Today I’ll be talking about my current obsession with…you’ve guessed it, Musicals! Lately I’ve been obsessing over Les Misérable (if you haven’t already guessed), but it’s not the first musical I’ve been obsessed with. Oh, no, there’ve been scores of them! In this post, I’ll be talking about the last 5 musicals I’ve obsessed over, in the past. So, let’s take a look at them!
1. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat
That is a mouthful! Yes, I’ve been obsessed with this musical before, it was around the time I was still in Year 8 (when you’re about 13 – 14 years old, for those of you who don’t know the British school system). My mom kept buying or borrowing VHS tapes from the library, and playing it at home. So, I grew up with a few musicals whirling around in my head.
If you don’t know what this musical is about, it’s basically one of the earlier Old Testament stories in the Bible. There is a story about a boy named Joseph (obviously), who was given a multi-coloured coat from his father. His eleven older brothers were jealous of this favouritism, so they sold him off to some Egyptian slave owners. After a spell in work, Joseph was thrown in jail, after which, he was brought before the Pharaoh, who was told he could interpret dreams very well, and when Joseph predicted 7 years of good harvest, and 7 years of bad harvest, he was employed by the Pharaoh.
As the years went by, Joseph’s brothers found themselves starving and in need of help, and they travelled to Egypt to ask for help, and unknowingly found themselves before their brother. Of course, Joseph couldn’t forget their greed and hatred for him, so he tested them. When they passed (by begging for Benjamin’s life – their youngest brother – to be spared from death), he revealed himself to them.
I love this musical, yes it’s a bible story, but the songs are just so catchy! Not to mention, they have an element of the groovy 60’s culture. It also doesn’t hurt that in the VHS tapes that I had, Donny Osmond played Joseph, and I loved his voice back then. If you’re down to learn about the earlier stories from the Old Testament, start with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat, by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. It’s a fun-filled, kid’s version, but hey, if it gets the message across, who are we to judge.
This is another musical by Mr Lloyd-Webber, because we were an Andrew Lloyd-Webber household. Cats was one of those weird musicals that weren’t that great, but the songs were very…emotional, if you let them be. First off, my favourite cat was Bombalurina, she was feisty and just all-round fun! My second favourite was Demeter. Anyway, watching this musical (again on VHS) was a guilty pleasure of mine, because of the skin-tight suits. I know they probably would have been hot and uncomfortable after while (especially with all that make-up and fake hair), but the whole ensemble was fascinating, for me. I wanted to have one myself!
Cats is basically about the nightly adventures of…well cats…it showcases the different personalities of different cats. For example, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer are alley cats and if they can steal from you, you’ll never catch them. Rum Tum Tugger is basically the rock star of cats, he’s the bad boy and the popular cat that all the other cats are jealous of. Macavity is the “gangster” cat. If you catch him in a bad mood, you might not see the dawn. Grizabella is the old cat that used to be beautiful in her prime, but the years hadn’t been too kind to her, and now, all she’s waiting for is to go to that cat heaven in the sky.
The main reason I loved Cats was the song Memory. It’s the staple song of the musical, just as every musical has their own (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat had Close Every Door To Me). Other than that, the amazing acrobatics of the actors who played these cats were what drew me to this musical. I recommend this musical if you want to have a fun evening. It doesn’t have too much depth, but it’s good if you want to just up and dance along to the songs.
Oh! I loved Wicked when it went to see it in the theatre! In fact, I loved Kerry Ellis when she did the show! I loved her gravelly voice, and the power she had behind the song Defying Gravity. It was just a magical time! Wicked is another one of those musicals that gave every teenage girl that message of independence and self-empowerment.
Wicked is the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West, in The Wizard of Oz. According to this musical (which is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire), the witch was called Elphaba and was born green. All her life she’d been ridiculed for it and oppressed by her father, because she was that different. It was only when she went to university at Shiz (no idea why it was called Shiz), did she finally realise where she belonged. It is was while she was at university, when she was given leave to see the Wizard of Oz, with her unlikely friend Glinda (Galinda at first). When she finds out that he’d been making monkeys fly and hiding them in cages, she tries to free them and rebels against him.
Of course, no one would listen, and she has to start her own movement. Eventually, she’s seen as the enemy and she tries her best to ignore it. As the years go by, she continues to defy Oz, and when Dorothy comes around, she sort of plays into Oz’s hands and “dies”. Oh, and don’t forget, there’s also a love triangle between Glinda, Fiyero and Elphaba, that helps the plot along. It’s convoluted and really well done (unlike in some movies I know…*cough* Hunger Games *cough*).
I’d say, if you’re a teenage girl who needs that message of independence, this is the musical for you. In fact, it’s the reason why Idina Menzel was casted for Frozen, as Elsa; she sang Defying Gravity and Let It Go (which have eerily similar messages of independence). I think, if Disney could be influenced by this powerful voice, you could be too! Of course, she won’t be singing Wicked any time soon, but you could always listen to the soundtrack on iTunes!
4. The Phantom Of The Opera
Ok, no musical obsession list is a musical obsession list without this one! The very first musical I ever obsessed over was The Phantom Of The Opera. When it came out as a movie in 2004, with Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler and Patrick Wilson, I was rather sceptical about it. I was actually rather terrified when I watched it, in the cinema (I was only 10 years old at the time and the disfigured phantom was terrifying!).
The musical is about a young woman, Christine Daae, who was raised up in an opera, after she was orphaned at seven years old. She was taught how to sing by the man who lived in the basement of the opera, and was even made famous because of his vigilant efforts to get her to the stage. Of course, when she is famous, an old flame recognises her and tries to gain her affections, which sparks the phantom’s jealousy. He too is in love with Christine, and because he’s a dangerous man, everyone’s pretty much on edge. There’s a murder, a threat and an accident in this musical, and it is awesome!
Of course, I’ve never seen The Phantom Of The Opera in the theatre, myself, but I know that when I have the money and the time, I will definitely watch it, because the movie was great, the songs are awesome, and if I can play them on the piano, I will be damned before I die without seeing it in theatres!
This one is another I’d only ever seen on DVD. Rent is an awesome modern musical. The songs are bohemian and just plain awesome! Not only does it open up your mind about AIDS and HIV, but it also shows the difficulties those who have it and don’t have a good support group around them. It’s a good story, and I think is totally underrated because it’s not an epic like Les Misérable or The Phantom of the Opera.
Rent is about a group of friends who have AIDS, some of them don’t have it (such as Mark or Maureen or Joanne), but those that do, don’t have long. Roger, who seems to be the second protagonist of the musical, falls in love with his neighbour Mimi. Collins, who is a good friend of Mark and Roger, falls in love with a guy called Angel. Maureen is in love with Joanne, while Mark still pines after Maureen. In all, it’s very confusing, but there is one message in this musical. Enjoy every day you live, because you never know when it will be your last.
It is a bittersweet musical, and yes it’s based on the opera La Bohème, but I really did like this musical (not because it also starred Idina Menzel). I think, what I really liked about it was Mimi. She was wily and fun, and although she wasn’t the best of role models, she knew how to live her life. It might not have been the right way, but at least she was happy in her skin, despite being a drug addict.
I think there’s a theme here for me…Anyway, those are my top five musical obsessions, other than Les Misérable. Let me know what your favourite musicals are, if you have any. Write them in the comments below, and maybe I’ll go see it in theatres soon. I might even review them, when I do!
This is Feather, signing out!