Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sex and Misbehavin': Life is a Musical

I frequently tweet about how my life is a musical
In 1997, when my middle daughter, Lacey, was 3 years old, she was bitten by a dog in the face.  We spent 3 days in the hospital over Spring Break. It sucked, but we were really into a musical at that time, Evita, that helped us pull through the ordeal. While I had loved this musical for years, the film soundtrack had just come out with Madonna and Antonio Banderas, so I had just introduced it to the children. Lacey in particular, was enthralled.

For those of you not familiar with the music, here are the lyrics to "I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You," the song that 3 year old Lacey introduced to her nursing staff:  

"I'm not talking of a hurried night
A frantic tumble then a shy goodbye
Creeping home before it gets too light
That's not the reason that I caught your eye
Which has to imply, I'd be good for you
I'd be surprisingly good for you."

You can imagine that a 3 year old's diction is often not very clear, so it was a little difficult to understand what she was singing at times. Here's how that hospital scene went down in 1997:  

Lacey:  <sings over and over>
Nurse:  "What's that about tumbling in the night?"
Lacey's Father: "Denise, please make Lacey stop singing that." 
Me, to Nurse: "It's okay; it's a musical.  Music is art.  She's very advanced for her age."  
Nurse:  <looks worried>
Me, to myself:  <So I let my kids sing about whores and dictators. What's it to you?>*

It only got worse from there.  Turns out that there is a lot of sex and misbehavin' in musicals.  Over the past year or so in particular, there has been a lot of interest in a certain musical called Hamilton. This musical is filled with death, revolution, war, infidelity, murder, betrayal, arrogance, and despair. It makes Evita look like a Disney Channel original movie. #ImJustSayin'

Since 1997, our collective love of musicals has resulted in the evolution of a family that thinks nothing of belting out the lyrics to any musical song, like Light My Candle from Rent while grocery shopping in HEB, or singing about Agony from Into the Woods while eating hamburgers** at Willies, or trying to hit the high notes in Phantom of the Opera on a family vacation. 

I started writing this blog post in 2016 when all the attention to "Hamilton" was in full swing, but it took me this long to get it done.  We thought the collective excitement about Hamilton was a great opportunity to make recommendations of all of our favorite musicals over the years.  We've been fan-girling for 20 plus years and we have a lot of opinions, so here they are:   

Ariel, my oldest, was turning 9 in 1997.  She graduated college with communications and English degrees and currently works in the marketing department of a gaming company in Austin, Texas. This is her list of favorite musicals:
Ariel thinks that "Dr Horrible's Singalong Blog" should count as a musical as well.  

Lacey, the theater major, has a more extensive list. She currently works as a theater lighting designer in California at the Pacific Conservatory of the Arts.  When I told her I was writing a blog post and asked her her favorite musicals she sent this comment, and list:  "Just to name a few off the top of my head:"
Zoe, is currently 15, and of course was not even born in 1997.  This did not stop the indoctrination.  Zoe recently played "Olga, the Grand Duchess Katrina" in You Cant Take It With You in high school. She is my child most-inclined-to-become-a-stage-performer.  Her favorite musicals include: 
She is not a fan of Phantom of the Opera. ***

For what it's worth, my favorite musicals are from a different era.  When I think about the musicals that made a difference in my life as a kid, my list is: 
Then as an adult I'd have to list a few others:  

It was well after these that came the Rent and Evita and Mamma Mia shows that became the fodder for my kids' fervent affinity for the musical.  The kids have since made me a big fan of these classics: 
  • Anything Goes 
  • Into the Woods
One of the best things I got to do last year was see Shrek, The Musical at the Solvang Festival Theater in California, where Lacey works. Ariel made this video of her work. 

A typical tweet

*Lacey graduated from college with a theater degree about 20 years later.
**It was actually just me eating hamburgers, my kids are both vegetarians and aliens who don't like hamburgers  
***no haters, says Zoe

This post was edited by Zoe for "readability"