I know most people are celebrating St. Patrick's Day, but it's another one of those holidays that I've never really been into, not being Irish or into heavy drinking. I have been celebrating having a day off in the midst of the last few weeks- that's right folks, it's musical season. Granted, as the pit director I have much less to do than the director and music director, the set designers and stage managers... but I feel a lot of pressure in the two weeks before the show because I am in front of everyone and I have to pull everything together.
I've been really tired and not so good at thinking lately... yesterday I said to A., "I'm looking for a cushioned stool with a back on it, so that I don't have so much back pain after rehearsals. Where do you think I could find one?" His answer: "...How about the kitchen?" Duh.
Anyway, since I am in the middle of this musical, which is not my favorite - Bye Bye Birdie - I have been considering which musicals are really my favorites. I've decided to list them here, in no particular order : )
Singin' in the Rain
I have to start this list with Singin' in the Rain! When I was in high school, my mom gave me the DVDs of this musical and The Music Man for Christmas. I can't believe it took me that long to watch it. I love this movie and musical. Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor are flawless. Although, when I watch it on DVD, I always skip over the "Broadway Melody" ballet in the middle. I guess I don't get the "ballet in the middle of the musical" thing.
Jean Hagen in this musical is hysterical. "Whaddya think I am, dumb or something?" The first time I saw the ending, I laughed so hard that I cried... I loved it so much. I won't ruin it if you haven't seen it. I am going to include the video of the song "Good Mornin'" below. This song always reminds me of mornings when I was in grade school, because if we didn't get out of bed in time, my dad would walk down the hall singing this voice uncomfortably loud for that point in the morning! : )
I have seen a very well-done locally produced version of this show. I love it and Mel Brooks. I saw the movie version twice in theaters. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are gold together. Their first interaction in the show involves a ton of dialogue, but it's hysterical. My favorite song in this show is, by far, "Betrayed," in which the character of Max Bialystock recaps the entire show and laments getting caught while his partner, the timid Leo Bloom, makes off with the money and the girl.
Guys and Dolls
Speaking of Nathan Lane... I got to see this performed by our awesome community theatre when I was young and had no idea what was going on; and then our high school performed it when I was a junior. I was unhappy that I was cast in the Mission Band while most of my friends were Hot Box Chicks, so I defected to the pit orchestra for this show. The story is good, the music is great, the movie has Frank Sinatra. My favorite song in this musical is "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat." (Although I also enjoy the often forgotten song "My Time of Day," which has a really fun clarinet solo, and is unfortunately sung by Marlin Brando in the film.)
I got to see a tour version of this show, which was really fun. It's based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which I know is not everyone's cup of tea. I fell in love with the soundtrack in college. (This is usually how my love affair with musicals begins- I listen to the soundtrack first, on repeat, then I find the show.) I can only pretend that someday I could be the Lady of the Lake. There are so many fun songs in this show that it is difficult to pick one that I like best - "Find Your Grail" and "The Diva's Lament" are both great; so is "Not Yet Dead." But in the end I have to go with "The Song that Goes Like This." It's such a great satire of the love ballads in other musicals, and I do love some corny music puns. : ) Also, Sara Ramirez's voice... WOW.
I got to be in the stage musical of White Christmas a few years ago as the ditzy show girl "Rhoda," and had a fantastic time. White Christmas is a beloved holiday movie, but the musical incorporates more of Irving Berlin's great tunes and has moments both heartwarming and hysterical. My iTunes Top 25 still has "Happy Holiday/Let Yourself Go" near the top because of all the times I played it on repeat to practice our dance moves. There are plenty of nice songs in this show, but the finale of "White Christmas" is hard to beat.
The Sound of Music
This is one of the first musicals I ever loved as a kid. When I went to Europe in high school, one of our stops was in Salzburg, Austria, where one of the first things we did was invade Mirabelle Gardens and re-enact parts of the movie.
The musical is definitely different than the movie, which is why I think so many people were confused by the live version of the show NBC broadcast last Christmas. My favorite song from the show is probably The Goodbye Song, and from the movie I love "I Have Confidence." : ) Also, one of my favorite lines from the movie is when Maria asks Gretl how she hurt her finger and she answers "It got caught... in Frederic's teeth!" CREEPY FREDERIC.
Another one of my favorites growing up... it's one of those that I watch now and think "WOW, so many grown-up references!" (Like in Grease... yikes!) I've never seen this one in person but I love the movies, both the original with Carol Burnett and the re-make with Audra MacDonald. I am also very excited for the "updated" version coming this Christmas with Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz!
I know the title of the show is kind of off-putting, but it's very very funny. I was in this show in college as "Soupy Sue," which was the first real speaking part I ever had in a show. The writers for the show were inspired when they visited Europe and encountered public toilets and port-a-johns that required payment for use (TRUE STORY, folks). It's not a very long show, but the music is good. Here is a clip from our college performance, performing my favorite, "Run Freedom Run."
I go in spurts with Les Mis - I will listen and watch incessantly for months, and then take a long break. Right now I'm on break. But I do love this show and movie- I own both concert versions (the 10th and 25th anniversary editions), the movie, and I got to see the show last year (finally). My favorite song from Les Miserables is "A Little Fall of Rain."
Other musicals I enjoy...
Phantom of the Opera
Shrek: The Musical
Kiss Me Kate
Are you into musicals? What do you like? : )