What’s your favourite musical?

Some people love them and some people hate them.  I’m definitely in the first group.  I’ve grown up with Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Wizard of Oz and, thanks to my girlfriend I now know the wonders of other great Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals such as Oklahoma and Carousel.  I love them because they’re great stories with some very memorable tunes thrown in to liven it all up.  On Friday night I went to the Broadway Broads concert that the Christchurch Symphony presented, featuring the amazing voices of Naomi Ferguson and Ali Harper, among others.  They sung some fantastic renditions of songs from Broadway musicals, including I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables, Somewhere Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz, and The Worst Pies in London from Sweeney Todd.  I was smiling the whole way through because I knew most of the songs and was very tempted to sing along myself. 

My top five are:

1. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

2. Mary Poppins

3. Annie

4. Bugsy Malone

5. Oklahoma

Do you have a favourite musical or do you absolutely loathe them?

21 thoughts on “What’s your favourite musical?

  1. Philip 7 September 2009 / 3:18 pm

    I don’t like the genre very much but I do like Stephen Sondheim and still remember fondly a wonderful version of “Sweeney Todd” done in Christchurch with the late Mervyn Thompson as Sweeney Todd and Yvonne Martin as Mrs Lovett. The recent film version was pretty awful in that it misjudged the whole thing and the leads could not sing – well, little Mister Depp could sing a bit (although his English accent was very dodgy) and the ever fragrant Helena B-C couldn’t sing it all.
    Have to say Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popularity is a mystery to me and in one of Jonathan Coe’s earlier novels a man tries to tell his girlfriend just why Andrew L-W is no good.

  2. Donna 7 September 2009 / 8:05 pm

    “What’s the buzz tell me whatsa happening … yo Jesus”: I love Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s so 70s and has seeped into my DNA, I used to spin the vinyl every Easter.

    Agree with you on Annie and Bugsy Malone, wonderfully catchy.

    School musicals were great fun back in the day, one year we did Carousel and I was surprised to find “You’ll never walk alone” was the main song. I thought it was a football song.

    I like some of those Hollywood ones with great set pieces, ones with Marilyn Monroe, “Funny Face”.

    Oh and Grease and Evita.

    I’m surprised I’ve never seen Camelot as someone who is mad on Arthurian stories … maybe will have to give it a whirl.

    • zackids 8 September 2009 / 8:43 am

      I think it’s really sad that schools these days are opting to do High School Musical for their school play instead of some of these classics. I don’t think alot of kids would even know about them unless their parents have made them watch them.

    • Marion 9 September 2009 / 11:35 am

      At a time when all the other high schools were churning through Gilbert and Sullivan our school put on a number of original musicals. Under the leadership of a great music teacher, Laughton Pattrick (composer of the classic Cut Lunch Blues)the shows were largely written by pupils and usually featured a cast of thousands – hence no talents like me could have a fun time in the chorus.

  3. Michael A 8 September 2009 / 9:05 am

    Hard to pick really, especially if I have to exclude opera…not sure of the definitional difference there:
    1. High Society (Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Grace Kelly…”have you heard, it’s in the stars, next July we collide with Mars…”)
    2. Rocky Horror Picture Show (“…let’s go up to the lab, and see what’s on the slab…)
    3. West Side Story (“The most beautiful sound I have ever heard…”
    4. Fiddler on the Roof (“And who has the right, as master of the house, to have the final word at home? The Papa, the Papa!”

    • Marion 9 September 2009 / 11:32 am

      High Society – yes yes yes, one of my all time favourite films

      Rocky – yep – must be the most fun musical ever

      Overall I’m not a great fan of musicals but there are some great songs in musicals.

      • Michael A 9 September 2009 / 12:40 pm

        …like “Mr Snow” from Carousel – so difficult to sing and when sung well (e.g. Rosie Evans in the STAC production) goes straight to the heart!

  4. Mojo-Jojo 8 September 2009 / 11:26 am

    I came to the (slightly disturbing) conclusion awhile ago that I like musicals in which major characters die or end up in depressing situations. Thus J.C. Superstar, Chess, Rocky Horror and Les Mis rate right up there. 😉

    • Michael A 8 September 2009 / 11:53 am

      The slippery slope into opera is inevitable then…Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, La Boheme, Pagliacci…the list goes on. The current production in Christchurch (The Magic Flute) is mostly cheerful with a minimum of disease and death.

      • Mojo-Jojo 8 September 2009 / 11:55 am

        Oh, the opera came first. Early formative experience I suspect.

  5. Lynne 8 September 2009 / 2:11 pm

    I don’t like musicals much, I hate having to wait for the story to continue while those idiots sing. I enjoyed Chicago though – “He had it coming’ and South Pacific’s “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair” has to be one of the best songs of all time.

    • zackids 8 September 2009 / 2:17 pm

      I have to admit that there are moments, even in my favourite musicals, where I reach for the remote, especially in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when Truly Scrumptious sings that Lovely Lonely Man song. Maybe I’ve just seen it too many times.

      • mj 8 September 2009 / 5:24 pm

        “… reach for the remote …”

        In my head, a good musical is always seen live!

  6. cliniclulu 9 September 2009 / 2:59 pm

    I suspect that it all has to do with what you were exposed to in childhood. I will always love Bugsy Malone, the Rocky Horror and our family christmas favourite The Slipper and the Rose.
    Somehow I didn’t really realise that these were musicals and as a proponent of avant garde theatre I swore I hated musicals. Then I took a risk and went to the St Andrews musical version of Animal Farm. A musical of Animal Farm?!?? Yes. And it was awesome.
    Since then I’ve been more open to the fact that this genre is wiiiderr than you might think.
    Take Julie Taymor for example…Has anyone seen “Across the Universe”?
    And what about “Dancer in the Dark”?

    • Donna 10 September 2009 / 8:51 am

      I reckon you’re right. Hedwig and the angry inch is pretty nutty stuff. And sometimes a film’s soundtrack is so strong and unique it almost becomes like a quasi-musical. In Tarantino movies the songs are so compelling they are central to the experience.

  7. Simone 9 September 2009 / 3:31 pm

    I’ll actually confess to quite enjoying a number of musicals – when I’m in the right mood. Probably the best though is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode that is done as a musical. I think that the town is in thrall to some kind of musical demon (of course) anyway its hysterically funny.
    I’m also dying to see Monty Python’s Spamalot (fat chance). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytUh-FYfNy4

    • zackids 9 September 2009 / 4:51 pm

      I don’t know whether you’re a fan of Scrubs but they also did a hilarious musical episode. I love it when TV shows do them because you see the actors in a completely different light.

      • Michael A 10 September 2009 / 8:20 am

        …and the Simpsons occasionally drift in to song with good effect and then there’s Pennies from heaven and The Singing Detective: not sure of their genre.

  8. Marion H 10 September 2009 / 11:29 am

    I definitely have to be in the right frame of for musicals – tends to be a lot of sing and dance about nothing otherwise. 🙂

  9. Helen 10 September 2009 / 8:13 pm

    What about My Fair Lady? Such clever tongue-in-cheek lyrics. I know it off by heart and it still makes me laugh. e.g. Why can’t a woman be more like a man?

  10. Simone 11 September 2009 / 2:28 pm

    Oops I missed one – Mike Batt’s Hunting of the Snark. This is brilliant and I have tried to get a copy of it on DVD but when I last looked it was horrendously expensive (Amazon UK). CCL does (did?) have a CD of the audio though.

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