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 have 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 😉
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. Oliver – lots of great tunes and dancing – had so much fun doing this show, but still waiting to play Nancy 😉
4. 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. Kiss Me Kate – Shakespeare and musical theatre – just doesn’t get any better 😉 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. 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” 😉 and I can’t watch Gene Kelly singing the title song now without thinking of either Morecambe & Wise or Paddington!!
1. 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 😉 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. 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 😉 ) Yes I blub pretty much for 3 hours, but it’s definitely worth it!
4. 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 😉 Most famous song from it is “This is the moment” – very uplifting and inspiring song 😉
3. 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. Wicked – the untold story of the Wizard of Oz. Truly spell-binding, brilliant and wonderful and yes I cried at the end!
1. Avenue Q – Sesame Street for grown-ups. Totally brilliant concept, the most non-pc show you will ever, ever see. I first heard a song from this years before it came to London, and I bought the CD and fell in love with it. 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 😉 )