So it’s no secret that musical theatre is my biggest passion and one true love and though this blog is predominantly dedicated to books, I like to shake things up and talk about musicals once in a while. I’ve decided to attempt the 30 day musical theatre challenge and I apologise to those of you who are just here for the books – you can skip this one.
I have a really busy summer ahead of me, a show with my drama group today followed by a holiday (to Vienna, Istanbul and Budapest) and performing in two more musicals (42nd Street and Les Mis) so I may struggle to post frequent reviews, but hopefully this challenge will keep me active. I’m going to be posting these on my tumblr so you can look for them there but I’ll also keep updating this post! So without further ado I present the 30 Day Musical Theatre Challenge
Day 1) A number from one of your favourite musicals of all time
Our Last Summer from Mamma Mia
I’ve been a big ABBA fan since childhood and I saw Mamma Mia on the West End when I was nine and fell in love with it – especially this song
HARRY: We made our way along the river and we sat down in the grass, by the Eiffel Tower
Day 2) A number from one of your favourite musicals of the last three years
Positive – Legally Blonde
I’ve been a Legally Blonde fan for almost three years now and it’s one of my joint three favourite musicals (and this particular GIF is the inspiration for my tumblr url – everytragedyneedsagreekchorus)
SERENA: (Spoken) Elle, this is a tragedy and every tragedy needs a greek chorus
DELTA NUS: Greek Chorus
Day 3) A number from one of your least favourite musicals
Different – Honk
Honk is probably my most hated musical of all time. I mean it’s the ugly duckling the musical, it was never going to be any good! Nevertheless I actually really love Different. It’s the song Ugly sings when he ponders why people dislike like him because he’s different and it gets me right in the feels every time.
UGLY: There’s a runt in every litter a black sheep in every flock. But when you know it’s you somehow your ego takes a knock
Day 4) A number from the first musical you remember seeing
Do Rei Mi – The Sound of Music
The first musical I ever saw (both on-stage and on screen) was The Sound of Music. Do Re Mi was a favourite at the time and I used to make my dad sing it with me (he would play Maria and I’d sing as all seven Von-Trapp children which believe me, was no easy task)
MARIA: Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. When you read you begin with
CHILDERN: A B C
MARIA: When you sing you begin with do rei mi
CHILDREN: Do rei mi
Day 5) A number from the musical you saw most recently
Sun and Moon – Miss Saigon
I saw this musical at the beginning of 2015 and it blew me away. I’m so happy I got to see the original revival cast
KIM: The birds awake
CHRIS: The stars shine too
KIM: My hands still shake
CHRIS: I reach for you
BOTH: And we meet in the sky!
Day 6) A favourite opening number
Omigod You Guys – Legally Blonde
This number kicks of the show in such a fun and exciting way! It’s full of energy and perfecly sets the tone of the musical. I got to play Margot when I was in Legally Blonde (which I was elated about) so I got to sing the opening lines to this song (and the show) – which was pretty awesome
MARGOT: They’re just like that couple from Titanic, only no one dies
DELTA NUS: Omigod
Day 7) A favourite duet
A Boy Like That / I Have A Love – West Side Story
I love this song with all of my heart and it was a dream come true when I got to perform it on-stage as Maria. I love the intensity and the desperation in the song and I think it’s definitely the best song in the musical. When West Side Story was revived on Broadway in 2009, they decided to have Anita singing in Spanish and I absolutely adore that version (though I have no idea what she is saying)
ANITA: A boy who kills cannot love. A boy who kills has no heart. And he’s the boy who gets your love and gets your heart. Very smart Maria, very smart.
Day 8) A favourite dance break
King of New York – Newsies
Gah there are just too many, but who doesn’t love a good tap solo. Plus this song is infectious – as are all of the songs in Newsies. I haven’t been fortunate enough to see it yet but the cast recording is so brilliant that it’s high up on my to-see list.
NEWSIES: I gotta be either dead or dreamin, cause look at that pape with my face beamin. Tomorrow they may wrap fishes in it, but I was a star for one whole minute!
Day 9) Favourite ballad
On My Own – Les Mis
No matter how overdone or mainstream it is, On My Own will forever be one of my all time favourite musical theatre songs. It is beautifully written (both music and lyrics) and I’m sure almost anybody could relate to it.
EPONINE: And I know, it’s only in my mind. That I’m talking to myself and not to him
Day 10) A favourite ’11 o’clock’ number
Always Starting Over – If/Then
I admittedly had to google what an 11 o’clock number is because I wasn’t familiar with the term. I haven’tseen If/Then but I am in love with this song and had the joy of seeing Idina sing it on her world tour
ELIZABETH: Cause I’ve burned all of my bridges qnd learned every last lesson too. So how can I start new?
Day 11) A favourite comic number
My New Philosophy – You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown
Sally sings My New Philosophy after being awarded a D on last week’s homework and it was very therapeutic when I got a D in English (being a straight A student.) It’s very funny, especially when performed by the fabulous Kristin Chenoweth and it has been a favourite of mine for many years now.
