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The most famous musicals

The most famous musicals


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A musical, or a musical comedy, is a stage work in which songs and dialogues, music and dances are mixed. It is believed that the first musical was staged in 1866 in New York and was called Black crook.

The beginning of the 20th century gave an active impetus to the development of the genre in America, and the 30s, coupled with the work of talented composers Gershwin, Porter and Kern. The 60s brought new ideas to musicals, over time the number of performances began to decrease, but the scenery and costumes became more magnificent.

In 1985, the monopoly of the United States and England on musicals was broken by the French with their Les Miserables. Today, musicals that were timidly born in the USSR in the 70s are popular in Russia. Let's talk about the ten most famous works of this genre in the entire history of its existence.

"My Fair Lady". Bernard Shaw's drama Pygmallion prompted the writing of the musical by Frederick Lowe, the author of the music, and Alan Lerner, the author of the libretto and lyrics. It is not surprising that the plot of their joint creativity repeats the drama of Shaw, in which it is told how the main character, being originally an ordinary flower girl, becomes a young charming lady. According to the plot of the musical, during the dispute between the professor of phonetics and his friend, the linguist, such a transformation took place. Eliza Doolittle moved to the scientist's house to go through a difficult path of study. In the end, at the ambassadorial ball, the girl brilliantly passes the difficult exam. The premiere of the musical took place on March 15, 1956. In London, however, the performance was given only in April 1958. Rex Harrison played the role of professor-teacher, and the role of Eliza went to Julie Andrews. The show immediately gained huge popularity, tickets for it were sold out six months in advance. This turned out to be a real surprise for the creators. As a result, the performance was performed 2,717 times on Broadway and 2,281 in London. The musical has been translated into eleven languages ​​and played in more than twenty countries. "My Fair Lady" received Tony Awards. In total, more than 5 million recordings of the musical have been sold with the original Broadway cast. In 1964, the film of the same name was released, and the Warner Brothers bosses paid a record $ 5.5 million for the right to film the musical. Eliza played Audrey Hepburn, and Rex Harrison became her partner, moving to the cinema from the stage. And the success of the film was overwhelming - it was nominated for 12 Oscars and received 8 of them. The audience is so fond of the musical that it can still be seen in London.

"Sounds of music". The German film "The von Trapp family" became the basis for this musical. In 1958, the idea was transferred from cinema to theatrical stage by screenwriters Howard Lindsay and Russell Cruise, producer Richard Holliday and his wife Mary Martin, who was an actress. The picture told about an Austrian family who, fleeing the Nazis, went to America. The plot of the film was not invented, it was based on the book of Maria von Trapp, who was a direct participant in those events. Mary Martin herself at that time was a celebrity of musical theater, in the same case it was about a serious dramatic role. However, the actress could not refuse to perform in a new role as a singer. At first, the authors decided to design the production using folk songs and religious hymns of the von Trapp family. However, Mary insisted that a song written especially for her be present. With the help of composer Richard Rogers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein, new musical numbers appeared in the play, and the musical was born. It premiered on Broadway on November 16, 1959. Mary Martin's partner was Theodor Bickel, who played the role of Captain von Trapp. Mary Martin was so popular that the public was eager to see the premiere of the musical with her participation, securing generous fees. The Sound of Music has won 8 Tony Awards and has played 1,443 times. The original album even won a Grammy. In 1961, the musical began its tour of the United States, then the show opened in London, where it was staged for 6 years, becoming the longest-running American musical in the capital of England. In June 1960, 20th Century Fox filmmakers purchased the film rights for the production for $ 1.25 million. Although the plot of the film was different from the play, but it was he who brought "The Sound of Music" truly worldwide fame. The film premiered on March 2, 1965 in New York, and won 5 Oscars out of 10 for which he was nominated. Subsequently, attempts were made to film the musical, but this did not prevent its popularity as an independent presentation. In the 90s, The Sound of Music was shown in Greece and Israel, Finland and Sweden, Peru and China, Iceland and the Netherlands.

