Broadway YouTubers and musical theater fandom

Steven Greenwood

McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

[0.1] AbstractAn analysis of the use of visuals to express ideas in a form that has much in common with the medium being studied.

[0.2] KeywordsFSNNA 2020; Pedagogy; Scholarship; Undergraduate education

Greenwood, Steven. 2021. "Broadway YouTubers and Musical Theater Fandom" [multimedia]. In "Fan Studies Pedagogies," edited by Paul Booth and Regina Yung Lee, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 35.

1. Introduction

[1.1] As media scholars, we study cultural artifacts that rely on visuals as much as (and often more than) words. One of the first things we teach undergraduates is to look at how something is visually framed or shown rather than simply what is being said. The appeal of video essays like this one is that they allow us to practice what we preach. By using them, scholars can show as much as they tell, with visuals used to express their ideas in a form that has a lot in common with the medium they are analyzing.

[1.2] Even with embedded videos in an article or pauses in a conventional talk for clips, there is still a clear divide between the analysis (which is auditory or written) and the examples (which are visual). When planning my poster presentation for FSNNA 2020, I was inspired by popular YouTube video essays like those by Every Frame a Painting or Nerdwriter for their ability to break down the divide between analysis and example by seamlessly integrating the two. The analysis itself becomes visual.

[1.3] Rather than pausing a talk to show a clip, the clip becomes part of the talk itself. Rather than saying, "Props are made from everyday objects. In the following scene, the characters use paper plates and ripped-up paper," I can just say, "Props are made from everyday objects" as I show examples via video.

[1.4] In addition to making the presentation visually appealing, this approach creates a more visual style of analysis. When studying visual media, it makes sense to embrace scholarship expressed in the very form of the texts under study. I encourage scholars to embrace more video essays. If we want to examine how examples show as much as they tell, it makes sense to explore ways that scholarship can do the same thing.

2. Multimedia

Video 1. Broadway YouTubers. Steven Greenwood.

3. References

Abidin, Crystal. 2017. "#Familygoals: Family Influencers, Calibrated Amateurism, and Justifying Young Digital Labor." Social Media + Society 3 (2).

Feuer, Jane. 1993. The Hollywood Musical. 2nd ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hall, Todrick. 2013. "Spell Block Tango." YouTube, October 28, 2013. Video, 8:54.

Korte, Michael. 2018. "This Is Me (Girl Power Cover)." YouTube, January 18, 2018. Video, 3:55.

Korte, Michael. 2019a. "Elphaba in the Bathroom." YouTube, April 25, 2019. Video, 5:12.

Korte, Michael. 2019b. "Hercules Muses Medley." YouTube, September 9, 2019. Video, 7:32.

Lee, Ashely. 2019. "Inside the New York Piano Bar That TV Can't Stop Singing About." Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2019

Playbill. 2016. "Range a Cappella Mashes Up All of 2016's Tony-Nominated Musicals!" YouTube, June 1, 2016. Video, 3:36.

Scott & Ryceejo. 2018. "Frozen/Tangled Disney Mashup." YouTube, June 28, 2018. Video, 5:05.

Superfruit. 2013. "Defying Gravity." YouTube, September 17, 2013. Video, 6:48.

Superfruit. 2014. "Frozen Medley." YouTube, January 14, 2014. Video, 8:05.

Superfruit. 2017. "La La Land Medley." YouTube, January 24, 2017. Video, 5:29.