As more and more aspects of American culture are reopening, one highly anticipated spectacle is beginning to turn its lights back on: Broadway. As we reopen, this is the perfect time to propose new shows to mirror the current state of American society. We need a show that combines the glitz and glamor of Americana with the translatability of 2021 meme culture.
My first proposed show could be considered a rock opera of sorts and speaks for a group that does not believe that their voice is being heard. “Keeping up with Karen” is more than just a public outburst of blatant racism as it takes its audience through the trials and tribulations of a suburban middle-class woman’s life. Look out for the dazzling Bob Fosse-esque jazz number called “I Would l Like to Speak with Your Manager” or the heart-wrenching power ballad “My Doctor Says I Don’t Have to Wear a Mask.” Karen is just trying to live her best life, and, in reality, we are all inconveniencing her.
Another prime option would be an interesting new concept musical called “Honey, I Vaccinated the Kids,” a pop musical that encapsulates the complexity of scheduling a vaccine appointment. We follow your average family as they judge the best way to go about accessing the COVID-19 vaccine. Audiences will be moved by the opening number “When Will I Get It,” as Lisa, the mother, interviews Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to see what vaccine will be the best fit (spoiler: she doesn’t get to choose). The audience will serve as part of the cast because mid-way through the show, there will be a mass vaccination with nurses strutting down the aisle, locked and loaded with vaccines for all.
The final new show that we need right now would be a pop opera “TikTok: the life and times of Gen Z.” This hilarious gem combines our favorite dank memes with self-help tips and mesmerizing filters. This musical truly pushes the boundaries of scenic and sound design by creating a large phone screen as the frame for our enigmatic tale. The audience will be drawn in by the enticingly indecisive number “Kombucha Girl,” where the fearless Brittany Broski does some soul searching to decide whether or not she enjoys the fizzy fermented beverage. The dance numbers give past shows like “A Chorus Line” a run for its money, although the dance numbers only last 60 seconds. We laugh and cry, but, most of all, we have given a voice to the misrepresented community that is Gen Z.
Most importantly, we need to remind ourselves that we will return to some semblance of normality in the future. We need to continue to hold on to the hopes of seeing our dreams realized on the live stage. With Broadway reopening, we finally have the chance to change the way things have always been done and instead bring a new voice into the mainstream. These proposed shows speak to our current moment with humor and tears and challenge us all to decide what it means to be alive in 2021.