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Ask Lyn: I want to singalong with my favorite musicals, where can I go?

Ask Lyn: I want to singalong with my favorite musicals, where can I go?

Ask Lyn: I want to singalong with my favorite musicals, where can I go? cover photo on Stagedoor
"Dear Lyn, I love musicals. I love how they make me feel, and when it comes to my favourites such as Six, & Juliet, Grease and Mama Mia the urge to add my voice to that of the cast is huge...

...But I know it can spoil other people’s enjoyment. What I really want is singalong versions. Why aren’t they more widespread?" - Al, Shooters Hill

Dear Al,

You are in luck because on Monday June 6 at the Shaftesbury Theatre & Juliet is indeed having a singalong performance. You and the rest of the audience will be able to go along and sing out loud and proud to your heart’s content without irritating anyone who feels they’ve shelled out quite a lot of money to hear professionally trained actors sing. Of course, on singalong night you might all irritate each other but I doubt it and fully expect the opposite will happen and it will be a riotous evening that everyone thoroughly enjoys.

I suspect that we will see more singalong performances in the West End as producers realise that audiences increasingly live in an interactive world. It’s not just those who don’t know the rules and conventions of theatre and who have never heard of the fourth wall who want to sing along, it’s also the diehard fans who will probably have seen the show several times, bought the cast recording and got all the merch. Some shows like Six have recognized this and have already catered to that audience with singalong performances.

The fact that shows such as Grease are putting notices in the foyer asking audiences not to join in throughout the show and instead creating an opportunity at the finale where they can join in as loudly as they like is an indication not just that post pandemic audiences behaviours in shared space are shifting, but also perhaps that fans of particular shows want to consume them in a different way.

Catering to the different needs of different segments of audience can be a tough thing for producers and theatre managements to negotiate, but the arrival of the singalong model at some performances may well ensure that peace and harmony reigns in the stalls and everyone can have the theatre-going experience they most enjoy and prefer.

Cover image of Miriam-Teak Lee (Juliet) and ensemble in & Juliet. Photo by Johan Persson.

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Lyn Gardner

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