A scene from the film of Mary Poppins (© Disney)
Sorry, Spider-Man will not be on this list. These five may not be the most famous movies turned musicals, but they certainly are my favorites.
1. Mary Poppins
A classic from my childhood, when I would watch it at my grandparent's house and sing along. Not going to lie, I would stand outside and hope that a bird would land on my hand like the bird lands on Julie Andrews during "Spoonful of Sugar." Oh and let's not forget about the best part: the carousel horses! How amazing to be able to jump into a painting on the sidewalk and ride away on a pink horse…especially while wearing that beautiful white dress and hat that Andrews dons. I still know all of the lyrics for "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." And I love the way the cartoon characters are mixed with the real actors. In my humble opinion, this is one of the best movies Disney ever made. My one concern with the stage version is that the cartoon characters aren't quite captured, but other than that, it made a beautiful transition to stage.
2. White Christmas
Ah, every time I think of White Christmas, I think of sitting in my pajamas in my parent's room with my sister and watching it during the holidays. Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney's "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" always brings tears to my eyes. Crosby has the kind of voice that makes you melt. When I saw the stage version with some friends a couple years ago, they were embarrassed by my stifled sobs during the song. The movie is genius and has fabulous music, so it would be hard to mess this up on Broadway.
3. The Wedding Singer
I'm especially partial to this one because I'm in it at Northwestern right now. It's certainly not the best musical that's ever been made, but I love the movie, and it captures it really well. Then there's the incredible original Broadway cast. I've always been obsessed with Laura Benanti's beautiful soprano voice and Amy Spanger's rocking belt. I can't wait to put on my skin-tight bustier and plastic crucifix and spend "Saturday Night in the City."
4. Legally Blonde
Every time I listen to this soundtrack, I am blown away by how well O'Keefe and Neil captured the spirit of the movie in the score. Somehow the essence of life at Delta Nu, Emmett's sensitivity, and Elle's transformation all play out in the music. As for Elle, Laura Bell Bundy was the perfect match. Her clear, pop belt and expressivity are fabulous for the part. Then there's Christian Borle, who made my Top 5 Performances by an Actor. Perfection.
5. The Secret Garden
What a beautiful score! "Lily's Eyes" has to be the best male duet ever written. I also love to see a modern musical with a fabulous high soprano lead. We Rogers and Hammerstein sopranos wait for parts like Lily to come around. "Come to My Garden," is one of the most beautiful soprano songs I've ever heard. Mandy Patinkin is always phenomenal and then little Daisy Eagan is dynamite. She won the Tony when she was 11. My biggest accomplishment at age 11 was losing my last baby tooth.