I got this in the mail today. I ordered it yesterday. And I got it today.
Yay! Perhaps I’m the last to get on the bandwagon – which, by the way, is another great musical starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse – but at least I’m here now.
This was the Deal of the Day on Amazon yesterday. Yes, yes, I know…Amazon is evil! For the record, I do my best to buy books from independent bookstores or directly from publishers and authors. But, honestly, other stuff is up for grabs.
I mean, come on…this was only $24.99! The price is double that today! And the regular price is around $90. I’ve seen it in the store for $100+. So, that $24.99…I just couldn’t pass that one up.
I gotta tell ya, it’s nice living near one of their distribution centers, too. That one day shipping thing – without having to pay for it – doesn’t suck. (Though, I am an Amazon Prime member, so I usually get free 2-day shipping.)
But I digress. I’m not here to write about Amazon and whether it is or is not evil incarnate. No, that is not why I’m here. I’m here to talk about The Sound of Music!
Oh, if there were hills in Blue Island they would certainly be alive with the sound of music. As it is, my basement is alive with the sound of my off-key singing. (It’s scaring my cats, if you must know.) Like many of you, I know all of the words to all of the songs – for both the movie and the stage version.
While working at Central Michigan University, I had the extreme privilege of serving as Assistant Director for 3 musicals, one of which was The Sound of Music. (The others were Chicago and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.) I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I had … or how ridiculously talented those kids were! My goodness! It was quite an honor to work with them. Of course, because of this, I learned every last song in every last production. In some cases, I learned all of the parts – alto, soprano, tenor, bass. I can’t sing them well, but I knew them. (To this day, I still sing the tenor parts to every song in Oklahoma. Sometimes the bass parts, too – and I was in that show almost 20 years ago.)
Going into the first rehearsals for The Sound of Music was interesting. I grew up watching the movie with Julie Andrews and singing the songs from the movie – as they are sung in the movie. Then, like all rehearsals for musicals, the musical director comes in and starts going over the music and lyrics – which is also a cute movie with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant – and everything you thought you knew becomes useless. And for people like me, it’s even worse.
I can’t read music. I’ve never been able to read music. So, in order for me to learn the songs as an alto, I had to be surrounded by other altos. I will match what I hear. Fortunately, our musical director for Oklahoma had us all rehearsing around the piano in our groups – I was surrounded by altos! Unfortunately, the director of the play didn’t think in those terms when it came to stage blocking and choreography. Somehow, I ended up in the middle of the sopranos. UGH! Needless to say, I gave up after a while and just started lip-syncing. (Though some of us girls would stand backstage and sing with the boys on some of their group songs – they needed the help.)
So, what does that have to do with The Sound of Music?
Okay, here’s the thing…many times, seeing the stage version of any musical will make me like the film version a little less.
- Brigadoon – Beautiful movie, but I canna’ lie to ye, laddie, the stage version is better. Even without Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse (and her bad Scottish accent).
- 1776 – It’s one of my favorite musicals. I think the movie is fabulous. Who knew that Ken Howard could sing? But, this is my declaration that the stage version is better. (And Betty Buckley was the original Martha Jefferson! Hello! Can’t get better than that.)
- Gypsy – I love me some Rosalind Russell. Oh, yes, I do. But her performance in Gypsy was simply atrocious. And Natalie Wood was just miscast. It was wrong, wrong, wrong. After seeing it on stage (actually, I was stage manager and costume crew for that one), the movie is even worse than I originally thought.
- A Chorus Line – I’m one of the few people I know who can tolerate this movie. What in the hell is Michael Douglas doing in a musical? (Terrence Mann was just about the only person who really deserved to be there. He originated the BEAST on Broadway! And played Frank N Furter on Broadway!) The stage version – much better. I’m a little biased…one of my best friends was in the show. She rocked the house!
Then there’s The Sound of Music.
I love the stage version. I especially love the stage version that I assistant directed. It’s a wonderful show and the music is so delightful.
I still love the movie version just as much as I ever did! I still watch it every time it’s on. This movie stands the test of time.
I want you to tell me. Why do you love The Sound of Music? What other musicals do you love? Do you prefer the film to the stage version?
Talk to me, people!