My Favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein Musicals

One of my favorite duos in musical theatre are Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are one of the most famous composer and lyricist teams. They are part of the Golden Age of musicals- their Oklahoma changed the world of musicals forever in 1943. The singing and acting element was already interrogated into the plot- Oklahoma added the final piece to the musical- they were able to add dance to the plot; it wasn’t like it was just there to just be there- dance finally made sense. What are my top favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals?

Oklahoma

  • I have loved Oklahoma for five years now. The love began with the film. It only was last year when I saw the stage show. Oklahoma is a romantic musical comedy with double romances with one being more important than the other. Now, let’s me say why I love Oklahoma.

Songs

  • Everyone know you can’t love a musical without good songs. From “Surrey With the Fringe on Top”, “People Will Say We’re in Love”, “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’, and the title song, “Oklahoma” makes Oklahoma such a memorable musical. Of course, those are not all the songs. Just giving examples.

Characters

  • I am still trying to figure out WHO they are. I do love Curly, Laurey, Will Parker, and Ado Annie. I have such a strong hate towards Jud, which makes me love Curly even more. That sounds a bit crazy- but it is true. Look, Oklahoma consists of two love triangles, and one of them consists of Curly, Laurey, and Jud. Curly will do anything to make sure Laurey does not end up with Jud, who is the villain of Oklahoma: Jud is a horrible person who is abusive who will harm both Curly and Laurey. Any R and H musical has two romances- the other is a love triangle- but once again: I love Will Parker and Ado Annie together. Still- I barely know these characters. Yes- Curly and Jud fight for Laurey and Will Parker and Ali Hakhim fight for Ado Annie, but who each end up is who I would see fit for each of them.

Plot

  • Many people think Oklahoma’s plot is too simple- meaning it revolves around this social event. I do not really see it that way. Oklahoma is more of a romance- the one between Curly and Laurey. They are in love with each other, but do not like admitting it: at least they eventually do. It also has the subplot between Will Parker and Ado Annie despite the fact that Annie has a hard time making up her mind even though the one she truly is in love with is Will Parker. Well, it really is two love triangles- I would rather not have the third person in each scenario, but it is clear who that it is. Oklahoma’s love triangles are weak compared to others I have seen, but they are not fully weak. It also is dealing with Oklahoma eventually becoming a state: it only is United States territory at the time it takes place in.

South Pacific

  • My love for South Pacific began at the same time my love for Oklahoma began. As a matter of fact, it was in the same week. I was leant both of the movie right before a snowstorm. So, I watched both movies five years ago. So far, I only saw the movie of South Pacific. Like any R/H musical, there is a double love story.

Songs

  • I love the songs in South Pacific. The songs are a combo of exciting, love, and heartbreaking songs. From exciting songs like “There is Nothing Like a Dame” to romantic songs like “Some Enchanted Evening” to heartbreaking love songs like “This Nearly Was Mine”. My favorite song in South Pacific is “Some Enchanted Evening”- I do not know why, but I somehow know.

Characters

  • Just like Oklahoma, I know names of characters, but still barely know WHO they are. There is Emelie, Nellie, Joe Cable, Liat, and Bloddy Mary. My favorites of this list are Emelie and Nellie, who serve as the main couple in South Pacific. Out of those two, Nellie is our protagonist. There actually isn’t an antagonist in South Pacific- I think South Pacific is more of a man vs. self conflict.

Plot

  • South Pacific is a romantic musical comedy. It is crazy to think about how easily the musical could have been a tragedy, but it isn’t. It is about Nellie and Emelie’s romance and one a subplot is Joe Cable and Liat’s romance. Joe Cable and Liat’s romance is actually tragic. An underlying theme found in South Pacific is racism, and I think that theme might be our “antagonist”. One of the songs is brilliant- “You’ve got to be carefully taught”- the brilliance of that songs come from the fact that your’e taught not born racist.

Sound of Music

  • This is my favorite and the longest R/H musical that has been part of my life. It is actually one of my childhood musicals. Childhood musicals are important because they help form a foundation for what musicals are. They hold something that no other musical can achieve. I first saw it through the movie, and in 2015 saw the stage show. I was surprised by my reaction during “Edelweiss”. When I saw it live, I was crying during “Edelweiss”, and that was a reaction that was brand new to me. I never once thought the songs in Sound of Music would have sadness in them.

Songs

  • These songs are easily singable and memorable. From “Do Re Mi” to “My Favorite Things” to “Sound of Music” to “So Long Farewell” to “Climb Every Mountain” to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” to “Something Good” to “Edelweiss”. As a matter of fact, the first musical theatre song I memorized the lyrics to are “Do Re Mi”. There is no way you can’t dislike these songs. “Edelweiss” is my favorite song in Sound of Music.

