Tracy Frank, Published December 02 2012
Favorite Things: Frank reveals her favorite musicals
FARGO – While I haven’t seen a lot of musicals performed on-stage, I have always loved them.
As a child, I used to listen to an “Annie” record on my Fisher Price record player, and “The Wizard of Oz” and “Mary Poppins” were among my favorite movies.
Even as a teenager, I loved “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin” for their musical numbers as much as their story lines.
My husband grew up in New York and was fortunate enough to have a grandmother who took him to several Broadway productions. He introduced me to “The Phantom of the Opera,” and I fell in love with the music long before I ever saw the movie version.
We both love the musical so much that we asked a friend to sing “All I Ask of You” from “Phantom” at our wedding.
We chose “Come What May” from “Moulin Rouge” as our wedding dance song.
I’m sure this is a list that will keep growing the more musicals I have a chance to see, but so far, here are my favorite musicals, both on-stage and on-screen:
- “The Phantom of the Opera,” by Andrew Lloyd Webber is based on a French novel by Gaston Leroux. It’s the story of a classic love triangle with a supernatural twist set to amazingly challenging and heart-wrenching music. What’s not to love?
- “Evita” is another stunning musical hit by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice based on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón. I love that the music is at times fun and boisterous as in the case of “Buenos Aires” and at times desperately sad (“You Must Love Me”).
- “Hairspray” is a musical by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on the 1988 John Waters film, “Hairspray.”
The musical takes on issues of racism and judging people for who they are, not what they look like, set to the feet-tapping tunes of 1960s-style dance music.
- “Chicago” by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse is a musical about corruption in the criminal justice system in 1920s Chicago.
It’s a fast-paced show with fun, sassy songs and exciting dance numbers.
- “Moulin Rouge” is a musical film directed, produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann.
This is a very quirky and often odd film, but it’s also very entertaining and the story line and songs are captivating.
- “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz” by Stephen Schwartz and a Winnie Holzman is based on the novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” by Gregory Maguire.
I saw this production in Chicago and was immediately entranced by the songs, storyline and unlikely friendship between Galinda and Elphaba.
- “Godspell” will always hold a special place in my heart as the first musical I performed in and the first show my daughter and I did together.
The musical by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak is based on the Gospels of the Bible.
We did the show at Martin’s Lutheran Church in Casselton a few years ago.
But what I loved most about this musical was the ability for improv that made it highly entertaining through multiple rehearsals and performances. Audience members who came to each performance never saw the same show twice.
- “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” another Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical, is one of my favorites because it was the first musical I performed in with my husband and daughter, and it’s just pure fun.
While it tackles issues like attempted murder and forgiveness telling the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis, it also has fast-paced dance numbers, a quirky Elvis-style pharaoh, and a wide range of styles from country (“One More Angel in Heaven”) to calypso (“Benjamin Calypso”) to disco (“Go, Go, Go Joseph”).