A Few of My Favorite Things: Musicals

by Elizabeth on September 21, 2011 · 20 comments

in favorites, i love a good list

I adore musicals.  A lot.  Like a lot, a lot.  It was once a dream of mine to be on Broadway.  (That was right after my I’m-going-to-be-Rockette phase.)  I can sing, not well, but well enough that people don’t run in the opposite direction and I did dance for 17 years, so I’m pretty much just waiting for the Queen’s Theater to call and ask me to play Eponine.

I’ve been to see a good number of musicals between the traveling productions that come here and two trips to New York and one to England.  Oh, and the community shows that I’ve seen/been in.  This number does NOT include movie musicals.  While I adore those too, it’s not the same.  Seriously not the same.

So what are my favorites?

1. Les Miserables – absolute number one most favorite musical I have ever seen, will ever see.  This probably has to do with a number of things including the fact that the music is amazing, the story is heartbreaking, and that I saw it in the Queen’s Theater.  It was a perfect experience and I can barely listen to bits and pieces of the production without tearing up.  (I’m serious. I caught the last bit of the 25th Anniversary production on PBS the other day and cried when Enjolras (played by the amazing Ramin Karimloo) took his bow.)

2. The Lion King–  it’s so different (and so much better!) from the original Disney version.  I only saw the traveling production, but I thought it was fantastic.  From the music to the costumes to the animals, it’s an amazing experience from beginning to end.  I get goosebumps just thinking about the opening number.

3. Wicked – I also saw this in London, but I’ve been in love with the soundtrack for quite some time.  Of course, no one can match Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, but the West End cast I saw was pretty terrific.  This is such an interesting show; lots of green of course, but also lots of black and white.  I really enjoyed the chorus here and though they really bring a great element to the show.  This is one of the few shows that makes me want to jump out of my seat on several occasions.

4. RENT – this was the first musical I ever loved.  Or I should say the first musical I ever loved without seeing the actual show.  I’ve still never actually seen the show.  It’s only on this list because I can pretty much sing it from beginning to end.  I’ve seen enough YouTube clips to know how things are supposed to look, plus I own the movie which has enough similarities (including most of the original cast) to help me imagine how awesome the show must be in real life.  But I’m not sure I could ever watch it without Adam Pascal.

Those are my favorites.  There are others, Anything Goes, A Chorus Line, and Phantom of the Opera come to mind, but these are the ones that love.  The ones that I own the soundtracks, sing along to all the time, and, occasionally, reenact.

Do you love musicals?  What are your favorites?

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Molly September 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Oh, Wicked. The woman who played Elphaba (spelling? no idea) in the Chicago show was amaaaaaaaaaaazing. What an awesome alto voice. Beautiful.

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2 Elizabeth September 22, 2011 at 11:16 am

Yes, that spelling is right. 🙂 Such a weird name. And everyone I’ve ever heard playing her is always so terrific!

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3 Molly September 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

I also just realized that would be a fantastic cat name.

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4 Ally September 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I have my tickets bought to see the 25th anniversary of Phantom of the Opera live in my local movie theatre! so excited! Phantom is my first love, because it was the first I saw (and led to my having been a voice major in undergrad). (Also, I’m a soprano – Cosette’s our only role we get in Les Miz, where as we’ve got such a great soprano role in Phantom – of course by the time I graduated from college my voice matured and I no longer have the high E for the title song)

Les Miserables is almost tied up there though – own all but one of the english language recordings (only one I don’t own is the Manchester cast recording, which I borrowed through ILL a while back and discovered only had 5 songs on it!)

Jane Eyre is my other choice in my top 3 – maybe even could rank above the others, I’m not sure – never saw it in person, but oh my goodness the soundtrack is amazing…

(In the beyond the top 3, my other favorites would be ones that don’t really fit with those top three: Mamma Mia, Rent, and Legally Blonde…LOL!)

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5 Elizabeth September 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

My voice has definitely matured over the years as well. I used to be a true soprano, and now I find myself hovering a little lower. Christine is definitely out for me, but I do okay with Eponine and Fantine.

Mama Mia, RENT, and Legally Blonde are super fun. No reason not to love them too!

