Marvel really should consider a real version of ‘Rogers: The Musical’
The moment I laid eyes on the first trailer for “Hawkeye”, I knew “Rogers: The Musical” would be special. I knew this would be one of the highlights of the Christmas-themed Marvel show. I just didn’t know at the time how special that would be or that I would come out of the show’s first two episodes hoping someone put together a real Broadway production on Steve Rogers and the Avengers. But here we are. And maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.
The show in the show was hosted by the Tony Award-winning songwriting team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the duo behind – among others – Broadway’s “Hairspray” and “Catch Me If You Can” and the movie “Mary Poppins Returns” (they also worked on NBC’s “Smash”, which is still relevant and probably what I should have directed with). All that musical talent and songwriting experience is fully on display in an extended Battle of New York-themed issue in the first episode, which we see when Clint (Jeremy Renner) and his children attend a performance of the show just before the holidays.
Shaiman and Wittman co-wrote the lyrics, which include references to Captain America (played by Chris Evans in the movies) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) pleasing to the eye. It also makes excellent use of the iconic and oft-quoted first slogan “I can do this all day”.
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The number is full of energy, features dancers dressed as Chitauri, and even includes Ant-Man, who Clint rightly points out was not present at the Battle of New York in 2012 (the first Ant-Man movie was released in 2015) . It all adds up to a catchy and mind-boggling number in the vein of âStar Spangled Manâ from âCaptain America: The First Avengerâ (which was written by Alan Menken and lyricist David Zippel). So if that’s all we see of âRogers: The Musicalâ – which appears in the commercials behind the scenes of the first two episodes – that’s a shame.
As “Hawkeye” plays the musical for a laugh – the revelation that Clint turned down his hearing aid was the perfect punchline and a prime example of the show’s sense of humor – it’s good to see people, although fictional characters, coming together for a big, slightly cheesy Broadway show after the pandemic forced theaters to close for so long. It was a treat to live vicariously through Clint and the others present, even if it was only for a few minutes.
“Rogers: The Musical” in “Hawkeye” (Marvel Studios / Disney)
But it was also a good reminder to the world of not only how far the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come since the first Avengers movie, but also the reach and influence these characters have. It’s an underlying theme of âHawkeyeâ – which also stars Hailee Steinfeld as a young archer named Kate Bishop – since Clint is both an ordinary man with no superpowers or special costume, but also an original Avenger who was instrumental in returning Half the Universes and defeating Thanos (Josh Brolin).
While we know the Avengers are revered for their world-saving actions, we rarely see that appreciation (or the result of it) unfolding onscreen as the movies spend so much time in the island world of the characters. . That’s why it was important to see people mourn for Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in “Spider-Man: Far From Home”, the first movie released after the character’s death in “Avengers: Endgame”. This is also why it was fun to see people theorize about what happened to Steve in “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” after traveling through time in “Endgame” to find Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).
When you think about it, a Broadway show based on the genetically modified super-soldier who fought the Nazis, spent years trapped in ice, and returned to save the world from countless enemies (and briefly grow a big beard) has a perfect narrative sense.
But it also raises some questions. Because it’s a bit of a surprise that we haven’t seen Disney and Marvel attempt to bring the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe back to the Great White Way in our world. The massive franchise already includes 26 feature films (soon to be 27 with the release of the third and final Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland in December), several shorts, digital series and comics. There’s even an Avengers campus at Disney California Adventure (and soon at other Disney theme parks around the world).
Now that Marvel is finally producing live-action series for Disney + that not only works in the larger MCU timeline, but actually features major characters from the films, it looks like there are few avenues left to explore.
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Nor would it be the first time that a film has served as an inspiration for a production. Many Broadway shows have debuted as feature films, from “The Lion King”, “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot” to “Mean Girls”, “9 to 5” and the “Hairspray” aforementioned. Of course, I recognize how difficult it would be to produce a Steve Rogers or The Avengers themed musical. I also remember the failed injury-plagued film “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” which featured elements of the 2002 film starring Tobey Maguire. And I also agree that The Walt Disney Company doesn’t need more money and that there is a growing desire to limit the scope of the business before those in charge become our true overlords and not just people who control how and when we consume pop culture.
But “Rogers: The Musical” is fun. The song we are entitled to at the premiere is memorable and catchy. I have to believe it’s meant to be more than a brief gag in “Hawkeye”. So, I really can’t help but hope that this isn’t the last time we’ll see “Rogers: The Musical”. After all, between this show and âThe First Avenger,â we already have two great songs locked and loaded.
New episodes of “Hawkeye” premiered Wednesdays on Disney +. Listen to the full version of “Save The City” in all its glory below, via YouTube.
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