"Cabaret". This legendary performance was based on the stories "Berlin Stories" by Christopher Isherwood, which tells about life in Germany in the early 1930s. Another part of the story comes from the play "I Am the Camera" by John Van Druten, which tells the story of the love of the young American writer and Berlin cabaret singer Sally Bowles. Fate brought the young Brian Roberts, an aspiring writer, moonlighting as lessons to the German capital in the early 30s. Here he meets Sally, falls in love with her, getting a lot of new and unforgettable sensations. Only now the singer refuses to follow the guy to Paris, breaking his heart. The cabaret, which was once a symbol of freedom, gradually begins to fill in the course of the action people with a swastika on their sleeve ... The production was carried out by the famous Broadway director Harold Prince. Music by John Kancer was based on lyrics by Fred Ebb, and the libretto was written by Joe Masteroff. The original cast included Joel Gray as entertainer, Jill Havorth as Sally and Bert Cliff as Cliff. The production withstood 1165 performances, receiving all the same 8 "Tony". In 1972, the movie Cabaret, directed by Bob Foss, was released. Joel Gray played the same role, but Liza Minnelli brilliantly portrayed Sally, and Michael York played Brian. The film won 8 Oscars. An updated version of the musical appeared before the audience in 1987, and where is without Joel Gray? But in 1993 in London and 1998 on Broadway a new musical "Cabaret", directed by Sam Mendes, had already begun its own journey. And this version has won numerous awards, being presented 2,377 times. The musical was finally closed on January 4, 2004, for how long?

"Jesus Christ Superstar". The music for the piece was composed by the legendary Andrew Lloyd Weber, and Tim Rice created the libretto. Initially, it was planned to create a full-fledged opera, using the modern musical language and all relevant traditions - the arias of the main characters were to be present. The difference between this musical and traditional ones is that there are no dramatic elements, everything is based on recitative and vocals. Here rock music merged with classical history, the lyrics use modern vocabulary, and the whole story is told exclusively through songs. All this made "Jesus Christ Superstar" a huge hit. The story is about the last seven days of Jesus' life, which pass before the eyes of Judas Iscariot, disappointed with the teaching of Christ. The plot begins with the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and ends with his execution. The opera was first performed as an album in 1970, with the lead role played by Deep Purple's vocalist Ian Gillan. The role of Judas is played by Murray Head, and Mary Magdalene is voiced by Yvonne Ellimen. In 1971, the musical appeared on Broadway. Many note that the production portrays Jesus as the first hippie on the planet. The production lasted only a year and a half, but it got a new lease of life in London in 1972. The main role was played by Paul Nicholas, and Judas was portrayed by Stephen Tate. This version of the musical became more successful, lasting for eight years. Based on the work, as usual, a feature film was shot by director Norman Jewison. The 1973 Oscar for Best Music went to this particular piece. The film is interesting not only for its excellent music and vocals, but also for its unusual interpretation of the theme of Jesus, which appears in an alternative traditional point of view. This musical is often referred to as a rock opera, the work has generated a lot of controversy and has become a cult for the generation of hippies. "Jesus Christ Superstar" is still relevant today, it has been translated into many languages. For over 30 years the musical has been staged all over the world - on the stages of Australia, Japan, France and Mexico, Chile and Germany, Great Britain and the USA.

