We all have some hidden pleasure in our lives that we are reluctant to share with friends and family for fear of ridicule. Maybe you are a regular viewer of American Idol or Dancing With the Stars, but you watch in solitude on a Sunday night when nobody knows. Maybe you like a good romance novel, but will only publicly discuss the bestsellers lists. Maybe you like Elmo? (Ok-I adore Elmo. That furry red monster just makes me laugh. I cannot help myself!) I myself have an obsession that is really not so secretive. I have absolutely no problem telling the world that I am an enthusiastic devotee of musical theatre, and by extension the Hollywood musical film. (I realize that there are several of you wincing in pain as I divulge this bit of information, but I really could not care less!) My name is Dawn and I am a "musical junkie"! There is no rhyme or reason for my freaky fanaticism, I just truly love the art form. (Yes, it is an art form. I'd like to see you all break into a rip-roaring free-for-all, truly athletic song and dance in order to celebrate something as benign as a picnic!)
I was raised on the stuff. How many people of my generation do you know, who can recite the resumes of such illustrious performers as Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Russ Tamblyn and Gwen Verdon? (Who?--Look 'em up!) How many people of my age do you know who can regale you with trivia like "Who played the original Curly in the brilliant Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway production of Oklahoma?" (hint: it wasn't Gordon MacRae! First person with the correct answer, wins a prize!!) I just love the stuff. I love how the music weaves into the story. I love the simplicity of it, even when the action is far from simple. (See Spring Awakening!) I marvel at the choreography and I am in total awe of the talent, the voices, the musical composition and the creativity. When I saw Idina Menzel in the original cast of Wicked, I bawled my eyes out when she sang "Defying Gravity". It isn't even a sad song! I was just so totally moved by the sheer power of her performance. I even love the crap. Judy and Mickey putting on a show in a barn! Mamma Mia? Crap! But I can't wait to see the movie. We Will Rock You? Utter crap!! (On second thought-don't even waste your money on that one!) Hairspray? Great play- average movie. John Travolta was seriously miscast, but I have seen the stupid thing 10 times! I am a sucker for all of it. But, the ultimate, the all-time favourite, the piece de resistance is The Sound of Music.
I have no rational explanation for my clear obsession for this piece. (Julie Andrews' vocal range may be part of it!) I have seen the movie more times than the Husband or I dare count. The Progeny are so mystified by my devotion, they have stopped asking for reasons. I personally and currently own copies of the film on VHS, Laser Disc and DVD. I have the special editions and the director's cuts. I can recite every line and every lyric. I know which nun Marni Nixon played and which nun was played by Anna Lee. (Sick, no?) But, despite my true reverence for this work, I have never seen it on stage. (Camp does not count!) So, it was with absolute giddy excitement that I bought myself a present. Tomorrow, the Husband and I will brave the Toronto traffic and head to the theatre district to finally see The Sound of Music live and onstage. Sir Andrew Lloyd himself is mounting this production, and the part of Maria is being played by a young woman who was chosen by a reality show. In spite of all of the obstacles, the reviews have been astounding and I am truly psyched. Many of my nearest and dearest have asked me how did I managed to cajole the Husband into such an obvious "testes-squeezing" evening. What can I say? He loves me! Musical theatre lives!!