Top Ten Musicals

17 April, 2008
Rat Fink

The hard part about this list is not narrowing down the number of my fave musicals, but putting them in order. I don’t have a lot of “favorite” Broadway shows. It’s actually a very small collection.

Top Ten Broadway Musicals, According to Me

10. The Sound of Music – Rodgers & Hammerstein. I was Maria in my high school production. That’s why this gets the #10 spot. (Ok, that, and Gabe likes it, and I want to humor him.)

9. Godspell – Stephen Schwartz. For a sixties musical with then-contemporary songs, it never sounds dated. Love it.

8. Forever Plaid – A huge favorite ever since I saw my nephew, Jason, play Sparky in a professional production in North Carolina back in 2002. Awesome old standards, sung in tight 4-part harmony. And don’t forget hilarious.

7. Les MisérablesSchoenberg & Boublil. Beautifully written and staged, it had a long run on Broadway. Saw it three times. I haven’t seen the movie version, though.

6. West Side Story – Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim. Based loosely on Romeo and Juliet, this was the first musical I ever saw that did not have a happy ending. The music is gorgeous, and not for weak singers.

5. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – Gene DePaul, Johnny Mercer & Al Kasha. The songs are wonderful and the movie is a delight; two years ago, I music-directed the stage version. Most fun I ever had directing a show.

4. Funny Girl – Jule Styne, Bob Merrill. Ok, so I had the lead in this one in high school, too. Most fun I ever had acting in a show.

3. Singin’ in the Rain – Herb Brown & Arthur Freed. Best movie musical, period. Ever.

2. Phantom of the Opera – Andrew Lloyd Webber. Yeah, I know. All the theater snobs are saying, “Ew…how 1986.” Go ahead. And choke on your sashimi while you’re at it. But for me to see a show on Broadway, in Toronto (with Colm Wilkinson as the phantom) and Cleveland for a total of eight times and still bawl all the way through the second act….that’s some powerful music. I will always love it.

1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – Stephen Sondheim. I never liked the Broadway stage version soundtracks. Too much wobbly-opera-singer vibrato. The songs sounded way too melodramatic for my taste. But the 2007 movie….well, you know all about that.

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