Imagine if Little Orphan Annie got adopted by a librarian instead of multi-millionaire “Daddy” Warbucks. The red-haired tyke might have broken into the following song:
I need a book
Do you have a book
that I can borrow,
I agree, it probably wouldn’t be as good a musical as the 1982 film.
Seeing a recent production of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on the CU Boulder campus reminded me how much I like musicals. The world would be a better place if people just suddenly broke into song at random times. Admittedly libraries aren’t necessarily the best place for this to happen, but at least with all the cell phone ring tunes constantly going off there’d be no paucity of accompanying background music.
Okay, singing in the library is out. But by all means come in to borrow some great musicals. We have some of my favorites:
1776: It doesn’t need to be the 4th of July to watch this fantastic comedy about our Founding Fathers struggling to write the Declaration of Independence. All the humor just makes the incredibly poignant ending even more enjoyable.
Cabaret: Based on the memoirs of Christopher Isherwood, this story about hedonists adrift in the waning days of the Weimar Republic is shocking and dark. Wait until you get to the beer garden scene!
Chicago: Who knew Richard Gere could sing? Wait, can he? Decide for yourself in this stylish adaptation of murder and court room antics set in the Roaring 20s.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch: I think I’ll just let you learn about this one on your own.
Sunday in Manhattan: Baseball and the bible! Billy Sunday is a famous baseball player turned evangelist who comes to New York to preach the word of God. Sunday was a real person, and this musical is an intriguing interpretation of his life.
Sweeney Todd: in Concert: This is vastly better than the Johnny Depp movie. It’s a live performance starring George Hearn, Patti Lupone, and Neil Patrick Harris. The use of the participatory chorus is incredibly cool.
There are also several great books about the history of Broadway musicals you might check out, too. I particularly enjoyed Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit and the Biggest Flop of the Season, 1959 to 2009.