I’ve discussed several musicals that explore the leading lady’s conflict between marriage and career. This month I’ll be looking at a collection of shows whose leads are unfulfilled housewives.
Housewife: a married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs, and doing housework.
Musicals often explore characters inner thoughts but the lyrics of Far From Heaven mirror the dialogue of Todd Haynes’ 2001 film. This leaves the music itself to explore the subtext of the deeply repressed characters. Cathy’s opening song, “Autumnin Connecticut,” is less “I want” than “I am.” She won’t begin to question her life till her husband Frank’s infidelity is revealed. Cathy’s music is operatic while Frank and the chorus express themselves through Angry Jazz. Raymond, the gardener, shares Cathy’s musical language signaling their bond. Frank will not adopt this language till he accepts his homosexuality in the tear-jerking ballad “I Never Knew.” By the end the three have much in common but society will force them to part. Two of the stars stars, Steven Pasquale and Kelli O'Hara, would quickly jump to the similarly themed Bridges of Madison County.
This is my 200th comic! That's 600 panels of musicals. Thanks to all of you for reading!