Tag Archives: musical theatre

What are my Top 5 Favourite Musicals?

Mmm, trying to pick my favourite musical is really difficult – it’s like trying to pick the Grand National winner!

As a complete “jazz hands – musical theatre” girl my favourite musical could be one of the one’s I’ve had the lead in, or depending on my mood which songs I feel like belting out, or even simply what I have in my car at that time (which actually today is Thoroughly Modern Millie!)

I love the old-style musicals from the 1940s and 1950s, but there’s also some brilliant modern ones, so I think I’d have to haveΒ two Top 5 categories. One pre-1970 and one post-1970.

OK. Let’s start pre-1970 – which means I get to choose from all those fabulous golden era MGM classics and others πŸ˜‰

Oh my goodness, this is so difficult – I love them all for so many different reasons, and there’s so many good songs to belt out – but if I had to pick just 5 they would be:

5.Β  Oliver – lots of great tunes and dancing – had so much fun doing this show, but still waiting to play Nancy πŸ˜‰
4.Β  Carousel – how could I not pick this one. Probably one of the very first musicals I ever watched, I always wanted to play Louise because she gets to do some amazing dancing. And yes, I can’t watch it without blubbing big time at the end.
3.Β  Kiss Me Kate – Shakespeare and musical theatre – just doesn’t get any better πŸ˜‰ Also contains one of my favourite lines “hope you don’t mind the legs” – always wanted to tap dance on a table like Ann Miller!!!
2.Β  Singin’ in the Rain – again one of my earliest memories watching this fabulous film. Love Gene Kelly – what a dancer – although my favourite bit is when they’re at the 1st screening of their 1st talking picture and the sound goes out of synch – cue best song in the show “Good Morning” πŸ˜‰ and I can’t watch Gene Kelly singing the title song now without thinking of either Morecambe & Wise or Paddington!!
1.Β  Guys & Dolls – why? Just clinching it because it was the 1st musical I ever did. I was 15 years old and a Hot Box dancer and vowed that one day I would play Miss Adelaide … and I did πŸ˜‰Β One of my dream roles. She was so much fun to play. The film is not amazing, but the musical numbers and the presence of Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando (swoon) makes up for it.

Almost made it, but not quite, they’d probably be 5 and 6 – West Side Story (Had to. Again Shakespeare and musical theatre, plus Anita was the first lead I ever got) and My Fair Lady (this time Shaw meets musical theatre with the lovely Audrey Hepburn and some fabulous frocks darling!)

Post 1970, now that’s a tall order. Musicals seem to have come round full circle. There was a bit of a dry patch but some of the shows on stage today are simply phenomenal.

This could be as hard as pre-1970 – so many great shows, but I think most of my top 5 are fairly recent additions to the musical world.

5.Β  Les Miserables – obvious choice? Yes. But how could it not feature. I saw it about 5 times in London and did one of the 1st masterclasses, where I got to walk on the stage and the revolve (That was so difficult, but now I can successfully negotiate escalators and travelators πŸ˜‰ )Β  Yes I blub pretty much for 3 hours, but it’s definitely worth it!
4.Β  Jekyll & Hyde – WOW! Amazing music, bit of a dark story, but totally mesmerising and more importantly some cracking songs I can belt out when I’m in a stressy place and they instantly make me release those bad emotions and come back to my happy place πŸ˜‰ Most famous song from it is “This is the moment” – very uplifting and inspiring song πŸ˜‰
3.Β  Hairspray – a major league feel-good show, both on stage and the film. You can’t help but dance or come away feeling great. The musical was adapted from the 1980s John Waters rom-com musical film starring Rikki Lake as Tracy Turnblad, Divine, Debbie Harry and Sonny Bono!!!

Sorry, couldn’t choose between these 2, so they get joint first place:

1.Β  Wicked – the untold story of the Wizard of Oz. Truly spell-binding, brilliant and wonderful and yes I cried at the end!
1.Β  Avenue Q – Sesame Street for grown-ups.Β  Totally brilliant concept, the most non-pc show you will ever, ever see.Β  I first heard a song from this years before it came to London, and I bought the CD and fell in love with it.Β  When I finally got to see it in the West End, I got to meet the creators as well – major bonus. And from Avenue Q one of the creators went on to write the music for a little known Disney film called Frozen!!!

So many I could have chosen, but didn’t. Clearly Spamalot, Priscilla and Rocky Horror are all brilliant, but I think my only “sorry you didn’t make it into the Top 5” nod is to a little known musical called Wonderland.

It has never been to the West End and only had a brief run off-Broadway, but it is amazing. Written by the same man responsible for Jekyll & Hyde, Frank Wildhorn. It’s basically a musical of Alice in Wonderland and there are some great numbers, I think my favourite is “One Knight” a song in the style of a boy band sung by Jack who just wants to be Alice’s knight in shining armour (everyone needs a “Jack” I think πŸ˜‰ )

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10 Things I Want to do in 2014

Now, let me state from the outset this is not a list of New Year Resolutions.

It is just a list of things I would like to do during the coming year – some off the bucket list, some not.

