Dancing Through Life
The Broadway musical – one of the many things I’m completely to extremely obsessed with. Please, don’t try to save me. It’s hopeless. I’m a lost cause. I don’t know what it is about those quintessential musicals. Maybe it’s the music; a story told in harmonies. Maybe it’s the fact that I was brought up with them; our television permanently imprinted with classic movie musicals, with the sounds of Broadway playing in the background. The truth of the matter is, they’re a part of me. I’ve listened to endless recordings, seen a few in person. There is a different kind of feeling when you listen to a musical soundtrack, dissimilar to a rock anthem or powerful ballad. It’s distinct. You become a character. You take part in their journey. The music is a support, enhancing themes of hope, desire, and longing. Even if you refuse to admit your affection for these types of songs, I’m sure there are one or two that are strong enough to make you sing along. Admit it. You love musicals as much as I do. That is why, this week, we’re traveling down 42nd Street, taking a look at some of the best musical theatre. Of course, there is no possible way to list all of the greatest moments in musical history. Today, we’ll be only looking at a select few. I’ll give you the task of telling me your favorites in the comments. Get the chorus line ready. Here we go!
We all know of the adventures of Elle Woods. Legally Blonde and fabulous, she has inspired many individuals to reach for their dreams – despite their hair color – and countless nights dedicated to watching TBS, just to quote her spiffy one-liners. Eventually, the story of Elle transformed into a musical extravaganza. Whether or not you enjoyed the film, it’s hard to resist the charms of Legally Blonde the Musical. A spectacular of sorts, the production parallels the film, but incorporates surprising melodies that are unforgettable and easily loved. You’ll learn how to perfect the Bend & Snap, and find yourself saying Ohmigod You Guys. My favorite track is, without a doubt, So Much Better. With enthusiastic flair, the tune accurately accounts Elle Wood’s reaction to finally winning that prized internship.
From musical genius Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd brings the Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the musical stage. Though recently associated with the awesomeness that is Johnny Depp, the original play was led by the legendary Angela Lansbury as the eccentric Mrs. Lovett, and Len Cariou as Sweeney. The acclaimed duet by these characters, A Little Priest, can be deemed one of the more memorable on the soundtrack. Lyrically challenging, the piece is a dark ballad with small swells of strings shifting softly into flourish of bright intensity. The melody’s meaning is effortlessly deconstructed: avoid Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies.
Avenue Q. This NSFW, bordering on the fine line of political correctness musical has become one of my most recent favorites. Puppets, people! Puppets who swear and sing about racism and internet p*rn, how can you not love that? With hilarious and catchy tunes like It Sucks to Be Me and My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada, Avenue Q quickly became an overnight success. As the first production to actually show the actors with their puppet counterpart, the musical is not like any other. Though unique in most ways, the show is easily relatable; searching for your purpose in life, relationships, everyday struggles, and mix tapes. Probably the only song that is somewhat tame on the soundtrack, Mix Tape presents a fun twist on that classic tradition of presenting your intended with a mix of songs. Of course, they’re recorded on a cassette. Why do you even ask?
There’s a reason why this song is one of the most replicated melodies in all of musical theatre history. I’m the Greatest Star is just one of many established, show-stopping tunes from 1964’s Funny Girl. From the opening witty melodic monologue to the slow build of Fanny Brice’s declaration of future stardom, you instantly know that this song is special. All right, I’m a little biased. I’m my mother’s daughter, after all. And that means that I have to (and willingly) bow down to the Queen of the Universe, Barbra Streisand. The original play boasts a somewhat differing rendition of this noteworthy song, perfect in its own right, but I have a great fondness for the iconic film version. As you know, that means I have it memorized backwards and forwards, and can perform it on demand.
What did you think of the songs featured in this week’s Press Play Friday? What’s your favorite Broadway musical? Favorite song? Have you seen any musical theatre performed live? What’s your favorite Broadway musical soundtrack? Tell me in the comments!