The Fairest Of Them All: Beauty and the Beast (2.0)

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Welcome my lovelies, to the first installment in my new mini blog-series: “Fairest Of Them All”! I hope you’re ready for spellbinding magic, timeless romance, heart stopping adventure, and even a touch of mortal peril as we travel through the stories that truly never die. In each new Fairest Of Them All post, we’ll delve into a new fairy tale and I’ll reveal my favorite versions, both in film and in print! (Although my favorite fairy tale show Once Upon a Time will not be featured in this series, mainly because they’ve already gotten a few posts of their own and have more coming, but also because I’d basically be writing the same thing on every post which is I LOVE ONCE UPON A TIME!!! So just trust me on this now, if you have a favorite fairy tale, watch OUAT because chances are it’s on the show and I ship it!)

Now, for this first Fairest post, I’ve chosen my favorite fairy tale of all time: Beauty and the Beast, a French fairytale written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which tells the tale of a young woman who finds the truest of love in the heart of a beastly man…

I first came across this story like countless others of my generation: by watching the Disney animated version, which was released today actually, back in 1991. I instantly fell in love with the notion of a bookish, strong-willed woman intent on saving her father by taking his place in the palace of what she thinks is a monster. Theirs wasn’t a story of love at first sight, more like loathing perhaps, or maybe even fear, but still, this is a love story where the love has to be worked for, to be earned. In the end the Beast is made a better man by loving Belle, and Belle learns the power and reward of trusting her heart instead of her eyes. Both of these characters feel the effects of isolation, both yearn for more, they’re relatable, and their story is nothing short of powerful!

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Fairest Of Them All:

Books:

1) Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley — My favorite retelling of my favorite story, this book is exactly what I want when I want to relive Belle and the Beast’s story: a strong sense of family, seclusion, isolation, new beginnings, sweet romance, a touch of mystery, and one heck of a library! This wondrous adaption has enough “real world” in it to make it believable but still enough magic left to render it charmingly fairy tale-esque. Beauty is bookish, resolute, and pragmatic and when she enters the Beast’s enchanted world her fear and stress is palpable, but so is her bravery. She’s a marvelous character to read and I just love her for being so genuine. Not to be outdone though, the Beast is cryptically wonderful, a reformed gentleman who isn’t given to the outbursts of temper usually displayed by other “Beasts”, which is refreshing in a way. Not that he doesn’t have a little gruffness and stubbornness to him…he’s not that reformed!

9780064404778

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier — This is a darker version of the classic tale, with an Irish twist that I truly enjoy (even though it creeps the bejeezus out of me…seriously). Belle is now Caitrin, a runaway young woman with a dark past, fleeing to the safety of isolation, though she knows nowhere is safe, what’s coming for her will never stop. After an exhausting journey, she happens upon Whistling Tor, a castle with ghostly secrets, and Anluan, a chieftain who both frightens her and intrigues her. But Anluan’s world may be even more dangerous than those she ran from before, but there’s a mystery to be solved, a job to be done, and a wager she is determined to win. Juliet Marillier is one of the best writers I’ve ever come across and there will be more of her work later on in the “Fairest” series, but this story is truly a work of art. It’s terrifying and yet mesmerizing and I recommend it for anyone who likes their fairy tales with a dash of darkness and death.

HeartsBlood_3900

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — I’ve always seen a close connection between the Beauty and the Beast story and that of wild impetuous Cathy Earnshaw and the scintillating and dangerously captivating Heathcliff. Granted Cathy is less polished that the normal Belle, and much less of a good person, and goodness knows Heathcliff is far more deadly and violent than any other Beast, but their love is still just as powerful, just as evocative. I would say this is a Beauty and the Beast story where everything goes wrong, where Belle chooses the wrong man, and the Beast destroys her for it.