Characters

  • I love a number of these characters. Maria is an easy likable protagonist. She is amazing with the children and teaches them to sing. She helps bring happiness into a house that used to filled with darkness. The Captain may be stern with Maria and the children, but yet still loves his children. He eventually warms up to Maria after hearing his children sing- all he needed in his life is music.

Plot

  • How in the world can you dislike the plot? I really do not need to say more. Honestly- how can any musical theatre fanatic dislike Sound of Music? It is my favorite of the classics- when I mean “classic”, I am talking about the Golden Age of Musicals.

Some of my Favorite love Songs

Yes, I did this post a lot. I have for some time written lists of some of my favorite love songs. Now, what would I classify as a love song. Well- this only falls under the romance category for now.

  1. As Long As Your’e Mine
  2. I’m Not That Girl
  3. On My Own
  4. A Heart Full of Love
  5. All I Ask of You
  6. A Whole New World
  7. Something There
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Can you Feel The Love Tonight
  10. Something to Believe In
  11. I Should Tell You
  12. Light my Candle
  13. I’ll Cover You
  14. Some Enchanted Evening
  15. Something Good
  16. Till There Was You
  17. Somewhere
  18. Sun and Moon
  19. Last Light of the World
  20. As Long As He Needs Me

What else can you add to this list?

Favorite Male Musical Theatre Songs

While yesterday’s post talked about some of my favorite female songs, today I decided to write a list of some of my favorite male musical theatre songs. Like before- I will only include duets if it is a male/male duet.

  1. Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
  2. Red and Black
  3. Who Am I
  4. Bring Him Home
  5. What Have I Done
  6. Santa Fe
  7. Santa Fe (Prologue)
  8. Carrying the Banner
  9. The World Will Know
  10. Seize the Day
  11. Letter from the Refuge
  12. Music of the Night
  13. If I Can’t Love Her
  14. This Nearly Was Mine
  15. Some Enchanted Evening
  16. Endless Night
  17. What You Own
  18. One Song Glory
  19. I’ll Cover You
  20. Why God Why
  21. The Impossible Dream

What exactly Makes me Love a Song in a Musical?

For any musical, the first step to loving it belongs to the songs. What exactly do I mean by that? The songs do not necessarily need to be singable. They need to be memorable. The songs do need to sound like they all belong in the same musical. It is very very very very very very difficult to explain what makes me love a song period. You do need to remember a song leaving the theatre- yes, but not necessarily singable. I used to think there ALWAYS needed to be a showtune song- a song like “Seize the Day” or “Do Re Mi”- but I learned that is not always the case. The song has to be a song you know you will keep on going back to- as in a song you want to listen to again and again and again without getting sick and tired of it- that is what I mean by memorable. Not all of the musical theatre songs I love are singable.

Examples of songs I love:

  1. Seize the Day
  2. On My Own
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. Phantom of the Opera
  5. Seventy Six Trombones
  6. Corner of the Sky
  7. Some Enchanted Evening
  8. Tomorrow
  9. Endless Night
  10. The Impossible Dream
  11. Seasons of Love
  12. Edelweiss
  13. Somewhere
  14. Popular

As you can tell, this is a wide variety of songs. From the exciting songs to the heartbreaking songs to the love songs. Not all of these songs are showtunes. I picked one song from different musicals I either like or love or happen to be musicals that are in between like and love. You can just tell whether or not you love a musical song. In order to love a musical, you have to love the songs- then there is no way to get into the characters and plot that well.

Favorite Musicals and Favorite Songs

All musical theatre fans have their favorite musicals. In each musical, there is usually a song that becomes their favorite. I decided to write a list of some of my favorite musicals and what my favorite song is.

  1. Wicked- Popular
  2. Les Mis- (Do I have to say more); this is an exception where I can’t pick
  3. Sound of Music- Edelweiss
  4. Phantom of the Opera- either Music of the Night or All I Ask of You
  5. Annie- Tomorrow
  6. Newsies- Seize the Day
  7. Beauty and the Beast- Beauty and the Beast
  8. Lion King- Can You Feel the Love Tonight
  9. Rent- Seasons of Love
  10. Music Man- Seventy Six Trombones
  11. South Pacific- Some Enchanted Evening
  12. Pippin- Corner of the Sky
  13. Mamma Mia- Dancing Queen
  14. Man of La Mancha- Impossible Dream
  15. Godspell- We Beseech Thee


Examples of Emotional Musicals

I have known musicals are emotional since middle school. Wicked was the reasoning behind this. Wicked told me about four core emotions, which were excitement, love, joy, and sad. The emotional musicals are the ones that I tend to be drawn to the most. What exactly makes an emotional musical?

