In any movie, a great musical score can fill your heart and your soul with feelings that you might not have thought possible. It can excite you, sadden you, and light a fire in you. Most movies use music to enhance scenes but a small percentage of movies that come out use music as a main focus of the movie along with dancing and dialogue. Some of my favorite musicals include Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Annie but today I will focus on what I think are the top 5 musicals of all times.
The remake of Hairspray, this 2007 version starred a who’s who of talent including Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Zac Efron, just to name a few. This musical does a wonderful job of making sure that the songs are campy and fun and match the comedy. A lot of people have an issue with this movie because they think that it does not take a serious look at the social statements that they deal with in the movie, including segregation, interracial relationships, and obesity, amongst others. I think people forget that this is meant to be a fun, light, comedy and not a serious movie. I like both versions of Hairspray but this one overall explains a lot of things a little bit better than the original and we get to see some amazing and fun performances. This movie certainly surpasses most expectations, with its wonderful humor both in and out of song.
Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and the amazing Jennifer Hudson star in this movie about a girl group struggling to make a name for their selves in mainstream music during a time when it was nearly impossible to be accepted if you were not the right race. The story which focuses heavily on the lives of these young starlets makes an impact within your heart. I love the character of Effie White, played by Jennifer Hudson. Her voice is so powerful and every word she sings during the entire film makes you feel it. The movie starts out at one peak and continues to rise with little slowing down. The music is powerful and sometimes energetic, and you cannot deny that Eddie Murphy shines as the very electrifying Jimmy Murphy. The music accents this movie perfectly and the entire cast makes you completely feel everything they are trying to convey with the songs.
Grease had so many hit songs’ that were extremely difficult to not sing too. I think this is one of those musicals that capture’s a particular time and generation very well. John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, and the always amazing Stockard Channing as Rizzo star in this fantastic musical romp. The good girl Sandy played by Newton-John and the bad boy Danny played by Travolta hook up over the summer and then part company only for her to show up at his high school and turn his world upside down. Like a good share of musicals, sometimes the music can become corny but it is always fun and extremely catchy.
2. The Sound of Music
Recently I bought The Sound of Music, which I had not previously owned. My daughter who loves to sing found it on television one day and fell in love with it. I am not certain why I had never owned it prior to this seeing I had always enjoyed it as a young girl. The Von Trapp family, under the strict regime of their father, Captain Von Trapp played by Christopher Plummer learns to open their hearts and sing thanks to a young woman named Maria played by Julie Andrews. Any musician who has been taught knows that Do-Re-Mi is not just a song from this musical but a solfege, a technique used for sight-singing. This is a perfect example of an amazing musical and it sets a pretty high standard for those trying to fallow in its footsteps.
1. Rocky Horror Picture Show
If you have not seen this cult classic, you should, at least once to say that you have. I have always wanted to attend one of the screenings of it when the audience actually participates, I can hear the singing, see the movements, and the costumes in my head and it excites the musical lover in me. If Sound of Music sets the standard of what a musical is, this one spits on it and then beats it down until it’s crying in a corner. Wild dances, Corny songs, and Tim Curry dressed up in ladies lingerie. “Don’t dream it, be it,” that is the mantra of this movie. This movie accomplishes something in its music, its odd dancing, campy dialogue, and over the type look that very few other musicals have. What it accomplished was getting its message across to those that see it; those people that embrace the mantra and except everyone for who they are, no matter what they believe in. That is why this movie, tops my list of Top 5 Musicals.