I’ve seen a good few musicals in my time. I love them all but do I have a top 5? Can I pick just 5?!
Let’s see what made the cut…
5. Singing in the Rain
To start off this list we have an old classic. I mean who didn’t fall in love with Gene Kelly singin’ and dancin’ in the rain? MGM was definitely the golden era of film/musicals and I can’t help but long to be back in that age from time to time.
Musicals were different back then, though. There were no orginal scores – the music was taken from elsewhere and a story was created around it. And what a story! Such a simple yet beautifully told tale. An actress who looks good but cannot sing – forced to mouth to another woman’s voice – what could go wrong?
I’ve even had the pleasure of witnesses Singing in the Rain live on stage. I know what you’re thinking; “Surely they can’t have rain on stage!”
You would be wrong, my friend.
I’m incredibly glad I wasn’t sitting in the front row. People were actually sitting with umbrellas as the show went on! And the actors don’t hold back, oh no! It must be a game to see how many people they can soak after each kick – and how far they can reach with their soggy kicks. The theatre was rolling with laughter and screams during the musical number and it’s an experience I will never, ever forget.
He had it coming!
This musical particularly appealed to me while in high school. It was the time of dramas with fellow male peers so Cell Block Tango spoke to me on a hormonal, angsty level.
What a show to witness though.
I first watched the DVD with my mother as she wanted to make sure I was ready for the theatre experience. I was won over after the infamous line:
“He ran into my knife. He ran into my knife ten times!”
Sold! Where can I see it live?
When I first saw the stage show I was ready to be disappointed because there was only one set up. The orchestra were on stage and the actors would sing and dance around the stand. When I realised this, I was ready to be bored. But it never happened. It was every bit as powerful and sexy as the DVD I watched at home.
But just because these women are bombshells, doesn’t mean you mess with them. I mean emphasis on BOMB.
3. Top Hat
I’m one of Strictly Come Dancing’s biggest fans. Anton Du Beke is my favourite professional dancer and it feels weird to admit I have a bit of a crush on someone who is older than my parents… But he’s just so lovely…
Anyway, moving on…
Du Beke is the reason I fell in love with ballroom dancing and he encouraged my love for top hats and tail coats. For one Christmas my mother bought me Swing CD along with Swing Time and Top Hat. Top Hat was instantly my new obsession. The music, the costumes, the story, it was all so perfect! As soon as it came to the theatre I begged to see it live.
AND THERE’S EVEN MORE SONGS IN THE LIVE SHOW.
I was in heaven.
The love story is what makes my heart flutter. The misunderstandings between characters, the drama, the cockiness of Fred Astaire’s character (Jerry) compared to Ginger Rogers’ Dale is everything I want from a love story and musical combined. The singing and dancing is flawlessly performed and there’s the right amount of humour to keep me content for a night of entertainment.
I’m putting all my eggs in one basket and saying this is one of the best musicals ever made.
2. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat has a very special place in my heart. I first saw this musical when I was very young – I’m not sure what age I was – and it was at my Grandmother’s house along with my cousin Rebecca. (Who has her own blog by the way; check it out here: https://rebeccaallan.wordpress.com). We found the video cassette of Donny Osmond performing in a school and we were instantly hooked. We would watch it all. The. Time. We would watch and sing along, watch and dance along, watch and act along. We even wore out my own copy of the video my mother bought me from a car boot sale. I now have the DVD though which runs much smoother.
So it’s easy to see how much this musical means to me. Going outside to play in the sun like a normal child? No! We stayed in and studied the bible, darling. Considering my cousin is the biggest atheist I know, I find this aspect incredibly amusing.
For Rebecca’s Christmas I took her to see Joseph at the King’s Theatre. It was by far the best performance I’ve seen! I never thought anyone could top my childhood bestie Donny Os but Joe McElderry was utterly incredible. The song Close Every Door To Me is one of Rebecca’s favourites but it was never one I got excited hearing.
Until Joe McElderry let loose!
I don’t watch the X Factor, so I had no idea who he was, but my goodness the boy can sing! Close Every Door To Me is a completely different song to me now simply due to the way he preformed. It was utterly flawless and I got chills from my toes all the way to my scalp. If he is to ever be Joseph again, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.
Usually I don’t like musicals that are all singing all the time. I’m definitely not a Les Miz fan much to many people’s disgust. But Joesph is such a fun filled musical that I find it very easy to follow and it still holds my attention from beginning to end. It’s such a bright production- obviously it has to be – but as a child it’s pretty clear why I fell in love with it. The stage show tends to stick to one set up for the stage (much like Chicago) but it never gets boring since there’s always so much popping up, popping on and going on. It’s just a spectacle to behold.
Joseph has to be the only Andrew Lloyd Webber musical I have seen and liked. I can’t say I’m much of a fan of Cats – or even Jesus Christ Superstar for that matter – but Joesph is one that will always be in my heart.
And my brain; those lyrics will never leave me.
Go, go Joe!
I struggled picking my number one. It was a split between Joesph and Wicked. In the end Wicked took the cake.
I first saw Wicked when I was 14. I was on a school trip to London and part of our getaway included tickets to see the stunning musical. I wasn’t overly excited. I had always liked The Wizard of Oz but I was never obsessed. I remember it frightening me more than inspiring me when I was younger. So, when everyone told me, “Oh, it’s absolutely amazing!” I wasn’t convinced.
But then I witnessed magic for the first time.
Wicked the musical is based on a novel by Gregory Maguire. I tried reading the book but I think I was too young; I’ll have to try reading it again. It’s quite a… Sexy book, if I may. It deals with different concepts and has a much darker side than the musical. Many people hate the musical because it makes light of such a hard hitting book, and many people hate the book because it’s not the light and romantic musical.
Winnie Holzman and Stephen Schwartz are responsible for this production. Schwartz composed the music and lyrics and I will call you a liar if you say you’re unimpressed. The music is utterly incredible. Every sound, every lyric, every crash of the drums and thud of the piano is arranged so beautifully – it instantly takes you away to Oz. I mean, all I really need to say is Devying Gravity. What a way to end the first half! Every person in the audience is shaken with chills when Elphaba’s voice changes pitch.
However, my favourite song is No Good Deed. The second “FIYERO!” was screamed I fell in love. It’s such a powerful song – so full of feeling – and the lyrics are too good to be true.
“One question haunts and hurts – too much, too much to mention. Was I really seeking good? Or just seeking attention?”
Seriously thought provoking stuff. This line has inspired me over and over again.
The first time watching the spectacle that is Wicked, I failed to trust Glinda. I’m not sure if it was just my interpretation of the story or maybe it was something the actress was giving me – but I didn’t believe Elphaba and Glinda’s relationship. I felt on edge until the very last scene; as if Glinda was planning something. However, after seeing it for a second time, I knew the story and knew that the duo are actually meant to be best friends.
I think the reason I love this tale so much is because it shows a different side to the story. Back stories are my favourite kinds of stories. Why is someone evil? Why is someone so bad? Why does someone do the things they do, act the way they act, think the way they think? I would love to believe there’s no true evil in the world; we are all just shaped the way we are through our experiences. Wicked explores this idea and proves even the “baddie” has a reason to be the way they are. I think this is why I loved Malificent as well because it shows the other side of the coin and proves villains are much more 3 dimensional – rather than cackling idiots.
So there you have it! My top 5 favourite musicals. Do you agree with my list? Leave your top five in the comments or tweet them to me at @freetheleaves.