By Michael Slezak
September 29, 2005 at 12:00 PM EDT

The movie musical is alive! No, wait, it’s dead! Or is it? Well, it’s hard to say really. I mean, back in 2003, after Chicago won all those Oscars, it looked like the genre was on the upswing. And with Phantom of the Opera, Rent (left), The Producers, and Hairspray all getting greenlit in its critically acclaimed wake, Broadway fans from all across the country had reason to cheer.

But these very same showtune-singin’ swells let out a collective gasp when Gerard Butler scored Phantom‘s titular role (and the movie was hardly a hit), and gagged when mainstream auteur Christopher Columbus (Home Alone) nabbed director’s chair for the decidedly edgy Rent. And now, on the heels of a funny, but very stagey-looking trailer for The Producers, comes word that Adam Shankman (Bringin’ Down the House, The Pacifier) has signed on to direct Hairspray, and that the long-rumored decision to cast John Travolta in the cross-dressing lead role is nearly a done deal. (Gah!)

So what do you think? Was Chicago just an anomaly, or are the naysayers failing to recognize the movie musical’s still got a lot of kick left in her?

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