Movies:

1) Beauty and the Beast (Disney 1991) — I don’t think this one needs any explanation really, it’s 100% Disney magic at it’s best and if you haven’t seen it WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WAITING FOR?!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) The Phantom of the Opera (Musical) — This Andrew Llyod Webber musical is actually based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux, but it’s the musical itself that I recommend for fairy tale lovers as the book is lovely, but not one of my favorites. Much like Wuthering Heights, I can’t help but see many similarities between this story and my favorite fairy tale: a beautiful young girl, a deformed man, a love that cannot be suppressed… See what I mean? But once again I like to think of this as an example of what happens when people make the wrong choice. This is what happens when Belle rejects her Beast out of fear and the Beast refuses to take no for an answer.

poto2-jpg

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3) Wuthering Heights — I adore the mini-series version from PBS Masterpiece released in 2009 with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley,  it’s lush, haunting, maddening, and well worth watching my lovelies!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

4) La Belle et la Bete — I’ve mentioned my love for this Beauty and the Beast adaptation before and really it’s just as wonderful as I said it was. This 2014 French rendition is absolutely gorgeous, just a sparkling feast for the eyes, and the visual effects are stunning! If you want full on fairy tale grandeur at it’s best, look no further, this film is perfect!!! (And it’s on YouTube, just make sure you look for one with English subtitles!)

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Beauty and the Beast (2017 Live Action) — This movie had epic hopes and dreams placed upon it before  I even walked in the theaters my lovelies. I mean let’s be honest, I’ve waited YEARS to see this thing (I was writing about it back in March of 2015 for crying out loud)! And it was WORTH IT!!! This beautiful, magical, epic film was everything I ever wanted it to be and more! I literally started crying ten minutes in and couldn’t leave the theaters until ten minutes after the movie ended because I was just flat out happy sobbing. No joke. I have no idea why it made me so emotional, but I loved every minute of it and I’m so happy and thankful that this version exists now 😀 The costuming, the music, the visuals, everything was just so spot-on and fun and I cannot wait to see it again. Plus the Beast’s song (Evermore) just broke my heart and has been on repeat ever since I left the theater! Happy sigh…

Just chilling on the staircase with Cogsworth…

And there you have it my lovelies, all my favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptations and recommendations! I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the “Fairest Of Them All” series and remember to keep an eye out for the next one which will be coming soon!

What did you think of my picks my lovelies, did I leave any of your favorites out? Is there a fairy tale you’d like to see featured next? Let me know!

For more information about the origins of the Beauty and the Beast story click here. And remember:

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

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A Little Captain Swan, A Dash of Poor Unfortunate Souls, and Some Major Goddess Magic!

Hello my lovelies, I hope you’re all having a wonderful Monday — you know, if that’s even possible 😉 It’s  so nice to be back amongst all my favorite fellow bloggers and writers and overall creative types, but it’s been a while since my last “real” post so I figured a little catch me up post was in order. So pull up a comfy chair, grab a snack, and let’s chat a little shall we? 😀

Lately I’ve been:

Watching: Once Upon a Time Season Five had their Mid-Season premiere last night and Oh. My. God, my poor Captain Swan!!! What have then done to my Hook in that awful — and CREEPY — Underworld version of Storybrooke?! But on the plus side, yay for seeing Bae again!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

And I also recently saw The Fifth Wave and the latest Star Wars in theaters, both were lovely though not sadly not spectacular, but what I REALLY want to see is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I’m not going to lie, I’m a super-fan of Austen’s but I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to see this until I saw a long preview for it before the Fifth Wave and then pardon my French, but hot damn, it looked good!!! And I finally saw 50 Shades of Grey and it ended up being rather wonderful! Complete with beautiful filmography, intriguing story and characters and a soundtrack that is just so delightfully sexy, I was left excited to see what happens next!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Reading: I haven’t had much time to read lately but I did just pick up a Catherine the Great novel yesterday that seems promising and am currently re-reading P.C. Cast’s phenomenal Goddess by Mistake (which is nothing short of pure epic fun!) on my lunch breaks. I have to say, I’m seriously not used to reading for only thirty minutes!Oh, and I’ve also been revisiting my favorite Doreen Virtue inspirational book, Goddesses and Angels, which has been most delightful and instructive, as per usual 😀

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Listening to: As always, I’ve been enamored with The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies lately — I mean really, when is the Phantom not to be enjoyed?! — and I’ve also fallen head over heels in love with Which Witch by Florence and the Machine and of course, Hello by Adele. (I can’t sing worth a crap, but I screech the hell out of Hello!) And I discovered that there is now a Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical that just released a soundtrack and I have had their version of “Heaven’s Light” on repeat for days now. Micheal Arden you have the voice of an angel my good Sir. And not to be forgotten, Heidi Blickenstaff’s rendition of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” is SPOT ON! I usually loath hearing different versions of my favorite Disney song, but this one is spectacular!

