Great Movie Musicals
by Rachel Devitt | January 9, 2013
Forget baseball. Broadway is the great American pastime -- or at least it should be. The songs, the dances, the spectacle and the jazz hands of the Great White Way have entranced America since we pretty much invented the musical way back in the 19th century (with a little help from burlesque, opera, European extravaganzas and a few other predecessors). And what makes that most American of mediums even more apple-pie-ish? Turning it into a glitzy, glammy, spectacular, jazz-handsical movie, of course. It's worth noting that the first full-length "talkie," 1927's The Jazz Singer, was itself a musical.
Fast-forward through the classic era of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Judy Garland and Gene Kelly; cutting-edge '60s and '70s movies like Cabaret and Rocky Horror; Disney's animated contributions to the oeuvre; coming-of-age faves like Grease and Rent; contemporary originals like Once and Broadway cult classics like Sweeney Todd; massively star-studded "Hey look! They can sing and/or dance!" showstoppers like Chicago and Dreamgirls; and a whole lot of Barbra, and you arrive at the present day, when one of the biggest movies is a Hollywood-fried, Oscar-buzzed adaptation of a smash-hit '80s musical based on a super-depressing 1862 French novel. The Les Misérables soundtrack (featuring the vocal stylings of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Sacha Baron Cohen and, in a career-making turn, Anne Hathaway, who's got some pipes, yo) dropped on Christmas Day. But it's not the only musical in the awards game this year, which also included movies like Sparkle and Pitch Perfect (which only build on our obsession with Nashville, Glee and hate-watching sensation Smash).
So come on, put on a happy face, follow the yellow brick road, flaunt it if you got it, tell them you aren't going and dream a dream while you listen to our razzlin', dazzlin' playlist of great movie musical numbers. You can sing along -- we won't tell. Just whatever you do, don't rain on Barbra's parade. Seriously.