This is a bit off beat for me, excuse the pun but it’s meant to be a cheerful post as I’m in a good mood. It’s Friday evening, this time next week our summer holidays will be starting. It’s hard not to get a spring in your step about that. I was mulling about musical theatre for no good reason lately and decided to try to think of my favourite show tunes of all time.
I’m actually not a great fan of musical theatre for the sake of itself and haven’t been to many stage shows. I’m really thinking of movie musicals here and the reason I’m going down this route is that we all love a feel good film. We all love to sing and dance when the mood takes us and I’m going to ‘show’ here what I consider to be the five key moments of movie musicals in my life. I’m allowed to because this is my blog. You can make all the comments you like at the end of it about what you felt was a better show tune and please do. Music is a personal journey.
So, to begin, Lets start at the start, these actually are in no particular order really except the last, which is the best, saving the best till last is a time-honoured tradition and I am a traditionalist.
This track was my favourite one from this film. The South Pacific was the very first stage show I ever went to. My mum took me to the town hall in Dannevirke in New Zealand to see the local dramatic society put this together. I remember it very well but I’m confident the movie version might have been somewhat better, no disrespect to the Dannevirke players or what ever they called themselves.
Next up is from the musical interpretation of the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. 1st written in 1912. The Pygmalion play became a film which became a stage show called My Fair Lady and the first stage version was in 1956 on Broadway with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews. The one we all know and love though is the film also starring Rex Harrison but now we had the irreplaceable Audrey Hepburn playing the role of Eliza Doolittle. Only problem was that Audrey wasn’t much of singer so her singing parts were dubbed by Marni Nixon. It doesn’t matter though because this, my favourite song from the film, was loverly!
I lived in the back blocks of nowhere in New Zealand and had no idea whatsoever what went on out in the world. I’d seen some films of course but nothing really touched my consciousness about what a quiet ordinary life we led like this film. I remember seeing all the amazing glamorous people, the super cool Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. It was really this film that started to make me dream about getting out into the world one day and doing something cool and amazing. I’m still getting around to that but at least I own a tuxedo now. I call it a dinner suit though.
Second to last. This was the best track in my view of the best version of this story. This was the first LP I ever owned. I heard the music long before I saw the film. It was also the only other stage show I was taken to as a child, again in Dannevirke. This needs no other introduction, consider yourself told.
Finally, what I consider to be the greatest musical of them all. Amazing from start to finish. The long prologue laying down the conflict between the Sharks and the Jets. West Side Story is more of a tragedy than an uplifting tale. It was effectively a modern-day interpretation of the Romeo and Juliet story. When I say modern-day, the film had its 50th anniversary just a week after my birthday last year. West Side Story won 10 academy awards from the 11 categories in which it was nominated. This is the best bit though. I’ve chosen a clip with some build up to easily my favourite performance in a movie musical ever. It actually gives me goose bumps a little bit every single time I watch it.
So that’s it. The next time you hear from me I will have been loafing for a couple of weeks in France. Enjoy the tunes though and if you haven’t seen the films. See them, they will make your life a little bit more enriched. Enjoy