Greatest Showman- The Best

The first time I saw The Greatest Showman was one of the best parts of Gardner Webb. In Gaffney, which is about 15 minutes away from GWU, has a place called The Big E. It closes itself to just GWU students at 11:00 p.m- what students usually do is see a movie. I choose Greatest Showman- due to it being a musical and due to the fact that I saw two of the actors before. I originally saw Zac Efron as Troy in High School Musical and originally saw Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean.

Of all musicals that haven’t yet made it to stage, Greatest Showman is my favorite musical. Hugh Jackman shines as Barnum- he shines a lot more in this particular role. You really get to see all of the incredible talents Hugh Jackman has. I actually was expecting Zac Efron to be amazing in this musical- and I was right. Zac has really grown up to play the part of Phillip Caryle, and it really does show in this movie. Now on to why I love this movie:

A good musical isn’t complete without amazing songs. Greatest Showman has such an amazing soundtracks. From “Million Dreams” to “Come Alive” to “This is Me” to “Rewrite the Stars”- together make it such an incredible musical. The fact that the love song happens on trapeze make Phillip’s and Ann’s relationship incredible- it was very original on what happened during “Rewrite the Stars”. Just the choreography alone is amazing- all due to various circus elements.

On top of the songs, an incredible story on how the circus was founded- yes a lot is changed from the real Barnum story, but love the particular story found in Greatest Showman. Just a story of truly accepting who you are and being accepted by others. “This is Me” really does show the “being yourself” theme. It is just an incredible musical- no other explanation.

Musical Movies I Would Recommend

If you live outside of a place that isn’t well known for musical, there still has to be a way to exposed to musicals. Well, this is when musical movies and filmed stage shows come in handy. In addition, musical movies are one of the easiest ways to fall in love with musicals especially during this crisis. What are some of my recommendations.

Les Mis

Well, the 2012 movie was how I fell in love with Les Mis. What I really loved about this movie is how the actors were singing live on set. It has a combo of film actors and stage actors. Yes, the plot can seem confusing at first or even too heartbreaking. But if you search deeper, you will realize the musical is also uplifting and inspiring. It is the easiest to start with the movie: to get used to the plot and fall in love with the songs.

Phantom of the Opera- 25th Special

Well, I saw both the film and 25th special. The 25th is the actual stage show- as in the Original. You have incredible actors. Les Mis may have the 25th and 10th concert films, but not the best way to start with Les Mis. Phantom of the Opera is hauntingly beautiful- the songs show that.

The Greatest Showman

Even though it is not a stage musical, it still is an incredible movie musical. Hugh Jackman really shines at P.T. Barnum: he actually was better in this role- he was Jean Valjean in the Les Mis movie, but shines a lot more as Barnum. The spectacle, the talent, and the songs together are why I would recommend this musical.

Newsies- The Filmed Stage Show

The stage show is SO much better than the movie. It makes the main character, Jack Kelly, more complex and with the addition of Katherine, you get a strong female voice in a cast that is extremely male-based. The filmed stage show has some Original Cast Members. It also is home to mind-blowing dance.

Sound of Music

If you want to start with Rodgers and Hammerstein, I would recommended Sound of Music. It has the incredible Julie Andrews playing Maria. From its exciting numbers to the heartwarming story about music and family to the incredible batch of characters. If you actually fell in love with this movie, I would recommend heading towards Oklahoma, South Pacific, Cinderella, and King and I. Nothing can go wrong with Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Aladdin- Live Action

Disney is an incredible way to start seeing musicals. What I love about the live action movie is that it actually develops well-loved characters further. With the addition of “Speechless”- it makes Jasmine a much stronger character. The actors who play Jasmine and Aladdin are incredible. It is one of the most magical Disney films.

Beauty and the Beast- Live Action

This is such a magical movie. It really shows how “beauty can from within”. It mostly takes place in a castle with enchanting objects. The dance between Belle and Beast is one of the most magical scenes in Disney. With the addition of “Evermore”, it makes the Beast even more complex.

Rent-Final Broadway Cast Film

Rent is truly a story about how to live life. It is talking about living your life in the moment and in love. It focuses on a life of friends in a year during the HIV/AIDS epidemic . Because this is the Final Broadway Cast, you have an incredible cast. It is extremely relevant to now- considering the crisis we are in the middle.

If you are looking for a feel good story, then Mamma Mia is for you. Based on the songs of ABBA, you have an incredible collection of songs. Played by incredible actors. In addition, if you are looking for another feel good story, I would recommend Singin’ in the Rain as well.

Conclusion:

I included a lot of incredible musicals to start with. It has the musicals from the feel good stories to more heartbreaking stories. I also can recommend the musical movies of Oliver, Music Man, and Fiddler on the Roof. That is what I have for now.

What musical movies can you add to this?

The Aeronauts Review

One of the most recent movies I watched was The Aeronauts. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star in this film. So I literally saw a revolutionary turn into a wizard to an Aeronaut- meaning I saw Eddie in Les Mis, Fantastic Beasts, and The Aeronauts. Of course, this movie was based off of true events, but there are some fictional parts.

