When I haven’t been reading or baking, I’ve been watching some of my favorite musicals. I grew up on them, on stages, and on screen. My parents were big fans, and introduced me to those that could be watched on our black and white television, and those that had just been released in theaters. I saw South Pacific, which I was too young to understand, but walked out singing, “Bali Ha’i” anyway, Carousel, which I was also too young to understand, but felt transformed by, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and West Side Story, which left me breathless and heartbroken, and yes, I was too young for that one, too. But its score? That was immediately seared into my ear. Music has no age restriction. Its exquisitely abstract language reaches into young and old cells and nerves that understand what is primal, what moves, saddens, nourishes…all of which I needed as Covid-19 positivity levels skyrocketed.
So I filled up on all the stage-to-screen musicals I loved but hadn’t seen in decades: Damn Yankees, Gypsy, Bells are Ringing, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Guys and Dolls, The Music Man—and remembered what it was I loved about them, and why, after so long, I could still love them, despite whatever dated them. And then, I watched Apple TV’s Schmigadoon, which I’d heard in excerpts on our local classical music radio station. Actually, I binge-watched it, relishing its brilliant spins on some of the theater’s most memorable characters, plots, and songs, unabashed and assured handling of the genre, tongue-in-cheekiness, and thoroughly irresistible performances.
The best news for me was that a second season is in the works, and I’m already imagining what the show’s creators could do with numbers like, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” or “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat,” or “Paris Original.” I will definitely be watching and hoping they satirize some of my favorites. If you have favorites you’re hoping to see, please share them.
In the meantime, there are more musicals to revisit. And there’s always this to watch again, when a quick lift is needed. Ahhhh….