Monday, February 29, 2016

Ranking Musicals: 1960s

When it comes to decades, the 60s have the trademark on strange. In the 60s, hippies became popular, and people started to leave from traditional values in small or large ways. Most importantly for this post, the 60s brought the end of the classic age of musical theatre. Like any post of this sort, deciding specific rankings was tough, but they are arranged in order of my affection for them as well as my personal judgement of quality. Unfortunately, the 1960s is not my favorite musical decade, so many musicals that I hear are great like Hello, Dolly!, Cabaret, and Funny Girl are off my list until I know them a little better.

 5. Bye Bye Birdie (1960)

  This sort of teenybopper love story was never one of my favorites. I suppose it has it charms, and the music is quite catchy. The above clip is from the film based on the musical. The teenage Kim has just been "pinned" as a sign of entering a serious relationship. Unfortunately for her boyfriend, the teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie is is about to roll into town when Kim wins a goodbye kiss from him after he is drafted. Hijinks quickly ensue. Dick Van Dyke is one of the many talents featured in this musical. He was also a part of the original Broadway cast. 

4. Camelot (1960)

  Camelot is a good example of the Golden Age of theatre that probably ended around 1965. I'm not as familiar with this musical as with others on this list, but I have enjoyed listening to the original cast that includes the always wonderful Julie Andrews and Richard Burton. Camelot is the story of King Arthur, the one we all know so well. The above video is Burton and Andrews's Arthur and Guinevere pondering simple life. The musical was also made into a film, which I intend to review.

3. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968)

    Joseph is a high energy and eclectic musical. It tells the biblical story of Joseph through a variety of musical styles including country, classic rock, calypso, and French inspired. The musical is also almost completely sung through, a bit like Les Miserables but goofier. I recommend looking up some of the songs to listen to the clever blend of musical stylee. Although the full production wasn't actually put on until the early 1970s, the concept album was created in the 60s, which is why it makes this list. Joseph was created partly by Andrew Lloyd Webber, famous for Phantom of the Opera and several other shows. The above clip is the Western addition to the show, portraying Joseph's brothers explaining his "death" to their father. I actually had the opportunity to be in this show when I was a bit younger. It was the first and only time I played a man. Please enjoy this image of me in a beard. 

2. Oliver! (1960)

  Another classic musical based on a classic book, Oliver! has always had a soft spot in my heart. The music might not be the most epic, but the diverse characterization and heart put into those songs make them the special thing that they are. This story about an orphan boy trying to find his place in the world and the many people he meets might make you laugh at some points and cry in others. Highlights include the mischievous thief the Artful Dodger and the tragic Nancy (a part I would love to portray one day). The clip above is from the movie that was made based on the musical. 

1. Fiddler on the Roof (1964)

 One of my all-time favorite musicals, Fiddler on the Roof, tells the story of a small village of Jews living in Russia at a time when the country is teetering near the edge of communism. The dairy man, Tevye, is the main character. Throughout the musical, he struggles with his three oldest daughters moving further away from Jewish tradition with the men they fall in love with. The show deals with persecution and change. I have loved it ever since I was a child, and I will never tire of this story that is both beautiful and thought-provoking. I highly recommend the film that was made based on this. The photo at the top of this post was a production I had the opportunity to be a part of. 

Are you familiar with any of these shows from the 1960s? Any of your favorites that I missed?


  1. I love Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat... I must have watched our VHS of it 50 times since I was a little girl. More than that, Fiddler on the Roof might very well be my favorite musical of more or less all time right now. <3 IT IS SO GOOD.

    Also, I like songs from Camelot but I haven't really seen it so it's sort of up in hyperspace there, y'know?

    1. Yep, I feel you. Mannn I love Fiddler. My sis and I used to sing Matchmaker. I was also Hodel. And same about Camelot. I need to actually watch it!