Musicals, Yay! Movie Musicals, Eh.

December 27, 2012
Les Miserables opened on Christmas Day to some pretty good reviews.  Are you going to see it?

Les Miserables opened on Christmas Day to some pretty good reviews. Are you going to see it?

I love musicals. That is, musicals performed live right in front of your eyes, not the movie musical kind. I am in awe of actors and musicians who can run around dancing and singing at the same time (I can hardly do either of them separately) in front of an audience, sometimes seven nights a week. Impressive.

The “other” type of musical, the movie musical kind, doesn’t impress me as much. Their voices can be auto-tuned, they can have as many retakes as necessary and there isn’t a live audience 20 feet away watching their every move.

So when I heard “Les Misérables” was being made into a musical movie, I was little disappointed. I wanted to see the musical live someday and now it was being made into a musical movie they were more than likely going to ruin. Harsh I know, but have you ever seen “Hairspray: The Movie?” It is horrible. I was disappointed about Le Miz being made into a movie until I learned that a sacred live aspect of the musical was intact: singing. The actors in the movie version of “Les Misérables” sing all their parts live! There are no pre-recorded songs (albeit one scene in the beginning involving Hugh Jackman and lots of rain).

Les Miz becoming a movie made me think about other musicals that have become movies and so without further ado, here is a little list of musicals, good or bad, that have been made into movies:

“Annie” — A true classic.

“Bye Bye Birdie” — High school musical magic!

“My Fair Lady” — One of only nine other musicals that have won an Academy Award for Best Picture (also one of the few where a live singing performance was used).

“Grease” — Another high school musical favorite and also one that just never dies. This thing was made in 1978 and how many of us (meaning people born after this movie was created) can sing all the songs by heart?

“Gentleman Prefer Blondes” — This one I did not know was first a musical but it makes me love it even more.

So which ones do you like? Any favorites? Any flubs? I now know what I’m going to be doing during the remaining cold months of winter!