Musicals: serious art or just plain silly?

There are a lot of musicals moving into London's West End right now – including "Shoes", "Million Dollar Quartet", "Betty Blue Eyes" and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" - and rumbling in the background is the hoo-ha in New York over "Spiderman".

What is the enduring appeal of the musical? Is it more diverse than its critics imagine? And, are musicals a good thing for the theatrical landscape?

Jan Dalley talks to Jamie Lloyd, director of the Donmar's "Spelling Bee", and FT theatre critics Ian Shuttleworth and Sarah Hemming.

Produced by Griselda Murray Brown