My husband and I watched Hamlet 2 last night and it made want to make a list of my favorite musicals.
From the 1940s
Sun Valley Serenade is my favorite childhood musical. It’s stars the lovely Olympic skating star, Sonia Henie and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
The story is about a handsome piano player, played by John Payne, who sponsors a war refugee from Norway as a publicity stunt for his band. Expecting a small child, he’s surprised to meet the gorgeous Karen, played by Sonia Henie, when she gets off the boat. She immediately sets her sites on him for marriage, but he’s already interested in the lead singer of his band.
There are very cute songs such as the Kiss Polka, Moonlight Serenade, and Chattanooga Choo Choo. I would watch it all winter and pretend to be Sonia Henie on the ski slopes and ice rinks. When we went to Sun Valley, I was surprised to find the movie had it’s own channel where it ran continuously!
Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor has some of my most favorite songs. Debbie Reynolds is adorable dancing and jumping out of a birthday cake in “All I Do Is Dream of You” and heart breaking in “You Are My Lucky Star“. I love to watch Gene Kelly’s flying feet and Donald O’Connor’s comedy in “Moses Supposes” and “Good Morning” too.
High Society with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong is my favorite movie to watch when I’m in a bad mood. My best girlfriend and I would drink champagne and watch this movie after a long week of studying in college. Sadly, it’s Grace Kelly‘s last feature film before retiring from acting. She and Bing Crosby have a beautiful duet called, “True Love” written by Cole Porter. Frank Sinatra is hilarious as a reporter singing “You’re Sensational” to Grace Kelly and Louis Armstrong is a scene stealer with his witty one liners and amazing music.
Some Like It Hot stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as two musicians who witness a mob hit and go into hiding by joining an all-female band. It’s my favorite Marilyn Monroe musical (although Gentlemen Prefer Blondes runs a close second). She has the most adorable lines like, “Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop“. When Marilyn’s character, Sugar, first appears on screen, Jack Lemmon’s character says, “Look how she moves! It’s like Jell-O on springs.” It won an Oscar in 1960 for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White and nominated for 6 other Academy awards!
The Sweet Charity soundtrack with Gwen Verdon was all I listened to my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to be in the musical in any part, so I knew all the songs by heart. My favorite songs are “I’m the Bravest Individual”, “Baby Dream Your Dream”, and ” If My Friends Could See Me Now”!
The Sound of Music is another one of my best loved and childhood favorite musicals. My mom would play the songs for us on the piano and we’d sing along. My favorite songs from Sound of Music are still “The Lonely Goatherd” and “My Favorite Things”. As I kid, I would dance around the living room singing, “I Am Sixteen Going On Seventeen” and “Do-Re-Me” frequently. Who didn’t want Maria as their Governess growing up?
Grease is my favorite musical that I’ve ever acted in. My senior year of high school, I got to be Sandy in Grease! We did not do the 1978 movie version with the songs, “Hopelessly Devoted To You” or “You’re the One That I Want”, but instead the play version has cute songs like, “It’s Raining On Prom Night”, which Sandy got to sing and “These Magic Changes”! The Rydell Fight Song was pretty fun too.
Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” is a classic musical with many pretty songs, like “In My Own Little Corner” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?”. I was lucky enough to see it in Seattle in 2001 when Jamie-Lynn Sigler starred in the national tour of opposite Eartha Kitt. I had just played Sandy in Grease and I was so excited that Jamie-Lynn had played Sandy in high school too!
I had no idea that Cinderella was the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written for television. It aired in 1957 with Julie Andrews as Cinderella.
There are several Disney musicals and the Wizard of Oz that I love as well, but I’ll save those for another posting!