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08:52 pm: Musical Education

Once again, listening to musicals with the children provides endless oportunities for education....but we are beginning to be amused at how much of the seedy side of life is revealed in musicals. First, the father from My Fair Lady, then the gamblers of Guys and Dolls, then the con man of Music Man. Now, it's the thieves of Oliver!

There's a lot in Oliver that's awfully hard to explain . I kind of skip the song about Mr. Bumble trying to get his assistant to sit on his lap. (I swear we didn't do that one in High School.) Though it is comforting to hear the children disagree with Fagen ("I'd rather break my back than pick a pocket!")

But there are very sad parts in Oliver!, too. Luckily, the children don't know enough to ask about lines like:

Though you sometimes do come by
The occasional black eye
You can always cover one
'Til he blacks the other one
But you don't dare cry!
 

Makes one's own problems seem much lighter!

So...what's your favorite musical?



Comments

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From:madkestrel
Date:January 13th, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)

I have two.

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Camelot, preferably the Julie Andrews/Richard Burton stage version (which I own on CD, but I don't think was ever recorded onto film. Alas.)
When my mother was in her twenties, she spent a weekend in NYC with some friends, and she saw the show on Broadway. She bought the album not long after, and when I was old enough to work the record player myself, I listened to it nearly every day. I still know every word to every song.

And Jesus Christ Superstar. I saw the movie when I was 11 or 12 years old, and was completely entranced. I got the album for Christmas, and again, learned every word to every song. When the show had its revival in the 90s, I got the chance to go backstage with a friend who had a press pass. I met Ted Neely (Jesus) and Carl Anderson (Judas). They both signed my album and kissed me on the cheek. I was delirious for weeks.

[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:January 13th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)

Re: I have two.

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That is sooo cute! (the kiss on the cheek part.)

I've never seen Jesus Christ Superstar, though a friend lent it to me, so I have it to watch. I do love Godspell. I was the stage manager for it back in High School. I got to see it on (off?) Broadway, too, with, of all things, my Japanese Kendo master's family. I really enjoyed that.
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From:catholicteacher
Date:January 13th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
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It's a toss up between Les Miserables, when I want an operetta in English, or Man of La Mancha, if I want a good old fashioned Broadway song-n-dance. The former is what I sang all through high school. The latter is something that reminds me of college.

I must admit that I have been in the mood to watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers again since I started reading Livy with my 10th graders.
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From:arhyalon
Date:January 13th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
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John and I used to have a really good version of Les Mis, which we absolutely loved. We bought one more recently and it was terrible. Wish I could find the other one again. That was our favorite for years (along with Phantom.)
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From:rhystuck
Date:January 13th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC)
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My favorite musical is Cannibal! The Musical.

What you can learn from it: Don't eat other people I guess?
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From:arhyalon
Date:January 13th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
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That does sound like it would fit in with the mood of the rest of the ones we've heard. ;-)
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From:juliet_winters
Date:January 13th, 2009 08:19 am (UTC)

favorite musicals

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Brigadoon
Okay, anything with Gene Kelley in it. Plus, it appeals to my Scottish roohts. Lesson? However daffy, true love (Gene Kelley) is a better bet than a bottle of scotch (Van Johnson).

Camelot
Captures a lot of what makes the Arthurian mythos a forever classic. Most eerie song: Guinevere (describes the rescue attempt). Most romantic song: Before I Gaze at You Again. Downside: the movie version. Stick with Julie Andrews.

Man of La Mancha
Saw this in college with my husband-to-be. Very, very powerful and heart-breaking/uplifting. Not sure how "It's all the same" (prostitution) and "Little bird" (rape) would work out for your young crowd.

The Sound of Music
What's not to like about this one? Plus, it has Nazis. And good-natured con men. And, nuns! Saw this at a dinner theater for my birthday some years ago and was unaccountably pleased to be made much of by the character Max Detweiler.

West Side Story
Probably best saved as a treat for the teen years. When done competently, it is utterly amazing. Skip community theater productions unless it's an unusually talented community. Film version is excellent.

Fiddler on the Roof
Saw this one in high school at the National Theater in D.C.
It's strong and poignant. More so when you know about pogroms and the Holocaust.

