From Scarlett Cole
As I mentioned in a previous post, the heroine in my latest book, THE PUREST HOOK (which comes out today), LOVES musicals. She thinks in song lyrics, and when the bad boys of Second Circle Tattoos, the studio she manages, are not around, she blasts show tunes through the studio speakers.
It’s the first time I have so obviously written a piece of myself into one of my characters. For the longest time, I have had VERY eclectic musical taste. One minute I might be listening to heavy metal, the next listening to a James Horner soundtrack or Gregorian Chants. But one of my favorite guilty pleasures is singing along to show tunes. So I thought I would explain a little bit about why, and share some of my favorites.
My love affair with musicals goes back to 1984, at least, this is the best approximation I can make of going to see Michael Crawford in Barnum at the Manchester Opera House. The date seems appropriate because I slept with my hair in hundreds of tight braids the night before so my hair was crazy, and donned my best gray and black zig-zagged batwing jumper with red slouchy boots to go to the theatre. There are no photos of this event, which might be for the best because eighties fashions were not kind to any of us!
So here are some of my favorite musicals:
Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
I love this one because it is a light-handed retelling of Puccini’s La Bohème (perhaps I should do another post on operas next – let me know what you think in the comments). As of February 2016, it was the eleventh longest running Broadway show with over 5,000 performances. But for me, the gritty storyline and Idina Menzel made it perfect. My favorite song? Seasons of Love. I love the reminder that we only have 525,600 minutes in a year and need to choose how we spend them wisely.
Book and Lyrics by Lee Hall, Music by Elton John
Having grown up in a mining town in the North-West of England that had seen the pits systematically closed, this musical hit close to home. But the story of a young school boy who just wanted to dance was what captured everyone’s imagination. My favorite song is Electricity from the original cast recording. I’ve seen the movie and seen it live in Toronto. Both are amazing, but I do love Julie Walters as Billy’s dance teacher in the movie version.
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Tim Rice
My one regret is never having seen Elaine Paige play Eva Perón as part of the original West End Cast opposite David Essex as Che. There are so many great songs in this musical, it’s almost impossible to just pick one. Eva and Perón’s duet, I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You, and Another Suitcase in Another Hall would be close to the top of my list, but I think You Must Love Me toward the end of the musical is the most powerful because it’s so quiet versus the other songs.
Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel (French), English lyrics adaptation Herbert Kretzmer
I have to be honest and admit I have seen this musical several times. In another life, I am going to be in the choir (the spotlight is not for me, despite my three-year stint in school participating in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comical operas). I’m going with the obvious choice here because I love it so much (and it is one of the songs mentioned in the book). I honestly believe that people who hate musicals can still sing this song… Do You Hear The People Sing? is spectacularly rousing. The 10th Anniversary recording features seventeen Valjeans stepping up onto the stage to sing it one final time… it gives me chills every time.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
This is my all-time favorite. As an author, I love the concept of the retelling from Gregory Maguire’s incredible novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. I had the opportunity to see this for the first time in my former home town of Toronto, but I would give anything to see Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth in the roles. I routinely write late at night to this soundtrack. I am convinced that at some point in my life, I am going to be called upon to sing Popular. And as much as I love No Good Deed, I’m going to have to go with Defying Gravity – Idina’s version, obviously.
I have to be honest, it was so hard to narrow it down when there are so many great musicals, which is why when I wrote The Purest Hook, I used lots more. I’m waiting for conversations to start about all the references and to see if anybody notices them all.
So these are some of my favorite musicals, why don’t you tell me some of yours.
THE PUREST HOOK – AVAILABLE NOW
“This book is my favorite of the series ,so far.” – USA Today Best Selling Author, Sidney Halston
Can a love built on secrets survive?
Rugged, hot, and rock hard, Dred Zander is exactly the type of man that normally sends Pixie running. Not dreaming about running her hands down his washboard abs…and lower. The lead singer and guitarist for the band Preload embodies trouble behind his quick smile and guarded eyes, and Pixie left trouble behind her years ago along with the name Sarah Jane Travers and the pathetic trailer her mom called home. With her abusive past in her past, she has a new life, a new family at Second Circle, and a dream of opening her own business. She needs capital and time. What she doesn’t need is a tempting long-haired rocker or the paparazzi that follow him around.
But Dred has other ideas. Pixie’s sweet hazel eyes, purple hair and kaleidoscopic tattoo of exotic flowers that swirl up her arm haunt his dreams, and he knows she wants him too. He just has to convince her. But as a juicy exposé threatens to expose their pasts, and a blackmailer terrorizes their present, Pixie and Dred have to decide what really matters and fight like hell to keep it.