"Chicago". The musical is based on an article in the Chicago Tribune of March 11, 1924. Reporter Maureen Watkins spoke about the variety show actress who killed her lover. In those days, stories of sexual crimes were very popular, it is not surprising that Watkins continued to write on similar topics. On April 3, 1924, her new article appeared about a married woman who shot her boyfriend. These crime stories were accompanied by a noticeable hype, which influenced Maureen, who eventually left the newspaper and studied law at Yale University. It was there that a woman, as a study assignment, created the play "Chicago". The day before the onset of 1927, the premiere of the play "Chicago" took place on Broadway, it withstood 182 performances, in 1927 and in 1942 films were filmed based on the play. The story was reborn by Bob Fosse, the famous Broadway director and choreographer. He attracted composer Dojne Kander, and he and Fred Ebb worked on the libretto. The score of "Chicago" itself was a brilliant stylization for American hits of the 20s, and the presentation of the musical material was similar to a vaudeville. The story tells of Roxy Hart, a corps de ballet dancer, who dealt with her lovers in cold blood. In prison, a woman meets Velma Kelly and other criminals. Roxy was able to escape punishment with the help of nosy lawyer Billy Flynn - the court found her innocent. As a result, the world of show business has been enriched by the "duet of two sparkling sinners", Velma Kelly and Roxy Hart. The premiere of the musical took place on June 3, 1975 at the 46th Street Theater. Roxy was played by Gwen Verdon, Velma was played by Chita Rivera, and Billy was played by Jerry Orbach. In London, the musical appeared only 4 years later, and the production had nothing to do with the brainchild of Bob Foss. The show had 898 shows in America and 600 in the West End and was eventually closed. However, the show was revived in 1996 under the direction of Walter Bobby and choreographer Anne Rinking. The first performances in the City Center caused such a stir that it was decided to continue showing on Broadway. Roxy was played by Rinking herself, Bebe Neuwirth was played by Velma, and James Naughton was played by Flynn. This production won 6 Tony Awards as well as a Grammy for Best Album. In 1997, the musical came to London's Adelphi Theater and won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical. In its updated form, the performance was held all over the world - Canada, Australia, Holland, Argentina, Japan, Mexico, Russia and other countries. In 2002, the film studio "Miramax" was released with stars Renee Zellweger (Roxy), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Velma) and Richard Gere (Billy Flynn). The project was directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall. The film received a Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy and won 6 Oscars out of 12 for which it was nominated. In Russia, the musical was staged by Philip Kirkorov, who himself embodied the role of a skillful and corrupt lawyer.

"Evita". The idea of ​​creating the musical came up by chance - in October 1973, Tim Rice in the car heard the end of a radio program about Evita Peron. The woman was the wife of the Argentine dictator Juan Peron, the story of her life interested the poet. His co-author, Lloyd Webber, initially reacted to the story without much enthusiasm, but eventually agreed to work on it. Rice thoroughly studied the history of his main character, for this he spent a lot of time in London libraries and even visited distant Argentina. It was there that the main part of the storyline was born. Tim Rice introduced the narrator to the musical, a certain Che, whose prototype was Ernesto Che Guevara. The story itself tells about Eva Duarte, who came to Buenos Aires at the age of 15 and became first a famous actress, and then the wife of the country's president. The woman helped the poor, but also contributed to the establishment of the dictatorship in Argentina. In "Evita" various musical styles were combined, Latin American motives became the basis of the score. The first demo recordings of the musical were presented to critics at the first festival in Sidmonton, then the recording of the album began at the Olympic studio. Evita was actress Julie Covington, and Che was the young singer Colm Wilkinson. The role of Peron went to Paul Jones. The album was a great success - in three months it sold half a million copies. Despite the fact that "Evita" was officially banned in Argentina, getting the record was considered a matter of prestige. The musical was released on June 21, 1978, directed by Hal Prince. In his production, the role of Evita went to Elaine Page, and Che was played by the famous rock singer David Essex. The performance was so successful that it was named the best musical of 1978. The main actress herself received an award for her performance in "Evita". The first weeks after the release of the recording of the musical on disk made it gold. On May 8, 1979, Evita premiered in America, in Los Angeles, and four months later the performance came to Broadway. The popularity of Evita was proved by 7 Tony awards she received. The success of the musical allowed him to visit many countries - Korea, Hungary, Australia, Mexico, Japan, Israel and others. 20 years after the birth of the musical, it was decided to make a film based on it. The director was Alan Parker, the main role, Evita Peron, was played by Madonna, the role of Che was entrusted to Antonio Banderas, and Perona was played by Jonathan Price. The film featured a new song by Webber and Rice, "You Must Love Me," which eventually won an Oscar for Best Original Song.

