Merry Samhain and Happy Halloween everyone! I love this day of the year, it’s so steeped in magic and the unknown that it just makes me feel all tingly and powerful inside for some reason. Maybe it’s my Irish/Celtic heritage kicking into overdrive, or perhaps I just have a wildly active imagination, but whatever the reason, I just adore today! The costumes, the food, the candy, the bright colors, it makes me giddy thinking about it all. Oddly enough though, I don’t really feel like doing a Samhain/Halloween blog or anything today (possibly because I’ve done a few autumn-themed blogs already) but I’ve had music and musicals on the brain lately so I think a music rant/list/blog thing is in order.
(Just to forewarn everyone: I’m a bit of a List nut, I don’t know why but I love making lists for everything, so there will probably be more of them in this blog’s future!)
So here we go:
MOONSTONEMAIDEN’S LIST OF ALL-TIME FAVORITE MUSICALS EVER
These are in no particular order of affection because I find it way too hard to pick just one of them as my favorite and then start delegating second/third/etc. place to the others because they’re all just so amazing!
1) Les Miserables– I only recently (like six or seven months ago) discovered this musical for myself and have since fallen HEAD OVER HEELS in love with it! (And have since driven everyone I know crazy by talking about it so much and playing the music constantly, but really the sooner they succumb to the charms of Les Mis, the sooner their lives will be that much more complete.) I remember a few years back hearing it in a friend’s car and having her explain to me what was happening but I found it all very confusing and I didn’t think anything of it afterward; it didn’t sound all that special to me. How wrong I was. Eponine has quickly become my new favorite (musical) character of the moment, everything she sings just makes my heart wrench with understanding (I’m talking Lea Salonga and Samantha Barks rendition of ‘Eponine’ here). The music is just so powerful and sweeping and emotional, I love it! I want drama, I want theatrics and big musical numbers I can belt to and lose myself in and Les Mis certainly delivers. And I cannot wait to see the movie in December! Favorite Songs: On My Own, Red and Black, One Day More, Empty Chairs At Empty Tables…and the list goes on and on!
2) The Phantom of the Opera– LOVE. There is just no describing how much I adore this fantastic musical, the drama, the passion, the romance, the MUSIC! My heart swells with joy and a slight tingle of fear every time the Overture begins and in moments I am swept away into a glittering underworld of Paris theater intrigue. The Phantom is hands down my favorite guy in a musical; he’s just larger than life and dripping with emotion and sexual tension. It’s no contest between the Phantom and Raoul for me; I’m a Phantom fan all the way! I love the movie (it was my first intro to the musical) and recently discovered the 25th Anniversary Concert and have fallen in love all over again (the Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess version). Favorite Songs: The Phantom of the Opera (obviously), Twisted Every Way, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, The Point Of No Return, and Down Once More.
3) Love Never Dies– The sequel to The Phantom of the Opera and just amazing on its own. I was nervous at first at the thought of a follow-up to the POTO, and was not convinced at first that I liked the new music but it has quickly won me over. I won’t give away any details concerning plot here, but if you’re a Phantom fan and haven’t heard/seen LND then scurry on over to Wikipedia or Youtube and check it out! Though I forewarn you: if you like the ending of the Phantom of the Opera and have no desire to see anything change at all, this may not be a musical for you. Love Never Dies has one of the most beautiful scores I have ever heard in my life, it’s just…gorgeous and the songs are brilliant as well. Favorite Songs: ‘Til I Hear You Sing, Beneath A Moonless Sky, Devil Take The Hindmost (and reprise).
