To celebrate we went to see Wicked on Tuesday. Those who know me well know what a theater buff I used to be (and still can be). I've seen dozens of shows and been in quite a few myself. If you want a good laugh go ask my mom to see some photos of my 16 year old self dressed in a leopard print jacket and four inch stiletto heels playing Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. Yep. Try wrapping that around your brain!
Surprisingly I'd never seen Wicked. It is, after all, the most popular (no pun intended) Broadway show of this century. And as I sat waiting for the curtain to go up last night it occurred to me that I have never, ever been so unprepared for a performance. I only knew two or three songs and a vague outline of the premise. I didn't know what was going to happen next. It was exciting and very disturbing. Scott said it was good for me. It was really a great show and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I wouldn't rank it in my top ten favorite musicals. Which got me thinking, What are my top ten favorite musicals? This is what I came up with.
10. Carousel This is the darkest Roger's and Hammerstein show, and my favorite of their work. Sometimes one song can sell an entire show. The soliloquy from Carousel does it for me. In the midst of it a character is transformed thus transforming the entire show. That's the beauty of musicals.
9. Beauty and the Beast This is a sentimental favorite. It was the first show I ever saw in NYC. But when Scott took me to see it for our five year anniversary I was still in love. Beauty in the Beast is my favorite Disney fairy tale flick, but the musical surpasses it. The Beast's lament "If I Can't Love Her" just makes it perfect.
8. Phantom of the Opera This also makes the list partially for sentimental reasons. Phantom was my favorite show as a girl. I've told the story here of my dad surprising me with tickets in his shoe. Phantom is such a twisted, tortured tale, which says a lot about my eight year old self. Scott took me to see it a little over four years ago, and I have to admit, some of the magic was gone, but I will always hold this show dear in my heart because of what it meant to my childhood.
7. Into the Woods Steven Sondheim's mash up and smash up of classic fairy tales. Fairy Tales sometimes contain the most potent truth. Sondheim exposes them, turns them on their head and gives us something profoundly beautiful.
6. West Side Story I don't believe in love at first sight, but I still adore this twentieth century retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Brilliant score, brilliant book, brilliant concept.
5. Ragtime When the curtain came up for intermission at the Ford Theater in NYC my sister and I were huddled together in our red velveteen seats, sobbing. All the dry eyed adults were staring at these two teenagers like we were lunatics. The thing is, we already knew what was going to happen. We had the whole score committed to memory, and we still wept. This interwoven turn of the century tale of race, prejudice, love, justice and dreams is one powerful experience.
4. Little Shop of Horrors Being in a musical can completely taint one's opinion of it. Naturally I am biased to this show having performed in it. But it is SO good! It is outlandishly bizarre, but underneath all the strangeness is some very dark and insightful truth. The songs are catchy, the script hysterical, but there is nothing funny about what this show is portraying. Just don't watch the movie. It distorts the ending and totally undermines the moral of the show. "But whatever they offer you, don't feed the plants!"
3. My Fair Lady Great songs. Great Characters. Great Story. "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" would easily make my top ten list of favorite Broadway songs.
2. Fiddler on the Roof Do I even need to explain this one?
1. Les Miserables For me nothing has or ever will top this. Ever.
Now I am fairly certain that my sister is going to comment on this. So why not join her? What are your favorites and why?