Some of My Favorite Musicals and How I Fell in Love With Them

So… the NEWSIES movie was amazing! I’ll talk about that in a post some other time though because I want to get this post done first before I forget about this idea! Yesterday, I was listening to the ELISABETH cast album (like usual) and when “Ich Gehör Nur Mir” (“I Belong to Me”) came on, I thought to myself: “Man… that’s nostalgic. This was one of the first songs that I fell in love with from this musical…” and so, here I am. I’m writing a nostalgic post about the songs and/or things that first made me fall in love with a musical.  

1. 2015 PRÄSENTATIONSVIDEO for ELISABETH – So… this really brings me back. I was watching this video and I just got hooked. Immediately. I think that it was when “Wenn Ich Tanzen Will” (“If I Want to Dance”) that I realized “I really, really love this musical.” And then it was when “Am Deck der Sinken Welt” (“On the Deck of the Sinking World”) showed up, I just thought to myself: “Can I catch the next plane to Germany or Austria?” If you’re even the slightest bit interested in ELISABETH, watch this video:–rYls. It’s got English subtitles if you click the CC button at the bottom of the window.

Mark Seibert as der Tod (Death) and Annemiek Van Dam as Sisi performing “Wenn Ich Tanzen Will” from ELISABETH
Annemieke Van Dam as Sisi performing “Ich Gehör Nur Mir” in ELISABETH

2. 2012 MOVIE of LES MISÉRABLES – I remember when I first saw this movie. Initially, my thoughts on this movie were completely mixed and conflicting. Man… I remember being kinda frustrated with it. But the second time ‘round, I fell in love. And I’ve stayed in love ever since. While the cast isn’t my absolute favorite and I’m aware that it is flawed, I still am very, very grateful to it because it’s introduced me to one of my favorite musicals ever.

Amanda Seyfried as Cosette and Eddie Redmayne as Marius in LES MISÉRABLES
Aaron Tveit as Enjolras in LES MISÉRABLES

3. MUSIC OF THE NIGHT from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – I love reading and I just so happened to pick up Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera one day while I was at the used bookstore. And well… I’ll admit that the first time around, I was just not in the mood for a classic so I struggled with it. Really, really struggled. But… I did what any reading geek does and surfed Goodreads and then Wikipedia and found out that there was a musical. I immediately clicked on the first video I found and it was an old video of Michael Crawford singing “Music of the Night”. And then, I just was sold on it. Immediately.

“Der Musik der Nacht” (“Music of the Night”) from Oberhausen, Germany production of PHANTOM
“Spürt Diesen Mörder Auf” (“Track Down This Murderer / Final Lair” from Oberhausen, Germany production of PHANTOM

4. GERMAN ORIGINAL CAST of WICKED – To be 100% accurate, it was actually “Tanz Durch die Welt” (the German version of “Dancing Through Life”) that first made me fall in love with WICKED. And WICKED was well… completely out of my element as it were. I wasn’t used to upbeat, funny musicals and it was something new to me. What was it that made me go for the German cast over the English cast first? Well… one of my favorite musical theatre actors, Mark Seibert, played Fiyero in the original German cast and so I chose to listen to the German version because I didn’t know any of the names attached to the English version (at the time). But I have since also fallen in love with the OBC of WICKED.

Mark Seibert as Fiyero and Wiljemin Verkaik as Elphaba in original German production of WICKED

5. EINLADUNG ZUM BALL (“Invitation to the Ball”) and TOTALE FINSTERNIS (“Total Darkness”) from TANZ DER VAMPIRE – These two songs completely sold me on TANZ DER VAMPIRE. Technically, “Totale Finsternis” was the first to completely get me on the TANZ DER VAMPIRE train. Again, I discovered it because Mark Seibert sang the song and I watched the video of him singing it (it showed up on the suggested list when I was looking at some ELISABETH videos but anyways…). Then there was “Einladung Zum Ball” which I came across when I searched up TANZ DER VAMPIRE. And I was utterly stunned by the costumes and how the set worked. Loved this musical ever since. Still needing to get on a plane to Austria or Germany.

“Totale Finsternis” from Austrian production of TANZ DER VAMPIRE

6. 5TH AVENUE THEATRE (Seattle) PRODUCTION of THE SOUND OF MUSIC – I remember when my mom took me to see THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. Tickets were really cheap for the day after Thanksgiving (about $15) so (naturally) we went to get tickets. I remember my dad wanting to come along as well but my little brother and sister were adamantly against going so he said that he’d just stay at home with them. And when I saw the musical for the first time, I just fell in love.