4) RENT- This one is an oddball for me. I love it but it makes no sense for me to (there’s no fantasy elements, hardly any happy moments, and it’s set close enough to the present to make me lose any interest whatsoever) but somehow I’ve come to adore this melancholy musical. The music is heartfelt and powerful enough to bring tears to my eyes every time I hear certain songs and the story just breaks my heart. I will admit that I’ve only ever seen the movie with regards to RENT, but I’ve heard that it was a very good interpretation of the original work. There’s just something about singing my heart out to these songs that makes my world seem like a better place for a while. (My mom on the other hand, downright LOATHES this musical, I don’t actually know why, but I find her response amusing. Whenever it’s on she starts huffing angrily under breath and asking “Is THAT the last song…WHAT?! WHAT MORE COULD THEY SING ABOUT?! I’ve only gotten her to actually watch it once and she hasn’t trusted me with musicals since (even though she loves all the other musicals I’ve had her watch since then). It took me five years(!) to get her to watch The Phantom of the Opera after the RENT debacle, as I call it. And now she loves the Phantom but getting her to watch any new musical now takes months and months of hard work. I’m trying to get her to listen to Les Miserables now…it’s not working so far.) Favorite Songs: I’ll Cover You, Light My Candle, No Day But Today, La Vie Boheme.
5) Wicked- There is just something in this beautiful piece of artistry that touches my heart and soul. I discovered Wicked when my parents were going through their divorce during my late second/early third year of college. My friend had given me a CD to listen to filled with music she thought I would like and on it was Defying Gravity. One moment, I’m sitting on my bed listening to new songs that would hopefully drown out the pain of what I was feeling, and the next thing I knew I was bawling my eyes out, gasping for breath thinking: This is exactly how I feel. Ever since that moment, Wicked has been a fierce favorite of mine; Elphaba seems so real to me…she seems like me and it helped to know that somewhere out there was a strong (green) woman who felt pretty much the same way I did. If you haven’t discovered Wicked yet, go do so now, my blog will be here when you come back. Favorite Songs: Defying Gravity, The Wizard And I, Dancing Through Life, I’m Not That Girl, Thank Goodness, No Good Deed, As Long As You’re Mine, and For Good.
6) Hairspray- Oh the joyousness of this upbeat and dance-worthy musical! Again, I’ve only seen the movie version of this (and the old original movie that frankly I thought sucked) but still, I love it! I don’t know how true it was to the Broadway version, but the movie was good enough for me (until I see the other one anyway)! The music is just so peppy and happy that it just brightens my day to bounce around the house singing these songs at the top of my lungs 😀 Favorite Songs: Big, Blond, and Beautiful, I Can Hear The Bells, I Know Where I’ve Been, Without Love, and You Can’t Stop The Beat.
7) Jekyll and Hyde- Now apparently there are quite a few interpretations of this musical, but to be clear the one I’m talking about is the 1995 Original Cast. The music and overall feel is just creepy and overly dramatic but I’m a sucker for drama, so this one is right up my alley! The lush and seedy story is romantic, wistful, frightening and haunting; there are musical numbers that utterly break my heart or make my blood run cold! Lucy is one of my all-time favorite musical heroines/characters! Favorite Songs: Bring On The Men, This Is The Moment, In His Eyes, The Girls Of The Night, No One Knows Who I Am, Dangerous Game (though not the 1995 version), and Confrontation.
8) Mamma Mia– Just good fun! This musical is so bouncy and full of energy and love that it’s pretty much perfect (I’ve only seen the movie, but I can’t wait to see the real thing)! Mother/Daughter relationships, true love, hilarious hijinks, and GIRLPOWER…’nuf said. My best friend and I watched this again on my last birthday and it was fantastic fun, we sang our hearts out and I ended up with this musical stuck in my head for two weeks afterward! Favorite Songs: Does Your Mother Know That You’re Out, SOS, Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen…pretty much every song.
9) Beauty and the Beast- Disney gold. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie ever (though there are many others in my fav list) and so unless they just completely changed the story, it was a given that I would love this musical! It shocks me just how similar the Original Broadway Belle sounds like the Original movie Belle, and it made the transition to this new interpretation much easier to handle. For me there is no comparison or competition, I love the movie the most, but the musical is very very good as well. Favorite Songs: Me (funniest song ever), Home, No Matter What, Maison Des Lunes, The Mob Song, Transformation.
And that my lovelies, is my list of all-time favorite (and therefore bestest) musicals ever! The next musicals I plan on checking out are The Little Mermaid, and The Pirate Queen and I hope to love them both! What about you all? What musicals do you love the most? What songs make your heart soar? Are there any musicals you think I should look into? I’m always open to new music and suggestions are welcome!