Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

Opening Salvo For Mad About Musicals Course

578 posts in this topic

My go-to, on-repeat musical would have to be Guys and Dolls.  I saw a community theater production of it in my hometown in Ohio and fell head over heels.  I must've been a sucker for Frank Loesser because I also became a huge fan of How To Succeed in Business...

Runners-up:  My Fair Lady, Wizard of Oz, and the Fred & Ginger films.

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7 hours ago, Shontisha said:

Some of my favorite musicals include Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, Camelot, Cabaret, The Wizard of Oz and Funny Girl. Out of those listed, Funny Girl has to be my favorite for many reasons, but mostly due to Barbra Streisand's extraordinary performance. She commands the film as her own and gives every moment on screen her all, resulting in arguably one of the greatest musicals of all time. She is the greatest star!

Color is another factor that comes into play with the films I listed. I agree with annsblyth that technicolor adds to the appeal of many musicals, it definintely is an element in all of my favorites. It helps create the fascinating world on screen that we can escape into if only for a could of hours. Black & White musicals can be just as appealing if the music is right and other visual elements are used. Shows like Cabin in the Sky, Showboat, or any Busby Berkeley film may lack color, but they contain the heart and soul of the musical, the music, and in some cases visually stunning numbers as well. 

I find B & W to have a special appeal because of the specific lighting talents required. There is something remarkable about a beautifully lit B & W film. 

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My favorite musical that I watch every couple of months is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Mostly because I love Marilyn Monroe, of course, but also because Jane Russell’s character is so similar to me it’s scary. “The chaperone’s job is to make sure no one else has fun, but NOBODY chaperones the chaperone.” ?

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I especially enjoy well-done adaptations of stage musicals. In my mind, West Side Story, Chicago and Cabaret are downstage center.

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6 hours ago, Sarah Last said:

I have always had a yearly tradition of watching 1776 on the 4th of July.  I have always considered 1776 one of the best musicals for learning about American History.  The movie is absolutely perfect and so are the actors and the music.

So I am not the only one? Good to know.

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6 hours 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.

So, then the fact that my son and I break out into song in NYC waiting for a train is, uh....a little bizarre is an understatement?

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The movie musicals that I have continuously watched over the years are Guys and Dolls, Singing in the Rain, Annie Get Your Gun, and The Wizard of Oz. These films have cultivated my love for song and dance. In fact, Annie Get Your Gun was the first musical theatre production I was in at the age of 8, and it sparked the storyteller inside of me. It led me down a path to pursuing a degree in Theatre, and I couldn't be happier. 

There is nothing like watching a story that engages you with not only a wonderful story, but spectacular musical numbers full of inspiring melodies and endearing characters. It's a little slice of happiness that speaks to the heart and soul. Most of all, it's so entertaining!

I can't wait to learn more about a topic that has shaped the course of my life!

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5 hours ago, Kate M said:

I grew up on musicals, so picking a favorite is impossible. Bursting out into song was just something that happened in my family. My go-tos for the classics (generally) are: Singin’ in the Rain; Oklahoma; Meet Me in St. Louis; and Hello Dolly. For modern musicals: Across the Universe; Mama Mia; and Annie. 

For my money, Across the Universe is genius.

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Since musicals make me happy, I tend to watch them multiple times. It's the romance, and the talent, and the way life just turns into dancing and singing at a moments notice. After thinking for several minutes, I can't really name just one favorite. Oklahoma? West Side Story? Damn Yankees? I enjoyed LaLaLand. With that movie came the hope that the movie musical might make a come back. Fingers crossed. 

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Hello!!! I'm Luis and I write from Argentina. It is my pleasure to begin this new course. The musical I look at is always Singin' ' in the rain. I like it very much because, in addition to all its musical numbers are brilliant, like the interpretations, it is a clear homage to the beginnings of the cinema. It's cinema inside the cinema. And that share of the optimism of the songs also makes it one of my favorite of all time.
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Apparently, you can only leave reactions on a fixed number of posts each day. :(

This discussion has been great so far.  It's fun to see everyone's favorites and where we intersect and diverge in our tastes.  I'm loving the back stories of how everyone came to love and enjoy musicals.  I'm worried that during the week when I'm working, I will miss out on some really great posts.  I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up!

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4 hours ago, BenHere said:

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.

We Judy fans are a special bunch. That woman was so unique. I will never forget the day we lost her. 

