Audrey Zielenbach is the Artistic Content Curator at Gulfshore Playhouse.
If you are anything like me, being stuck at home has meant finally getting around to the movies on my watchlist. Being stuck at home also means we aren’t able to go watch a live theatrical production, so I thought it would be nice to curate a list of the next best thing: the movie musical!
I spoke with Gulfshore Playhouse staff members about their favorite movie musicals, the ones they think you should make sure to add to your list. On this list are musicals that were adapted into films, films that were adapted into musicals and then adapted back into movies, and musicals created specifically for film. Whether you’ve seen these films dozens of times or it’s been on your list for ages, there’s never been a more perfect time to experience them. A movie musical is almost guaranteed to lift your spirits and deliver a few hours of escapism.
Recommended by Joel Markus and Jeff Binder: Little Shop of Horrors
Jeff: Before there was computer animation and its sleek, hyper-realistic fantasy framing, Frank Oz directed a brilliant adaptation of the musical Little Shop of Horrors. The casting was exceptional and truthful to the original story, and it had some of the best comedians of the 1980s jumping in and out of cameos throughout. On top of that, Ellen Green and Rick Moranis, as the young and in-love down-and-outs Audrey and Seymour are charming and lovely in the film, and Levi Stubbs (of the Four Tops) brilliantly voices the maniacal plant, Audrey II. Top it off with Steve Martin as the sadistic dentist, Tichina Arnold, Michelle Weeks, and Tisha Campbell, as Crystal, Ronnette, and Chiffon (the story’s soulful and harmoniously brilliant ‘greek chorus’), Vincent Gardenia as Mushnik, and you have a stellar cast, some fantastic voices, and a wonderfully quirky director/puppet master who brings it all together and frames the story in a rich, fun way. A great musical to watch with your kids or grandkids.
Joel: It’s silly, a break from reality; and I mean, who doesn’t get excited about the two main characters singing (with doo wop in the background supporting them) and a crescendo about getting out of skid row: