander Street
ISBN
: 9-781914-228025

Breaking Into Song is available now in paperback from all good booksellers.

About Sidonie Ferguson

Sidonie has a BA in Theatre Studies, and an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy. Describing theatre as her ‘home’ she is never happier than when she is wandering around a theatre. One of her first theatre memories is watching Victoria warm up before a performance of Cats in Blackpool in 1989 - in the eyes of a 5 year old, Victoria was 100% cat. Now, sadly, some of the magical way a child sees things has faded, but that doesn’t stop her enjoying as much theatre as she can. She is partial to a good musical and has a love for the integration of digital technologies into live performance. On the rare occasion she gets to go to Broadway Sidonie is a firm believer of go big or go home, with the 2014 record of 11 shows in 8 days not yet having been beaten – but there is always next time.