Friday, December 29, 2006

Musicals Meme

Artemis did it, and got it from FatDoctor; nope, it's not some kind of odd infection, but a meme about musicals. I'm not quite sure of the rules, but I sure hope it's not about what musicals I've seen in the past year or so, because I haven't.

When I was a kid, I played a band instrument or two. My Dad had long played violin for local community orchestras, and since violins are always in short supply at high schools, or at least they were at my high school, my Dad and several other adult string players usually played in musicals at my high school. And conversely, we high school kids played in adult community musicals. My dad played in the pit orchestra for my high school graduation, partly so that both of my grandmothers could come, and partly for the opportunity to stand on a chair to take a picture as I walked across the stage.

Playing in pit orchestras together gave my Dad and me a chance to develop our relationship in a different way, as somewhat equals working towards a goal. It also meant he met and knew most of the young men I dated in high school, and thus my high school dating was probably a lot less stressful for everyone than it might have been.

So I have a soft spot in my heart for staged musicals. They remind me of my Dad and of the crushes I had on young men in orchestra or on stage, of trying to play up to the standards of the adults. I wasn't a very good musician, but playing in bands and orchestras made my high school years tolerable, sometimes even enjoyable.

Here then, are my all time favorite musicals, mostly because I've played in them and have good memories associated with them. [Edit: And just in case you need some academic affirmation, you can look at DA Miller's work on the Broadway musical. Because it's all about academic affirmation!]

1. How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. Oh, what a crush I had on one of the actors. Okay, two of the actors. I was a pathetic teenager, totally pathetic. Neither of the young men knew I existed.

2. Iolanthe. I didn't play in the orchestra, but my friend C was directing and invited me to participate, which I did by making smoke and explosions. I was in college, but C was a grown up who hung out in the athletic group I was in and we just got along great. Strictly speaking, this is probably a light opera rather than a musical, but what the heck! Just thinking about it reminds me of great times, learning, accepting, growing. I helped paint the stage one evening, working with a guy who was pretty flaming, and one of the first openly gay men I got to know. He was flicking paint across the stage to give the pebbled effect, and laughingly told me that painting the stage is "all in the wrist." I was so lucky to get to know those adults and be part of their community.

3. Guys and Dolls. Could there be a more sexist musical (yes, and it's called My Fair Lady), but dang, good, fun music!

4. The Music Man. Again, great music, fun to play. Our show involved the whole of the high school marching band coming down the aisles at the end.

5. Gypsy. I wonder if the local high school here could even get away with this one? It all seemed very sophisticated. Hah!

6. West Side Story. Some of the most difficult musical music I played; it was like Bernstein didn't trust anyone to swing by themselves, so wrote in all the syncopation or something. But dang, there are some great songs. And I still cry at the end.

7. Top Hat. Okay, so it's a movie and not a stage musical. But Fred Astaire! Ginger Rogers! And one of my all time favorite character actors, Edward Everett Horton. If the old Thin Man movies were musicals, I'd have fit one of them in here, too!

There are my seven. If you love (or hate) musicals, consider yourself tagged!

1 comment:

  1. What a great group of memories; I actually acted (in the chorus, primarily) in a few musicals "way back when" -- but wouldn't even begin to include "Bye Bye Birdie" as one of my favorites!