I Love Musicals!
I am an unabashed fan of musicals from the early Busby Berkeley movies to the production I saw of Les Miserables this afternoon. I love the songs, the spectacle, and the sheer fantasy world of people breaking into song and dance often without regard to plot. Musicals are entertaining diversions from everyday life where people break into song and dance when they are happy, sad, in love or attempting to stir the masses. People either love or hate musicals. While I love musicals, my spouse can think of no greater torture than being restrained and forced to watch “Mama Mia” with the lilting tunes of ABBA filling the air. Ok – just the thought of ABBA makes him cringe. But musicals make me feel good! For me there is nothing better than watching a musical theater production or movie and then replaying my favorite songs over and over in my head. And when I can’t remember the words, I just make them up.
I was raised on show tunes and movie musicals. My parents played the cast recordings of Oklahoma, The King & I, South Pacific, Damn Yankees, The Music Man, Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, Camelot, Man of La Mancha, Carousel, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music on the stereo constantly. I loved watching old movies of Gene Kelly dancing in Singin’ in the Rain, Brigadoon and An American In Paris or Fred Astaire in Top Hat, Roberta, The Gay Divorcee, Funny Face, Easter Parade, Holiday Inn and Blue Skies. It is not possible to be glum while watching a musical.
And yes, I love the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats and Phantom of the Opera. I’ve seen each play at least 5 times. I even loved the movie version of Evita with Madonna and Antonio Banderas. But really, I will watch anything with Antonio Banderas!
But my favorite musical of all time is the Cinderella by Rogers & Hammerstein that was filmed for television in 1964 with Leslie Ann Warren, Stuart Damon, Celeste Holm, and Ginger Rogers. The entire family sat down to watch it every year when I was a kid. I can still sing most of the words to the songs “Impossible” and make up the words to “The Prince is Having a Ball” and “In My Own Little Corner”. While writing this I decided to check Amazon.com to see if I could nab a copy on DVD for some viewing nostalgia. Uhm…apparently it is out of print – 3 copies available starting at $197.99. Guess I’ll have to be content with snippets on YouTube and my fond memories.
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