Top five movie musicals
March 9, 2016
Filed under Curtain Call
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As fun as it is, theater-going is an expensive hobby: community theater ticket prices range from 10 to 50 dollars, and if you want to go somewhere professional, like Beef & Boards or Broadway in Indianapolis, the prices can skyrocket into the hundreds. Luckily, there are hundreds of movie versions of musicals you can get for free from Netflix or the library. Unluckily, a lot of these movie versions are worse than subpar. But, if you know where to look, you can certainly find a high-quality performance to enjoy from the comfort of your couch. The following are my personal favorite movie musicals for you to enjoy:
4. “Chicago”: This is one of the most cleverly and seamlessly adapted movie musicals I’ve ever seen. The numbers are performed so creatively, in ways that give them even deeper meaning than they already carry in the stage version. “Chicago” is a satirical (but not particularly humorous) musical about Roxie Hart and her climb to fame through the help of her lawyer, Billy Flynn, after she is arrested for shooting her lover. This raunchy, sexy musical perfectly satires society’s obsession with scandal and desire for entertainment over truth through its intriguing portrayal of the falsity of the glitz and glamour of fame and contains jazzy, unique musical numbers scattered throughout.
3. “Hairspray”: This hilarious and empowering musical takes place in the 50’s. Tracy Turnblad, an overweight but kind-hearted teen, has always dreamed of one thing: being a dancer on the Corny Collins show. However, because of her weight and “radical” ideas about integration, she is not given a chance. But when she becomes an overnight sensation, things begin to change for herself and the citizens, both black and white, of Baltimore. My favorite role in this movie is Edna Turnblad, Tracy’s mom, being portrayed by John Travolta. Travolta is almost freakishly spot-on in this role, despite the fact that he is playing a plus-size woman. However, the entire cast is really incredible in this movie. My only personal complain about “Hairspray” is that some of the songs, in my opinion, have a bit too much of a pop influence, but that’s just a matter of personal taste.
2. “Rent”: This musical is one of the most soulful, musically beautiful pieces ever produced. The movie version features quite a few names from the original Broadway cast, including Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp, making this movie meet the expectations set by Broadway. “Rent” follows the story of seven Bohemians in New York City during the AIDS epidemic. The characters struggle with addiction, loneliness, love and inner turmoil but ultimately face these problems together, making their struggles seem just a little less daunting. This movie version was changed a bit when it was adapted from the stage, but I felt that the changes (which were mostly cutting songs and adding dialogue) were okay in this case and they didn’t cut any major numbers or make any big changes to the plot, which, unfortunately, some movie musicals have done in the past.
1. “Fiddler on the Roof”: This movie musical was my first real musical theater love. I absolutely fell in love with this musical when I first saw the movie, which contains wonderful music, witty dialogue and perfect casting. Although the others on this list are all very good, I would recommend this one above all the others. “Fiddler on the Roof” tells the story of a poor Jewish Russian village called Anatevka, where Tevye and his family, including three teenager daughters, live. As new ideas about love and rights (such as the right to marry without a matchmaker), Tevye’s daughters start to stray from the norms more and more, becoming one with the more modern society, while Tevye struggles to keep a balance in his life of letting his daughters chase their happiness and honoring the traditions of his religion and homeland.