[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:January 13th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)

Re: favorite musicals

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Camelot is on my list of ones to buy (along with another favorite of mine, 1776.) Fiddler on the Roof we've done, and we have Sound of Music (the kids saw the movie, but we should have listened to the songs first, that seems to work better.)

West Side Story I've decided to wait on. I think it might be too sad for them right now. ;-)
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From:princejvstin
Date:January 13th, 2009 10:24 am (UTC)
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I'm not a big fan of traditional musicals...but I do like Moulin Rouge, Chicago, and Bride and Prejudice.
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From:arhyalon
Date:January 13th, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
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Have you seen Devdas? If not, I recommend renting it and, if you don't care for the story, just watch the song numbers...they are absolutely incredible! (And have the same utterly gorgeous actress as Bride and Prejudice.-- in fact the picture in my icon may be a publicity shot for Devdas.)

My favorite song from Bride and Prejudice is "No life...without wife."

Edited at 2009-01-13 01:57 pm (UTC)
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From:princejvstin
Date:January 13th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
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Alas, Netflix has not had Devdas available to rent for quite some time. I remember John mentioning the movie some months ago, and was thwarted, then, in my plans to see it.
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From:kokorognosis
Date:January 13th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
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I've never really been able to get into musicals. The only one I've enjoyed at all, is Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog.

Having the soundtrack to it causes me some embarrassment.
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From:arhyalon
Date:January 14th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
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I've only heard some of it, but found it very amusing. I also really enjoyed the Buffy musical episode.
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From:kokorognosis
Date:January 14th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
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The entire musical is available on hulu.com, and legally to boot. It's well worth it, though maybe not for the youngin's.

My roommate and I had a conversation as to the nature of musicals, and, depending on how far you are willing to extend the definition of "musical" (His contention being that anything with extended musical interludes is a musical.), I'd have to add Lilo and Stitch to the mix, and Macross Frontier. Possibly Macross Plus-- though the music is generally used as a backdrop for combat sequences in the Macross universe, rather than... sort of randomly breaking out into song-- part of the whole "music as a cultural weapon" theme that is one of the foundations of Macross. Though maybe I'm missing something in the relation of song and story in a musical, Iunno. But the musical interludes in a traditional musical never made much sense to me.

I'm rambling.
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From:kokorognosis
Date:January 14th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
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*available streaming on hulu.com
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From:thefish30
Date:January 13th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
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I can never get enough of Pirates of Penzance.

I love the number where the pirates are sneaking up on the house while SINGING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS.
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From:arhyalon
Date:January 14th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
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I hadn't thought of that one!
From:automatthew
Date:January 29th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
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My children (5, 3, and 19 months) watch the Kevin Kline version constantly. The 19 month-old girl calls me "Pirate" instead of Daddy.
From:ladyhobbit
Date:January 14th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
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Well, if we're going to include Gilbert and Sullivan, what about HMS Pinafore? The title alone is awesome, and the whole thing is so very funny. My love for this operetta is the flip side of my devotion to the novels of C. S. Forester and Patrick O'Brien.

I also love The Sound of Music, because my beautiful younger daughter played Maria in both high school and college and because the story has such a moral resonance.

Oliver has so many clever songs. My lovely elder daughter performed in it during high school, and I remember that some of the songs were shortened to leave out the naughty bits.

Once upon a Mattress is another delightfully funny musical. (Yes, my younger son was the Minstrel in that one. And my elder son was Harold Hill in The Music Man. I've seen A LOT of high school musical productions!)
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:January 14th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
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Gilbert and Sullivan is a great idea. We'll put them on our list.

Lots of musicals in your family! Today, Juss was trying to memorize the Wammy War scene from The Five Thousand Fingers of Dr. Wu (Dr. Seuss's only live action movie) so that he could do it without having to look at the screen. I told him that this was memorizing and if he got good at that he could be in high school musicals. He was fascinated by this idea. (I forgot to explain that he also needs to learn to sing.)
From:automatthew
Date:January 29th, 2009 12:15 am (UTC)
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Chitty Bang Bang.

"From the ashes of disaster grow the Roses of Success" might be my theme song.
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