Les Miserables. Composer Claude-Michel Schonberg and librettist Alain Bublil gave a second birth to Victor Hugo's classic work Les Miserables. The work on the creation of the musical was carried out for two years. The result was a two-hour sketch, which was then transformed into a concept album with a circulation of 260 thousand copies. An engraving depicting little Cosette has become a kind of visiting card of the musical. The stage version was presented on September 17, 1980 at the Palais des Sports in Paris. As a result, more than half a million people watched the performance. The role of Jean Valjean was played by Maurice Barrier, Javert was played by Jacques Mercier, Fantine by Rose Laurence, and Cosette by Fabienne Guyon. The concept album "Les Miserables" attracted the young director Peter Ferago, who attracted the English producer Cameron McIntosh to work. This allowed us to create a truly high-class show. A professional team of directors Trevor Nunn and John Caed worked on the production, and the text was adapted into English by Herbert Kretzmer with the help of the creators of the musical. As a result - the premiere of the play under the auspices of the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Theater on October 8, 1985. To date, Les Miserables has been shown most often in London's Palace Theater, where more than 6,000 shows of the musical have taken place.In 1987 Les Miserables came to Broadway, and so began their march around the world. Although the performance is over twenty years old, it is still on the stages of world theaters. The Les Miserables have been translated into many languages, some of which are even exotic like Japanese, Moorish and Creole. In total, this musical has been staged in 32 countries around the world. The creations of Schonberg and Bublil were eventually seen by over 20 million people.

"Cats". The basis for this popular musical was T.S. Eliot's "The Old Opossum's Book of Practical Cats", which was published in England in 1939. The collection spoke with irony about the habits and habits of cats, but behind these features, human features were easily guessed. Elliot's poems attracted Andy Lloyd Webber, who throughout the 70s composed music for them slowly. And so, by 1980, the composer had collected enough material to transform it into a musical. Since the British are very fond of cats, their show was simply doomed to success. In addition to Webber, the team included producer Cameron Mac, director Trevor Nunn, artist John Napier and choreographer Gillian Lynn. But with the stage embodiment of the songs, it turned out that the plot was not sensible. However, thanks to Eliot's widow, drafts and letters of the poet were found, from where, bit by bit, the authors of the musical were able to collect ideas for drawing up the plot of the play. In "Cats" special requirements were made to the artists - it was not enough to sing well and speak clearly, it was also necessary to be very flexible. It turned out that in England itself, it was almost impossible to recruit a troupe of 20 such actors, so pop singer Paul Nicholas, actress Elaine Page, young dancer and singer Sarah Brightman, and Royal Ballet star Wayne Slip were among the performers. The Cats Theater was created by its own designer - John Napier, as a result there is no curtain at all, and the stage and the hall merge into a single space. The action takes place not frontal, but throughout the depth. The scene itself is framed as a dump - mountains of picturesque rubbish are located on it, but in fact the scenery is equipped with sophisticated equipment. Actors, with the help of a complex multi-layered makeup, appear in the form of graceful cats. Their tights are hand-painted, their wigs are made of yak wool, their tails and collars are made of wool, and they are wearing shiny collars. The musical first appeared before the eyes of the public on May 11, 1981 in London, and hit Broadway a year later. As a result, "Cats" could, until its closure on May 11, 2002, become the longest-running production in the history of British theater. A total of 6,400 performances were given, the production was seen by over 8 million people, and the creators were able to earn about 136 million pounds. And in the States, the musical broke all possible records. Already in 1997, the number of performances exceeded 6100, which made it possible to call the performance the main Broadway long-liver. As a result, for all the time "Cats" were staged more than 40 times, the total number of viewers in 30 countries exceeded 50 million, songs were performed in 14 languages, and the total gross amount was $ 2.2 billion! The musical has received many awards, among which the most famous are the Laurence Olivier Award, the Evening Standard newspaper award for "Best Musical", 7 Tony awards, the Moliere Award in France. Broadway and London original recordings received a Grammy.

