I admit it’s not the most catchy title.
I was actually inspired to write this topic while listening to What Happened When…Monday, a podcast that talks about WCW, Jim Crockett Promotions, and more old, defeated wrestling companies. It is hosted by Conrad Thompson and legendary Voice of Professional Wrestling South of the Mason-Dixon Line, Tony Schiavone. This week’s episode is about WCW’s October 1990 pay-per-view Halloween Havoc. In it, announcers Paul Heyman and Jim Ross were dressed as Count Dracula and a Prohibition-era mobster, respectively. Schiavone went “under a hood” (a mask, for you non-wrestlers) as the Phantom of the Opera. When asked by Thompson why he made that decision, Schiavone responded that he loved musicals.
He and I have that in common.
I grew up around musicals. And though I stated yesterday that I don’t listen to much music anymore, it’s still a big part of my life. I think I stated in an earlier post that of the couple movies we did have as a kid, they were usually ripped from another cassette (1980’s pirating, everybody). But we also had The Sound of Music that had been taped from the television. You know it was the 80’s with this vintage McDonald’s commercial:
Yes – even the damn Für Elise commercial was stuck in my brain.
But it wasn’t just The Sound of Music. I was and still am a big fan of The Music Man. That was a fun movie…Robert Preston, a young Ron Howard, the mom from the Partridge Family, and Buddy Hackett. SHIPOOPI!
My mom was in a singing group when I was younger, so a couple times a year I’d have to put on a tie and go to a nice theater and sit still while she and 20 or so other adults sang songs that I mostly didn’t recognize. But from time to time, mom would bring home a movie to study and better understand the source material.
Then there were the childhood staples that would appear on television…The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Then at one point, mom had the two-disc stage version of Phantom of the Opera. And I enjoyed listening to that well enough, but there’s one point in the production where Christine lets out a high-pitched note that is almost a scream. I swear, to this day it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
I think times have changed and musicals are more widely accepted. With box office successes like Les Misérables and Into the Woods, there’s a likelihood that we’ll continue to see musicals make a strong resurgence. Just look at La La Land.
I could see Hamilton getting a big screen makeover, unless Lin-Manuel Miranda has it exclusively for stage. I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know how it would translate to film. I’m also curious about Wicked on the big screen. I doubt I’d get to see that in person, so a movie version would be appreciated. Am I missing any? I don’t know. I don’t get out much.
But here’s one you can watch on Netflix – a fan-favorite animated feature film that spawned a four-film franchise – Shrek: the Musical.
So what are some good musicals I left off the list?