Music can be an escape from all the worries of daily life. At least that’s what my boyfriend, the musician, says. And as someone who was raised on Rodgers and Hammerstein, I couldn’t agree more. It is my opinion there’s a musical for everything and everyone. Not sure what to watch? Let me, your Guilty Pleasure Guide and Musicalpalooza Mistress, assist!
For the Traditionalist:
Doesn’t get more classic than Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds? I mean, that’s stardom gold right there! Lovestruck Don Lockwood (Kelly) is faced with a crisis: turn his trainwreck of a motion picture into a crowd pleasing “talkie” or suffer tabloid city doom! Can he pull through and come out on top? Perhaps with the help of his comic genius, composing sidekick Cosmo (O’Connor) and smart, sexy, secret weapon Kathy (Reynolds)!
For the Friend Who Likes to Sing Along with the Radio:
ABBA may not be for everyone, BUT I ADORE THAT DAMN BAND! The film version of this ABBA inspired play is campy to the core with an all star cast of unexpected singers. Sure Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth aren’t going to win American Idol anytime soon, but you have to grant them, they got down with their ABBA selves! The story is about a mother preparing for her daughter’s wedding, while the daughter tries to learn who her real father is by secretly inviting all her mom’s past beaus to the wedding! I can’t help watching this movie and envisioning all the fun the cast had filming it! I think it shows in the full force attitudes of their characters, they had a great time doing it.
For the Friend Who Knows Everything About Everything:
For that friend who knows everything about everything there is to know, you’ll laugh together at Julie Andrews in the lead role of Thoroughly Modern Millie! She’s quick to note the trends, and even quicker to catch new faces. She knows all the latest dances and where to pick up rich men. She trusts her pocketbook more than her heart, but perhaps not for very much longer. Co-starring a demure and darling Mary Tyler Moore as best friend, Dorothy, and my favorite life at large lady, Carol Channing, as Muzzy, performer and hostess to all things divine!
For the World Traveler:
Deborah Kerr just might be one of my favorite redheaded actresses. But that’s beside the point. In the story of The King and I, Deborah Kerr travels to Siam to teach the children in the palace. She uproots her own life, her son and the world she knew to live in a culture completely different in their beliefs, their dress, and their gender roles. Though the kingdom of Siam is changing her, she will leave just as big an impression on the people of Siam. And isn’t that true any time you travel and open yourself to new worlds?
For the Eternal Optimist:
If you’re friend has “half full syndrome” it’s probably because they watched too many Shirley Temple movies growing up. I know I’m guilty of this. And Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm has to be one of the rosiest. Rebecca is an orphan living with her grifter of an uncle until financially helpless, he ships her off to a farm to live with her Aunt Miranda. Despite the hardships life has handed her, Rebecca remains sunny in disposition and captures the hearts (and audience) of everyone around her!
For the Lovestruck Bittersweet Friend:
For that forever star-crossed friend of yours who thinks destiny is both magnificent and a narcissist, show her South Pacific. It’s filled with the love stories of Frenchman (uh huh hunk) Emile who has a secretive past and wartime nurse, Nellie, who’s just looking for a slice of happiness out here in the jungle. Then there’s Captain Joseph Cable, just arrived in the pacific and never expecting to fall in love with the daughter of the Polynesian tradeswoman. Filled with gorgeous scenery, you’ll be swept away by the lure of South Pacific.
For the Financially Troubled Artist Friend:
Iconic and boho chic all at once. Rent is the story of eight friends trying to make it in the big bad city. Their friendship will be the force that binds them all together, but it doesn’t change the fact that rent money is due and “the man” is trying to put an end to their free speech. Rent has some of the best songs ever written in it and covers a whole wealth of topics from relationships to gay rights to health care to poverty. It’s what some might call the musical of the 90’s.
For the Blood and Guts and Action Fan:
It’s like Rocky Horror Picture Show had an affair with Silence of the Lambs and a baby was made, and then that baby had a fling with Little Shop of Horrors and Phantom of the Opera, and now everyone’s wondering, who’s the father? Yes, sci-fi fans, it’s that intense. Featuring some all star, though unlikely talents, like renowned opera singer, Sarah Brightman! It’s bloody, it’s gory, it’s opera, baby! *Don’t watch while you’re eating dinner.
For the Country Western Lover:
Six words: Dolly Parton, Burt Reynolds. Why not?
For the Stressed Out Parent:
“Liesel can climb in with a whole jar of spiders in her hand!” “Spiders!”