"Phantom of the Opera". Sarah Brightman and Andrew Lloyd Webber's collaboration on Cats led to their 1984 wedding. For his wife, the composer created "Requiem", but this work could not show the talent of the singer on a large scale. Therefore, Webber conceived to create a new musical, which became "The Phantom of the Opera", based on the 1910 novel with the same name by the Frenchman Gaston Leroux. A romantic but dark story tells of a mysterious creature with supernatural powers living in a dungeon under the Paris Opera. The main role in the production, Christina Daae, went, of course, to Sarah Brightman. The male part is played by Michael Crawford. Steve Barton played in the first line-up of Christina's lover Raoul. Richard Stilgow collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the libretto, and the lyrics are by Charles Hart. Theatrical artist Maria Bjornson gave the Phantom the famous mask and insisted on the decision to lower the notorious falling chandelier not on the stage, but directly on the audience. The Phantom of the Opera premiered on October 9, 1986 at the Royal Theater, with even members of Her Majesty's family present. And in January 1988, the first Broadway production of the musical took place at the Majestic Theater in New York. The Phantom of the Opera became the second-longest showcase musical in Broadway history, after Cats. As a result, about 11 million people watched the show in New York alone. The musical was staged in 18 countries, about 65 thousand performances were given, more than 58 million people watched it there, and the total number of viewers around the world has already exceeded 80 million. As a result - well-deserved awards and prizes, numbering more than 50. The musical received three Laurence Olivier awards and seven Tony awards, seven Drama Desk awards, and an Evening Standard award. The total revenue from The Phantom of the Opera was $ 3.2 billion. The novel inspired directors to create as many as seven films, the last of which, filmed in 2004, was nominated for "Oscar" three times, the producer and composer was the same Webber.

"Mama Mia". The popularity of the songs of the group "ABBA" is so great that it is not surprising that the idea of ​​creating a whole musical based on them, which came to the mind of producer Judy Kramer. The musical is based on 22 songs of the legendary band. In the original, all the songs were sung by women, so a story was developed about a mother and daughter - people of two different generations. In order for the story to be worthy of famous hits, the writer Catherine Johnson was invited, who came up with a story about a family living on the Greek islands. As a result, the viewer is attracted not only by musical hits, but also by the plot in which the music is closely interwoven. The songs were broken up into dialogues, with new intonations. The production was directed by Phyllida Loyd, and the ABBA member Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson acted as composers. The result is a romantic comedy, ironic and quite modern. There are two main lines in the musical - a love story and a relationship between two generations. The plot of "Mama Mia" is filled with comedic situations that take place against the background of the cheerful compositions of "ABBA", the characters communicate quite wittily, and their costumes are bright and original. The characteristic logo of "Mama Mia" has become the image of a happy bride, as a result it has become a kind of brand, recognizable all over the world. The plot of the musical is as follows. Young Sophie is soon preparing to become a bride. She is going to invite her father to the wedding to take her to the altar. Only the girl's mother, Donna, never talked about him. Sophie found her mother's diary, which told about her relationship with three different men, as a result, an invitation is sent to all of them. When guests begin to arrive at the wedding, the most interesting thing happens ... In the finale of the action, mom gets married with Sophie. Mama Mia's first test was its pre-premiere screening in London on March 23, 1999. The audience was completely delighted - they did not sit still during the whole performance, but danced in the aisles, clapped and sang along. The real premiere took place on April 6, 1999. The successful London production has led to the production of the musical in 11 other countries around the world, and the box office grossing there the musical reaches $ 8 million weekly! Today "Mama Mia" has been seen by more than 27 million people, daily visits are increasing by 20 thousand. The musical has earned more than $ 1.6 billion at the box office worldwide. During the rental period, the show visited 130 major cities, and the album with the recording of the very first production went platinum in the USA, Korea and Australia, twice platinum in the UK, and gold in Sweden, New Zealand and Germany. In 2008, the musical was filmed, stars such as Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan took part in it, and the same Phyllida Loyd became the director.


Watch the video: Top 10 Best Modern Movie Musicals (July 2022).


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