[As teacher] Miss B?
[As herself] I’m she
[As teacher] Look see
[As herself] A D?
[As teacher] A D.
[As herself] Well why are you telling me?
Day 12) A favourite ensemble number
America – West Side Story
Does America count as an ensemble number? It contains the whole Puerto Rican female ensemble so I guess so. It’s one of my all time favourite musical theatre songs so I had to include it somewhere in this challenge. When we did West Side Story I was playing Maria so I couldn’t be in this song and it honestly crushed my heart because I adore it so much.
ANITA: I like the island Manhattan
GIRL: (Spoken – with high levels of sass) I know you do
ANITA: Smoke on your pipe and put that in
Day 13) A number from a guilty pleasure musical
Fabulous – High School Musical 2
I don’t really have any guilty pleasure musicals because I’m proud to love them all, but HSM is probably the one I’d be judged the most for liking. Nevertheless I absolutely love it and still dream about playing Sharpay one day despite my minute sass levels
SHARPAY: This won’t do, that’s a bore. That’s insulting! I need more
Day 14) A number from a Best Musical Tony nominee from the year you were born
Nowadays / Hot Honey Rag – Fosse
I’m not too familiar with Fosse (or any of the 1999 best musical nominees really) but I love this song in Chicago (especially that dance break)
ROXIE & VELMA: In fifty years or so, It’s gonna change, you know. But oh, it’s heaven, nowadays
Day 15) A favourite female solo number
Somewhere That’s Green – Little Shop of Horrors
I fell in love with this song when I did little shop of horrors last year. The music is beautifully written and I love the lyrics too. This song is one of my favourites to perform too because it has so much emotion and meaning behind it
AUDREY: A picture out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Far from Skid Row. I dream we’ll go, somewhere that’s green.
Day 16) A favourite male solo number
Why God Why – Miss Saigon
When I saw Miss Saigon in January, I was surprised that this is the song that left a lasting impression on me as I left the theatre (rather than the fan favourites like ‘Movie in My Mind’ and ‘I’d Give My Life For You’) Alistair Brammer performed a beautiful rendition of this song and I absolutely loved it
CHRIS: I can’t help her, no one can. I liked my memories as they were, but now I’ll leave remembering her
Day 17) A number from a musical that is underrated
Valjean’s Soliloquy – Les Mis
Les Mis has some incredible music, but one song that is often overlooked is this gem from near the beginning of Act 1. It’s full of fascinating character development and the music and lyrics combined are powerful and brilliant
JEAN VALJEAN: They gave me a number and the murdered Valjean when they chained me and left me for dead, just for stealing a mouth full of bread.
Day 18) A number from a musical that is overrated
Defying Gravity – Wicked
Now don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that Defying Gravity is a marvellous song. It is the first thing I ever heard from Wicked and that one song compelled me to want to see the whole show, so it must be pretty brilliant. However there are so many brilliant songs in Wicked that I think are better and deserve more of the attention that Defying Gravity gets (like ‘I’m Not That Girl’ and ‘The Wizard and I’)
ELPHABA: It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap
Day 19) A favourite love song from a musical
Light My Candle – Rent
It’s not your typical love song but Light My Candle is the beginnings of of the relationship of one of my favourite musical ships. Mimi goes to Roger’s apartment to find a light for her candle (because her electricity is off) and a flirtatious duet ensues
MIMI: They say that I have the best ass below 14th street, is it true? You’re staring again
ROGER: Oh no, I mean you do… have a nice, er
Day 20) A favourite number from a musical that did not originate from the U.S
Quiet – Matilda
As a Brit, this was quite easy. I absolutely adore Matilda the musical and it has some amazing upbeat numbers, however I think the real Gem is Quiet. The audience gets to see inside Matilda’s head much more than in the book and the film adaptation which I absolutely love. That is one of the really powerful things about musicals as the use of song allows characters to portray their inner feelings and it adds depth to even the weakest of characters. Plus the little girls who sing this song with such incredible conviction and emotion are stars and I bow down to their talents.
MATILDA: Like silence, but not really silent… Just that still sort of quiet. Like the sound of a page being turned in a book, or a pause in a walk in the woods.
Day 21) A favourite number from the “Golden Age” of Broadway
I Feel Pretty– West Side Story
I can’t seem to shut up about West Side Story can I? I’ve always loved this song and when I was cast as Maria in West Side Story I was so excited to perform it. It was definitely the part of the show I felt most comfortable doing because I had so much fun and I felt elated in that moment just like Maria (not because I was “loved by a pretty wonderful boy” but because I was fulfilling one of my biggest dreams – playing the lead role in a musical.) I talked about the New Broadway Cast’s Spanish version of A Boy Like That and they also made I Feel Pretty into Mi Siento Hermosa which I shamefully know all the words to (despite not speaking any Spanish, other than the song lyrics)
MARIA: I feel pretty, oh so pretty, that the city should give me its key. A committee should be organised to honour me
Day 22) A favourite number performed by an antagonist
Meant To Be Yours – Heathers
JD is the antagonist of Heathers right? I think this song is brilliant, underrated and it is probably my favourite song from Heathers the Musical. I get shivers every time J.D says Veronica and I love it so much.
