It’s amazing how some things can become a part of our cultural consciousness without our even being aware of it. The movie Singing in the Rain was released in 1952, before my parents were even born, never mind me. I mention this because Neil and I watched it for the first time the other day and I was pleasantly surprised by how familiar I found the soundtrack. I’d heard many of the songs before but never knew they were from the film.
For the uninitiated, Singing in the Rain is one of the most iconic musical movies of its time. Made in the fifties, it carries a deep nostalgia for the twenties, which, watching it sixty years later is fascinating. There were scenes and jokes that didn’t quite land with us, not knowing the punch line ourselves. I find it to be a lot like the nostalgia we currently have for the eighties. The film follows silent film star Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and his best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) as the industry begins its shift to “talkies,” centering on the romance of Lockwood and the fiesty Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds). It’s a really great movie with all the charm and earnestness that you only seem to get with old films. Also O’Connor’s comic timing as Cosmo is truly glorious.
But the great thing about the movie is the music! Of course, I knew about Singing in the Rain. It’s the title track! But I had no idea all these other songs were from the movie, namely, Make ‘Em Laugh, Moses Supposes (which I heard over and over during my stint as an iParty employee in high school), and Good Morning. Funnily enough, nearly all the songs featured in Singing in the Rain are actually from other films, from Babes in Arms with Judy Garland to as far back as the Hollywood Revue of 1929, from which the song Singing in the Rain even comes! The versions I’m familiar with are pretty much all from Singing in the Rain.
It’s wonderful how immersive a musical can be. There’s something about drama and comedy set to song and dance that just sucks me in. I’ve been really fascinated with musical soundtracks recently. I think Hamilton re-invigorated my love of Broadway, specifically to listening to them. You get this entire story, all these emotions, feelings, and events but accompanied by musical soliloquies, duets, and scoring. You get a complete story but set to music! What is not to love?
These last few days I’ve been obsessed with Legally Blonde: The Musical. It sounds like such a silly premise for a play, but the music is so good! I love singing along to it. Neil probably is going to kill me if he hears me sing “Oh my god you guys” around the house one more time (he’s a good sport). I actually watched that play when it was broadcast on MTV in 2007. I was into it then and I’m into it now. The title track toward the end is actually a really lovely and moving duet between Elle and Emmett; it has so much love and hope and despair. It gives me such feelings. But most of the tracks are upbeat and fun, which is a nice change of pace in this humdrum winter. Christian Borle, who originally played Emmett (who I really, really love in the musical), is actually in Something Rotten right now as Shakespeare and I am *tempted* to go see it when I’m in New York.
TL;DR Musicals are awesome. Go watch some.
Until next time!