Writing: Unfortunately I’ve been on a writing hiatus (What, I’m not perfect!) but I plan on getting back on track here soon. I’m a notoriously slow writer anyway, so I suppose I finish things  up sooner or later…

Randomly loving: This Marchesa gown because it’s freaking gorgeous and it reminds me of something Kali or her mother Hada (from my WIP Prophecy and finished novel Believe) would wear:

Marchesa-fall-2016-runway-show-look-22_135356

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Eating: The Pecan Turtle Blizzard from DQ because it is sheer perfection and total and utter bliss. Really. I wouldn’t lie to you 😉

Feeling thankful for: The nomination for the Infinity Dreams Award from Nova over at Confessons of A Literary Addict, The Liebster Blog Award & the Dragon’s Loyalty Award from Megan over at Invisible World, and the Verstile Blogger Award from Tessa over at Tessa’s Meadow! Thank you so much you guys for all the love, you are simply the greatest!!! 😀

infinity award

dragons-loyalty-award1

Wanting: Soooooo many iTunes gift cards… why must music be so expensive?!!! And a new phone because someone who will remain nameless — but I’m totally looking at you little brother — took mine months ago and never got his own and then CRACKED my new screen.

You’re lucky I like you… But you owe me a phone.

Just saying.

And to finally see Mockingjay Part Two because I freaking missed it in theaters! Thankfully it’s coming out on DVD this month 😀

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Well, what about you my lovelies, what have you been up to lately? Anything exciting I might have missed in the last two/three months? Let me know! 😀

The Fairest Of Them All: Beauty and the Beast

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Welcome my lovelies, to the first installment in my new mini blog-series: “Fairest Of Them All”! I hope you’re ready for spellbinding magic, timeless romance, heart stopping adventure, and even a touch of mortal peril as we travel through the stories that truly never die. In each new Fairest Of Them All post, we’ll delve into a new fairy tale and I’ll reveal my favorite versions, both in film and in print! (Although my favorite fairy tale show Once Upon a Time will not be featured in this series, mainly because they’ve already gotten a few posts of their own and have more coming, but also because I’d basically be writing the same thing on every post which is I LOVE ONCE UPON A TIME!!! So just trust me on this now, if you have a favorite fairy tale, watch OUAT because chances are it’s on the show and I ship it!)

Now, for this first Fairest post, I’ve chosen my favorite fairy tale of all time: Beauty and the Beast, a French fairytale written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which tells the tale of a young woman who finds the truest of love in the heart of a beastly man…

I first came across this story like countless others of my generation: by watching the Disney animated version, which was released today actually, back in 1991. I instantly fell in love with the notion of a bookish, strong-willed woman intent on saving her father by taking his place in the palace of what she thinks is a monster. Theirs wasn’t a story of love at first sight, more like loathing perhaps, or maybe even fear, but still, this is a love story where the love has to be worked for, to be earned. In the end the Beast is made a better man by loving Belle, and Belle learns the power and reward of trusting her heart instead of her eyes. Both of these characters feel the effects of isolation, both yearn for more, they’re relatable, and their story is nothing short of powerful!

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Fairest Of Them All:

Books:

1) Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley — My favorite retelling of my favorite story, this book is exactly what I want when I want to relive Belle and the Beast’s story: a strong sense of family, seclusion, isolation, new beginnings, sweet romance, a touch of mystery, and one heck of a library! This wondrous adaption has enough “real world” in it to make it believable but still enough magic left to render it charmingly fairy tale-esque. Beauty is bookish, resolute, and pragmatic and when she enters the Beast’s enchanted world her fear and stress is palpable, but so is her bravery. She’s a marvelous character to read and I just love her for being so genuine. Not to be outdone though, the Beast is cryptically wonderful, a reformed gentleman who isn’t given to the outbursts of temper usually displayed by other “Beasts”, which is refreshing in a way. Not that he doesn’t have a little gruffness and stubbornness to him…he’s not that reformed!

