Best Musicals

Let’s jump right into it then shall we? Here’s my list of my favourite musicals.

High School Musical

I don’t care what you say I loved this movie as a teenager! I knew all the songs, I would sing along and I even learnt the dances. It was such a great movie. It was smooth and seamless. It took me on such an emotional journey and taught me it was okay to be myself. You’d think this is common sense but really in secondary school (or high school if you’re American) it can be hard to be yourself, especially when you’re quirky. So I loved the movie for that.

I also loved that the movie addressed how you don’t have to be defined by one quality. There’s more to a person than that. Whereas in school they try to put you in a box but the movie was like, “Nah, ain’t no such thing as boxes, stop that!”

My favourite songs: Start of Something New, Stick to the Status Quo, When There Was Me and You, Breaking Free and What I’ve Been Looking For (Reprise).

Hairspray

Now I didn’t know about this musical before it was made into a movie. So I only know the movie adaptation. I would love to see it on stage one day though.

Anyway the movie, it was so fun, genuinely fun! From beginning to end I was in it and had connected with the characters. The story was good, the singing was good and the songs were amazing! I loved Tracy’s character, Zac Efron and Amanda Bynes did well. Elijah Kelley as Seaweed was everything!

The movie tackled segregation, weight shaming, interracial love and just love of all kinds. It’s not just a feel good musical, it teaches you as well as entertaining you.

My favourite songs are: Without Love, The New Girl In Town and Run and Tell That.

Lion King 

So this is a Disney movie I know but I consider it a musical as well. From previous lists you know that Lion King is one of my all time favourite movies. I’ve loved it since I was a little girl and I will carry on loving it until I die.

The songs in this movie are great. I love them all, from the beginning song, to Scar’s song to Hakuna Matata. I love them all.

This is another movie I knew all the words to, not just the songs but the dialogue too. I would sing along and act along. Honestly, if anyone is looking for a voice actress I’m ready, I’ve been training.

My favourite songs from the movie are: I Just Can’t Wait to be King!, Be Prepared, Can You Feel The Love Tonight? and Circle of Life. I even love Lion King 2 but I’ll save that for another post.

Annie (1999) 

I know it was originally a stage production and that there are other movie versions that people prefer but this is my personal favourite Annie, the 1999 Disney version.

My mom got me this movie and I loved it, I honestly didn’t know as a kid that there was another earlier movie Annie. But then I found out and watch the original movie version and it was good but I didn’t love it more than the 1999 version.

I used to set up my living room as an orphanage and dance and sing along to the movie. Hmm there’s a theme forming here. Someone should cast me to be in a musical.

It was such a feel good movie, the songs even when sad allowed you to sing along and belt away the sadness; to get it all out! It was therapeutic.

I really got attached to Annie and her journey, I was rooting for her and I loved how humble and earnest she was and yet how tough she was too. I loved Mr. Warbucks as he changed through out the movie, warming up and opening his heart to love and family.

Kathy Bates as Miss Hannigan was genius casting. (Also did anyone notice how Kathy Bates and Victor Garber were in this movie together and they were in the Titanic together? A minor point but I loved it when I noticed).

I love everything about this movie, it’s not just one of my favourite musicals but one of my favourite movies of all time.

My favourite songs are: Tomorrow, It’s A Hard Knock Life, You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile, I Don’t Need Anything But You, Little Girls, Easy Street and Maybe (Reprise).

The Sound of Music

This one is a family favourite. For some reason we always tended to watch this one during the Christmas season. It was like it was our Christmas movie even though we don’t celebrate Christmas.

It’s a great movie but you need to clear an evening for it. It’s an epic musical, Julie Andrews at her finest.

The musical is based on the real Von Trapp family although some details were changed. It’s a harrowing story, about love, values, morals, family and the power of music.

I loved the bond the children shared with Maria and how Maria fell in love with the Captain. It was a beautiful story really and knowing most of it was real made it that much better.

I wonder where the descendants of the Von Trapp family are now, they emigrated to America in real life, to escape the Nazi’s, so I’m guessing they’re still in America.