The emotional musicals tend to have a score that has BOTH positive and negative emotions. When I say negative emotions, I mean strong enough to create a response- not mild. Not all sad songs are heartbreaking, but all heartbreaking songs are sad. Now I will talk about some of the examples of the musicals I call emotional.

Major and Minor Spoilers:

Newsies

For a lot of act I, Newsies does not seem to fit under emotional musicals. The songs already are catchy and exciting. The only kind of emotional song that comes to mind already are “Santa Fe (Prologue)”, but that song is hopeful- however I believe that song and “Something to Believe In” does play their part in Newsies being emotional. So why is Newsies emotional? Look right after “Seize the Day?”

"Something to Believe In" in Newsies

This big fight breaks out. Jack, the leader of the strike, witnesses all of this. This upsets him a great deal, but hurts him the most when he sees Crutchie being arrested. All of this shows that Jack cares a lot about his brothers. If you remember Jack and Crutchie share quite an intimate bond- that is shown in the first song. All of this leads into “Santa Fe”, which is a sad song. So that song does make Newsies an emotional song.

"Santa Fe" in Newsies

There is a 2nd moment in Newsies that makes it an emotional musical. Crutchie has a solo that was added when the musical was launched as a tour. Crutchie is one of the principal characters. The song, “Letter From the Refuge”, was added, and that song is heartbreaking. So those two songs make Newsies an emotional musical.

"Letter from the Refuge" in Newsies

Beauty and the Beast

This musical, like Newsies, is a Disney musical. This musical is a romance- so ALL the romantic songs are emotional. From “Something There” to “Beauty and the Beast”- those help make the musical emotional. Beauty and the Beast still has their heartbreaking songs- in the stage show, “home” is one of the more emotional songs and so is the heartbreaking “If I Can’t Love Her” and “If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)”. All of those songs combined are why Beauty and the Beast is emotional.

Lion King

This is yet another Disney musical that is emotional. After all, the emotional nature of the show starts after Scar kills his brother. That was when the storyline kicked off. Seeing the effect it has on Young Simba is heartbreaking (before he runs away). Mufasa’s death almost made me cry last year when I saw Lion King. Lion King is home to songs such as “Shadowland” and “Endless Night”. Even the romantic “Can You Fell the Love Tonight” plays a part in the emotional nature of Lion King. So Disney does do a good job on making a musical emotional at times.

Wicked

Wicked is for sure a musical with a lot of comic moments. It still has a serious side to it. Its’ center core is the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. At the same time, it has a love triangle between Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero. There are songs such as the heartbreaking “I’m Not That Girl” and bittersweet “For Good”. “For Good” is the most emotional song of the musical. “No Good Deed” shows negative emotions as well- which took 9 and 1/2 years for me to notice any sort of emotions in it. One of its more major topics is discrimination- but each time I keep on focusing much more on the friendship and the love triangle that I keep on not exploring the more serious side of Wicked.

South Pacific

South Pacific is a romance that is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. That would mean one couple is more light-hearted than the other. Romance musicals have multiple emotional moments. Emelie does sing the heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine”. Once you see South Pacific, “Younger Than Springtime” does become almost more emotional- that is the song that focuses on Liat and Joe Cable- that couple is actually tragic. One of South Pacific’s major topics it focuses on is racism.

Rent

Rent is a sad musical, so it obviously is an emotional musical. It takes place during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It talks about how to live life in the time you have. Rent is one of those musicals that can make me an emotional wreck- songs like “Will I”, “Your Eyes”, and “Without You” are moments that usually get to me.

Les Mis

Les Mis is even more tragic than Rent. Les Mis feels like you are hit with tragedy after tragedy after tragedy- it is like the tragic events never stop. At the same time, there is this beautiful underlying spirituality. Compassion is shown at death scenes, hope is shown when something tragic does happen, and so on. I am truly an emotional wreck at Les Mis.



What are some of the emotional musicals you love?


Contemporary and Classical Musical Theatre- Which one am I (Am I Both?)

One of the most frustrating questions I am asked as a musical theatre fanatic is if I prefer classical musicals over contemporary or vice versa- what happens if you are both. I decided to talk about the question here. I will talk about a number of the musicals I love and the ones I am interested in seeing.

Classical

  • These are musicals people tend to think of that come before the 21st century. I will talk about the ones that I love that come before then.

