1. What musical did you pick to "spotlight" this week and why?
After a little bit of thought I decided that I'd focus on the musical Elisabeth. It's one of my favourite musicals but I haven't written about it on my blog yet, so that was my main reason for focusing on it. Also, because Elisabeth is a relatively obscure musical in the English-speaking world so the more people who find out about it the better! Just to warn younger readers, Elisabeth is by no means an all-ages appropriate, family-friendly musical. It's about a real-life person who had a very dark and tragic life, and the musical reflects that. For example: there's some sexual innuendo going on at times and there are one or two swear words. One of the characters kills someone (although it isn't bloody or graphic) and then hangs himself. I absolutely love Elisabeth but I couldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of 13.
2. How did you discover the musical you picked (hereinafter referred to as "your musical")?
I can tell you exactly how I found out about this musical. I joined an anti-Love Never Dies group on Facebook called Love Should Die (Ha!), and there was a forum on it with people discussing their favourite musicals. Sadly that forum no longer exists now but a few people mentioned Elisabeth on it. I did a quick Google search and discovered that the musical was about the famous Empress Elisabeth of Austria. At the time I'd only just got back from a trip around the continent and Vienna had been one of the highlights of my trip. I'd actually visited the Hofburg and Schloss Schönbrunn palaces where Elisabeth had lived and I'd loved them. As you can imagine I was very intrigued about the musical. And then I discovered that the musical was up on YouTube with English subtitles. I watched it, loved it, and the rest is history : D I'm so glad that something good came out of my hatred of Love Never Dies!
3. If you had to pick three favorite songs from your musical, which ones would they be?
Ok, Die Schatten Werden Länger is my favourite song from the musical. It appears twice in the musical and I love both versions of it. It's just such a dramatic and intense and powerful song and I absolutely love it! But what are the other songs that make up my top three?! This is much harder! OK, right now my other favourite songs from Elisabeth are Milch and Wenn Ich Tanzen Will but that's only because of my current mood. I could have an almost completely different top three tomorrow!
4. What's your least favourite song from your musical?
There aren't really any songs that I vehemently dislike in the musical. The music in Elisabeth is fantastic! Having said that I'm not overly fond of the song Nur kein Genieren. I like the tune but the song itself is set in a brothel. I don't think the song is any worse than the Lovely Ladies song from Les Miserables but if you're uncomfortable with the idea of watching it then please, just skip it! Unlike Lovely Ladies, that song isn't really that essential to the plot so you won't lose anything by not seeing it.
5. Who are your favourite characters (choose up to three)?
The three major characters so Elisabeth herself, Der Tod and Luigi Lucheni. I'll go into more depth about them when I eventually get to my Elisabeth review.
6. Which versions of your musical have you seen/listened to, and which is your favourite?
I've only seen the 2005 Vienna cast DVD. Elisabeth doesn't have a film adaptation and it's never been performed in the UK so I've never had the chance to see it live. I've seen a few YouTube videos from other Elisabeth performances though.
7. Is this your favourite musical of all time? If not, what is?
No, Les Miserables is my absolute favourite musical (and now film) of all time! Elisabeth is definitely in my top five though along with Wicked and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast and Oliver! are battling it out in my head for the number five spot on the list : )
8. Which cast album/musical soundtrack in your collection do you listen to the most?
The 10th anniversary concert of Les Mis. Without question.
9. What is your favourite costume from your musical?
Without doubt it's the iconic Elisabeth dress. They did an amazing job recreating it for this musical. It beats the white dress from the Phantom of the Opera 2004 movie any day!
10. If you could change anything about your musical, what would you change?
I'd get rid of Nur Kein Genieren but apart from that I can't think of anything else! Nothing that I can think of off the top of my head anyway. It's not that I'd say Elisabeth is a flawless musical. I'm sure I could think of other things that I'd like to be changed if I gave it some more thought...
11. Which role(s) would you most like to play in any musical, if you had the opportunity to do so on stage?
I'm going to leave aside the fact that I wouldn't actually be able to sing any of these roles! I have been told by various people that I can carry a tune - I actually sang alto in a church choir once and I found that I could hit some of the sopranos' notes as well. But I'm still not much of a singer. So for this question I'm going to pretend that I'm an amazing singer with a massive range and that I can also act and dance. There are lots of roles I'd like to play but I'm going to narrow it down to six:
Fantine and Eponine - Les Miserables
Both of these characters get beautiful solos in I Dreamed a Dream and On My Own. They both get heartbreaking death scenes in Come to Me and A Little Fall of Rain. They both get to come back as ghosts at the end. Eponine gets to hang out with the students but Fantine is unquestionably the more challenging and meaty role. They would both be fantastic characters to play. I can't choose between them!
Christine Daae - Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber version)
She gets two terrific solos to sing in Think of Me and Wishing You Were Somehow Again. OK, Raoul gets a few lines to sing in Think of Me as well but come on! That song is still unquestionably Christine's! She gets to show off her E6 note in Phantom of the Opera. She gets to play grief-stricken and emotional in WYWSHA. She gets to have some fun as the Page Boy in the Il Muto scene. And she also gets to wear some fabulous costumes.
Eliza Doolittle - My Fair Lady
She gets lots of great songs to sing. She gets to use two different accents (cockney and RP). She gets to be funny and feisty. She gets to wear some fabulous costumes as well. And she seems like she'd be such a fun character to play.
Belle - Beauty and the Beast
Because I would be getting to play a character that I've loved since childhood and how amazing would that be?!
Nancy - Oliver!
She's surely one of Charles Dickens' greatest ever characters. She gets to sing fun, upbeat songs like A Fine Life and Oom Pah Pah but she also gets to sing the heartbreaking As Long as He Needs Me. She gets a tragic death scene. And she also gets to wear the iconic red dress.
12. If you could choose one performer to play any part in your musical, who would you choose and which part would you have them play?
I've actually put together a dream West End/Broadway cast for this musical but I'm not going to reveal it here just yet
13. Do you consider yourself a musical theatre fan in general or do you just like a few musicals?
I'm a musical theatre nerd and proud, people! Of course there are some musicals that aren't really my thing and some musicals that I heavily dislike but then there are certain books and films that I can't stand. I'm still a massive fan of the genre.
14. Are you tired of the word "musical" yet?
15. Turn your music playing device on shuffle (or utilize Pandora if you don't have one) and tell us the names of the first three show tunes that come up-- no cheating! How do these rank on your favourites/most-listened-to list?
- Javert's Suicide - Les Miserables (Philip Quast version) This isn't one of my absolute favourite Les Mis songs but I still love it.
- Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again - Phantom of the Opera (the Sarah Brightman version unfortunately). This is one of my favourite songs from POTO but I don't like Sarah Brightman's Christine. Her voice is far too operatic for my liking, she sounds like a Carlotta to me.
- Entr-Acte - Phantom of the Opera. This isn't one of my favourites from the musical. I'd usually skip it if I was listening to it on my iPod.
And just to show my appreciation to Miss Dashwood for deciding to do this "Celebrate Musicals" blog event...