My favourite songs are: Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss, My Favourite Things, The Lonely Goatherd, Sixteen Going on Seventeen and So Long, Farewell.

Grease

This movie is the best! One of my favourite decades is the 50’s. It was a bumping time. I mean the way they used to dance was awesome! That and Dirty Dancing, I wish I could dance like that. Just have myself swung around, it looks fun!

There are many things I like about this musical. First the journey Danny and Sandy go on. Danny showed a vulnerable side to Sandy and he genuinely fell for her but he was embarrassed to show that in front of his friends when he was meant to be the cool one. Sandy, on the other hand, was set in her ways and wasn’t as liberal as Rizzo and the Pink Ladies which was fine but at some point she decides she wants a change. Both Danny and Sandy compromise to meet each other half way by the end of the movie. Danny finally claims her and is comfortable showing his vulnerable side. And Sandy still has her boundaries but she lets loose more and has fun more towards the end.

I love the change in Rizzo and Kenickie as well. They matured as the movie progressed and Rizzo addressed issues that women who were openly sexual had to deal with, especially in those times (although sometimes it seems like times haven’t changed). Their love for each other grew and they became more honest about their feelings.

Plus it’s really about the journey you take to find yourself and your place in the world, in my opinion. It’s about being confident enough to be yourself and to like who like or what you like without worrying about what others think.

My favourite songs are: Grease is the Word, Grease Lightning, Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee, Summer Nights and You’re the One That I Want.

West Side Story

A version of Romeo and Juliet that I watched in Music class. I don’t like Romeo and Juliet for various reasons but I liked this musical.

It tackles race relations in America and how love can bridge that gap. Or at least how love tries to.

Really love has no boundaries, and that’s what movies like this showed. It’s us who put boundaries on people and tell them who they can and can’t love.

I feel it’s also about forgiveness. The Jets and the Sharks have hate for each other that is deep and triggers the problems in the movie. No one is innocent, not even Tony or Bernardo.

However I used to be low key mad that Maria still wanted to be with Tony after he killed her brother. Like girl can you not wait? Give yourself time to grieve. I know you’re forgiving but dang bury your brother first. I never understood that. Same goes for Tony, he’d lost a friend and he’d killed someone in retaliation, he had some rage and grief that he needed to sort out first.

The police and Doc did try to stop the violence and Anita in the beginning. To be honest it’s hard to change people’s hearts especially when the issues run deep and this movie/musical showed that. It can be done but it takes work.

My favourite songs: America and I Feel Pretty.

So that’s my list, what are your favourite musicals? Comment below!

8 thoughts on “Best Musicals

  1. West Side Story is certainly a good pick. One recent musical movie I saw was U-Carmen which is a South African take on Carmen and the songs are all in Xhosa!

    I used to love The Lion King, but I hate that franchise as an adult though. That movie ripped off so many things from the 60s anime Kimba the White Lion and Disney hasn’t owned up to it to this day. Disney also trademarked the phrase “Hakuna Matata” which is just pure cultural appropriation. I found that out weeks after finding out I’m part Congolese in a DNA test, so I can say they stole part of my heritage in addition to anyone who’s Kenyan, Tanzanian, Ugandan, or even Rwandan if we’re looking at African countries where Swahili has official status. Also, I couldn’t stand how racist the hyenas are with them playing up Black and Latinx stereotypes. Not only that, but the Elephant Graveyard situation was low-key genocide against them by Mufasa if you really look at history like the Namibian Genocide (especially the Shark Island Concentration Camp) or the Congolese Genocide for example with enforced starvation. Sorry, I just had to inform you about this when I saw The Lion King on your list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The older I get the more I realise that Disney is so corrupt. The amount of racism in the old movies is 👀
      I don’t know why I still like Lion King, it must be the nostalgia. I’m glad I didn’t get attached to any other movies from Disney apart from Mulan.
      One thing that always bugged me about Lion King, even as a kid is why were they British? Why was Rafiki the only one who sounded “african”?
      The elephant graveyard though, I haven’t heard about that. Where did you read about it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same here. Disney gets away with so many things that no one else else wouldn’t. You’ve noticed the racism in the older movies as well as the hyenas here, too? Thank you! I’m glad I’m not crazy. Not only that, but I forgot to mention that “The Lions Sleeps Tonight” is a work of plagiarism against a dead South African singer Solomon Linda’s song “Mbube”. Don’t believe me, then watch The Lion’s Share on Netflix. That documentary is literally about that copyright infringement case against Disney and that licensing company who never paid the Linda family.