7. DISNEY MOVIE VERSION of ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA – My grandpa’s favorite musical was always Rogers and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA so as one would expect, I grew up watching this musical. Because it was the first version I ever watched, the Disney movie version with Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Brandy as Cinderella, and Bernadette Peters as the stepmother has and always will be my favorite version. If you like Rogers and Hammerstein stuff, I’d definitely suggest checking this one out.

8. HIGH SCHOOL PRODUCTION of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – When I was in fifth grade, my school took us on a fieldtrip to one of the high schools in the district to watch the production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST that they had playing there. I was immediately surprised by the quality of the production and how talented the actors were. The songs, too, were absolutely phenomenal and well… pretty much ruined the cartoon version for me from that point onward. Since then, I’ve seen BEAUTY AND THE BEAST multiple times live and I’ve not regretted any one of those times.

“Maison des Lunes” from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

9. 1972 MOVIE VERSION of OLIVER! – OLIVER! was the first musical that I really, really fell in love with. I think that I must’ve been in Kindergarten when I first saw this movie version. And man… I fell in love with it immediately. I’ll admit that, looking back on it now, I didn’t understand a lot of the more violent parts but I mean… I’ll always be grateful to this movie for really introducing me to musical theatre. I love, love, love this musical and I’m still in love with it after all of these years. Ron Moody as Fagin is absolutely amazing and this movie is a family favorite.

Ruthie Henshall as Nancy in OLIVER!

10. 2013 BROADWAY REVIVAL CD for PIPPIN – I actually obtained this CD for the Broadway revival from my high school history / civics / economics teacher. He knew I liked musicals, discovered that he had accidentally bought another copy of the same CD and gave me one. And while I’ll admit that, at the time, I knew little more about PIPPIN than the fact that it had circus elements, I put in the CD and just fell in love the moment that “Corner of the Sky” came on. So… thank you to my high school history, civics, and economics teacher for my obsession with PIPPIN!

11. WITH ONE LOOK and TOO MUCH IN LOVE TO CARE from SUNSET BOULEVARD – At this point, people who have to deal with me on a day-to-day basis are probably pretty annoyed with me and my constant blabbering about the revival of SUNSET BOULEVARD. I’m actually going on a daytrip out to West Port in WA today and the first CD I packed was my SUNSET BOULEVARD CD and I got some groans of exasperation from my little brother. I know that he secretly loves it. But… we were supposed to be talking about “With One Look” and “Too Much in Love to Care” and how they sparked my love for SUNSET BOULEVARD. It was on an ALW collection disk that I first heard “With One Look” and man… that song just brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it. It’s just one of the most beautiful songs that I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Then, there’s “Too Much in Love to Care”. If I recall correctly, I was working on my first attempt at writing a novel (which I have since deleted from my flash drive because I’d rather believe that I can write better than that). And man… I was just struck with how absolutely adorable the song was and I just fell in love with the musical.

12. ORIGINAL CONCEPT RECORDING of JEKYLL & HYDE – With most musicals, I recommend people see them. For JEKYLL & HYDE, I wholeheartedly believe that listening to this original concept recording is the best way to experience JEKYLL & HYDE without seeing a live performance, of course. But this original concept recording rivals that experience in a lot of ways. It’s got songs that never made the final Broadway cut—songs that I think are among the best in the musical. So… if you’re curious about JEKYLL & HYDE, definitely try listening to the original concept recording. It’s got Anthony Warlow on it and you can find it on YouTube.

Colleen Sexton as Lucy Harris in JEKYLL & HYDE
Colleen Sexton as Lucy Harris in JEKYLL & HYDE

13. I’LL NEVER HAVE THAT CHANCE from LESTAT – I’ve been a big fan of Anne Rice’s books since the end of middle school and beginning of high school. And so when I found out that there was a musical called LESTAT, I checked it out. And well… this song hit me in all of the right places and made me think about some of the characters in ways I’d never really thought of them before. Prior to listening to this song, I had thought of Claudia as ungrateful to Lestat for essentially saving her life. But this song made me realize that he didn’t really save her life… he essentially just stole it. And thus I reread all of the books and fell in love with the musical!  

Hugh Panaro as Lestat and Carolee Carmello as Gabrielle performing “Crimson Kiss” from LESTAT

14. TELL ME ON A SUNDAY from SONG AND DANCE – I remember when I first heard “Tell me on a Sunday”. I was listening to a CD from an ALW collection set that I have while working on a history paper on the Black Plague. And the crescendo to this song just made me stop at my typing and just listen. And cry. It moved me to tears. Oddly enough it also inspired the ending to that paper. It was a paper written in sections and I titled the final section “Crescendo”. Yeah… cheesy. I know.

