Tarry for the Nonce

January 13, 2006

Top Ten Musicals

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 11:37 pm

Compiling a list of the best musicals is a nigh-impossible task. For this list, I decided to confine myself to the non-Disney fare. My criterion included the catchiness of the music (of course,) the interesting-ness of the plot, and the satisfaction of the denouement . . .

1. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
This is one of the most delightful, satisfying musicals ever conceived. I love the music, the ensemble and especially the Michael Kidd choreography. Best songs are “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” and “Sobbin’ Women.”

2. Oklahoma!
The pairing of Rogers and Hammerstein has no equal. Their musicals represent the best of the best. I appreciate the darker side of this particular musical, primarily due to the performance of Rod Steiger. Oh, and Gordon MacRae is dreamy in the role of Curly. (The Hugh Jackman version isn’t bad either.) Best songs are “People Will Say We’re in Love” and “I Cain’t Say No.”

3. The Sound of Music
This is another Rogers and Hammerstein musical, and a sentimental favorite to boot. I’ve been told that by the age of three, I had watched “Maria” so many times that I could perform long stretches of it – to the alternating delight and distress of my family. Take that as you will. Best songs are “I Have Confidence” and “Something Good.”

4. Guys and Dolls
Michael Kidd’s choreography is again at the forefront. Plus, this musical features perhaps the most romantic on-screen kiss ever. Period. Best songs are “Fugue for Tinhorns” and “Luck Be a Lady.” Who knew that Marlon Brando could sing – or, er, well, dance anyway?

5. The Music Man
At one time, I considered Robert Preston disturbingly old to be paired with Shirley Jones, but the older I get, the most attractive he becomes. I especially love the costumes in this film. Best songs are “If You Don’t Mind My Saying So” and “The Sadder But Wiser Girl.”

6. Kiss Me Kate
From Howard Keel and Ann Miller, not to mention a random performance by Bob Fosse himself, this is one of the more energetic musicals. Best songs are “Always True to You in My Fashion” and “Too Darn Hot,” although “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” is a particularly inspired number.

7. Singin’ in the Rain
As amazing as I find Gene Kelly’s physical abilities, this is the only one of his musicals that I can watch without some hint of a yawn. I adore his dance with Cyd Charisse and Jean Hagan is a comedic genius! (And who can forget Princess Leia’s mom?) Best songs are “Would You?” and (of course) “Singin’ in the Rain.”

8. Gigi
I didn’t understand the full, er, implications of this musical when I was young, but it is terribly romantic. It’s interesting to note that Audrey Hepburn was the original choice for the role (and that “Say a Prayer for Me Tonight” was originally written for My Fair Lady,) but I think Leslie Caron was the best choice. Best songs are “I Remember It Well” and “Say a Prayer for Me Tonight.”

9. Meet Me In St. Louis
Other than an inexplicably corny final scene, this is Judy Garland’s best film. Best songs are “Over the Bannister” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

10. 1776
This musical has a couple boring moments, but I was surprised to find that I could actually be anxious about the outcome of the Continental Congress debates over the Declaration of Independence. Best songs are “Momma, Look Sharp” and “Molasses to Rum to Slaves.”



  1. 1. check
    2. check
    3. check
    4. check
    5. check
    6. check
    7. check
    8. check
    9. check
    10. check
    WOOHOO! I got them all!

    *does a happy dance*

    Comment by Alistair A, — January 14, 2006 @ 9:54 am

  2. i definitely agree with you about the first, as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is also my favorite. I, however, love White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Les Miserables, Ragtime, Rent and Avenue Q.
    i wouldn’t really expect any of those on your list, though i’m somewhat surprised about West Side Story not making it, which is also probably in my top 5.
    i’m afraid i differ with you on some, but i definitely agree with your choice of Kiss Me, Kate.

    And i believe Tim and Danny despise your choice for number 9, but i could be mistaken 🙂

    Despite all differences, i love musicals, and am glad to see someone else my age enjoys them as well.

    Comment by Beth — January 14, 2006 @ 10:04 am

  3. i was right, Tim and Danny both hate that musical. BTW- i hate Gigi, but it’s nice you like it :p

    Comment by Beth — January 14, 2006 @ 10:05 am

  4. My vote is for Les Miz.

    Comment by Brian — January 14, 2006 @ 11:36 am

  5. “Wanna catch a panty?”

    None of these is in that top 10 list?

    Fiddler on the Roof

    King and I

    My Fair Lady

    Pirates of Penzance

    Hello, Dolly!


    Comment by auntlori — January 14, 2006 @ 12:05 pm

  6. The list looks good to me! But I would have to agree with Aunt Lori and ask why “Fiddler on the Roof” and “King and I” didn’t make it…?

    Comment by Genna — January 15, 2006 @ 5:26 pm

  7. I had forgotten about The Pirates of Penzance, but, in fairness, it’s an operetta, not a musical.

    White Christmas actually almost did make the list, and I struggled with The Gay Divorcee . . .

    I would agree with Beth about Les Miserables, but no proper movie musical has been made.

    I haven’t seen Holiday Inn, Ragtime, Rent or Avenue Q.

    Despite the fact that I love Jeremy Brett to pieces, I’ve never been able to enjoy My Fair Lady after my mom told me the playwright pegged Eliza for Freddy.

    As for West Side Story, Dolly and Fiddler on the Roof, I enjoy them all, but find a couple of their dance sequences to be overly long.

    The King and I depresses me (as does Carousel,) although the music is first-rate.

    As for Oliver!, I’ve never liked it. It’s tedious and depressing, for all it won an Oscar.

    Comment by laura — January 16, 2006 @ 11:26 am

  8. Well, I suppose that, as this is Laura’s list of Top Ten Musicals, we must needs be satisfied with her faulty decisions.


    Comment by auntlori — January 16, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

  9. I’ve never been able to enjoy My Fair Lady after my mom told me the playwright pegged Eliza for Freddy.

    George Bernard Shaw was a cantankerous old hypocrite who didn’t know his own silly business.

    And, for all his Eliza marries Freddy protestations, it is telling that he wrote the screenplay for the 1938 Pygmalion in which Eliza unequivocally returns to Higgins (“Where the devil are my slippers?”)

    Shaw won an Oscar for the screenplay and, despite protesting that he didn’t care two straws for such vulgar Hollywood accolades, he would prominently display his Oscar whenever he received guests into his home.


    Comment by janice — January 16, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

  10. I wasn’t going to post, afterall, musicals are for women and guys who aren’t quite sure they’re guys…. but what about Popeye?! ;o)

    Comment by Andrew P. — January 16, 2006 @ 8:48 pm

  11. I don’t know, Popeye gave me nightmares when I saw it as a child. oh wait, are you talking about the live action?

    Comment by Alistair A. — January 17, 2006 @ 9:57 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: