The best musical intros
I love musicals; the Fred Astaire ones from the Thirties, the Technicolor wonders staring Gene Kelly in the Fifties, and epic modern stage shows. The hallmark of a great musical is a banging first number or overture, so this week’s Tuesday Tunes will showcase some of my favourite opening songs.
Back in the day, when we only had 4 channels, and the only way to watch a film was to wait for it to be on the telly, record it on your VHS and play it over and over again, I had an extensive musical collection. One Christmas, all of the Fred Astaire film were on, and I taped every single one of them. While I was never able to copy the dancing, I loved watching and singing along with them;
These are some of my favourites
On the Town – I feel like I am not out of bed yet/ New York New York
This multi-award winning 1949 musical was directed by Gene Kelly – who also choreographed the film. It tells the story of 3 sailors in the American navy on leave for 24 hours in New York. It was unusual for the time because Gene Kelly insisted on many of the scenes being filmed on location, and as I couldn’t find any good quality clips of the film I have added the soundtrack from the 1944 stage version of the show.
OKLAHOMA – Oh What a Beautiful Morning
This classic opener opitimises the 1950s Rodgers and Hammerstein style of musical. They were bright, colourful and very American – the pair are considered to have been the catalyst for the Golden age of musical theatre after their massive Broadway success. There is unlikely to be a fan of musicals who doesn’t know this song, even if they have never seen the full film, or stage play.
Little Shop of Horrors – Skid Row
The Eighties were not known for their musicals, but this 1986 musical was written by Ashman and Menken of Disney fame. It is based on a stage musical, that itself is based on a film from the 1960s. The film contains a few changes to the original plot – in that some people live! – and, if nothing else, is worth watching to see a carnivorous plant voiced by a member of the Four Tops.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Late Night Double Feature
This film is described as a “musical science-fiction horror comedy” film, which pretty much covers it. I have dressed up to see the stage version of this more times than I can remember, and happily shouted the call backs during this song, and indeed all of the others. What is there about a transvestite alien creating a man in a castle while surrounded by singing and dancing servants not to love!
Matilda – Miracle
Whilst not a film, this is one of the best new stage musicials I have seen for a very long time. I remember reading the book when it was released in 1988, as I had just started senior school, and I had been eagerly anticipating a new Dahl, having read all of his other books.
We went to see the show at the Cambridge Theatre in London back in 2012 for Hannah’s 11th birthday, where it was initially only going to run for a short time. Now, years later, it will be coming to Bristol, where we will hopefully see it again.
I am a big Tim Minchin fan,and his soundtrack to this show numbers among my top 10 all time favourites.
What are your favourite musicals? Do you like the old school dancing ones, or the more modern story based ones?
Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for a future Tuesdays Tunes?
Let me know in the comments down below.