9780064404778

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier — This is a darker version of the classic tale, with an Irish twist that I truly enjoy (even though it creeps the bejeezus out of me…seriously). Belle is now Caitrin, a runaway young woman with a dark past, fleeing to the safety of isolation, though she knows nowhere is safe, what’s coming for her will never stop. After an exhausting journey, she happens upon Whistling Tor, a castle with ghostly secrets, and Anluan, a chieftain who both frightens her and intrigues her. But Anluan’s world may be even more dangerous than those she ran from before, but there’s a mystery to be solved, a job to be done, and a wager she is determined to win. Juliet Marillier is one of the best writers I’ve ever come across and there will be more of her work later on in the “Fairest” series, but this story is truly a work of art. It’s terrifying and yet mesmerizing and I recommend it for anyone who likes their fairy tales with a dash of darkness and death.

HeartsBlood_3900

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — I’ve always seen a close connection between the Beauty and the Beast story and that of wild impetuous Cathy Earnshaw and the scintillating and dangerously captivating Heathcliff. Granted Cathy is less polished that the normal Belle, and much less of a good person, and goodness knows Heathcliff is far more deadly and violent than any other Beast, but their love is still just as powerful, just as evocative. I would say this is a Beauty and the Beast story where everything goes wrong, where Belle chooses the wrong man, and the Beast destroys her for it.

Movies:

1) Beauty and the Beast (Disney 1991) — I don’t think this one needs any explanation really, it’s 100% Disney magic at it’s best and if you haven’t seen it WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WAITING FOR?!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

2) The Phantom of the Opera (Musical) — This Andrew Llyod Webber musical is actually based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux, but it’s the musical itself that I recommend for fairy tale lovers as the book is lovely, but not one of my favorites. Much like Wuthering Heights, I can’t help but see many similarities between this story and my favorite fairy tale: a beautiful young girl, a deformed man, a love that cannot be suppressed… See what I mean? But once again I like to think of this as an example of what happens when people make the wrong choice. This is what happens when Belle rejects her Beast out of fear and the Beast refuses to take no for an answer.

poto2-jpg

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) Wuthering Heights — I adore the mini-series version from PBS Masterpiece released in 2009 with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley,  it’s lush, haunting, maddening, and well worth watching my lovelies!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

4) La Belle et la Bete — I’ve mentioned my love for this Beauty and the Beast adaptation before and really it’s just as wonderful as I said it was. This 2014 French rendition is absolutely gorgeous, just a sparkling feast for the eyes, and the visual effects are stunning! If you want full on fairy tale grandeur at it’s best, look no further, this film is perfect!!! (And it’s on YouTube, just make sure you look for one with English subtitles!)

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Bing. All Rights Belong To Artist.

And there you have it my lovelies, all my favorite Beauty and the Beast adaptations and recommendations! I hope you enjoyed the first installment of the “Fairest Of Them All” series and remember to keep an eye out for the next one which will be coming soon!

What did you think of my picks my lovelies, did I leave any of your favorites out? Is there a fairy tale you’d like to see featured next? Let me know!

For more information about the origins of the Beauty and the Beast story click here. And remember:

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Intruder Thy Name Is Love Triangle

Hello everyone, I’m back and feeling a heck of a lot better! *Happy Dance* I just want to say thank you all for the massive amount of feedback (in both likes and comments) you gave my last post. I found it quite surprising, considering I didn’t think anyone outside my regular readers (whom I love!) would actually read that post and I only wrote it so that you would know I hadn’t callously abandoned you for the week. But wow, the response was the largest I’ve ever had on this blog; so thank you all, it truly made my week(end)!

And now that I’m feeling more like myself and less like a pathetic blob of ick, I think it’s high time to finally write the blog idea that’s been floating around my mind for the last week or so (it’s been driving me crazy lol). But before I begin, I have to say that last week this idea also came to one of my favorite blogging duos: Mystic Cooking (I’m sorry ladies, I don’t know how to make a clickable link so your site, but everyone should go check them out!). When I first read their post I nearly fell out of my chair with elated and confused shock (I even had the same title picked out as they used!) and for quite a few dazed moments I thought they were mind-readers and how cool/bizarre was that! It took me a couple of minutes to realize that the more likely explanation was that great bloggers just think alike 😀 And with their encouragement I decided to go ahead and write my opinion on the matter that occupied our thoughts; so thank you ladies!

