I adore musicals. Love love love them. And yes, I do randomly break into song every once in a while. My girls think this is hilarious. Scott just rolls his eyes. I remind him every time that he picked me. Oh, but musicals.
Growing up we always listened to music. I was young when Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast were released by Disney. My parents obligingly played these soundtracks (much as I do now with Frozen) over and over and I loved the sense of experiencing the movie without actually watching the movie. I could go on and on about the times when I visited my grandma’s house and my sisters and I would watch the musicals she had on video–Sound of Music, The Wizard of OZ, The Music Man, Annie, The King and I. We would dance, we would sing. There is something truly magical about musicals.
I don’t remember the first time that my parents took us to the theater to watch a musical but there were a few summers where we had seasons tickets to the Dallas Summer Musicals. We saw dozens of musicals during those summers and my love for spontaneous singing and dancing was born. My first musical love was Phantom of the Opera; I loved listening to my mom’s soundtrack and soon bought myself the full-length soundtrack and would listen over and over. Next came Evita when the movie with Madonna and Antonio Banderas was released. I can still sing all of the words to all of the songs–mostly from memory. Then Les Miserables–oh Les Miserables! and then RENT while my then boyfriend got me hooked. Unfortunately my love for musicals is not shared with Scott but that doesn’t stop me from discovering new soundtracks and occasionally tricking him into seeing a show with me (he recently contested that Jersey Boys was the best musical he’s seen). I cannot wait, however, until I can hook my girls
For years I’ve been planning to share my favorite musicals with you. I’ve had the list written in my notebook for so long and when I was working I would listen to each of my favorite soundtracks and think about what I wanted to share about each one. Seeing today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic about Top Ten Favorite Non-Books, I knew that this would be the perfect time to finally talk musicals with you.
Musicals! A Top Ten List
Phantom of the Opera – Often I can’t decide if Phantom or Les Miz is my favorite musical, but I can’t possibly watch or listen to Phantom without being moved to sobbing tears. The Point of No Return is one of the most haunting and beautiful songs in a musical. When the Phantom and Christine are singing together at the end of the song, it’s enough to rip my heart out.
Les Miserables – The ultimate epic story told through the absolutely gorgeous soundtrack. There is not a more beautiful musical. If you haven’t seen the stage production, try to get your hands on the 25th Anniversary production at the O2 in London. It presented in concert format rather than traditional musical but tears, y’all. All the tears. I have to share the below video with the different versions of Jean Val Jean. Try to ignore those goosebumps on your arms–I dare you.
Aida – Elton John and Tim Rice. Perhaps this is a lesser known musical? It was my first Broadway experience and Adam Pascal and Heather Headley provide such strong vocals to the soundtrack. If you ever have a chance to watch this musical or listen to the music, I can’t recommend it enough.
Evita – Andrew Lloyd Webber. I’m a fan. And I admit that I really really love the Madonna and Antonio Banderas version (another one I’ve never seen on the stage). And oh, A Waltz for Eva and Che - I may have watched this scene in the movie a trillion times.
Wicked - Based on the book by Gregory Maguire, the play focuses a bit more on the music but with Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel as the lead vocals there is much to love. While the play itself wasn’t one of my favorites, I absolutely adore the music and have been trying to use it as a replacement for the much listened to Frozen soundtrack.
Miss Saigon – Plus that giant helicopter on the stage? But really, I can’t listen to Miss Saigon without breaking into tears by the end. Plus “Why, God, Why?” is one of the most powerful songs in a musical.
The Sound of Music – A throwback to my childhood but I couldn’t make a top ten list that didn’t include The Sound of Music. The stage production is a little different than the movie, but we’re all familiar with the songs, right? One day I will see this in Salzburg at one of those cheesy dinner theaters. I can’t wait.
RENT – If you can believe it, I have never seen the stage version of RENT. One day I will and I’ll be hard pressed to not sing along all of the words that I love so dearly. This was a tricky one because I basically had to work out the plot of the play from the songs and when I realized just what was happening. RENT shares an amazing story of love. I’m sure you’re familiar with Seasons of Love:
Mamma Mia – My favorite was when we watched this in Dallas and a little kid got up in the aisle during Dancing Queen and started shaking his booty. It was the most adorable thing ever. In other words ABBA will rock your socks off. This musical is so much stinkin’ fun. Too bad the movie didn’t live up (really, Pierce?!).
Jersey Boys/Cabaret – Ok, this is a tie because I’m more familiar with Cabaret but I haven’t seen it on the stage, only movie. I’ve seen Jersey Boys on the stage and it was fantastic but I haven’t listened to the soundtrack nearly as much as any of the others. See also Bombay Dreams, which I love the music for but still don’t know very much about it. Sometimes it’s tough piecing together a musical’s plot by just the songs!
Chicago – 5, 6, 7, 8. Jazz, Sass, and Bob Fosse. Sexy, Sultry, Sinfully Delicious. I love Chicago–even the Hollywood version. “Cell Block Tango” is one of my favorite “belt it out in the car as loud as you can” songs. Even listening to it now I can’t help but give my hips a bit of a shake.
Do you love musicals? What would be on your Top Ten Musicals list?