There’s no doubt about it, it’s been a very long, cold winter. But here we are, Spring is finally upon us! The month of March doesn’t just usher in a new season, but also, March Madness for all you sports fans, Spring Break for students, and in our house we have a little tradition of our own this month, “March Musical Month!” We play our favorite musicals of all-time in March to bring good vibes for the up-coming season.
The very first Hollywood musical ever made was in 1927, Al Jolson’s, THE JAZZ SINGER. Ever since, musicals were made to entertain, cheer us up, and have become a vital part of film history. Musicals helped the general population during the depression and war time in the 1930’s and 40’s, and musicals were at their highest peak in the 50’s and early 60’s.
Although they aren’t made as often as they use to be, musicals have made film history with such classics as, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, GENTLEMAN PREFERS BLONDES, MARY POPPINS, CABARET, OLIVER, ANNIE, THE KING & I, GUYS AND DOLLS, HELLO DOLLY, A STAR IS BORN, CHICAGO, MAMMA MIA, DREAMGRILS, and just about every animated Disney movie ever made!
There are so many musicals to choose from, and you may wonder where to start if you are not familiar with a few of the greats over the decades, but I am sure that you may have seen, or have wanted to see a few that may be on this list. These are just a few of my own personal favorites. Who knows, maybe one of these may become one of your own.
15. IT’S A HARD DAYS NIGHT/ HELP – These two films were actually considered the first of a kind when it came to musicals. They were rock ‘n’ roll musicals, based on the legendary band, The Beatles, and the surge of the “British Invasions” of music during the 1960’s, and follows the antics of the “Fab Four”.
14 . HAIRSPRAY – This classic musical from director John Waters, captures teen life in 1960’s Baltimore, when segregation was a hot topic at the time, the teens in this film broke barriers through music and dance.
13. BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS – A very funny musical/comedy starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton, poking fun at the worlds oldest profession.
12. FIDDLER ON THE ROOF – A poor Jewish milkman tries to find good husbands for his daughters in a small Russian village during war time. This musical has a star studded cast, and has become even more iconic over time. Some of you will probably recognize some of these tunes made famous from this film.
11. WEST SIDE STORY – One of the ultimate classic love stories ever made. This is a story of forbidden love, between two teens from rival gangs, The Sharks and The Jets, in 1960’s New York. A remake is currently in the works but nothing will top this classic!
10. HAIR – A young man from the mid-West goes to New York and meets a “tribe” of hippies, before leaving for the Vietnam War. This was a very political film for it’s time, however, it became a smash hit first on Broadway, and then film. It’s many songs have become part of the music scene over the years, and still receive air play today. The message still stands true, “no more war” . As of March 14th, this film was 40 years old.
9. VICTOR/VICTORIA – Julie Andrews plays a down-and-out singer in 1930’s Paris, who befriends a former cabaret performer to pull off the ultimate scam: a woman pretending to be a man, pretending to be a woman. This film is hilarious, and will keep you laughing. A great cast, wonderful soundtrack, and a lot of fun!
8. SWEENEY TODD – Johnny Depp plays a London barber, who seeks revenge after being sent away for 15 years for a crime he didn’t commit. A great gothic tale, with a perfect cast, directed by the legendary, Tim Burton, and features a wonderful soundtrack.
7. THE WIZARD OF OZ – Based on the children’s book of the same name, it is a classic tale of a young Kansas girl named Dorothy, who meets new friends, and has adventures in the wonderful and magical world of Oz. This musical turns 80 years old this year, and is STILL considered an immaculate classic.
6. THE BLUES BROTHERS – Definitely one of the funniest comedy movies to hit the big screen. The late John Belushi, and funny man Dan Aykroyd, of Saturday Night Live, bring us two of our favorites characters, Jake and Elwood Blues. They take us on adventures like no other new paroles will. With great car chases, tender moments, and of course fantastic music…soul and blues, and don’t forget… They’re on a mission from God!
5 . THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW – Tim Curry leads this very twisted musical tale about an alien doctor, who comes to earth and creates a man. Considered a cult classic, this musical plays around the world every Halloween, only at midnight showings. All together now… Let’s Do the Time Warp Again! Campy and fun.
4. THE SOUND OF MUSIC – Actress Julie Andrews, as Maria, a nun who realizes the church is not her calling, departs the church to find her own adventures in life. She will sing her way into your heart, along with the children she becomes nanny to, the Von Trapp family. Set during WWII, this is based on a true story. Pure classic!
3. THE COMMITMENTS – One of the best films from the 1990’s, this musical is about Irish youths coming together to from the band, The Commitments, and they play soul music. Lots of laughs, great classic soul music. The soundtrack is what I consider to be perfect.
2. WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – Not only is this my favorite film of all time, and a classic children’s tale brought to colorful life starring the great actor, Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, but the music in this film is beautiful, and has a lesson or two for kids which makes it fun. The story of a boy and his wish of winning a golden ticket to Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, is a perfect film for the whole family to enjoy!
So, just what is the best musical of all time (in my opinion)…well, “Grease is the word!”
GREASE – This 1970’s musical classic is another tale of “bad boy falls in love with good girl”, but this time set in the 1950’s. Starring John Travolta as ‘Danny’, and Olivia Newton-John as ‘Sandy’, and an all-star cast – GREASE is full of great music, good laughs, cool cars, and just makes you want to get up and dance! A classic musical that after 40 years, never seems to age…just keeps getting better.