'Rock of Ages' vs. 'Glee': Tom Cruise and Russell Brand Show Us How Musicals Went From Lame to Cool

 Musicals are making a comeback. Yes folks, if you haven’t heard, Rock of Ages is premiering this today, making it one of the many musicals turned film in the past few years. The concept of making musicals into films isn't new, but the change seen in productions like Rock of Ages and Les Miserables is notable. Musicals are becoming grittier; taking more daring turns, and having more superstar cast members.

I have to admit; I always found musicals to be extra cheesy. There are a select few that I am a fan of, but I'm still not nearly as diehard as a true musical follower. I have definitely given a few of my roommates grief from time to time for singing Phantom of the Opera, or Rent. I can’t count how many times I have walked out of a room due to their “hokey musicals”, or sat their awkwardly wondering when their Glee moment would finally be over.

Interestingly enough, that all seems to be changing; I can’t help but be excited by the casts of Rock of Ages and Les Miserables. In Rock of Ages, there are names like Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, and the list goes on. In Les Miserables, stars like Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe,  Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter will light the stage. It brings a new level of attention to musicals than previously seen. Before, musicals seemed more like people who could sing, but were subpar actors. Now, they are taking exceptional actors and making them sing. Get excited!


In the past few years, musicals like Rent, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Mamma Mia, The Producers, The Phantom of the Opera, and Sweeney Todd have been some of the better-known musical remakes. While some have done better than others, there has definitely been a move towards making musicals more dynamic. They have all had big names, hit the big screens, and have done rather well. As they years have progressed, so have I.

The more current musicals to film tend to over emphasize the qualities in each play that make them unique. They take the sex, drama, comedy, or violence in each of these musicals and give the audience more. Music is already a very powerful tool, and with the help of Hollywood’s glitz and glamour, musicals are making their way back to the top. 

Rock of Ages promises to be phenomenal, with great music, humor, mash-ups, choreography, and of course, a trip back to the high point of ‘80s rock. Who doesn't love hearing a bit of Journey, Def Leppard, Styx, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sisters, Poison, and White Snake? Personally, I know I will be dragging some lucky contender to the movies this weekend for this one. Who knows, I might even have my own Glee moment with my roommates if these films manage to convert me into a musical-holic. 

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Belinda Moreira

Belinda is a Teach for America 2013 Corp Member and 10th grade English teacher in the DC Region. She is a graduate of Georgetown University. She also has a particular interest for education policy, and is originally from Houston, TX.

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