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Five Favorite Musicals of All Times

Updated on November 19, 2018
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Before retiring, Jack worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


Growing up, one of my favorite pass time was to play musical record albums. I like the songs, the melody and the lyrics. The story is told through these words and songs and they enriched the experience. It was a different times. There was a time in our past where a song is meant to be heard and understood. The sung words are intelligible and you can follow the story. Today, with rap and other modern music formats, the beat is the most important element.

- Nov. 2018

Here Are My Top Five

  • The Sound Of Music
  • West Side Story
  • Fiddler On The Roof
  • Flower Drum Song
  • Mary Poppins

How Did I Make My Choices?

There were so many great Broadway musical shows which later made it onto the big screens. How did I pick these five? There is a common thread.

1. The story must be compelling.

2. The music must have at least 5 catchy tunes.

3. The songs must be popular and recognized easily.

4. The singer and actor must be well know and an artist of highest regard.

5. The lyrics must be compatible with the general theme of the story.

6. A life lesson of some sort that transcends time. It should be as relevant to day in 2018 as they were when they were first made back in the 1960s.

West Side Story - 1961

A modern interpretation of the Romeo and Juliette story with NYC as the back drop and the immigrant population of Puerto Rico mixed among the local white gangs. The songs and music of Leonard Berstein was magnificent and captivating. Here are my five favorite songs.

  • Maria
  • Somewhere
  • America
  • Tonight
  • I feel Pretty

Flower Drum Song - 1961

As an Asian American, this movie had a tremedous impact on me growing up. It gave us a place at the table. Despite the general caricature and stereotype and exaggerations, it was an introduction of the Chinese culture to Americans of that era. It shows that underneath it all, we are all the same. We all want the same things. The culture differences and the generation gap is real. In a PC world of 2018, some of the lyrics and theme may be seen as inapproriate by today‘s standards. Here are my five favorite songs.

  • I enjoy being a girl
  • Don’t marry me
  • A hundred million miracles
  • The other generation
  • Sunday

Mary Poppins - 1964

This was one of Disney’s biggest success story. It is a children’s fantasy story with lots of animation mixed in. The story is also timeless about a father loosing control over his family and letting his work dominate his time. It took a little magic to bring him back on track. Here are my five favorite songs.

  • My Favorite Things
  • Feed the birds
  • A spoonful of sugar
  • Fidelity Fiduciary Bank
  • Chim chim cheree

The Sound of Music - 1965

One of the all time great musical is the Sound of Music. It was a Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration. The featured artist is Julie Andrews, one of the best female vocalist. Here are my 5 favorite songs.

  • My Favorite Things
  • Edelweiss
  • Do Re Mi
  • Sixteen Going on Seventeen
  • Sound of Music

Fiddler On The Roof - 1971

A traditional story about Jews migrating from place to place in Eastern Europe. The story is timeless about love and societal turmoils. It is also about the jewish people and their traditions and their struggle for identity and a new nation.

Here are my favorite five songs.

  • Traditions
  • Sunrise, Sunset
  • Miracle of miracles
  • To life
  • Anatevka

Why I Am Old Fashon

When it comes to music, I am completely biased. I like the old songs from my generation both Chinese popular songs and American show tunes. The reason is simple. I have a certain expectation for a song. A great song to me must have a catchy tune, a great melody and lyrics that I can hear and understand and even sing along.

Contrast that with the songs of today. The rap songs and modern music lack many of the basic elements. Some are sung too fast and I can’t comprehend the lyrics. Some are full of bsckground beat and sounds that it distracts from the main song. Some have lyrics that makes no sense.

Perhaps I am too judgmental. I just can’t help it. It is the same with art. I prefer the old masterpieces of traditional paintings. I cannot understand modern art.

Stolen Kiss by Fragonard - 1786, One of my favorite piece from the Hermitage Museum

© 2018 Jack Lee


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