So , here goes, in no particular order:

  1. Read Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” – I’m up to Chapter 5, still another 98% to go according to the Kindle.
  2. Learn to speak Spanish – so I can understand and answer back. I’ve already bought a ‘speak-a-long’ CD which is pretty good, so I’m hoping to finish that and practice with some of the mums at school – who, thankfully just happen to speak Spanish πŸ˜‰
  3. Learn to play the piano – at least learn how to read to the left hand line of music and know where the notes go and bash out a simple tune.
  4. Take a singing exam – just for fun.
  5. Learn to knit and actually knit something!
  6. Go and see Mamma Mia – dressing up optional πŸ˜‰
  7. Try and do one of my exercise DVDs every day – yes, this might actually be straying into resolution territory, but I have some 10 minute workout DVD’s which are great and I am sure I can squeeze 10 minutes in a day … somewhere πŸ˜‰ Need to work on my core strength – at the moment it sucks and a better core will help my posture in ballroom – apparently πŸ˜‰ It might also tilt my pelvis back into its proper alignment – miracles do happen!
  8. Train my chimp so I can actually get things done as opposed to constantly doubting myself and my ability and end up doing nothing.
  9. Make and try a different soup each week. It is one of the few ways I can get SC to eat vegetables, and I’m a little tired of mud soup. I have just bought myself the Covent Garden Soup Company “365 Soups” book, so there should be some I can try πŸ˜‰ Looking at maple roasted parsnip soup for next week, or I might try brussel sprout soup πŸ˜‰
  10. Start writing my book – long shot one. I have a couple of good ideas, I just need to put them into some sort of coherent structure and plan it.

So, there you have it. 10 things I would like to get around to doing in 2014. Hopefully 75% of them are achievable and I will keep you updated of progress made.

What would you like to do next year?

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Les Miserables

Having seen the stage show in London several times, I was desperate to see the newly released film of the smash hit ‘Les Miserables’.les mis

And see it I did on Friday – and boy it did not disappoint. I loved every single second of it and blubbed like a baby – I would have been sobbing uncontrollably had it not been for the fact I was in a cinema and was trying to retain some semblance of composure. I will definitely be buying the DVD, then I can sit in the comfort of the house, safe in the knowledge no one is around and have a good old sob.

If anyone hasn’t ever seen the show, film or even heard of the show don’t read this paragraph! It’s not called The Glums for nothing – after all pretty much everyone dies, and yes a minor French Revolution might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s pretty much secondary to the main thread of the story which is basically about relationships between people. (I’ve got the novel by Victor Hugo, had it for years, just haven’t attempted to read it yet – it’s rather large!)

There have been some critics knocking some of the performances, but I have to say I didn’t think there was one weak link from the main stars right the way down to the ‘chorus’ – after all the show itself is an ensemble piece.

Russell Crowe was actually very good – he can hold a tune (which always helps in musicals) and although some would say he wasn’t as strong as the others, I would counter-act that argument to say that he made up for any weakness in terms of acting the song – and I did cry when his character died!

And the other surprise for me was Eddie Redmayne! The only thing I have ever seen him in was Birdsong on the television and I wasn’t that impressed – he seemed to just pout a lot and look pretty, and I couldn’t actually ever understand what he was saying as he mumbled his way through the script. However, he has a very powerful singing voice and totally blew me away.

There was one part in the movie that I defy anyone not to be moved at and that is after the battle and all the dead students are laid out, Russell Crowe’s character is walking along looking for Valjean and he stops at the little boy, ‘Gavroche’ (a little street urchin of about 10), who has been killed. Russell Crowe takes a medal off his chest and pins it onto the body of Gavroche – that got me!

For those of you that are sitting there thinking, “Urgh! can’t think of anything worse 2Β½ hours of singing! I hate musical theatre!” – STOP! Yes, it is musical theatre, but there are no jazz hands, cheesy smiles and dance routines. It is a very powerful piece of theatre (& cinematography). It is moving, uplifting and inspiring all at once – and I have seen grown men cry in the theatre at it!

If you haven’t seen the film – try to see it.

I will be eagerly awaiting the release of the DVD, in the meantime having had the songs spinning round my head since Friday I think I’m going to dig out the CD and have a sing-a-longy in the car tomorrow on the school run πŸ˜‰

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Bucket List – #2 & #24

Very exciting week on the bucket list front.

Have managed to get the lead in the next am-dram musical – yay me! So, that’s another notch on number 2 πŸ˜‰

Obviously I have to duck all the compulsory dagger throwing from people who didn’t get the part for the next few months, but it’s going to be so much funΒ  and I’m very excited πŸ˜‰

I worked really hard (probably the hardest I’ve ever done in my life) for this audition. I knew I would be fine with the acting and dancing, but the singing part has always been my weakest area, and one of the songs I needed to hit squarely and start in my belt voice otherwise it would all have gone horribly wrong. I spent the weeks leading up to audition have seven shades of panic about this song and then I had a Eureka! moment, or rather found the most wonderful advice and it worked.

When it came for me to stand up and audition I was confident and for once sang the best I ever have in an audition situation. Literally I could not have sung any better had I tried. I walked away feeling fantastic – and knowing that I couldn’t control the outcome knew I had done my best.

When I found out I had got the part I was over the moon – and SC was made up for me too πŸ˜‰

And the next bucket list task in progress is learning to swing on a trapeze. I have found a static trapeze class and am going to go in the next fortnight with a couple of mums from school. I shall let you know what it is like. We’re all very excited about it πŸ˜‰

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Top 5 Musical Theatre Tunes…

… that I love to belt out to make me feel stronger in myselfΒ πŸ˜‰

  • Maybe This Time – from Cabaret
  • I’m the Greatest Star – from Funny Girl
  • There Are Worse Things I Could Do – from Grease
  • A New Life – from Jekyll & Hyde
  • There’s a Fine, Fine Line – from Avenue Q

Obviously that’s not a finite list – there are so many great songs out there – anything goes on my sing-a-long list πŸ˜‰

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