“This is the dangerous thing about musicals. Most of them assume that as soon as you find your voice, you’ll use it to sing to someone else.” ― David Levithan, Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story
October 25, 2016
I cannot sing.
However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love musicals. In fact, they are one of my favourite pieces of art in this world. I have a theatre in my town that sometimes host musicals, but not many. So I have only seen a handful on stage, but have seen many screen productions of them and hopefully will see the film versions on stage one day. Although, I thought I would share some of my favourites and some that I would love to see someday. Let us start with the shows I have seen either on stage or screen.
1) Chicago: The story of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly is a favourite of mine. I watched the film that stars Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones and it was brilliant. The story follows Roxie as she is put in jail for murdering her boyfriend and in the lock up she meets Velma Kelly, another murderess and she tries to rise above her and make a name for herself with the help of Billy Flynn (Richard Gere). It is set in the 20’s and if you have not seen it, then you need to rent the movie and watch it.
Favourite Song: We Both Reached For The Gun
2) Les Misérables: I was a little late to this one. Funnily enough, the only reason I decided to watch the film was because a guy I liked in high school was a big fan and I thought it would give me an edge. He didn’t end up liking me, so that sucks, but I did find a new musical that I am in love with it. This French Revolution classic is EVERYTHING. I have seen the movie and listened to the original soundtrack recording from the London Orchestra and I am all for it. I think my favourite character is Gavroche who is just everything. I also relate to Eponine on a deep level. I really want to see the stage production as there is nothing better than live theatre, so that is on my bucket list! I would love to see it in London, but I doubt that will ever happen.
Favourite Song: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
3) Cats: Yes, in case you weren’t aware, there is musical about felines. It was actually the first musical I ever watched. My mom showed me the VCR tape when I was very little and I was enamored with the dancing and singing little alley cats. I was very surprised to see how much of a global phenomenon it is and I would again love to see it live. It is being put on now, but I believe it is only in NYC, so that blows. Also, you really can’t really go wrong with Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Favourite Song: Mungojerrie And Rumpleteazer<
4) Moulin Rouge: This is another musical I saw when I was quite young. Probably not that appropriate for a very young child, but hey, my mother wanted me exposed to art as a child. Moulin Rouge is a Parisian club that a young poet, Christian, happens to come across and falls into a love affair with the club’s star, Satine. I am still quite confused about the plot sometimes, but the music and performances are incredible. They use classics in a new way and…I don’t know, it’s just amazing.
Favourite Song: Elephant Love Medley</i
5) Rock of Ages: Moving on to the musicals I have seen live. I saw Rock of Ages when I was a sophomore in high school and I fell in love. Obviously the movie had been released, but this was so much more. It felt like I was transported to the 80’s and stumbled across a rock concert that was playing all the legendary songs. I am huge rock fan and I remember screaming so loud when Final Countdown came on. People of all ages were watching and at the end, during the final number everyone was on their feet singing along and dancing with the lasers and it was amazing. I saw it a year after another performance and I forgot how much I loved live theatre.
Favourite Song: We Built This City/Too Much Time On My Hands
6) In the Heights: YES. I have seen a live version of Lin Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway production and HOLY HAMILTON WAS IT PERFECT. I was a freshman in high school and the company came to my city and my mom bought tickets. I remember when Lin Manuel first sang and I was hooked. He was incredible as was the rest of the cast. In the Heights follows the story of a neighborhood in Washington Heights, New York and there is so much culture in it and the songs are beautifully written and the VOCALS…damn. I could go on and on about this show, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. I highly recommend you listen to the cast album. It is a masterpiece.
Now here are my favourite Musicals that I have never seen, but have listened to the Cast Albums and I love them!
1) HAMILTON: I mean, of course, right? Who doesn’t love Hamilton? 7 Years ago, Lin Manuel Miranda opened up a copy of Alexander Hamilton’s biography and he created this incredible show that I would pay anything to go see. I am a huge history buff and when I heard that someone had made a show about one of our founding fathers WITH RAP AND HIP-HOP, I was sold. Then I found out that it was another Lin Manuel Miranda show…man did I jump online quick and listen to the album. I have so many favourite songs from the show and my number one favourite changes so much that I just have to keep listening…The vocalists and actors are phenomenal. Daveed Diggs can switch between Lafayette and Jefferson so smoothly that I sometimes think it is two different people…that’s talent. I think I will do a separate review on this one in the near future. It deserves it. Favourite Song (ATM): Satisfied
2) Finding Neverland: I was so skeptical about this one. I mean how many things can be made from Peter Pan, but this…this is something else. I listened to this album a few months ago and really only clicked on it because I saw that Matthew Morrison was in it. He plays J.M. Barrie, the playwright who wrote Peter Pan and it is just…magical. The story and the beautiful compositions that Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy created…wow. I am a big fan of Peter Pan in a whole, so this was a real treat for me. I will admit, I cried.
Favourite Song: When Your Feet Don’t Touch The Ground
3) Phantom of the Opera: I mean, this is a classic right? I actually own the film, but haven’t watched it yet. Phantom is another Andrew Lloyd Webber piece that I immediately fell in love with. My parents have actually seen the stage production at an opera house and my mother fell in love. I think my dad fell asleep…oh well. The story of Christine and Erik is so haunting and at times I was very unnerved, yet I found that I couldn’t turn it off. I pity Erik, but at the same time, I think he is a bit of a loon. I mean he kidnapped her and then threatened to blow up the Opera House…not someone I would want as a husband…just saying
Favourite Song: All I Ask of You
4) Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour: This is Cirque’s first musical theatre show and the soundtrack is absolutely incredible. It is based on the “Golden Age of Hollywood” and is the most unique Cirque show I had ever heard of. I have personally seen four live Cirque shows and this is one I definitely need to see. The music is so theatrical and really embodies what Broadway is. I believe it has a current residence in New York, so if you are out there, you should check it out!
Favourite Song: Hollywood Whiz
There are so many more that I love, but then this post would be longer than the Declaration of Independence. Hopefully in the new year I will be able to go see more musicals and experience live theatre again. There is truly nothing like it at all.