Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

Opening Salvo For Mad About Musicals Course

578 posts in this topic

45 minutes ago, Ninnybit said:

My mom used to diss modern avant-garde movies. She didn’t like the non-linear plots and the twists and ambiguities, and I used to argue with her that’s there’s no odder turn in a movie than for a group of people to suddenly burst into organized song and dance! THERE’s surrealism for you! Just depends on what you’re used to.

That's a good point. People who don't like musicals often cite the fact that people don't just start singing in life. In fact, stage and screen musicals are forms of surrealism. A stage director I once worked with explained his theory on why characters sing and dance in musicals: when words aren't enough, that's when you sing and/or dance.

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It might be easier to ask if there is one I don't care for than to pick a favorite but I would have to say "Kiss Me Kate" is at the top of the list.  I never tire of the music, the dance numbers, the sets, the great cast, and the humor.  And "Unsinkable Molly Brown" comes in at a close second.  Harve Presnell had a glorious voice.    

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I love all film! I especially enjoy 40's musicals, but the ballet sequence in "American in Paris" is exquisite and one of my favorite scenes.

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I love Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Gigi. I enjoy the spectacle of the story, the scenery, the costumes, the songs, the dancing. And the the turn of the story in the change in pace and tone of the song when each realizes how they feel. 

thanks for making me think!

Denny

 

 

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Mine are Singin' In the Rain and Guys and Dolls. If I catch them on TV I usually stop whatever I'm doing and sit and watch. I also am a big fan of White Christmas, that Danny Kaye/Vera-Ellen dance number at the begining is so awesome, even some 60+ years later. 

 Now that I'm an adult they just remind me of a time in my life when things were happy and uncomplicated.  

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My favorite has to be Kiss Me Kate. Would listen to the cassette of the soundtrack each night when I was a girl. It included the sounds of the dancers during the songs. I would lay there and remember all the steps from the movie.  I love watching old movies and musicials are my favorite. Now it’s time I indoctrinated my kiddos. For the Holidays we always watch Holiday Inn and White Christmas so those are on heavy rotation also. 

Brandy

 

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"Must See" musicals are the ones I will drop everything to watch, any time, any place. "Must See" musicals are movies I seek out to see on the Big Screen, at the movie theatre. "Must See" musicals are the one where I sing along and quote the best known lines. "Must See" musicals are the ones I watch over and over and over again!

These are a few of My Favorite Things (see what I did there?)

* "Singin' in The Rain" (maybe the best ever)
* "Gold Diggers of 1933" (Ginger sings "We're In The Money" in PIG LATIN and so much more)
* "Footlight Parade" Jimmy Cagney, Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Frank McHugh and great Busby Berkeley staging. 
* "Meet Me In St Louis" Amazing and gorgeous MGM Technicolor, brilliant casting, great songs
* "Yankee Doodle Dandy" Jimmy Cagney AND Walter Huston singing and dancing? I am THERE!
* "The Band Wagon" More Arthur Freed era brilliance from MGM (love Jack Buchanan)
* Almost all of the Fred & Ginger films, especially the ones directed by Mark Sandrich 
* "Mary Poppins" a favorite from my childhood
* "The Wizard of Oz" another favorite from my childhood
* "A Star Is Born", every version but especially the Judy Garland/George Cukor edition ("The Man Who Got Away" might be my favorite musical number ever)
* "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" amazing, beautiful, unique, special.  

Oh there are so many many more I could list! It might be easier to list the musicals I don't like!
 

But that's another post for another Sunday morning...

Let's Movie! Let's Musical! 

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I didn’t grow up with classic musicals, I watched a ton of Disney animated musicals growing up. I’ve always been into musicals and though I haven’t seen as many as I like I definitely have my share of ones that I rewatch over and over again, sometimes I’ll even go onto YouTube to watch/listen to specific songs from musicals. The films I seem to rewatch a lot are Cry BabyThe Rocky Horror Picture ShowSweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet StreetThe Hunchback of Norte DameSouth Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut, and Cabaret. As you can tell I’m mostly a fan of rewatching newer musicals but I hope that’ll change and I’ll find more classics to add to the list (not to say I haven’t seen any older musical films, I just don’t seem to watch them as much).

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Seven Brides For Seven Brothers has always been one of my favorites. Of course the famous barn building dance scene is the best, but the actor's singing is my what draws me to the movie. Such beautiful voices and songs. Jesus Christ Superstar is also another favorite. The passion the actors express in their singing is amazing. It's also a modern and controversial interpretation that does a wonderful job in telling the story of Christ at a time when I think people were beginning to question their faith. 

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Over the years, I've found Meet Me in St. Louis to be one of my 'comfort movies' - it makes me feel warm and comfy.   Such a perfect film.  Lately, I've gotten in the habit of watching The Harvey Girls every time it shows.  Oh Judy.

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It's so hard to narrow it down! But if I see Fiddler, Sound of Music, Oklahoma, South Pacific, Pirates of Penzance, Singing in the Rain, West Side Story or numerous others, I'm sucked into watching. 

 

 

 

 

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I'm really into musicals of all kinds (like some of the more recent, darker ones like Sweeney Tod as previously mentioned), but one musical in particular has a soft spot in my heart. That's Annie Get Your Gun. When I was growing up, I loved Annie Oakley and wanted to be just like her. My mom introduced me to Annie Get Your Gun when I was to audition for my first stage musical. I think what attracts me to it still to this day is how much of a strong character Annie is.