15. A LOTTA LOCOMOTION from STARLIGHT EXPRESS – To be 100% accurate in telling the story of how I fell in love with STARLIGHT EXPRESS, we’d have a lot of history to cover. The funny thing about STARLIGHT EXPRESS is that, without it, I might never have been born. Now, you might say “Well, that’s just crazy.” And yeah, it kinda is. My mom first came to the US as an exchange student and that’s actually how she met my dad and how they got married. But she’d have never even thought to come to the US as an exchange student if she’d never seen STARLIGHT EXPRESS which inspired her to learn English. But why did I choose “A Lotta Locomotion” for the song that sparked my love for STARLIGHT? Well… I’d say that it’s probably because it’s the song that I first remember dancing to. So… yeah. Embarrassing but true fact about me.

Trina Hill as Pearl and Kevin Köhler as Rusty performing “Für Immer” in Bochum, Germany production of STARLIGHT EXPRESS


And that’s it for now! What sparked your love for your favorite musicals? Tschüss!


14 thoughts on “Some of My Favorite Musicals and How I Fell in Love With Them

  1. Very interesting post. I already know we both fell in love with Les Mis the same way: confused and conflicted the first time with the movie and second time absolutely fell in love.

    Fell in love with Rent by listing to the songs through Pandora.

    Many other musicals I fell in love with because I was exposed to them growing up since my parents took me to the theatre to see. Wicked was a show that mom said I wanted to see and took me to see that show on Broadway and it has truly strengthen ever since.


    1. For me, Pandora is a great way to introduce me to new musicals and/or reintroduce me to musicals that I may have forgotten with time! I also think that my parents’ taste in musicals has also rubbed off on me and influenced me quite a lot in my own taste in musicals


      1. My mom and dad introduced me to musicals. My dad enjoys musicals while my mom actually loves them. I understood musicals differently than I do now.

        As in the case “Pippin”, my dad had me listen to “Corner of the Sky” and I automatically fell in love with it and knew I had to eventually see the stage show.

        I think it was my mom that told me about “Phantom of the Opera” and automatically requested the songs through Pandora and after falling in love with the songs, I really wanted to see the stage version.

        Newsies kind of happened the same way. Songs showed up on Pandora and with the knowledge of the songs and through discovering it had Tony award winning choreography, I knew I wanted to eventually see it.

        Pandora was a big reason why the number of musicals I listen to skyrocketed in the college years. So many musicals have been discovered through Pandora


      2. My dad’s family is super big on music and in his family, if we’re not singers, we’re players of instruments. So within his family, the classic musicals like Rogers and Hammerstein stuff and anything that has a classical feel to it is well-loved. My mom, I’d say, is less on the musical loving side than on the musical appreciating side of things. She loves going to see musicals live but couldn’t care less when it comes to watching movie musicals.
        Another way in which I discover musicals is by just sitting on the floor by the soundtrack section of the CD section in the used book store. A lot of the time they’ve got something good!
        Pandora is really great for me when I don’t really know what I want to listen to and through it, I’ve discovered musicals like Hello, Dolly! that my whole family loves


      3. My sister is the only one in the family who did really fall in love with theatre. She grew up on the same musicals I grew up with.

        There is something special about seeing musicals with my mom. Because she loves musicals like I do, it is quite special. The two of us had dates together to Wicked on Broadway, Phantom of the Opera in Greeville, Pippin in Charlotte, and Les Mis in London. Love all four of those musicals and love how I saw them with my mom


      4. Yeah, my siblings don’t care for musicals unless we’re going on a roadtrip because they like to pick CDs for the trip out of my collection because it’s either my CDs or Johann Sebastian Bach and they’d by far prefer something like Les Miz or Phantom.
        Funnily enough, even though my dad loves musicals more than my mom, I’ve only ever seen one musical with him and that was Phantom when it came to Seattle. Other than that, trips to New York and seeing other musicals in Seattle and such have been all with my mom. It’ll be interesting to see if my dad wants to come along when my mom and I go to Germany to see some musicals because that’s his home country. I really enjoy being able to share the love of theatre with my family. I think it’s really brought us all closer togeth


      5. I did see on musical with my dad. That was during my third viewing of Wicked. Santa put tickets in our stocking during 2012 Christmas. I knew it was coming to Charlotte and was aware that my dad hand’t see it yet. I decided to see it my third time so that way my dad can see it.

