Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Favorite Musicals: A Chronology

I went to see Les Miserables in theatres on Sunday. Besides the fact that the audience was atrocious, the movie itself was rather good. I don't really know what people are upset about, but then again this was only my second experience with Les Mis so what the hell do I know?

That being said, I have been thinking about my favorite musicals, and how they have changed over the years and I decided to do a chronology of sorts, tracking what my favorite musicals have been throughout my lifetime. Here we go!
Duration: Birth-4th grade
Highlights: We had this soundtrack on CD when I was little. I also had a music box that played "Memories". Having grown up just outside of NYC, I have seen more commercials declaring "Cats! At the Winter Garden Theatre Now and Forever" than most people. I was also devastated when that declaration stopped being true. This was the first musical I saw on Broadway.
Things I did understand: Cats lives are complicated. Don't mess with them. Jenny Any-Dots is the best cat and deserves to go to the Heavy-Side Lair. The bible stole the name Deuteronomy from the musical, not the other way around.
Things I did not understand: How anyone could want to write any other musical ever, what the hell a glamour cat was/is. Skimbleshanks is, in reality, the best cat.

The Sound of Music
Duration: 4th-6th grade
Highlights: This was the second musical I saw on Broadway. I had this movie on VHS until one of my sisters shoved a crayon in the VCR. 
Things I did understand: Austria is pretty, Julie Andrews is pretty, marionettes are funny, telegrams sound weird when read aloud, stories are cool when based on real-life.
Things I did not understand: The irony in the song "16 Going on 17", why Mary Poppins cut her hair, Nazis, how you solve a problem like Maria, and/or most of the ACTUAL plot of this movie.

Duration: 5th-6th grade (overlapping with Sound of Music)
Highlights: one of the first CDs I ever bought was the soundtrack to this movie. I ALSO had this on VHS and watched it obsessively with my little sister who was two at the time. Eventually this turned out to be a bad move, as she quoted it loudly in church, declaring "TELL ME ABOUT IT, STUD" during a quiet moment. 
Alright, fine. It was a great move.
Things I did understand: Frenchie looks better with pink hair, Sandy looks better in leather/spandex, all prom dresses in the 50s were amazing, smoking is bad for your shoes.
Things I did not understand: How John Travolta hits that note in "Summer Lovin", what Rizzo and Kinickey were doing in the backseat of his car, how and/or why the car flies off at the end of the movie.
Things I still don't understand: Why there is a sequel to this movie, how John Travolta hits that note in "Summer Lovin'".

Duration: 8th-11th grade
Highlights: I still remember very clearly the first time I ever listened to this soundtrack. I was supposed to be doing math homework but was instead mesmerized by the story unfolding. The first time I realized Mimi dies, I was sitting in the car on a trip to Jersey, trying not to cry. I was irrationally defensive of this musical for a long time, and spent most of high school turning random assignments into mini projects about RENT. The one I am most proud of is a chem project where we had to research a medicine and explain how it works, and I chose AZT. When the movie came out, the TRAILER made me cry.
Things I did not understand: Growing up to be a starving artist is not ideal, and everything really is RENT.
Things I did understand: All the words to "La Vie Boheme".

Duration: 11th grade-freshman year of college
Highlights: I called this musical's popularity before it even opened. I saw Idina Menzel perform "The Wizard and I" at Broadway on Broadway (You know...on the television. Not in person) and KNEW this was going to be a massive hit. No one believed me except Sara Defelice. My first trip into the city without my parents was to see this play with Sarah Gilleski. It was Kristen Chenowith's last performance (and Ali's birthday. whoops.)
Things I did understand: Everything about this musical is perfect.
Things I did not understand: Why anyone besides Kristen Chenowith would ever perform the role of Galinda, why people are STILL so damn obsessed with this show.

The Last Five Years
Duration: Freshman year of college-present day.
Highlights: Sarah Murray introduced this show to me. It's probably why we're friends. It also probably holds the record for "soundtrack I have looped continuously the most times without taking a break". At one point my "Played" count on iTunes was over 200...and I think that was over the course of a couple months. My roommates hated this musical, and knew the words almost as well as I did.
Things I did/do understand: Jason Robert Brown is nothing short of genius, why this show closed in three months (watch the original production. It was...really just bad.).
Things I still don't, and probably never will understand: Shmuel.

I'm sure this explains something about why I am the way I am, or at least draws attention to how many people I know who are named Sara/h

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