JD: And so I built a bomb, tonight our school is Vietnam! Let’s guarantee they’ll never see their senior prom!
Day 23) A number from a show you have never seen live but wish you could
A Musical – Something Rotten
Though I love the UK, it sucks that I live so far away from Broadway and miss out on so many shows that don’t get transferred to the West End. If someone would like to ship Something Rotten and the original Broadway cast (Christian Borle please and thank you) over to England I would love you forever
NOSTRADAMUS: Bright lights, stage fights and a dazzling chorus. You wanna be great? Then you gotta create, a musical
Day 24) A number performed by a favourite female Broadway star
Mama Who Bore Me – Spring Awakening (Lea Michele)
I had many favourite musical and West End stars as a child but it wasn’t until Glee that I was first introduced to the lights of Broadway. I love Lea Michele’s rendition of Mama Who Bore Me and I equally love the powerful reprise (in fact I have the former as my gentle wake up alarm and the latter as my upbeat snooze alarm)
WENDLA: Mama who bore me, Mama who gave me, no way to handle things who made me so sad
Day 25) A number performed by a favourite male Broadway star
Chip On My Shoulder – Legally Blonde (Christian Borle)
Two words, Christian Borle. I love this musical, this song and this character and best of all, it is sung by one of my favourite male Broadway stars.
EMMETT: Can you live without this? Can you live without that? I don’t know what this is
ELLE: It’s for hair
EMMETT: Wear a hat
Day 26) A number by a favourite composer
Lifeboat – Heathers (Laurence O’Keefe)
Laurence O’Keefe has both composed and written the lyrics to two of my favourite musicals, Legally Blonde and Heathers (and both are coincidentally perfect adaptations of two of my favourite films.) That guy is a genius. Lifeboat is such a beautifully written song and one of my favourite things about it is that you can listen to the backing track (without the lyrics) and still get a perfect feel of what the song is about and how Heather is feeling.
HEATHER MCNAMARA: If I say the wrong thing, or I wear the wrong outfit, they’ll throw me right over the side
Day 27) A number by a favourite choreographer
When I Grow Up Reprise -Matilda the Musical (Peter Darling)
I had to Google this one because though I enjoy dance, I tend to stay towards the music and acting side of musical theatre. I really admired the choreography in Matilda when I saw it and this number particularly stood out to me because of the fabulous scooters.
ALL: Just because you find that life’s not fair, it doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
Day 28) A number you would love to perform if you were of the opposite sex
Stars – Les Mis
I absolutely adore this song and when asked my favourite Les Mis song, I tend to say Stars or One Day More. I have a secret wish to play Javert (though I would probably be awful as I’m not very good at being stern or angry and I’m much better suited to innocent and naive or happy, upbeat and girly roles.)
JAVERT: Filling the darkness, with order and light. You are the sentinels, ilent and sure, keeping watch in the night. Keeping watch in the night.
Day 29) A number you have performed
Let Me Be Your Star – Smash
My most recent show with my drama group was a showcase (with mainly movie musicals) and this was definitely my favourite thing that I got to do in it. I absolutely adore this song and relate to it completely (as I’m sure so many thespians do) especially because I’ve only started getting parts in shows recently. I sang the Karen parts (and although I’m team Ivy all the way I was happier this way because I can’t belt.) It was a joy to perform
KAREN: Fade in on a girl with a hunger for fame and a face and a name to remember. The past fades away because as of this day Norma Jeane’s gone, she’s moving on
Day 30) A number you want to perform
Sixteen Going on Seventeen -The Sound of Music
This has definitely been the hardest one to decide on because there are just so many, so I’m going to list some of my favourites before I talk about my final choice
- Lifeboat – Heathers
- On My Own – Les Mis
- A Little Fall of Rain – Les Mis
- Belle – Beauty and the Beast
- Out Tonight – Rent
- Legally Blonde – Legally Blonde
- The Coolest Girl – A Very Potter Musical
- Quiet – Matilda
- Somewhere That’s Green – Little Shop of Horrors
- Shadowland – The Lion King
So the reason I picked Sixteen Going on Seventeen is that The Sound of Music was my first Musical and Liesl was my first dream role and over 10 years on I still want to play her. Plus who doesn’t want to replicate the beautiful scene from the film, dancing in a beautiful dress with a boy in a gazebo in the pouring rain.
LIESL: Totally unprepared am I to face a world of men. Timid and shy and scared am I of things beyond my ken
I hope you enjoyed reading my post. I’d love to hear your choices in the comments!