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Soundtracks and Theater

Top Broadway Musicals

Posted: April 28, 2014 at 10:34 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
  1. West Side Story – A retelling of the Romeo and Juliet tale set in the background of New York’s racial gang warfare.  All of the music are consistently good and inspired – some are full of passion  (Tonight, Maria, One Hand, One Heart, Somewhere), some are rousing (America, Tonight Quintet), and some funny (Gee, Officer Krupke, I Feel Pretty).  When seen with the dancing, it’s one of the most memorable experience!
  2. My Fair Lady – This witty, funny, very delightful musical is a classic that defined a generation (early 60’s).  Story of a dirty flower girl whom an English professor taught to speak proper English until he was able to pass her off as a princess in a ball.  Great music includes “I Could Have Danced All Night”, “On The Street Where You Live”.  Other delightful music that Rex Harrison half-sings and half-recites include “Why Can’t The English”, “A Hymn to Him” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face”.
  3. Jesus Christ Superstar – This once controversial rock musical about the last days of Jesus actually contains music in a variety of genre.  It’s mostly rock of course, but there’s also pop (I Don’t Know How To Love Him) classical (John 1941)  charleston (King Herod’s Song) and opera (The Last Supper)!  My other favorites are “Getsemane” and “Everything’s Alright”.  A feast for the ears!
  4. The Music Man (Meredith Wilson) – Set in Iowa, the story of a con man who sells musical instruments but gets caught because of his love for Marian the librarian.  Every number is a delight – from the opening “The Traveling Salesman” to “Goodnight My Someone” to “Ya Got Trouble” and “Seventy Six Trombones”.  Even the quaint “Lida Rose”, sung by a barbershop quartet is delightful.  And of course, “Till There Was You” is so good the Beatles even recorded it!
  5. Chicago – This cynical musical from Kander and Ebb set in the 1920’s is a satire about how society turns criminals into celebrities.  Every song is a vaudeville number, and two songs are my personal anthem, “Razzle Dazzle” (if you don’t have anything substantial, razzle dazzle ‘em) and “All That Jazz”.  Became famous for the movie adaptation winning Best Picture of 2002.
  6. Grease – A fun romp full of  50’s inspired music about the youth of the 50’s  discovering love, friendship, class conflict and pregnancy.  I like it mainly for the toe-tapping choruses “We Go Together”, “Greased Lightning” and “Born to Hand Jive”.
  7. Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat – The story of the Biblical David the Dreamer with enjoyable songs that parody many genres – French Cafe (Those Canaan Days) country (There’s One More Angel in Heaven), calypso (Benjamin Calypso) and Elvis (Seven Fat Cows)!  This early Rice and Webber is a lot of fun to listen to.  Famous for “Any Dream Will Do.”
  8. Fiddler on the Roof – a tuneful musical about a Jewish father whose traditions are being challenged by his five daughters and the changing world.  Best songs to me are “Sunrise, Sunset”, “If I Were A Rich Man”, and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”.  “To Life” and “The Bottle Dance” are rousing, while “Tevye’s Dream” and “Tradition” are fun.
  9. Company – differs from the traditional musical in that it is comprised of vignettes (linked by Bobby’s 35th birthday) instead of a straightforward plot.  Sondheim’s clever music and cleverer lyrics are not immediately accessible, but they grow on you.  You will also empathize if you’re into marriage and relationships.  My favorites include “Being Alive”, “The Ladies Who Lunch” (two songs made famous by Barbra Streisand), “You Could Drive A Person Crazy” and “Side by Side by Side”.
  10. Kismet – full of wonderful, tuneful, exotic music based on themes by Russian composer Alexander Borodin.  All of the songs are so good, with “Stranger in Paradise” and “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” becoming classics.  My personal favorites are “Fate” and the beautiful quartet “And This Is My Beloved”.
  11. Follies – the other pastiche Sondheim musical with theme about relationships has many wonderful, classy, intelligent songs that are surprisingly tuneful.  The best of Sondheim songs here include “Losing My Mind” , and “I’m Still Here”.    I can relate to “The Road You Didn’t Take”.  “Broadway Baby” is a guilty pleasure.
  12. Oklahoma – the granddaddy of them – the first musical with depth and psychological complexity – is as fresh as when it was created by the genius of Rodgers and Hammerstein.  All songs are great from “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin” to the rollicking “The Surry with the Fringe On Top” to the beautiful  “Out of My Dreams” and the bitter “Lonely Room”.
  13. Carousel – another great musical from the great Rodgers and Hammerstein about a bad Carousel barker whose life is changed by the thought of having a daughter.  “If I Loved You” is to me one of the best Broadway song ever, but “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is a bit on the annoyingly cloying side.  Another of my favorite is the “Soliloquy”.
  14. Camelot – this musical takes you to the time of King Arthur and tells the story of how love can destroy a “brief, shining moment that was known as Camelot”.  “If Ever I Would Live You” has become a classic.  Other enjoyable songs include the comically self-confident “C’est Moi”, Guenevere’s melodious songs “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood”, “The Lusty Month of May, and “Before I Gaze at You Again”.  My favorite though is Arthur’s self-mocking song “I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight”.  Go figure.
  15. Hello, Dolly – very delightful musical with a farcical plot about a widow who puts her hand on matchmaking penniless clerks.  Rousing numbers include “Put on your Sunday Clothes”, “Before the Parade Passes By”, “Elegance”, and of course, the title song “Hello, Dolly”.  “It Only Takes A Moment” is a beautiful ballad.

Others:

Oliver!

Evita (Webber & Rice)

The King and I (Rodgers & Hammerstein)

Kiss Me, Kate

Annie Get Your Gun

Funny Girl

Sunday in the Park with George (Sondheim)

A Little Night Music (Sondheim)

A Chorus Line
Gypsy
Guys and Dolls
The Sound of Music
Mame
Anything Goes
Flower Drum Song
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Into the Woods
Cats
Sweeney Todd
Les Miserables
42nd Street
Pacific Overtures
Brigadoon
Showboat
They’re Playing Our Song
The Producers
Damn Yankees
The Pajama Game
Assasins
City of Angels
Pippin
La Cage Aux Folles
The Fantastiks
Man of La Mancha
Miss Saigon
On The Town
Call Me Madam
The Phantom of the Opera
My Pal Joey
No, No, Nanette
Paint Your Wagon
Finian’s Rainbow
Cabaret
Annie
Once on this Island
1776
Sweet Charity
The Boys From Syracuse
Fiorello
Sophisticated Ladies
Candide
Anyone Can Whistle
Five Guys Named Moe
Forever Plaid
Song and Dance
Grand Hotel
Do I Hear A Waltz
Ragtime
Tommy
Hair
Rent
The Secret Garden
Marry Me A Little
I Do, I Do
Ain’t Misbehavin’
Sunset Boulevard
Passion
Chess
Mamma Mia!

Also see Top 100 Show Tunes

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