In 1862 headstrong scientist James Glaisher and wealthy young widow Amelia Wren mount a balloon expedition to fly higher than anyone in history. As their perilous ascent reduces their chances of survival, the unlikely duo soon discover things about themselves — and each other — that help both of them find their place in the world.

These two went up in a hot air balloon- their aim was to fly higher than other aeronauts did. Mr. Galisher (Redmayne) wanted to see if there was a way to predict weather and save more people. Amelia Wren (Jones) was fictional. They literally went up about 37,000 feet. These two had to deal with frost bite among other dangers that happen when you are too high up. What Glisher did was one of the first steps to how we predict weather now. These two characters had to figure out how to survive- sometimes it would take teamwork to figure that out. I still can’t figure out how they will able to survive, but somehow they did.

I am not the biggest fan of nonfiction, but every once in a while I can find something I actually like. I actually decided to watch this film because of Eddie Redmayne- I already loved him as Marius and Newt. I still have three more Fantastic Beasts movies to watch.

Three Sections I Can Divide Musicals In

Well, I can easily separate meaningful musicals into three categories. Those are my childhood musicals, Fletcher musicals, and college musicals. These are all self-explanatory meaning you can easily describe all three. Let me put this into more perspective.

My childhood musicals were ALL musicals that entered my life before I started middle school. Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wizard of OZ, Aladdin, Lion King, Grease, Sound of Music, and Annie fit under this category.

What about the Fletcher musicals? Well, I call these Fletcher musicals because they entered my life when I was still a student at Fletcher. I went to that school from 6th -12th grade. That school was a small K-12 school. Most of the musicals I saw in this time frame were movie musicals. These musicals were Wicked, Mamma Mia, Enchanted, and The High School Musical series. So this set of musicals were the smallest.

College Musicals- I went to two colleges. Central Piedmont Community College and Gardner Webb University were the ones I went to. There were a lot of musicals I fell in love. They were Rent, Godspell, Les Mis, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Newsies, Phantom of the Opera, Frozen, Man of La Mancha, White Christmas, Music Man, Pippin, Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Greatest Showman, and Fiddler on the Roof. This time frame was where my passion for musicals came from- thanks to Les Mis, which challenged everything. That is why there is a lot. What was amazing about CPCC is just how professional they feel: I literally called their production of “Les Mis” phenomenal. CPCC is where I started to get more into theatre: I ushered twice for Les Mis and once for Some Enchanted Evening.

Actors/Actresses Who have No Choice

What on earth do I mean by “actors/actresses who have no choice”. It basically means there are some actors and actresses that have no choice, as in being your favorite in a role. There is a reason behind this. Let me explain.

For starters, what if those actors are the only ones you saw in the role. That means they have no choice but to be your favorite. Actors like Emily Bautista, Anthony Festa, Eymard Cabling, Lisa Karlin, Sam Lips, etc all have my only ones in a particular role. For some time, you might only have one cast you saw. So those actors/actresses have no choice but to be your favorites.

Then the second behind this belongs if you only remember one cast. I may have four casts in Wicked, but there is only one main cast that I remember. That is part of why Mary Kate Morrissey, Amanda Jane Copper, and Ashley Parker Angel are doing as my favorite Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero.

There are some reasons why your favorite actor in a role is not always your first. That is when you just don’t remember them. So someone in the future ends up being your first. Who are some of my firsts I remember? You probably can tell if I started with the film or the stage show.

  1. Hugh Jackman- Valjean
  2. Russell Crowe- Javert
  3. Anne Hathaway- Fantine
  4. Amanda Seyfried- Cosette/Sophie
  5. Eddie Redmayne- Marius
  6. Samantha Barks- Eponine
  7. Aaron Tveit- Enjolras
  8. Helena Bonham Carter- Madame Thenardier
  9. Sacha Baron Cohen- Monsieur Thenardier
  10. Isabelle Allen- Young Cosette
  11. Daniel Huttlestone- Gavroche
  12. Joey Barreiro- Jack Kelly
  13. Andy Richardson- Crutchie
  14. The other Newsies- remember their dance more than the acting
  15. Emily Bautista- Kim
  16. Anthony Festa- Chris
  17. Eymard Cabling- The Engineer
  18. Lisa Karlin- Leading Player
  19. Sam Lips- Pippin
  20. Ryan Deal- actually got to see him twice: he was my first Jesus in Godspell and my 2nd Jean Valjean

However, not all of my first were my favorite. That wasn’t true for my first Javert, Jean Valjean, Cosette, Marius, and Madame and Monsieur Thenardier. Weird that I only know that not all Les Mis firsts were my favorite in a role. As for firsts, I 100% know that Samantha Barks, Joey Barreiro, Emily Bautista, Eymard Cabling, Anthony Festa, Amanda Seyfried (as Sophie), Lisa Karlin, Sam Lips, Isabelle Allen, and Daniel Huttllestone were all my favorites. Some were my only actors in those role and the fact that some of them have the advantage of being my first.

Musical fans, do you understand this concept: “actors have no choice to be my favorite actors in a role”?