Christine Eyre over at Overflowing Mind and Pen is doing a Favorite Musicals Link Up on her blog, and invited me to join. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. It's a musical Link Up! I can't say no to that.
Anyone can participate in this. It runs until February 28th. The Rules can be found on Christine's blog, HERE.
She had a cool little Button, but for some reason it won't show up on my blog. 8-(
Here are my top ten favorite Musicals:
1.) The Phantom of the Opera
2.) A Tale of Two Cities
4.) The Secret Garden
5.) Finding Neverland
6.) Jekyll and Hyde
8.) Jane Eyre
9.) Les Miserables
10.) Mary Poppins
You can post about as many or as few as you'd like to per day. Which is awesome! By this point I'm sure all of you know exactly why I love TPOTO and ATOTC so much. I've posted about both of them enough times to relay how I feel about these beautiful musicals. So today I'm going to post about TPOTO and Ghost. If you want you can skip my thoughts on Phantom and jump down to Ghost. It made make it more fun for you.
Reasons I like The Phantom of the Opera.
This is easy. I grew up on The Phantom of the Opera. I don't remember when it wasn't a part of my life. I think by the time I was four years old I was already familiar with the music, and by the time I was eight I was singing along with most of the main songs. It was a big part of my life. The musical that played when a big sister did my hair in the morning. The songs that blared out in the car when we drove down to Barnes and Nobles. The songs we sang together when we did dishes or chores. Yeah. It was everywhere, and I got attached to it fast. The older I got the more I loved the music, the composition, and the characters. It was obviously worth the fame it had.
He welcomes you to his Opera House, and requests that you continue to keep Box 5 empty for his use.
That last point is silly. Yes, when the musical first opens Christine hasn't seen Raoul in years. They were best friends in childhood but it's been a long time since either of them have spent time together. There's obviously still a spark between them right off the bat, but it would be a bad call to say they still knew each other after so much time had passed.
HOWEVER. Between the time that Raoul proposes to Christine at the end of Act One, and the Phantom taking control of the opera house and presenting an opera in Act Two, six months pass. The two characters have plenty of time to date, to catch up, to learn each other all over again. And it's pretty obvious at the beginning of Act Two that they are happily engaged and very in love. So, the argument that they don't know each other is invalid. I'm just saying. Throughout Act Two they are together as often as possible and fiercely protective of one another. Especially Raoul. He's like, You hurt Christine, I'll smash your face. It's precious how much they care for each other.
Anywhere you go let me go to.
Of course the other brilliant element of this story is the Phantom himself. His character is beautifully written, layered, and tragic. He's creepy and insane, he doesn't seem to grasp right from wrong, and he is obsessive with what he wants. Yet there is a sadness in him that is hard not to empathize with. He had a rotten life. He was driven to insanity because of his deformity, because the world hated him, because he was a genius with absolutely no outlet. That's sad. He's sad. your heart bleeds for the poor fellow. It doesn't excuse how disturbing and cruel he can be, but it does add some depth and tragedy to his character. That's one of the reason I don't like it when an actor plays the Phantom too angry or harsh. There needs to be that underlying element of tragedy or the ending isn't as powerful. You need to see his vulnerability early on. I really love how Michael Crawford breathed that trait into his performance. Dave Willets also did an excellent drop balancing the insanity and cruelty with vulnerability, and from the bits I've seen of him John Cudia did a good job with it too. I like the Phantom to be creepy, crazy, and obviously the villain, but also have that gentle unexpected side that can love. That side is his redemption and it needs to be seen throughout the story.
The Phantom of the Opera is such a unique story, full of love, sacrifice, and redemption. It's timeless, it's interesting, it's full of gorgeous music that brings you right back to the Opera House in 1881. The vocals are incredible, the characters are well written, and the whole story is worth listening to.
Ghost is a new musical that I've only recently discovered. The music is a lot more modern than I usually like in a musical, but Ghost pulls it off. I listened to the OBC in September and fell in love with the story on the spot.
*Spoiler* I'd never seen the movie Ghost and I didn't know anything about it either, so I had no idea what to expect. I was upset and horrified when Sam was killed. I cried right along with Molly when she lost him. I was just as shocked as Sam when I found out who betrayed him. I was so freaking into this story! It was the first musical I'd found in a while that actually made me cry. *End spoiler*
If there's anything more I can do, I'll do it and find my way back to you.
I don't know how closely the musical followed the movie, but the story was rock solid, emotional, and stirring. The characters were great, well-written, and strong. As usual I liked the Original Cast best. The newer casts are a bit much for my taste. The original's balanced power with a soft undertone and that is really important in a musical like this. Caissie Levy did an excellent job in the role of Molly Jensen. She embraced the loud and vibrant music without becoming too brassy or obnoxious. She would belt in moments of intense anger or regret where it was obviously meant to be so, but she always brought her voice back to a gentler, softer tone. She never went over-board with her belting or her vocal power, and she balanced the anger with deep sadness and pain so that it never overwhelmed the character. I loved her portrayal of Molly. Richard Fleeshman did just as well in the role of Sam, bringing power and the modern sound to his role, but keeping a more vulnerable tone whenever possible. He got loud and sharp but he never stayed that way for long. That's why I like the Original Cast best. I don't usually like musical with modern music because it's too loud, brassy, and annoying. The vocalists sound like they're trying to out-belt each other, the tones are overwhelming and heavy... it's just too much noise and not enough technique or beauty. The Original Cast of Ghost were very aware of their power and made sure not to overdo it. They made the volume and capacity work. The newer casts aren't always so careful. Most Mollys' sound like they were Elphaba in their first life. I think a lot of them were. 8-P It's like Girl. Stop yelling.
But yeah, this musical is really emotional, beautiful, and powerful. I would definitely recommend it. I believe there is a scene near the beginning between Sam and Molly, but besides that it's pretty clean too. It's an excellent story with incredible lyrics and solid music. It's wonderful.
Oh, my love, my darling, I've hungered for your touch.
Here ends my first official day of the Musical Link-Up. 8-) This was fun! Hope to see you all again soon!
*Swings around cape and leaps off stage*