Monday, June 8, 2015

30 Day Challenges Day 18 - 10 Musicals I Love to Sing Along With

I've had musicals on the mind lately, so today's post will be musicals that I would watch any time, screen, stage, any opportunity I have. I've linked to the Wikipedia articles on all of them. Sorry this is up a bit late, someone called out today, so I had no time to finish this at work. 

1. The Pirates of Penzance

I already posted about this one in movies I can watch over and over. I've seen it on stage twice; once in Statford, Ontario, Canada and once in Bloomington, Indiana, USA. Both were excellent performances. I have the soundtrack of the Broadway performance and I inflict it on unsuspecting co-workers.

The hilarious plight of Frederic as he leaves his apprenticeship with the pirates is a great tale. I think my favourite song is "With cat-like tread upon our foes we steal" which is sung at full volume. That still makes me laugh every time. 

Wikipedia:The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic soon learns, however, that he was born on 29 February, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year. Hisindenture specifies that he remain apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday and that he must serve for another 63 years.[2] Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic's only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.

2. The Evil Dead Musical

I saw this one live at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal. If you like the movies, you will love this musical. If you have a sense of humour and aren't easily offended you will also love this musical. 

It combines aspects of Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. Evil Dead II is a remake of Evil Dead with a slightly different story line, but the same basic plot. My favourite song from this one is extremely catchy, "All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Kandarian Demons"

Wikipedia: Five college students spend the weekend in an abandoned cabin in the woods, accidentally unleashing an evil terror. In this comedic take on the 1980s horror franchise, characters and demons sing and dance to songs written specifically for the musical. And, as in the films, Ash is there to dish out his various one-liners and fight the neverending demons.

3. The Sound of Music

I don't think this one needs much introduction. :) I've never seen the entire musical live, just a few numbers here and there. The movie I could watch forever though. My favourite song has changed through the years. When I was younger I loved "Lonely Goatherd" but now that I'm older I prefer "Something Good". That was written for the movie and wasn't in the original musical numbers. 

4. The Music Man

This musical seemed to be on TV a lot when I was younger and I've always loved watching it. I don't think it's as well known as The Sound of Music, but I like it better. I can't really pick a favourite song now since I like all of them. When I was a kid it was "Shipoopi". 

It's possible this musical was one reason why I joined the band in high school. :) 

Wikipedia:The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys' band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to the naive Iowa townsfolk, promising to train the members of the new band. But Harold is no musician and plans to skip town without giving any music lessons. Prim librarian and piano teacher Marian sees through him, but when Harold helps her younger brother overcome his lisp and social awkwardness, Marian begins to fall in love. Harold risks being caught to win her.

5. Les Misérables

My dad bought the double CD album and we listened to that on so many road trips. I didn't see the show live until I was in high school and that was an elementary school production. I saw my favourite vocalist, Colm Wilkinson, in the show in Toronto, Ontario, Canada maybe 15 years ago or so. That was unbelievable. The 25th anniversary show from 2010 was streaming online for a while and if you get a chance to watch it, wow.. it's amazing! It's not really a production of the show though, so if you've never seen it I would recommend that first. 

I haven't seen the movie from a few years ago, if anyone has, please let me know if you enjoyed it. 

Wikipedia:Set in early 19th-century France, it is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his quest for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his sister's starving child. Valjean decides to break his parole and start his life anew after a kindly bishop inspires him by a tremendous act of mercy, but he is relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into arevolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling

If you only ever watch one episode of Buffy, this is the one to watch. I love the songs, and the plot of the episode and how everything gets all confused when everyone bursts into song about the slightest thing. I think my favourite song is "Walk Through the Fire". It's hard to say because there are so many good ones. 

Wikipedia:"Once More, with Feeling" explores changes in the relationships of the main characters, using the plot device that a demon—credited as "Sweet" but unnamed in the episode—compels the people of Sunnydale to break into song at random moments to express hidden truths. The title of the episode comes from a line sung by Sweet; once the characters have revealed their truths and face the consequences of hearing each other's secrets, he challenges them to "say you're happy now, once more, with feeling".

