Monday, September 23, 2013

"Tale As Old As Time..."

When Amy of Yet Another Period Drama Blog announced that she would be hosting a Celebrate Musicals Week, I immediately knew that I had to join in the fun. After all, music is an occupational hazard in my family, so how could I not? 

But the tigers come at night, and Amy then dashed my bubble of happiness by saying that we had to pick one musical. ONE, peoples. Read it: ONE.

Which one, which one, which one?

The most popular musical right now ~ Les Mis. I do love that one. Oh, but there are songs I skip, and some swearing, and I wouldn't count myself a big enough fan to do it credit.

Ummm... Cinderella. That's a big one! Beautiful music, too! Yet... I don't know all the songs, and I only have 3 total from the musical on my computer. Nuts.

The Sound of Music. The basic, everyone-knows-it musical. Every song memorized, and I even saw this one onstage (which, even though it was only a local highschool, was amazing). But I don't know if I'd classify this one as my absolute favorite.

Mary Poppins! Who doesn't love Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Bother, I don't know that much about the actual musical. My big Mary Poppins experience is mostly with the Julie Andrews film, other than knowing a few Broadway songs.

Oklahoma... very fun, but I'm not a cowboy.

The Little Mermaid... love most of the music, but again, songs to skip, swearing, and on the whole, I really don't endorse that story.

The Phantom of the Opera... the musical everyone has heard of due to music in the night and asking of you only one lifetime, but again, not a favorite. *huff* I annoy myself with my pickiness. And yes, spellchecker, I'm making "pickiness" a word.

Newsies has a great story, but some songs... ehh... that and the Broadway musical isn't that familiar to me.

My Fair Lady... very familiar as I sing these songs almost on a regular basis, but...

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Amazing musical! Definitely a favorite! Yet, there could be a better one...

Annie Get Your Gun is absolutely hilarious! I just discovered this one, so again, not a big enough expert to do it justice.

Oliver!, Meet Me In St. Louis, Singin' In The Rain, The King and I, The Music Man, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Wizard of Oz.... none of them really stood out to me as MY musical. Amy, I must say, you really threw me a curveball. I was up a tree with a creek and got stuck on a limb without a paddle. Or something like that. So, I opened up my Media Player and browsed through the musicals I have downloaded onto my computer. Surely I could find something.

And then I found it. And if you know anything about musicals and how to identify them by snippets of songs (such as I used for the title of this post), then you probably already know which one I chose. Pat yourself on the back and have some virtual gingerbread, courtesy of me.

My dear readers, I'm doing...

Beauty and the Beast

So, why Beauty and the Beast? For as long as I can recall, Belle has been my favorite Disney princess (replaced only recently by the long-haired, blonde Rapunzel), so it was natural for me to run around the house singing "Be Our Guest" at the top of my lungs. Belle wears a blue dress, a lovely shade which happens to be my favorite color, and she is extremely fond of books. Helllo, don't most of us love her for only that reason? 

Yet, the story of Beauty and the Beast is unlike most fairy tales, a fact which I am most appreciative of. For instance, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty both are, in the original tales, woken with a kiss and instantly marry their kisser, or, in the famous Disney film adaptions, fall in love with a prince after a single, romantic song. In all cases, their marriage was based on love at first physical appearance, something that drives me batty. Note: I'm not saying I don't believe in love at first sight, but I do think it's wrong to base an entire lifetime on a single meeting with someone whom you believe has awesome looks. Granted, it is a fairy tale, and I do like to believe in the impossible and suspend my disbelief, but let's keep some reality in here, people, please.

But Beauty and the Beast was different. Disney actually took the time to develop Belle's character, one of their first female characters who was actually real. She had hopes and dreams, and she wasn't afraid to learn how to change. If we stuck Belle in Snow White's place, she'd have fallen in love with the first handsome singer and would have ended the movie in fifteen minutes married to Gaston. Instead, she determined that she would be looking for a friend not a lover, and waiting for the adventure that life would bring. Sure, she doesn't seem very patient about it, a trait with which she is flawed and grows from, but she knows that while she is a woman and meant to be a wife someday, she's not wasting her time moping at the lack of suitable husbands. I would say potential there, but Gaston was stalking her in her hometown, so there wasn't a lack of potential.

And then when Belle went to the castle to take her father's place (I'm assuming here that we all know the basic storyline of Beauty and the Beast so I won't give you a play-by-play commentary on the plot), she was frightened, but she loved her father so much that she was willing, pretty much, to give her own life so that her father, the only family she had in the world, to go free. It was more important to her that the ones (or one) that she loved most were well than for her to look after her own interests. Yet, the time in the castle proved to be most interesting with dinner and a show, a snowball fight, and a whole bunch of other fun and lighthearted stuff that one would never expect in a dark, gargoyle-guarded castle. For it was here that she learned to love for more than physical appearance. Belle fell in love with the Beast (who, if you didn't know, is really named Adam... Prince Adam; you're welcome, that was free) because of his character rather than his bulging muscles and dashing brow. The Beast saved her life, he was gentle with the most delicate of creatures, he was eager to ascertain that she was happy and well-taken care of, all of which was a lot more than boisterous, random-people-knocking-out Gaston ever did. 

I could go on and on about this, as I'm sure you all should know by know, but I won't prolong things and make this post an epistle. Certainly by now all of you should be tapping your computer screens and saying, "Uh, Kiri? This is Celebrate MUSICALS Week, not Celebrate MOVIE week. Why are you still talking about the movie?" Elementary, my dear Watson. Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical was based on, inspired by, named after Beauty and the Beast, the 1991 Disney film adaption. If you noticed, most of the songs, in fact, I believe ALL of the songs in the movie are present in the musical. For the most part, the storyline of the musical is the same as the movie's, with only a few minor differences, as well as seven new songs, songs that I will discuss in a later post. However, the point of this post here was to establish my love of musicals, my gratitude to Amy for hosting such a fun celebration, pinpoint my own musical, state the reasons why it was my favorite, and move on. I think I did all that, so...

God bless!
P.S. Yes, I do realize that most posts today concerning this great event will be answers to the tag Amy posted earlier, but I wrote this before and wanted to post it as my introductory to the week. I have no further explanation to give. Don't worry; you'll see the tag popping up later on Lianne Taimenlore.


  1. Belle is absolutely THE best Disney princess out there! Well...and Rapunzel, yeah. I adore Rapunzel. But anyways, Beauty and the Beast is probably my favorite Disney movie. I loooove all the points you made. It's so nice to have at least one movie that showed character and not just "oh, you're handsome and can sing, let's get married!" I love, love, LOVE the story of Beauty and the Beast!

  2. Aw! Can't wait! Beauty and the Beast is such a fantastic story. It's really neat to look at a lot of the symbolism in addition to the story as well; I think there are a lot of Christ-and-the-Church allegories to be gleaned from many fairy tales, especially Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, etc. Looking forward to this week!

  3. Looking forward to your posts! Although I've never really been a fan of Beauty and the Beast, I really enjoy the Broadway album. It's really beautiful!

  4. 'An occupational hazard in your family'? That made me giggle!

    Thank you! *helps myself to a piece of virtual gingerbread* :D

    I look forward to your posts!! Beauty and the Beast (Disney's version) was one of my favorite Disney Princess movies when I was little. (The other was Aladdin.)