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When I was little my favorite movie was Mary Poppins.  I would sing "Chim Chim Cher-ee" over and over.  As an adult the musicals I watch most often are Meet me in St. Louis, My Fair Lady, and The Music Man.  For me it is all about the music, the songs from these movies have the ability to lift my mood and make me smile!

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Like many others - I enjoy a variety of musicals (Sound of Music, Oklahoma, West Side Story, 1776).  But I can NEVER turn away from Fred and Ginger - no matter how many times I've seen them.  My favorite dance sequence is the first one in Swing Time.  So amazing - much of it in one long take!  And the way they fly over the little "fence" around the dance floor as if they're floating - lifts my heart!  And Fred singing "The Way You Look Tonight" from the same film - so sweet!

And I love Fred and Eleanor Powell's "Begin the Beguine" number in The Broadway Melody of 1940.  The way her skirt keeps whirling around her after they've finished the dance is pure magic.

And I can never get enough of the Nicholas Brothers "Jumpin' Jive" number in Stormy Weather. Grace and athleticism!

Finally NO ONE sings "Over the Rainbow" better than Judy did in The Wizard of Oz!

--Lydia

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My most loved musical has got to be Meet Me in St. Louis. The all-star cast makes it for me. It’s just wonderful in my opinion. It puts me in such a great mood.

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Not a typical answer, but I always find joy in watching A Goofy Movie. It is the musical I ALWAYS return back to. When I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm bored, it's always there. It's the movie that got me into writing in the first place. Goofy actually reminds me a lot of my Dad ? The relationship between Max and Goofy is relatable and I have always dreamed of being as cool as Roxanne. Not to mention the music is super hip. I am ELATED that I'll be learning about musicals from one of the masterminds behind the movie: Dr. Ament!!!

P.S. just saw Gold Diggers of 1933 is on the musicals schedule and I LOST IT. That movie slays, ya'll. "Pettin in the Park" for life.

Edited by elishanain
Had to add another one of my favorites!
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I agree with having a hard time picking a favorite musical.  There are so many that I love.  My first musical was "South Pacific"  at age 6, and musicals been an unbreakable habit ever since. That's 59 years ago!  Do the math. :)  

I would say my favorite musical of the moment is "Cabaret."   The main reasons are Miss Liza Minnelli, Joel Gray, Bob Fosse, and of course, the wonderful music. The film is also very dark, which I like.  

Another favorite is "Guys and Dolls".  For the singing, dancing and Mr. Marlon Brando.  Maybe miscast, but I still love the guy.  

One of the more "modern" musicals I love is "Everyone Says I Love You" by Woody Allen.  Just plain fun.  

Thank you so much for this online course.  I am so excited to participate.  

 

 

 

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I'm an historian by trade, so "1776" is one of my favorite musicals, and one that I love to share with others. 

Also, my mom and I truly love "The Sound of Music."  We can watch it over-and-over without ever getting tired.  My favorite song is "Edelweiss," and I always cry at the moment when the Captain motions for the crowd to join in singing and the camera shows Austrians sitting in the stands singing along. 

"Singin' in the Rain" has some of my favorite musicals moments.  I've watched Donald O'Connor perform "Make Em' Laugh" so many times that one might think it would get old, but it never ever fails to bring a smile to my face.  One of my goals in life is to learn the dance to "Moses Supposes."  And I can remember being obsessed with the title song as a little kid.  That crane shot that pulls back from the street level while Gene Kelly twirls in a circle holding the umbrella out is one of my favorite moments in film history (not just movie musical history) - I'm a sucker for crane shots.

Incidentally, I think the most significant moment in movie history is the moment when Dorothy opens the door into Oz.  The technical effects that were used to make that scene even happen is amazing, as well as that great shot over her shoulder into Munchkin Land.  And I really feel that moving from a world of sepia into one of Technicolor marks a time in film history where everything changed from that moment on.  What an amazing film!

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The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins!  I have to admit I haven't seen many from earlier than that, so I'm very excited about this course!!

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My all time favorite is The Sound of Music. My son and I have watched it too many times to count.The ending shot of the Von Trapp family climbing over the mountains gives me chills each time I watch it.  I also love the opening to West Side Story. The chorography is just fabulous.  

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If I have to pick just one it would have to be Singing in the Rain.  My favorite of all time.  From the story itself, to all the musical numbers it is complete perfection.  Gene and Donald's tap numbers are amazing and a young Debbie Reynold's-fabulous!!  I even went to see it recently when they played it at my local movie theater. 

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My all time favorite is Singing in the Rain.  I have the movies poster framed and hanging on my house (it use to be in my office until I retired).  Others I love are The Wizard of Oz (My! People come and go so quickly here!),  On the Town (The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down. The people ride in a hole in the ground.), My Fair Lady (Move you’re bloomin’ a**), Mary Poppins (We better keep our eye on this one. She’s tricky.), White Christmas, and Yankee Doodle Dandy.

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I enjoy most of the musicals I have seen. I think something about lifting up your voice in song to let your feelings be known really appeals to me, probably because I can't sing one note.  ?  I do have a few favorites though, the tried and true ones that I watch over and over or one in particular that just speaks to me -- for either reason these listed are my faves: 'White Christmas', 'Holiday Inn', 'Singing In The Rain', 'Cabaret', 'Funny Girl', 'Yentl', 'Top Hat' and 'West Side Story'.   

I also like many of the Disney musicals but I don't know if they are considered in the same category as classic movie musicals.

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What a challenging question! A favorite? I cannot narrow it down, but if it has Fred Astaire, I'm glued to the screen. It's not just his dancing or his elegant, seemingly effortless style. It's his singing, the phrasing and timing.

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