Saturday, May 12, 2018

Saturday Seven: Favorite Musicals - #musical #lyrics #SaturdaySeven #LASR

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I grew up with music. My father was a jazz musician who played clarinet and sax in bands from the time he was eleven. My mom had an amazing singing voice (and was also a dancer) and played piano. And I’ve always had an exceptional memory for tunes and lyrics.

I know dozens of the 1940’s torch songs my mom liked to sing. I also picked up my parents’ love of musicals and comic opera. (They took me to my first Gilbert and Sullivan concert when I was only five years old!)

So here are seven of my favorite musicals—many of which I know by heart!

My Fair Lady – Lerner and Loewe

I have often walked down this street before,
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I several stories high,
Knowing I’m on the street where you live.

This may have been the first musical I ever heard. My mother loved to play the record (yes, the vinyl record...!) and sing along. Pretty soon I was doing that too.

This classic tale of the snotty, sexist Professor Henry Higgins and the alluring Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle was an early introduction to romance.

Gypsy – Style and Sondheim

You can sacrifice your sacro
Working in the back row,
Bump in a dump till you’re dead,
But you’ve gotta get a gimmick
If you wanna get ahead

Gypsy” was another family favorite, though it’s hard to imagine a plot or tone more different from “My Fair Lady”. This wonderful musical is based on the life of legendary burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee, who started out as a child performer managed by her bossy mother.

I still remember most of the lyrics, though it has been almost sixty years. I guess I identified a bit with Louise (as Gypsy Rose was originally named). My own mother had show business aspirations for me and my siblings. We even appeared as a singing trio on TV!

Camelot – Lerner and Loewe

It’s May, it’s May, the lusty month of May,
That gorgeous month when everyone goes
Blissfully astray

As a kid I loved to read tales of King Arthur’s knights. This musical offers something of a different view! I didn’t hear this at home, but saw the movie with Julie Andrews, Robert Goulet and Richard Burton (the original Broadway cast) and was hooked. I don’t know all the songs from this play, but I’ve always viewed “The Lusty Month of May” as something of a theme song!

Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical – Ragni, Rado and MacDermot

Harmony and understanding,
Sympathy and peace abounding,
No more falsehood or derision,
Loving living dreams of vision,
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind’s true liberation

We marched against the Vietnam War. We wore flowing skirts, love beads, flowers in our hair. We repudiated the hypocrisy of our parents’ generation, determined to build a new society based on love, peace, nature, sensuality... “Hair” gave us our anthems.

The Age of Aquarius didn’t quite turn out the way we’d hoped, but the music still captures the ferment and the optimism of my teen years. Meanwhile, the vibrant sexuality of this musical definitely influenced my future development as a woman and an author.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Richard O’Brien

It’s astounding
Time is fleeting
Takes its toll.

The Rocky Horror film came out while I was in graduate school. In one week, I went to see it three times. Silly, sexy, exuberant and irreverent, the story struck a chord. I’ve listened to the sound track hundreds of times since then; I don’t seem to get tired of it.

Erotic visions without any measure,
And sensual daydreams to treasure forever...

Another influence on my writing, I guess, and very likely a source of my enduring interest in gender-bending characters.

The Phantom of the Paradise – Brian De Palma

Our love
Is an old love, baby;
It’s older
Than all our years.
I see in strange young eyes
familiar tears.

My lover/Master introduced me to this rather obscure musical film early in our relationship. It’s a peculiar mash-up of The Picture of Dorian Grey, Faust and the Phantom of the Opera. Actually, I’ve never seen the film; I’ve just listened to the haunting song “Old Souls”, again and again.

Once More With Feeling – Joss Whedon

Apocalypse -
We’ve all been there,
The same old tricks,
Why should we care?

Unlike most of America, I never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV, but years after the show ended, a friend loaned us the full series on DVD, and I was hooked.

Once More With Feeling” is one episode of the series, in which the major and minor characters all burst into Hollywood-esque songs under the influence of a demon. I was impressed enough by the music (Joss Whedon is a multi-talented genius) that I got the soundtrack. Now I listen to it frequently. When I’m not singing it, that is!

By the way, all the lyrics in this post are from memory, so they might have errors. However, I’ll bet there aren’t many.

Be sure to check out the other Saturday Seven posts today. You'll find the links at Long and Short Reviews.



ELF said...

I grew up listening to "My Fair Lady," "West Side Story," "South Pacific," and "Flower Drum Song." My mom lived near Grant Avenue and watched them film part of "Flower Drum Song," and she'd always get excited when we watched the movie and point out where her apartment was, lol. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Lisabet Sarai said...

I drew my winner for last week's giveaway. Anne, can you please get in touch with me? You didn't leave your email. lisabet at lisabetsarai dot com

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, ELF!

How could I have forgotten West Side Story? That was definitely one of my favorites. And Flower Drum Song was the first movie I ever saw.

Thanks for dropping by!

Lydia said...

I didn't know that King Arthur's legend had ever been made into a musical. How neat.

Once More with Feeling was actually the musical that first got me interested in this genre. Joss Whedon has a real way with words.

My final Saturday Seven post:

Your site is on my RSS feed, so you will see more comments from me here in the future. :)

Wendi Zwaduk and Megan Slayer said...

Love this list. I'd forgotten about the songs from Buffy. :-) I love the music from Cats. That's one of my faves.

Here's the link to my post:

Ed Hoornaert said...

Earlier this evening, I played a band concert in a local park, and we played a medley of tunes from My Fair Lady. And (of course) several ticky tack marches. There are good marches, but we sure didn't play any tonight.

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