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Thursday, 02 July 2020 07:00

The Gift of Musicals

 2020.23.musicals I love

You may have seen Facebook and other social media that a current ‘challenge’ is for people to post covers of music albums that have shaped or influenced them in some way. Such posts always seem to include a line which says something like, ‘no explanations, just album covers’. Since this is a blog and not a social media post as such, I am going to take up the idea and talk about musicals I love, but buck the system by giving an explanation.

For a bit of context before I really begin, it is important to know that I love musicals – which perhaps will become rather obvious. When I used to drive around in my own car in my pre-sister life- whether on the way to work or off on an adventure – you could almost guarantee I would be listening to a musical. And I love a whole variety of them – from the crazy and fun to the more serious and sombre. So here are a list of musicals that have influenced me in some way in my life.

  • Fiddler on the Roof  - I went through a phase when I went to see almost every musical I could – mainly amateur shows put on by musical societies in the area where I grew up in Sydney, but also some professional shows as well. A friend and I used to go to numerous shows and always talked about how much fun it would be to actually be in one, never daring to dream that it could ever happen, probably because neither of us were the most talented singers. One day someone at one of these shows encouraged us to have a go telling us that we would be able to get into the ensemble. So we did, and remarkably we both got in (only for her to end up pulling out when she got glandular fever). The show we had got into was – you guessed it – Fiddler on the Roof. So for this reason, this show is significant to me because it is symbolic that even impossible dreams can come true.

 

  • Anything Goes -  There is a particular song from Anything Goes that I love – it is called, You’re the Top. In it, the two characters are singing to each other about how great they see the other one to be. In effect, they are trying to encourage each other to see their own giftedness and greatness. Rather amusingly, they compare each other to things like the Lourve museum, a Shakespeare sonnet, cellophane, the nimble feet of Fred Astaire and even broccoli. Now that probably sounds crazy, particularly if you do not know the song I am referring to, but whenever I hear it, it reminds me of how God speaks to me. Now I am not saying that he tells me I am like broccoli or cellophane as such, but that he constantly speaks his words of love to me, wanting me to see myself the way that he sees me. This is a challenge, but this fun song is a powerful reminder of this. God thinks I am great and wants me to grow in this realization for myself.

 

  • Any musical which has complicated and tongue twisting lyrics  - As I already said, I love to sing along to musicals, and the ones that particularly bring me joy are those with complicated lyrics that pour out in a fast and tongue twister-like way. I love the challenge that it is to try and learn these and the sense of accomplishment when I can finally get all the words right. Need some examples – well there are numerous songs in Matilda, Into the Woods and Joseph like this, as well as ‘I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General’ from The Pirates of Penzance, ‘All for the Best’ in Godspell, ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ in Mary Poppins and perhaps even ‘Be our Guest’ from Beauty and the Beast and ‘At the end of the day’ from Les Miserables. What is it about these songs that is so enticing to me? I am not exactly sure but there sure remind me that challenges can bring great joy.

 

  • The Sound of Music This was probably the first musical I really fell in love with. As a child, we had it on VHS and probably watched it so many times that we eventually wore it out. I even recall having a Sound of Music party with my Antioch youth group where we came together dressed up as one of our favourite characters to watch it and sing along to every word. A dew years back, I also got to go to the An Evening with Julie Andrews tour. As far as musicals go, even people who have not really seen many, or who do not profess a great interest in them have usually seen this one. This means that it is often at the base of shared experience, and that it can form a valuable connecting point. Finding connecting points like these help relationships to grow.

So musicals have encouraged me in my journey of faith too – by reminding me that what is seemingly impossible can actually happen, that God thinks I am great and wants me to know this too, that challenges can bring great joy and that finding connecting points bring relationships to life.

By the way – it is definitely still on my bucket list to do the Sound of Music tour in Austria.

Mel Edwards