Now I love a good, powerful musical that is full of emotion and usually makes me cry, but I also love a musical that has the ability to put a smile on my face – no matter how bad my day has been. I have a list of five that genuinely do this (a couple that I have included are the film versions as I haven’t seen a stage production of it):
1. Wicked – I genuinely love something that puts a different spin on a classic story – in this case the Wizard of Oz. When I first saw this a couple of years ago in the West End, I was truly blown away by the strength of the music (which in my mind sounded slightly operatic) as well as the touching if unexpected friendship between Glinda and Elphaba – proving that opposites do attract! There is something that is so warming about it – even if their characters are pulled in two different directions at the end. It is for the most part light-hearted and affectionate.
2. Mamma Mia! – Everyone knows an Abba song – no matter how much they want to deny it and I found this musical (although it is undeniably cheesy – which is not a bad thing in my mind!) very clever in the way in which it incorporates Abba’s songs around the story which isn’t an easy thing to do. Yes it is an extremely girly thing to see but I defy anyone not to leave this musical not singing and dancing along it will certainly put you in a great and positive mood!
3. Hairspray – I have never heard so many upbeat and fun songs in one musical before. While I have yet to see a stage production (it is heading off on a UK tour soon – so will need to go and see it!) the film was brilliantly cast and yet had a strong and powerful message underneath the fun that makes you think about our own prejudices towards other people. Brilliant!
4. Grease – Again, this isn’t one I haven’t seen on stage but the film never fails to put a smile on my face thanks to the characters and features some of the most memorable songs in musical history. Some might find the humour corny and dated, but I actually think that that is what makes the film so successful – it isn’t false or pretentious everything is so natural. If anyone wants to bring this back to the West End – I would be eternally grateful! Rydell High is the school I wished I had gone to!
5. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – If I had to pick my favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber musical it would have to be this one. Both him and Tim Rice did an amazing job with creating music and lyrics for this – the narrative runs smoothly and there is plenty of joyfulness about it that always brings out the best of the performers. This is another show that desperately needs to be brought back to the West End as soon as possible!
While those are my top five, there were plenty more that could have been added so it was a difficult list to come up with. What musicals put a smile on your face?