Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21 - The Musicals, Part I: "With a Song in My Heart"

Tonight I just came home from seeing "Monty Python's Spamalot" - a lot of fun. Go see it. But it got me thinking about Musicals and the important part they play in my life.

So I admit it, I love Musicals. Always have. I might be a clich
é of sorts for anyone who knows me, but I grew up on Musicals.

My earliest memories of going through my Mom's records, were of finding Classical after Classical albums... but there were a few with different artwork on the covers that looked interesting. One had this old man in a cloud working this top-hatted man like a marionette who in turn was working this lady (Lerner & Loewe's "My Fair Lady"), or this sketch of a this man with trumpet and a lady... it had that Trombone song on it that I liked (Mered
ith Willson's "The Music Man"), and then the one with the funny man on top of the house with a violin (Bock & Harnick's "Fiddler on the Roof"). I even had one with songs that were really cool and a line drawing on the cover whose art I was mesmerized with (Cole Porter's "Kiss Me, Kate" - if anyone has a copy of this, I NEED it on mp3!):

Then when I was five, my Mom took me to this wonderful movie about an orphan boy and a funny mean man and a really scary mean man (who killed this lady) but I loved the songs (Lionel Bart's "Oliver!"). Of course, I had a collection of 45s that made up all the songs from Walt Disney's "Mary Poppins" - certainly a musical in every way (yes, I have tickets to it this fall when the stage version comes to Los Angeles).

So my love of Musicals was instilled quite early in me. As I came into my own, my choose of Musicals began to change: Lloyd-Webber & Rice's "Jesus Christ Superstar" was the first of 'my' musicals (and my favorite for a very long time), followed by Schwartz's "Godspell" and Rado/Ragni & MacDermot's "Hair".

Others followed as I grew older ("Man of LaMancha", "Evita", "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas") and when the 80s came, my love for this genre exploded ("Phantom", "Saigon", "Les Miz" [a favorite for nearly 20 years], "Joseph" and "Chess"). The 90s slowed for me with pretty much just "Rent" creeping into my soul. This century has seen a resurgence with "Mamma Mia!", "Avenue Q" and "Legally Blonde."

My current favorite? It has changed over the years, but for the past six years, only one has staked its claim (and it may take a miracle to supplant it in years to come), but Stephen Schwartz' "Wicked" is by far my favorite.

I guess this blog is less of a blog than a laundry list of my favorite Musicals. Suffice it to say, to date, I have attended only 45 live performance of 34 different musicals (and a few are in currently in the triple-play club: "Les Miz", "Mamma Mia!", "Phantom" and "Wicked") - gee, that sounds like a lot, doesn't it... and we're not even counting Movie Musicals!

Now, if I could only write my own... (oh yes, the story is in the works and if anyone knows a composer...).

[Tomorrow, Part II: "Because I Knew You, I Have Been Changed for Good"]

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