Personally as an actress I prefer plays to most musicals because they tend to involve deeper characters and better story lines. I'm not saying that all musicals are fluff, but a lot of the ones they do around where I live tend to be. I love singing, but I am old enough that I can just go to karaoke if I want to sing.
As for why there is more musical related talk going on I can only answer for myself and that is... there are more aspects that go into auditioning for a musical. It's not just about acting ability, but dancing and singing as well. With plays you simply read for the part you want, whereas with musicals you have to find a song and (sometimes, but not where I live) a monologue that fits the role you want. A lot of directors for musicals that I have worked with tend to look for strong singers first, actors second. Plus, at least in my area, there are a lot more musical theatres than there are regular theatres auditioning and putting on shows. Even all of the shows that tour through this area are musicals only.
Currently~ Miss Myrna Thorn in Ruthless! the Musical
Recently~ Emma Carew (Jekyll & Hyde), Sister Mary Leo (Nunsense), Demeter (Cats), Tzeitel (Fiddler on the Roof)