Musical Marathon

We are watching a movie musical marathon this Christmas break.

The oldest son, Ben, is a drama and music geek. His dream is to sing the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. He’s in two plays in Jan and Feb, and his drama teacher has asked him to watch other noted musical theatre pieces to study different character types and musical styles. (You can’t perform everything in gothic Phantom fashion!)

So, on our list:

  • Hello, Dolly. We watched the Barbra Streisand/Walther Matthau version which was wonderful.
  • Fiddler on the Roof. We saw the Norman Jewison-directed version starring Topol, also a great show.
  • Chicago. Ben watched this last night, said it was depressing.
  • Hairspray. Ben enjoyed this, especially got a kick out of John Travolta in drag.
  • Rent. Ben enjoyed the music but was missing the cultural context to really follow the plot.
  • Guys and Dolls. Up next!
  • Singing in the Rain
  • Music Man
  • My Fair Lady
  • Grease. I saw this when it first came out, but his generation has not.

I’ve been watching the shows I haven’t seen before with him. It’s been fascinating to range through fifty years worth of filmmaking, as well as the longer historical view of some of the productions.

As I posted previously, we did all go see Spamalot in its off-Broadway tour this fall and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jersey Boys is playing at the Paramount this winter break, although it’s never been on my list of must-see musicals. I’m not sure I want to spend $80 a ticket on a show that I’m not that interested in.

We are going to see a live production of Phantom of the Opera in Vegas in February – that’s his graduation present, 2nd row seats and a backstage pass.

It’s been fun – we’re getting a lot of entertainment out of encouraging his interests!

11 Responses to “Musical Marathon”

  1. Shawn Powers Says:

    No Sound of Music ?

    My favorite musical, and possibly favorite movie of all time. You have a good list though. :)

  2. MWT Says:

    Les Miserables?


    Secret Garden?

    Mass by Leonard Bernstein?

  3. Jim Wright Says:

    No Oklahoma? You know, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…

    My Fair Lady, one of my favorites. Brilliant acting.

  4. Nathan Says:

    Must. Add. DreamGirls.

    Wow! (GF and I went to the limited initial engagement at The Ziegfield Theater. Its a completely renovated “movie palace” that seats the population of a small town)

    Also, not technically a musical, but “Ray” is an amazing movie.

  5. Janiece Says:

    I’m a Les Mis fan, as well as Dreamgirls. I’m burnt out on My Fair Lady – we did that production in HS.

  6. Jeri Says:

    Lots of great suggestions! And so many of them I’d rather watch in the theatre rather than on DVD.

    Shawn, you’re right, completely forgot Sound of Music. Julie Andrews is the queen!

    MWT, We have both seen Cats and have the VHS, which is not nearly as good. I love the the source material for Cats too, T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Is Secret Garden a musical? I’ve seen the video… The DVD for Les Mis is very poorly reviewed, for a changed ending, but I’d like to see it live.

    Jim, I saw Oklahoma in college – along with South Pacific, another classic… it’d definitely be worth renting the DVDs.

    Nathan, I saw the Dreamgirls movie, not sure if the son has, good recommendation. We’ve seen Ray, as well as Walk the Line. (HUGE Johnny Cash fans in my house)

    Janiece, that’s pretty much how I’m feeling about Phantom of the Opera — I’ve seen it twice, heard it zillions of times, and whenever my son wants to show off his vocal range, out comes Music of the Night.

    I also forgot West Side Story, one of my favorites – we’ve all seen that.

  7. Jeri Says:

    Has anyone seen the Abba musical, Mama Mia!? It’s going to be in Seattle this spring, and I’m not sure whether to go or not.

  8. MWT Says:

    Secret Garden is a musical based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is the one I mean. Apparently there are other books, albums, musical groups, and even musicals, that all have that same name. I’ve never seen it, but it has the most beautiful male duets I’ve ever heard, in the form of “Lily’s Eyes” by Anthony Warlow and Philip Quast (which is not on the recording I linked above and I’ve not been able to find it; my copy is an MP3 from a friend).

    Oh, and another addition to the list: Mary Poppins.

  9. MWT Says:

    Of course, I should’ve checked Youtube first. ;) Here it is, though I wish the poster hadn’t cut off the end.

  10. MWT Says:

    (Hrm. Looks like my followup post somehow never made it, so here it is again…)

    Of course, I should’ve looked on Youtube first. ;) Here is the aforementioned “Lily’s Eyes.” I’m not too fond of the way it cuts off the end, but not unfond enough to actually make and upload my own. ;)

  11. Jeri Says:

    That’s really gorgeous! Thanks for the link. And if it’s based on the same story I’m thinking of, I love the story, it’s one of the few that stuck with me from lit class.