Top 5 Songs That Bring a Smile to My Face
Tunes from Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Cats, and Legally Blonde make Catherine Reid feel happy.
The cast of Legally Blonde on tour (© Scott Lewis)
This was one of the hardest lists for me because every musical theater song brings a smile to my face. I could include so many more! It's a somewhat quirky compilation, but these are songs that I have to sing along with whenever I hear them.
1. "Populism Yea Yea" from Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Who doesn't love an angsty 19th century president? What I love most about this musical is that it takes dry subjects like populism and makes them the topic of rock songs. It's just so ludicrous to hear Andrew Jackson belting about girls not going out with him and about taking back the country in the same song. The lyrics in this one are especially funny. "People who make things happen. Sometimes with guns. Sometimes with speeches too. And also other things."
2. "Suppertime" from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown
I always sing this when I make my dog's dinner. And I'm always disappointed when she doesn't join in as Snoopy would. This is an enthusiastic showstopper dedicated to one of my favorite topics, food. My toes tap, my fingers snap, and involuntary dancing ensues when it comes on. Not only is the music great, but so is Snoopy. He's one of my favorite characters ever with his dramatic flair and hilarious lines.
3. "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" from Cats
I'm a little embarrassed to admit this one, especially since it's not a particularly great song. But if I hear it once, I can't stop. It's so catchy! It also comes with many questions. First of all, what is a Jellicle cat? Apparently it is a type of feline mentioned in T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Some sources say they are cats that rest during the day and come out to play at night, while others say that Jellicle cats are just superior to ordinary cats in some indescribable way. They've got to be some darn special cats, because I've never seen a cat that can "ride on a broomstick to places far distant," nor a cat who's "familiar with candle, with book and with bell."
4. "America" from West Side Story
A classic. As soon as I hear, "I like the island Manhattan. Smoke on your pipe and put that in," I'm hooked. It has one of the most iconic melodies in Broadway history that makes you wish you were wearing a red dress with a huge ruffled skirt to hold up as you dance. I really love the part when Rosalinda is talking about all of the wonderful aspects of Puerto Rico, and she says she's going to drive her family around in San Juan. Anita responds, "How you get all of them inside?" The back and forth banter is so sharp and witty.
5. "Positive" from Legally Blonde
Okay so I'm a little biased because I'm in the show right now, but this is an incredibly infectious song like every other one in Legally Blonde. The absolute best part is the rap. "Wake him up like Sleeping Beauty. Turn his head with your red hot booty." I have so much fun saying that! And of course I have fun with the shaking sequence that follows. The whole song is a bubblegum pop, girl power anthem. And I'm not one to turn that down.