So, Cats the musical is out in theaters and so far it’s not very well liked. As a musical theater fan, I wanted to share a list of musical theater shows that are available on DVD, Blue-ray, digital download, or on streaming services that would be great to watch during the holiday season. Or, if you hate the 2019 movie version of Cats, to detox from the trip to the movie theater.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of my favorite musicals of all time. The plot revolves around a man, Adam, who marries a woman, Milly, less than 24 hours after he meets her for the first time. After taking her home to his cabin in the woods of the Oregon territory, she realizes that not only must she take care of her new husband, but also his six bachelor brothers who live with the newlyweds. Things begin to become more complicated as Milly teaches the brothers how to behave in a more gentlemanly fashion in order to court and possibly even marry women, something the brothers pick up very quickly resulting in six women who are being courted by other men to see them in a different light.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers began life as a book, as most musicals do, and was then turned into a musical. The only difference between Seven Brides and most other musicals is the fact it didn’t premiere on Broadway or as a theater production first. It started as a movie musical. In fact, the first staged theater production premiered in 1978 while the movie premiered in 1954. It also won best musical scoring and was nominated in three other categories, including best picture, at the 27th annual Academy Awards in 1955, making this musical movie not only a musical with an interesting back story, but also a fun watch during the holiday season.
Holiday Inn (The Broadway Stage Version)
I love the movie musical Holiday Inn and it is a classic musical, but I decided to not recommend the movie musical staring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire because of some racially sensitive scenes in it. Instead, I recommend the pro shot version of the Broadway stage version of Holiday Inn. The Broadway stage version omitted the racially sensitive scenes and is much better suited for modern audiences than the original film version.
Cats (The Pro-shot Version)
Although I started this post talking about how much I don’t like the 2019 movie of Cats, I love the first version of Cats filmed for movie and at home viewing purposes. Like with Holiday Inn, this version of Cats was filmed in a pro-shot way, except it wasn’t filmed in a live theater during a performance. Instead, it was filmed with a cast of actors and actresses who acted in various productions of the musical from different countries. This was always my go-to DVD when I wanted to introduce someone who never saw Cats on stage to the musical. For this reason, I added it onto this list because, well, if you want to see the stage version of the musical without the CGI, this one is the one to watch.
Singing in the Rain
Singing in the Rain is a feel good, cheer you up musical that I always like watch whenever I feel down. Even though I enjoy watching it year long, it feels more enjoyable during the holiday season. The musical, staring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds, takes place in 1920’s Hollywood and is about two childhood friends, one an actor and the other an on set musician. Together, they navigate the rapidly changing movie industry as studios switch from silent films to talkies, as well as a budding romance between the actor and a up and coming actress. The movie’s dance sequins are extremely well known, especially to the title song Singing in the Rain, and is a movie that is a must watch for anyone interested in musicals.
Meet Me in St Louis
And finally, the last musical I love to watch during the holidays is Meet Me in St Louis. The movie stars Judy Garland and features the classic Christmas song Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Although the movie is well known for it’s Christmas song, the whole entire movie is worth a watch as well. It takes place in St Louis, Missouri during the time leading up to the 1904 World’s Fair and tells the story of a family with four girls and how they learn about life, love, and being a woman.