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My mother, my sister, and I went through a long phase, when my sister and I were younger, when we watched SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS all the time, on an old VHS tape. I think we liked the combination of the Cinderella Story (sort of), where seven giddy girls "discover" these seven "well-kept secrets" grooms. It was always fun to see how Jane Powell stumbled into this ultimately awesome family. We loved the singing. It was akin to the dancing in other musicals. The songs were folksy and made the characters approachable. The setting was earthy and different, for a musical. And the large cast made for many different types of songs/moments. "Lonesome Polecat" still goes down as one of my three favorite songs in a musical.

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I grew up on musicals, and when I visited my grandma's house we always watched "The Wizard of Oz," "The Sound of Music," and "Mary Poppins," so those are always favorites. I am also a big fan of "Oklahoma!" (the first musical I owned on video) and "The Music Man" - I am a librarian and Marian is one of my heroes (she advocates dirty books!). I can probably name a dozen more that I love, too! 

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The music man.  Great story representing America's past, great songs for whistling and singing in the shower, great stars.  Everything about this movie makes me want to watch it over and over.

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Hi everyone. I'm very excited about beginning this course. I participated in one other previous course with Dr. Edwards on Slapstick Comedy which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a lot of fun and I learned so much. So, I have been waiting patiently for a course on this very subject! I'm planning on watching every movie (with the help of my DVR) ? and learning from my participation and enjoying another great TCM/Ball U. course. Thank you to our instructors, guest speakers, TCM, Ball U. and all involved.

As far as my favorite musical, that's a tough one bc I love different musicals from different eras but if I have to narrow it down it's probably, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The reasons I believe I adore it so much are that I love Howard Keel, his beautiful voice and his presence in any movie. He's funny and handsome and seems at ease in any genre but ofc he's tops in musicals. I also very much enjoy his co-star, Jane Powell with her wonderful voice. She's so optimistic and strong willed in this film how could you not love her?

Beyond that, it's based on a story written by Stephan Vincent Benét with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and choreography by Michael Kidd! It's a coming together of so many greats. Really, who else but Michael Kidd could make chopping wood seem like fun? I love the many ensemble song and dance numbers as well. So energetic and fresh danced by many with previous and future award winning Broadway careers. I also enjoy the parts played by the many character actors that pop up throughout the film. I like the timeframe (1850s) as well as the setting of the film (the Pacific Northwest).

To me, it's a musical that has it all. Plus it makes me happy and makes it impossible for me not to tap a toe or sing along. Total perfection!

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about my favorite musical. I look forward to the month ahead!

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, elishanain said:

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.

So, here is a little tidbit. I was the supervising Foley editor on A Goofy Movie. It is, to this day, one of my favorite projects I worked on. Kevin Lima, the director, is a joy to work with, and my ex-husband, David Stone, was the supervising sound editor. He went on to win the Academy Award for sound editing for Bram Stoker's Dracula. I have to tell you that we all loved working on that film. When I put together the group ADR (group voices) and worked with Kevin, it was one of the most enjoyable days in my career up to that point. Those of us in the sound team for that film still talk about what fun it was to work on that film. So it is so gratifying that so many young people grew up loving that film. (I love it too.)

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To anyone who picked THE HARVEY GIRLS, I wanted to share that if you visit Dodge City, KS, you can see where the Harvey Girls actually lived. It's fantastic! The house is huge and made mostly of brick. The atmosphere, when I took the tour of the city and we drove by the house, was very much like the film. Bright, sunny, a bit dusty, and as if from another time. If I can dig through my vacation photos and find a picture, I will post it.

Just wanted to share.?

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Another favorite is Oklahoma.  It's a great story with great music and stars.  Very watchable again and again.  Being from the state gives me an extra special feeling for the movie and the state theme.

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Meet Me In St. Louis.  I just love how it focuses on a year in the life of the family.  I like the holiday themes and you can't lose with Judy Garland.

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3 hours ago, Ptamom said:

The American musicals not only played a major role for the American psyche during its most difficult socioeconomic times but it also became an ambassador for American culture. I think one could go and visit Kathmandu and some one in there would know the song “ I am yankee Doodle dandy”

Ok, you are now a graduate student for the course. 

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Can never get enough of Yul Brenner slowly moving his hand towards Deborah Kerr's waist with locked eyes and says ... "NOW?" ... to "Shall We Dance" in the King & I ... Chills just thinking about it. 

 

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