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6 Elle September 22, 2011 at 10:05 am

Maybe it’s because of my age, but I’m a fan of more of the “old school” musicals. My absolute favorite is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen it, but whether it’s a traveling production or an amateur group, I always enjoy it.

I grew up listening to my parents’ albums of the soundtracks for Oklahoma!, The Music Man, Man of La Mancha and West Side Story, and have seen them all live at least once.

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7 Elizabeth September 22, 2011 at 11:21 am

My mom always took me to musicals she thought I would enjoy which probably explains why I’ve never seen any of your favs live. I’ve seen Oklahoma! and West Side Story in the movie form, so I know the basics, but I’m not very familiar with the music.

Except of course the librarian proposal scene in The Music Man, because how could I not be? 🙂

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8 Ally September 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I forgot Joseph! The Narrator is now my all time dream role (because it’s actually doable for me, and is done in community theatre enough that I have a chance of it happening)

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9 Molly September 23, 2011 at 7:47 am

Good luck, Ally! That would be a really fun role.

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10 Elizabeth September 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

That would be very fun! Do you do much community theater? I would love to get involved in that (chorus of course).

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11 Jayla September 22, 2011 at 11:28 am

I love musicals (and straight plays as well)! The first one I was introduced to was a production of Oklahoma on PBS (with Hugh Jackman as Curly).

RENT! will always hold a special place in my heart. I also like Hairspray, Chicago, and Spring Awakening. There are plenty more, but those are the ones that really stick out. 🙂

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12 Elizabeth September 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I really want to see Spring Awakening. I’ve heard great things about it.

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13 Tess September 22, 2011 at 11:29 am

Obviously, Wicked and Les Mis are right up there at the top…but here are some of my faves you didn’t mention:

1. Drood (Formerly “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”)–it’s based on Charles Dickens’ final novel, which he didn’t finish before he died. It’s got a great score, composed by Rupert Holmes, and the end of the show is interactive–since Dickens didn’t finish the book, the audience votes on the outcome of the play! Definitely tied for first place as my ultimate favorite.

2. Little Women–saw this on Broadway during its (too short) run in 2005. Unfortunately, Sutton Foster was sick the night we saw it, which made me and my friend Lydia cry, but once the show started we forgot all about missing dear Sutton. Obviously a great choice if you loved the book, and it’s got some great songs. Also tied for first place. (I can’t choose just one favorite)

I love musicals! 🙂
-Tess

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14 Elizabeth September 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I remember when Little Women was a musical. What happened, do you know? Not enough interest? I could see where only true literary nerds (you know, like us) would enjoy that.

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15 Alisha September 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I love so many of them…especially Wicked! But I think my all time number one favorite is Camelot. We went to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival to see it in 3rd grade. It was my first musical experience (first live performance of any sort really), and I was hooked from the first moment. I directly relate it to my decision to join the band in middle school so that I could create music. And then at my last honor band in high school, we played selections from Camelot. I was the only teenager in the room who had even heard of it, and I loved every second of it!

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16 Elizabeth September 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I love when these things come in full circle. Now if I could do the same thing with Les Miz somehow…

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17 Abby Carpenter September 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

This summer I went to New York and saw Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins, and Mamma Mia! Jersey Boys was by far my favorite of the three. Hairspray is another favorite. But my favorite all-time movie and musical will forever be “Meet Me in St. Louis” with Judy Garland.

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18 Elizabeth September 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm

A theater trip! I want to do one of those! 🙂

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19 Cate September 23, 2011 at 9:25 am

I’m not a huge fan of musicals (not because I don’t like them, but because I’m kind of overwhelmed by figuring out where to start with them!) but I LOVE West Side Story. Love it, love it. I don’t know what it is about it, but I think it’s great.

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20 Elizabeth September 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

Because it’s a great story! It’s Romeo and Juliet, set in New York, with gangs…how can you NOT like that story? 😉

Start with stories that you already know and like, or music that you find interesting/appealing. Watch clips on YouTube of shows that you think look interesting or that you like the music. Then avoid the movies at all costs unless it’s RENT, A Chorus Line, or anything Disney.

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