Music Man

  • I love Music Man for how light-hearted and happy it is. I love its song and plot.

Sound of Music

  • This was and still is a childhood meaningful musical. The songs are fun and very easy to sing along to. Its plot is very easy to fall in love with. Sound of Music is very easy to fall in love with.

South Pacific

  • One of the things that drew me to South Pacific is the fact that it is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Its songs are both fun and emotional. This musical is a romance, and like any Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, it focuses on two couples- one of which is more light-hearted and the other of which more serious.

Singing in the Rain

  • I love Singing in the Rain for some of the same reasons why I love Music Man. It has the light-hearted and fun nature. You want musicals like that to help balance out musicals out.

Oliver

  • This is another musical I quite enjoy. It has a collection of fun and emotional songs. I love it when songs in musicals (like South Pacific) are home to positive and negative emotions. Incredible plot- after all, this is based off Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

Fiddler on the Roof

  • Like all of these musicals, I love the songs in Fiddler on the Roof.

Annie

  • This musical, like Sound of Music, is a meaningful childhood musical. I have always related to Annie. I think that is why I always loved Annie. Its catchy songs, and its incredible plot are reasons why I love Annie so much.

Les Mis

  • There are several reasons why I love Les Mis. I love how powerful, epic, powerful, and highly emotional it is. I love how so intricate its plot- literally if one thing is out, the entire plot is ruined. The characters are so interconnected that they directly and indirectly impact each others’ lives. Usually in a musical- I know my favorite song, but in Les Mis- there is no way I can pick. Les Mis is the reason why I am passionate about musicals. Les Mis always makes me an emotional wreck- either by songs alone, the film, or the stage show. It disproved many things I thought a musical was growing up.

Phantom of the Opera

  • I love the spellbinding and mysterious nature of Phantom of the Opera. Its’ love triangle is dark, suspenseful, angelic, and beautiful. This musical is hauntingly beautiful in so many ways. I was spellbound and choked up when I saw it.

Beauty and the Beast

  • It is quite an enchanting and magical musical. Its characters are extremely memorable- from Belle to Beast to the enchanted objects. Its songs are extremely energetic, but at the same time there are the more emotional songs at times.

Lion King

  • I love how the animals are created in Lion King. Also love the energetic and emotional nature of the songs in this musical. It has such a memorable plot.

Contemporary

  • Now we are in the more contemporary musicals. It sounds like I love a number of classical musicals- there are other classical musical I love (just gives you an idea). Now we are into the musicals of the 21st century

Mamma Mia

  • Just like Music Man and Singing in the Rain, it has the overall light-hearted nature. I love how fun the numbers are- that is the main reason why I love Mamma Mia.

Wicked

  • Of all the contemporary musicals, Wicked is my favorite. Wicked was responsible for sparking my love for musicals. I love that the two protagonists in Wicked are two strong females. The story is about Elphaba (AKA The Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda’s relationship. Everything- from songs, to costumes (everything) feels OZian. Wicked was the reason why I knew what an emotional connection was; what it meant for a musical theatre character and plot to be complex; and where I learned the emotional side of musicals. Elphaba is my all-time favorite musical character. Wicked is home to my favorite musical theatre love triangle. The only characters I emotionally connected to in Wicked are Elphaba, Fiyero, and Glinda.

Newsies

  • Newsies is one of the newest musicals of my life. I love the bond all of them share especially the intimate one found between Jack Kelly and Crutchie. I love seeing characters who stand up for what they believe in. The dancing I saw in Newsies was mind-blowing. The songs are energetic and emotional.

Frozen

  • While I still haven’t seen the stage show, I still love the musical. It all started with the film- I fell in love with the movie; the plot, the characters (except for some- the bad guys are the ones I did not like), and the songs from the film. When I first heard it was coming to stage, I was excited. I eventually began to listen to some of the new songs, and I fell in love with the new songs I listened to. I believe the stage show will be more emotional, which will mean it will be stronger and more believable, than the movie. I recently heard that Fall 2019, a US Tour be launched- cannot wait- hopefully in Charlotte’s 2019-2020: Frozen will be part of it.

Other Contemporary Musicals I Want to See

  • Anastasia- got interested after hearing some songs in 2018
  • Something Rotten- got interested after some songs as well (don’t remember what year

Conclusion

  • So, about am I a classical musical theatre fan or about a contemporary musical fan? I believe I am both. I know, I have seen more musicals that are pre-21st century. The musicals I see has to do with what musicals are on tour- and which ones I choose to see during the season. I am both- just doesn’t seem that way.