Between Hamilton and Six, the musical that imagines Henry VIII’s wives as a girl group, historical revisionism with songs is having a moment. Now, that moment is stretching into previously existing historical revisionism, in this case, Macbeth (already revisionist thanks to Shakespeare). Channing Tatum and Scooter Braun are partnering on a musical, Young Adult spin on Macbeth which reimagines Lady Macbeth as a teenager who sings about her dreadful ambition. It will be directed by John McPhail, who directed Anna and the Apocalypse, a Christmas-themed zombie musical (it’s streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime if you want to give it a shot).
“YA singing Lady Macbeth” sounds like a winning play in a game of Scrabble, but a teenaged take on Lady Macbeth isn’t the worst idea I’ve heard recently. Teenagers are melodramatic and SUPER mean, so a scheming Lady M will fit right in. And as much as I don’t care for musicals, a musical Macbeth is a natural fit. Shakespeare’s play includes musical breaks—many added posthumously, as musical interludes grew more popular in the years after his death—and the famous “Double double, toil and trouble” passage performed by the witches is often excerpted as “Song of the Witches”. The best production of Macbeth I’ve ever seen staged the witches like an R&B group, singing all their lines in four-part harmony. Macbeth and music have a history, so a musical take on Lady M feels inevitable. Musicals are always a hard sell with me, but I am interested to see how this turns out.
And I wonder if this means that the Swifties will go after Channing Tatum, since he is the latest high-profile person to be affiliated with Scooter Braun. It would be fitting for there to be Shakespearean drama behind the scenes of this particular Shakespearean drama, and Taylor Swift’s ongoing feud with Braun over her masters has that proportion to it. It is an epic battle, both sides drawn, and if Swift is to win back her masters, it will likely be through some cunning (legal) scheme. Until she enacts said scheme, I look forward to a bunch of snake emojis appearing on C Tates’ Instagram.