Sunday, February 20, 2011

{10} Reasons Why I Love Musicals

I love musicals. So here is something that I should have done long ago: a whole post dedicated to their splashy Technicolor, black and white elegance,
all talking,
all singing,
and all dancing goodness.

(I find it necessary to insert this quote from my very favorite musical here: "It'll be a sensation! 'Lamont and Lockwood: they talk!'" "Well, of course we talk. Don't everybody?")

With two notable exceptions (West Side Story and Oklahoma!), I haven't met a musical that I didn't like. And I have watched many musicals over the past few years of my classic movie obsessiveness.

I think that we would all enjoy life a lot more if sometimes we pretended we were living in a musical. Go ahead and break out in song every once in a while (just try and make sure the song you're singing is slightly relevant to the situation). Ignore the stares (I can't sing so I'm not brave enough to do this yet :). When it's raining, twirl your umbrella a little and hum like Gene Kelly. Splash in a few puddles.

So, here is my list of reasons why I love musicals so much:

1. Musicals can be elegant. Seriously, when I hear that word, I instantly think of Fred Astaire, in his top hat and tails, and Ginger Rogers, in a gorgeous dress that is either silky, feathery, or both. Could there be anything more elegant than a 30s black and white Astaire/Rogers musical?

{Movie: The Gay Divorcee?}

2. Musicals can be a little tacky. When I first started watching Technicolor musicals, I could hardly focus on the songs or plot because of the bright, eye-burning colors of everything. :) Thankfully, I have adjusted and now I adore the tackiness of splashy Technicolor. The best example is probably the beautifully colored shirts of the seven brothers at the barn dance.

{Movie: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers}

3. Musicals can be weird. Most musicals have at least one song, dance number, or scene that is a little strange. When you watch the musical over and over, you adjust to the weirdness, and it just becomes another part of the movie to you. But when you watch the movie with someone else who's never seen it before, they may have a harder time accepting it. :) I always thought that the "Prehistoric Man" song and dance in On the Town was a little odd. There's also the "Heavenly Music" song in Summer Stock, which involves Gene Kelly and Phil Silvers as hillbillies in oversized overalls, ugly wigs, and huge fake feet. Yeah.

{Movie: On the Town}

4. The plot of a musical can be clever and creative. Some musicals have really interesting, realistic plots and songs that actually fit properly into the plot. Like Singin' in the Rain, which is about the awkward transition from silent films to talkies (random fact: my informative speech in public speaking class is going to be on this topic :). Or Fiddler on the Roof, about the life of a Jewish family in Russia.

{Movie: Fiddler on the Roof}

5. The plot of a musical can be nonexistent or weak. I know this hardly seems like a reason to like a musical. :) Sometimes musicals have very similar or familiar plots. But sometimes you just like to watch something that is fun, with great songs, and not have to worry with a serious plot, right?

{Movie: Summer Stock}

6. Musicals can be extravagant and over the top. Musicals always force you to suspend your disbelief. But that's okay. That's why they were so popular during the war years and other tough times in history- they provide a sort of happy escape. Believe that Jane Powell's character in SBSB would agree to marry a man only minutes after meeting him. Believe that a small Scottish town called Brigadoon only appears once every hundred years. These things are allowed to happen in musicals! :) And where else can you find song and dance sequences that last up to 15 or 16 minutes long?

{Movie: Girl Crazy}

7. The songs in musicals are memorable. (Most of the time.) Sometimes you may not remember a certain scene or quote from a movie. But songs from musicals often get stuck in your head. And since you remember the song, you also remember the characters and story line that were involved. Plus, you can listen to the musical soundtrack while you're doing other things, if you don't have time to watch the movie itself.

{Movie: In the Good Old Summertime}

8. The leading man in a musical can be super-romantic and say things that guys in real life can't say (unless they want to be laughed at). Here is how Gene Kelly's character explains it in Summer Stock:

"We're trying to tell a story with music, and song, and dance. Well, not just with words. For instance, if the boy tells the girl that he loves her, he just doesn't say it. He sings it."

"Why doesn't he just say it?"

"Why?" Oh, I don't know. But it's kind of nice."

I have heard leading men say things, or sing things, in musicals, that would sound cheesy in real life, or even in any other kind of movie. But somehow, in musicals, it works. :)

{Movie: Anchors Aweigh}

9. Musicals usually involve dancing. And I love dancing. Let me rephrase that: I love to watch other people dance. Dancers in musicals make it look so simple and fun that I almost want to try. (This is also why I'm fascinated with Dancing with the Stars.) I'm in awe of people who can dance.

{Movie: Singin' in the Rain}

10. Happily ever afters. I believe that every single musical I have seen has an optimistic, hopeful ending. (Even West Side Story, to a certain extent.) And I like that.

{Movie: The Sound of Music}

During the time I was planning/writing this post, I was sad to hear that Betty Garrett had died, at the age of 91. She was a musical star at MGM and on Broadway (among other things), and I mostly know her as the lady cab driver who fervently pursues Frank Sinatra's character in On the Town. :)

P.S. My favorite musical of all time is Singin' in the Rain. My favorite musical actors are Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. For a list of most of my favorite musicals, you can look under the musical heading here. For more posts about musicals, click here.



Until next time,

3 comments:

  1. What about The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables? Usually people only think of all of the above when they think of musicals. However, "musical" does not always and only mean a movie where people randomly break out in dance and song.
    Going TO a theatre to see a musical is epic. Yay for West End and Broadway plays!!!!

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  2. Great post! I love musicals also. I'm always watching them. You mentioned a few of my favorites. I also love Meet Me In St. Louis, The Wizard of Oz, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Royal Wedding and many more. =]

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  3. This post made me smile so much because you pretty much took the words right out my mouth, literally word for word! I seriously, honestly, truly, wish my life was a musical. It would just be so wonderful! we also agree on musicals we don't like, West Side Story and Oklahoma! My favorite musicals are also Singin in the Rain and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Also, I've hardly met anyone he's even heard of Summer Stock let alone seen it! :) I'm so glad I found this post, it just brightened my day to know there is someone else out there with the same thoughts and daydreams as myself.

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