7. The Phantom of the Opera

This is another musical I feel like I grew up on. It was shown in Toronto, Ontario when I was finishing up elementary school and Colm Wilkinson played the Phantom. Wow... what a show! This feels much more dramatic than some of my other choices which all had a little humour in them. There's not really a feeling of humour in this one, it feels more intense to me. 

I learned to play a lot of the score on the piano back when I took piano lessons. My favourite song is "All I Ask of You". I played that one a lot on the piano and still like it. 

8. Into the Woods

I was introduced to this musical by my best friend at school. It happened to be playing the same season as Pirates, so she took me to see her favourite musical, and I took her to see mine. I really enjoyed that production, and I watched the video of the original Broadway production shortly after that. That was awesome! I love how Sondheim took some of the darker aspects of the fairy tales and kept them in this production where they're often glossed over in modern re-tellings. 

I recently watched the Disney adaptation and I was very underwhelmed. I should have expected it since I didn't really like Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia either. It was also shorter and left out one of my favourite songs, "Agony(reprise" that tells of the princes growing bored with Cinderella and Rapunzel and going off to seek Snow White and Sleeping Beauty even though one has a pathological fear of dwarves and the other is afraid of blood (thorns).

Wikipedia:The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from "Little Red Riding Hood", "Jack and the Beanstalk", "Rapunzel", and "Cinderella", as well as several others. The musical is tied together by an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.

9. Spamalot

DH surprised me with tickets on my 30th birthday to the Broadway show. What a spectacle! It was amazing and hilarious and more than I could ever have imagined on a musical based on my favourite Monty Python movie. I've always been a fantasy fan and the Arthurian legend was always interesting when I was a kid. The parody you get with Monty Python is spine-splitting and even made my dad laugh when we saw it in Las Vegas. He likes to pretend he's "seen it all". 

I saw the show with Harry Groener as Arthur instead of Tim Curry who opened the show. That was too bad, but the cast recording has Tim Curry so that's almost as good. My favourite song is "All Alone" that King Arthur sings while surrounded by his squire Patsy and his knights. "I'm all alone" - KA "Oh, no you're not" - Patsy etc. 

10. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

My dad introduced me to the film of this musical. It's awesome. If you enjoy slapstick and suspending your disbelief, this is a great show to watch. It's extremely well-acted and there's a lot of wonderful songs and moments. I love that they have Buster Keaton in this show, even in a minor role. 

Phil Silvers is a marvelous panderer and Zero Mostel steals the show in every scene. 

Wikipedia:Inspired by the farces of the ancient Roman playwright Plautus (251–183 BC), specifically PseudolusMiles Gloriosus and Mostellaria, the musical tells the bawdy story of a slave named Pseudolus and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door. The plot displays many classic elements of farce, including puns, the slamming of doors, cases of mistaken identity (frequently involving characters disguising themselves as one another), and satirical comments on social class. The title derives from the line that vaudevillecomedians often used to begin a story: "A funny thing happened on the way to the theater".


  1. Great choices, Tiffany :-) Les Mis is one of my favorites; I saw it on the small stage in Orlando some years ago and have seen the latest movie release several times. It's very good, but nothing compares to seeing it live.

    1. Thanks, and thanks for letting me know. I'll try and catch it next time it's streaming.

  2. Ooh! I love this post :) I have actually only seen about three of those listed and so would add...erm...Wicked and my all time favourite EVER! Seven brides for seven brothers, lol.

    1. I've never seen either. :) I'll have to add them to my watch list.

  3. (Can you tell I'm working backwards :)) I adore musicals and have seen a fair few on the stage, I don't know what my top choice would be, but Wicked, The Lion King and Mary Poppins would be up there as well as The Return to the Forbidden Planet and Little Shop of Horrors if you're talking film versions!

    1. I've never seen The Return to the Forbidden Planet, thanks for the info.


Thanks for any comments!

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