Ah yes, the story of an almost nun who goes to live with a widow and his seven children, who are…less than cordial upon her arrival. Does Maria have what it takes to tame this wild bunch, including the heart of the Captain father? With the voice of Julie Andrews, you bet she does! Even if you haven’t seen this film I’m sure you know many of the songs. And for all those parents who are having a stressful day, at least you’re not also fleeing Nazi-infested Austria!
For the Friend With the Best One-Liners:
Call me a sucker for talented women with big noses, but Funny Girl is a favorite of mine! Fanny Bryce is determined to be a star. She’ll beat out all the other girls with their good looks and long legs and perfectly coifed hair, and she’ll do so with her own talent! Featuring the stellar performance of Barbara Streisand in all her musical drama and shenanigans, you won’t want to miss out on this ruckus of a film.
And When You Feel Like There’s No Place Like Home:
Who doesn’t remember watching The Wizard of Oz at some point in your life? It’s the coming of age story of Dorothy, a little girl who runs away from home, only to find herself lost in the magical world of Oz. There, she meets friends Scarecrow, Tinsman, and Cowardly Lion, who will help her at all costs get back home to Kansas. But the journey home is never easy, and Dorothy must face the Wicked Witch of the West and her creepy flying monkeys too! But everytime you watch this film, it will transport you “Over the Rainbow” all over again!
There now, you see? A musical for everyone! But here’s a better question: If you could pick any person to play YOU in a musical, who would it be? I’m leaning towards Barbara Streisand or Deborah Kerr…it’s gotta be a redhead!
P.S. Tune in next week when I have author Jody Hedlund here for an interview and book giveaway!
Hello Everyone and welcome to the first post of Jess Witkins’ Wicked Blog! All month long get your fix for the hauntings and paranormal stories you love. Here’s the line-up: Mondays will be All Things Wicked (book reviews, movies, Halloween Parties, costumes, etc.), Wednesdays will be Ghost Stories, read at your own risk, and don’t turn off the lights, and Fridays will continue to alternate between Guilty Pleasures – featuring my favorite things about fall, and Life List Club Guest Posts – helping you achieve the best YOU!
To start off today I have a WICKED review for you about Gregory Maguire‘s witchy tale, Wicked. Everyone knows the story of Dorothy and her dog, Toto. She landed in Oz, killed the Wicked Witch of the East, obtained her magic ruby red slippers and set off on a journey that would forever change her life. But what of the other witch? The Wicked Witch of the West. No one knows her story, not yet.
Wicked chronicles the coming of age of Elphaba Thropp – our Wicked Witch. Born green as grass with razor-edge teeth to a holier than thou father and a trollop of a mother, Elphie is a creature of her circumstances. She was shut out for her color, and disliked for her independence, nonetheless she showed grave responsibility for her family, which included a younger sister, Nessarose, who was born with no arms, and a brother, Shell.
Said to hiss like a dragon and piss on the floor gleefully, she was a terror in her toddler years. When college came around and found her attending Shiz University, a whole new world was opened up to Elphaba. For starters, how would you like to have Galinda Goodie-Too-Shoes for a roommate? That’s right Galinda.
Things get witchier and wickeder when Elphaba uncovers information that the Great and Powerful Oz has plans of genocide for the Animals. You see, in Oz there are both Animals and animals. The Animals have learned the ability to speak, study, raise young ones, teach, work, and act rather humanely.
Maguire has cast a spell with his prequel story to The Wizard of Oz. Readers learn more parts to the original story, such as when did the Cowardly Lion and the Wicked Witch of the West first meet. And why the Tin Man despises her so. All your favorite characters return, from Munchkins to Flying Monkeys, and there are even more, tik tok things and painted soldiers of the tall grasses. Make no mistake, Maguire’s tale is more than a yellow brick walk through your childhood’s favorite story. The book, Wicked, is a dark tale. It’s full of intrigue, affairs, murders, espionage, deceit, hallucinations, and of course, magic.
Gregory Maguire has written several books enlightening us on otherwise adult versions of classic fairytales. You can check out the other titles at his website. His inspiration for writing this story came about after reading newspaper headlines in London at the start of the Gulf War. The ideas began to form around a story of the nature of evil, and who’s more wicked than the Wicked Witch of the West?
Many of you have probably seen the broadway musical version of Wicked which starred Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda. I will warn you the book is, as I said, very dark and for mature audiences. When the book was adapted to the stage, that was the first thing needing to be addressed. The plot was subdued and made appropriate for larger audiences. From what I’ve seen in his author interviews, Maguire seems alright with the changes, after all, didn’t he take the same liberties from the story of L. Frank Baum?
Are you curious about the real story of the Wicked Witch of the West? Who’s the most evil character you can think of? What made them wicked?
Tune in again wednesday for a chillingly true ghost story! Happy October!