In the “it was much better before” categories of life, I put musicals somewhere on the top of the list. I’m not saying Mamma Mia didn’t delight me more than chocolate mousse when it came out – it did (I mean come on, Abba songs!), but in general, modern musicals just don’t measure up to the ones I watched when I was young(er!).
Where have they gone, where are the reruns on television? I mean, it’s Christmas, so where’s my Wizard of Oz and Meet me in Saint Louis? (Now replaced by reruns of Home alone 1, 2, 3 and 4 – talk about “Christmas classics”!). For years and years, Christmas wasn’t Christmas without watching Judy Garland sing Somewhere over the rainbow (my all-time favourite song), hiding under a pillow during the part with the flying monkeys and secretly wishing for a pair of ruby slippers. I really miss those magical moments and feel sorry for all those children who will never be in awe before this wonderful black and white movie suddenly turning into a coloured one…
I have my mother to thank for first introducing me to musicals. She took me to see South Pacific and Sound of music when I was around 10, and those songs have stayed with me ever since. How anyone can go through life without singing about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens is beyond me. And it’s priceless to have a song like I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair as an alternative to I will survive when you get your heart broken.
Because that’s what musicals do: they give you songs to get through life – and even a few quotes. Though I must admit that living by my favourite quote from Gigi has kept me in stupid situations a few times (that would be the “I’d rather be unhappy with you than unhappy without you” one).
Singing – and the dancing that often goes with it – has a tremendous liberating effect and no songs fit better into your life than the ones from a musical. I dare not imagine how my teen years (and twenties, and thirties) would have been if I had not had Grease songs to sing (and yes, I do know them all by heart!).
So if you don’t get reruns of musicals where you live either, I sincerely hope you’ll find a few well-chosen DVD’s in your stocking.
Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year – full of old musicals.