        To each their own. That’s good you didn’t get too attached to the movies. That’s a good question and I didn’t even think about it. I know there were a couple of British people in that movie with Rowan Atkinson as Zazu and Jeremy Irons as the shameless clone of Claw from Kimba…I mean, Scar. Rafiki was voiced by an African-American and I’m kind of facepalm knowing that a Black guy played an ape in this movie.

        I was exposed to the Namibian Genocide when I saw a BBC documentary about that horrific event. When it got to the part about Shark Island and how the Germans punished the innocent Namibians by starving them out in an island filled with bones away from the society, the elephant graveyard was the first thing that came into mind. Even more disturbing is that one of the genocidaires was General Franz Ritter von Epp who would eventually employ and inspire a then-unknown Adolf Hitler. It just reinforced the anti-Black undertones and I wondered if Disney thought that people like me whether they had one Black parent or two don’t deserve to be in the circle of life. No, just because James Earl Jones plays Mufasa doesn’t give Disney a free pass for racist crap in Lion King. Scar may have done a lot of bad things, but as I get older and learn about various historical events, I find Mufasa to be no better. He gets away with it because he’s the “good guy”. That’s protagonist centered morality and I can’t believe people defend that stuff.

        Whew! Sorry, I had to get that out of my chest, but it’s hard for me to look at that movie the same way again especially since I used to love it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I believe you about that song, it sounds like something they would do. And I always did wonder where that song came from.
        Yeah the hyenas and Scar, I always found it dodgy that the one black lion was the evil one, but that’s just me. Plus movies like Aladdin, the cats movie I don’t remember the name of just to name a few. Oh and Dumbo!! A lot of characters in those movies were racist caricatures.

        Ahh!! I see. That is very disturbing. I had no idea about that.

        No it’s fine, get it off your chest and I understand.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, it was mind blowing when I discovered that documentary. Here’s the song and you can totally tell “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” shamelessly ripped off that song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrrQT4WkbNE. Also, “Mbube” is the Zulu word for “Lion”.

        Very good points. I know that there have been Barbary lions where the males had natural black manes, but hyenas aren’t that dark in real life, so the racial coding is even more obvious than just Shenzi and Banzai talking “hood”, if you know what I mean. Yeah, in Aladdin, the original opening line of “Arabian Nights” went “They’ll cut off your ear if they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home!” in the original theatrical version until the Arab-American community protested Disney to change the lyric in the VHS tapes and future releases. There’s multiple examples of Siamese cats playing up Asian stereotypes with Lady & the Tramp, Aristocats, and even an episode of Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers of all things. Don’t even get me started on Dumbo with the faceless Black circus workers singing about being illiterate and slaving away. That and those freaking crows. I didn’t know this until I was an adult that the lead crow’s name was actually JIM which is a horribly racist pun if you know anything about American history. Thank you so much for calling them out. Some Disney fans have freaked out at me for mentioning those examples among others.

        Thank you. It’s something you don’t really think about until you start seeing the parallels with real life genocides or how forced starvation IS literally a form of that act like in Namibia, Leopold’s conquest of the Congo, various Native American genocides, etc. I even pointed that out to people who researched those examples including a Namibian blogger and they told me that I made perfect sense in my observations. Thank you so much for understanding.

        Thanks. Finding out about those unsavory things about The Lion King really affected me. It started with watching that old-school anime and it snowballed into finding out about these other things.

        Liked by 1 person

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