The ways in which fandom and nerdery intersect can almost not be diagramed. When a geek is passionate, they are passionate all the way. The number of people who are both geeks and fans of musical theater is vast, which is why a lot of panels this year include theater as a theme. Musical theater is already a heightened reality, so it naturally extends into geek culture. Such was the discussion during the “When Fandom Meets Footlights: A Theatrical Journey into Geek Culture” panel, Saturday at 1PM in Hanover FG (Hyatt).
While genre shows are starting to make inroads into mainstream stages, with shows like Beetlejuice and Back to the Future, some of the weirdest stuff is happening on small stages, by theater companies with no budgets, and fan-created content. The panelists were dropping names of shows like Halloween: The Musical and Silence (a Silence of the Lambs musical). Most of these shows were things that I’d never heard of, so I really needed to know where I could find this stuff. It felt like Googling might not be the safest option.
High school students seem to be the ones with their fingers on the pulse of what is new and innovative (what with the TikTok and whatnot). Also, the algorithm can be your friend. If you start looking at something that is weird and out there on a service like Spotify, follow the suggestions it makes. Just go down the rabbit hole. It’s also good to look at publications like Time Out NY or go to a local or regional film festival. It’s often the lack of a budget that breeds creativity. Some things you find will be terrible, but amazing. Other things will just be terrible. But there’s a better risk-to-reward ratio for the smaller shows.
There is something to be said for going to recognizable genre properties, because you know what you’re going to get. When you might be making a significant financial investment to see a show, it might be better to go with a known quantity. But knowing what you’re going to get can also be a drawback.
If you want more genre shows in your life, the stuff is out there. You just have to go look for it.