The 1940s were an interesting time for musicals. In the early forties, the United States and several other countries were in the middle of World War II, but the people still needed a good story to fall back on. Below are my top six musicals of the 1940s with the knowledge that I need to familiarize myself better with this decade. As always, the ranking is my personal preference.
6. Carousel (1945)
This show was the second collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein. It's never been one of my favorites of their shows, but it does have some catchy music. The show is about a carousel barker who falls in love with one of his riders. Unfortunately, he falls into bad company and in the end has one chance to try to make his mistakes right.
5. South Pacific (1949)
This is yet another Rodgers and Hammerstein show that I'm not as familiar with as I should be. In fact, when I was reading the synopsis to remind myself of plot points, I realized I had a major plot point all wrong. Whoops. Anyway, this is the story of a Navy nurse who falls for a French plantation owner who lives on an island. One of those early "will they or won't they" couples, you'll probably spend a bunch of the show/film adaptation wondering if things will work out.
4. Wizard of Oz (1942)
After the success of the film starring Judy Garland, the movie was adapted into a stage musical with the same songs. Having participated in this adaptation, I can say that it is pretty much the same as the film with a few slight changes, perhaps. The photo at the top of this post and the one directly below this section is from the production I was in where I played Glinda and Auntie Em.
3. Brigadoon (1947)
Brigadoon is a show I've watched more recently. I actually watched the film version starring the fabulous Gene Kelly of Singin' in the Rain fame. I really love the Scottish flavor and beautiful dance of this show. I think it is a very creative and well-done concept. It tells the story of a man who must choose between the woman who loves (she comes from a town that only appears once every hundred years) and the real world. It's quite fun.
2. Oklahoma! (1943)
If you say Rodgers and Hammerstein, many people will think of Oklahoma! While doing this series I've realized that I just need to pull out all my Rodgers and Hammerstein films and rewatch them. This one is classic musical theater, the very first that the famous team created together. It tells the tale of a cowboy and the farm girl he loves.
1. Annie Get Your Gun (1946)
This is one I personally love. I enjoy the music, especially the song above. The song "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" comes from this show. Annie Oakley can shoot better than most anybody, but she hasn't had the best of luck with men. All of that's about to change, however, when she meets her biggest rival and possible love of her life.
The forties were a big classics year. Any Rodgers and Hammerstein fans here? What's your favorite musical from this decade?