        Funnily enough, during the third viewing, the tallest guy in the auditorium sat in front of me and before the show began, my dad gave me the better seat. By the end of the show, he understood why I love Wicked so much. I feel like he paid more attention to me than the actual show since he could hardly see.

        My dad was the one who promised me that next time Rent comes to Charlotte, he will take me to see it and he kept the promise. The moment I heard Rent was coming to Charlotte this September, I started convincing my parents. Now in September, my dad and mom and me are going to be seeing the musical with me.


      6. My dad encourages me to go see musicals but he doesn’t like to actually go, especially if it involves leaving Seattle. But my dad is usually how I find out about musicals coming to Seattle. I remember I was just working on some homework at the dining room table one day a few years back and he slid me a flyer for Wicked and said “Hey, look, it says that ‘Wicked’s flying back to the Emerald City.’ Pretty good, huh? Not many people get to see Wicked in the Emerald City.” (Seattle’s nickname is ‘the emerald city’) I laughed and told him that I didn’t have enough money to go so the next day he bought tickets and sent me and my mom to go and see it. My dad says that it’s more fun for him to just listen to the music from musicals and tell him about what I thought nowadays. I can’t say understand it but it’s a funny sort of dynamic I guess. I definitely want to take my dad to see Wicked one day. I’m 98% sure he’s enjoy it.


      7. Before Wicked started when I saw it with my dad, I actually asked him if he could spot Shiz on the map. The fourth viewing I took advantage of because my school was taking a group of 50 to see it and thought it would be so cool to watch a musical that has changed me for good with a school that has changed me for good. So glad I saw it the fourth time because I felt the most vulnerable the fourth time with the knowledge of “I”m Not That Girl” being heartbroken and finally while watching the show, I would find some appreciation for “No Good Deed”, a song I always hated, which I never got anything about it and the emotions never actually stuck, but I finally was able to pick up on the incredible energy of that song and finally feel its two main emotions of frustration and anger


      8. Definitely! One of my favorite things about theatre is that every time you go to see a show, something will be different, whether that’s the actors, the emotions they amplify, and even the emotions you feel as an audience member


      9. The changes in Wicked also came from me due to being older. I still view the plot partially through the eyes of a 12 year old. During Popular, I feel like a 12 year old because that was my favorite song at that age. Due to your age, the portrayal of the characters all have an impact on what you feel. Each time I see Wicked, I always think the musical has gotten as deep as it can go, but than it goes deeper than the last time. Wicked is such a powerful and extremely deep musical, but will never be felt as deeply as Les Mis


      10. The first time I actually saw Wicked, I was kinda “meh” about it because the English versions of the songs felt so weird to me. I think that I have slightly different interpretations of the emotions in my mind because, having been introduced to the German version first, I will always carry bits and pieces of the different emotions from both the English production and the German production. They’re fairly similar, I think, but at the same time, there are some differences in amplified emotions and character traits and such


  2. I have to thank my mom for introducing to musicals, I was almost 13 when she got the DVD version of the Les Mis 10th anniversary concert and she convinced me to watch it with her. I was a little reluctant at first because I didn’t care a lot for Les Mis at that age (I found it too confusing) but after watching I was hooked and I fell in love with the Phantom of the Opera after that, and it kinda started my interest in musicals.

    Then my friend gave me a copy of the Wicked cast recording and I listened to it but I actually didn’t care much for it until like, last year and then I got hooked (weird, I know). So after that I came across Willemijn Verkaik singing the Dutch version of Defying Gravity/Ik Lach om Zwaartekracht and I loved her rendition. When I found out she was part of the Original German cast of Wicked I immediately got my hands on the soundtrack, and then I found out that both Mark Seibert and Willemijn had played roles in Elisabeth, so I went to check it out and loved the songs.

    I also really like the musical version of Beauty and the Beast, I saw the International tour version in 2015 because my parents got me tickets after I completed my music theory exams. I’d never seen the BatB musical and I went in with sorta low expectations because someone who had seen it told me it was kinda blah, but I was blown away and now it’s actually one of my favorites.


    1. I actually totally get what you’re saying about not really caring for Wicked immediately. I was the same way, actually! I liked the songs but wasn’t too interested in seeing it and such.
      With Elisabeth, I was almost immediately enthralled with the concept of it and the songs just utterly blew me away. Up until that point, I thought it would be impossible for any musical to really compare to Les Miz in my mind but Elisabeth completely blew that thought out of the water!


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