Thanks to them I grew up on musicals. I’m talking about the love at first sight, happy ending, burst into song at the drop of a hat kind. (Oh how my sons roll their eyes at that!)
Between Rogers and Hammerstein and Walt Disney I was happy as a bee in a field of Texas blue-bonnets. The music, the lyrics, the dancing—and the touch of humor in just the right places– swept me away to a magical realm and kept me enthralled. It didn’t hurt that the heroes were easy on the eyes and the heroines beautiful too. And they always fell in love and lived happily ever after.
The first musical I remember seeing was Mary Poppins. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke lit up the screen. I know every song by heart. Then there was The Sound of Music. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to go to Austria after seeing that! The scenery was stunning.
Oklahoma!, The Music Man, West Side Story, South Pacific, Camelot and a host of others—the music was so ingrained in me that I couldn’t believe it when I’d meet someone who’d never seen a musical—it was that incomprehensible to me. (Don’t ask me how I ever ended up marrying a “sports jock.” At least he tolerates my singing around the house!)
Watching Disney movies with my sons as they grew up kept the musical bug alive in me (not that it needed any help!) Being boys, they didn’t much care for the “princess” movies like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or The Little Mermaid, but there was Pete’s Dragon, Beauty and the Beast, and their favorite–The Prince of Egypt.
I enjoyed Carousel originally as a child, but when I grew up the way the story treated the aspect of battering upset me and I’ve never watched it again. Too bad—because the music was lovely. It was also the first sad ending to a musical I’d ever seen.
More recent “musicals” I’ve enjoyed are The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, and my personal favorite Beauty and the Beast (on stage.) Eventually I hope to see Wicked. And I would absolutely love it if Beauty and the Beast would be made into a movie with real actors. I do so like the extra songs added on the Broadway version.
Since this is Petticoats and Pistols—I tried to remember
My favorite would have to be Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. My–could Howard Keel sing! And he was easy on the eyes too—not to mention being a bit of a rascal! Jane Powell as the feisty girl who “tamed” him was just beautiful. I smile every time I hear the song “Bless Your Beautiful Hide.” It took place in the Oregon wilderness and I was captivated by the gorgeous scenery. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned much of it had been filmed onstage.
Another good one was The Unsinkable Molly Brown with Debbie Reynolds and Harve Presnell which takes place in Colorado territory. I think Oklahoma! with Shirley Jones and Gordon McCrea could be classified in this category.
With all of this ingrained in me from an early age, it’s no wonder that I grew up believing in happy endings and the kind of love that lasts a lifetime. Perhaps I’m looking through rose-colored lenses, but it is a lovely view from here.
I wonder if my debut book could ever be turned into a musical? Hey—it’s an interesting thought!
Are there any musical lovers out there? And if so, which is your favorite? To encourage lurkers to join in, if you post and your name is drawn, I’ll send an autographed copy of my debut book The Angel and the Outlaw along with a watercolor note card of the lighthouse that figures prominently in the story.
I’d love to hear of a musical I haven’t seen yet!
Kathryn Albright had been writing for several years when she sold her first novel, The Angel and the Outlaw, to Harlequin Historicals. Her second novel, another western, The Rebel and the Lady, will be released September 2008. Stop by her website to see an excerpt!
She will draw a name for an autographed copy of The Angel and the Outlaw and a fancy notecard from the comments on her blog!