19 July 2008

Light My Candle

My love for musicals is well documented. I went (and am still going) through an obsessed with Wicked period. Recently though I've been listening to a lot of Les Mis and fiending to watch that and Phantom again. Actually, someone I met said that Les Miserables was her favorite book of all time so I should check that out first. Victor Hugo is way underrated.

The thing with musicals is that it's sometimes seen as a semi-highbrow, somewhat feminine form of entertainment. Which is ridiculous because musicals are designed for everyone. It's not exactly a cultural experience like the ballet or the opera might (perceived to) be. It's just pure entertainment. Everybody loves to sing -- even if secretly -- and the pleasure you receive from obsessing over a musical's soundtrack is something that all fans can relate to. I used to insist on listening to the soundtrack beforehand so that I could have an idea of the lyrics before I saw the actual show.

But that can detract from the experience sometimes. For first time viewers of Wicked, for example, I think it's so much better to just go into it without having heard anything. My difficulty in going in blind has been an inability to properly process the words and plot of the musical at the same time. I always feel like I just missed something. That's been resolved a bit as I'm more capable of paying attention to both the action and the lyrics. Practice and experience I guess.

I wish I'd seen more musicals. I've seen most of the big Broadway-ish hits. In chronological order it's been Phantom, Cats, Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Starlight Express, Tommy, Rent, Chicago, Lion King, Wicked. I really couldn't get into Miss Saigon or Chicago (even though I really enjoyed the movie) and I lean toward the Andrew Lloyd Webber classics because to me that's what a classic musical is all about.

Fave Five Musical Songs
For Good (Wicked)
Think of Me (Phantom)
A Little Fall of Rain (Les Mis)
Defying Gravity (Wicked)
One Song Glory (Rent)
Did you know there's a Spider-Man musical in the works? Julie Taymor of Lion King fame will be directing it. The first reading just happened recently, with Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess as Mary Jane and Spidey respectively. So basically it's Across the Universe 2.

I think I need to go rent the Phantom and Les Mis film adaptations. For some reason, I can't really get into movie musicals. Moulin Rouge didn't strike a chord with me. Rent as a movie was semi-awful except for the fact that most of the original leads were involved. You would think that having easy access to a musical would be a dream come true. That's proven to be not usually the case. I do have to plug the movie Once here though, since it's sort of a movie musical and really endearing and sweet -- adjectives that I'd never be described with.