I think it’s safe to say that I’m a drama enthusiast when it comes to books, movies, television shows, musicals, and all that good stuff that makes the world a happier place. Notice that I left real life out of that list; I like to be entertained by drama, not live it. Most of the time anyway. There’s nothing I love more than a good, drama-filled romance or perilous decision-making accompanied by a sudden outburst into song that will leave me breathless as I try to belt along with it, but I’ve noticed that there’s a “new” trend sneaking not so subtly into my entertainment world. Intruder thy name is Love Triangle (I love Shakespeare, lol!). They’re everywhere! Think about it, there’s: Peeta vs. Gale in The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) , Jacob vs. Edward in Twilight (Stephenie Meyer), Damon vs. Stefan in the Vampire Diaries (T.V.), the Phantom vs. Raoul (I’m thinking musical here, but the book works as well), Heathcliff vs. Edgar in Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), and on and on until your head wants to explode. It seems the entertaining world of books and visual media has become nothing but a collection of sport-related “teams” battling it out to decide who the better guy is and why he should end up with the girl since clearly the other guy is a loser/jerk/whatever!

The Phantom Of The Opera Photo Courtesy Of Google

And I’m not going to lie, I have my opinions like everyone else (Peeta, Jacob, Damon (Yum), the Phantom, and Heathcliff) and there is a part of me that does enjoy defending/discussing my choices every now and then. But there’s also another part (that seems to be taking over) that’s tired of it all and is dying to scream “ENOUGH ALREADY! Find something new to write about for crying out loud!” I think the basic plot has been used, reused, and over-used far too much here recently; it was fun the first few times but now it’s time to move on to the next fad before people go insane. Love triangles make for good drama, high rating, and enormous sales, I get it but sooner or later people are going to have to just move on and let the concept go. Give it a rest for a few years and then bring it back or something. What happened to the good old days where there was just one guy and one girl and the reader/viewer easily knew who to root for and all womankind could bond over the fact that we all loved the same person? I miss those days. There’s just something so comforting knowing that there is only one right answer; and I know that isn’t lifelike or realistic all the time, but really, sometimes I just want the illusion.

Couple Photo Courtesy Of Facebook

Of course, there are ways to employ the love triangle and have only one obvious choice (it’s called compromise). Just look at Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: you’ve got Elizabeth, Darcy, and Wickham and all the drama that people crave with love triangles but there is a clear right answer and everyone roots for Darcy in the end. The happy medium works for me. I just don’t like repeatedly falling in love with a guy only to have him be broken-hearted and rejected in the end, or worse, have a hastily made happy ever after constructed out of thin air for him (copout cough cough). If there are going to be two suitors competing, then one of them should have some horrible flaw or something that effectively puts him out of the running (not in all cases of course, but most).

Pride And Prejudice Film Poster Courtesy Of Google

And what I find the most amusing is that I employ love triangles in my novels as well (it took me a while to realize this oddly enough because I never think of the other guy as having any real chance). There are times when two men both love the same woman in one or two of my novels, but there is always one right answer that my female protagonist comes to (at least I think so, we’ll see what the world thinks when they’re published, lol) and I try to make sure the reader understands that early on so that there is no confusion later. So I guess I’m a hypocrite, but at least I admit it.

There are times when I adore love triangles, there are times when I hate them, and funny enough, there are actually times when I use them. When I first thought about this blog idea I thought all I wanted to do was bash love triangles, but having the past week to really think about it made me realize that when it comes down to it, I’m a big ball of conflicted confusion. My thoughts on the subject are ephemeral and change with my mood, but generally it comes down to this: a little bit of a good thing goes a long way, but right now the media is drowning us in something that is far too potent a subject.

What do y’all think? Do you love, hate, or use love triangles and why? Or are you just as conflicted as I am? What are your favorite uses of the love triangle? Least favorite?

A Very Musical Samhain

Forest Scene- found on Facebook

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!