Easter Movies, From Godspell to The 10 Commandments To Mallrats

For me, one of the biggest signs that Easter is still primarily a religious holiday is the dearth of Easter movies. There are hundreds of Christmas movies that never mention the birth of Jesus, but there are only a handful of Easter movies – and most of them basically stick to the book. What I’m saying is, some of these Easter movies are a stretch, but I’m working with what I’ve got. Happy(?) Holy Thursday, if that applies to you, and have a good Easter, too!

Godspell

This is what I’m talking about when I talk about Easter movies! Godspell is my personal favorite Jesus musical, an admittedly small genre. You ever notice that some people are Godspell people, and some are Jesus Christ Superstar people, and then everyone else is like “what are you even talking about?” Godspell is cheerful pseudo-hippie 1970s, whereas JCS is glam rock-y 70s, but both tell the story of Jesus as a (cheesy?) musical that I love.  Godspell is based on the Gospel of Matthew and focuses on Jesus’ parables and his more peace-and-love type teachings. I’m going to go all-caps for a second, okay? VICTOR “MR. ANDREWS” GARBER AS JESUS. Okay? I am just warning you, this movie may leave you with a weird crush on both Victor Garber and Jesus.

*(Aside: I absolutely love movies filmed in 1970s-1990s New York, maybe because it looks like the New York I remember as a kid in the 90s, so that’s a bonus.)

Jesus Christ Superstar

While this is mostly an unranked list, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar probably are my top two Easter movies. While I like the stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar, the movie is a bit less visually appealing to me (read: set in the desert). Also, it focuses on the Jesus/Judas relationship. I love a frenemy situation in musical theater (Hamilton! right?), but it also makes it feel a little darker and less uplifting than Godspell. Nevertheless, my corny musical-loving self is always here for an Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice collab.

My advice, if you can find it: watch the 2001 Great Performances version with Glenn Carter and Renee Castle instead of the 1973 film. We watched it in a high school theatre class and it’s when I really started to like Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Passion Of The Christ

I worked in a movie theater during this movie’s 2004 release, and I can honestly say that the worst customers I encountered were some of the church groups who came in en masse to the early morning shows. Also I worked at the concession stand at the time, and it sort of felt like a weird movie to nosh on Skittles and popcorn during, but what do I know. Customers aside, the hype was deserved and … it pains me a bit to say … Mel Gibson did a great job telling the story of the crucifixion in a fresh way. It was also graphically violent and isn’t a movie I’ve ever felt the need to rewatch.

The 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments is usually on TV on Easter, even if it’s not technically an Easter Movie. It’s a Cecil B. DeMille Technicolor classic from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brenner, The 10 Commandments focuses on the story of Moses and will set you back almost four hours, including intermission. I guess it’s televised at Easter because the Moses story is kind of the lead-up to the New Testament, or maybe because it’s the only religious movie that was really in the game for a while there.

Plus, Easter and Passover are both in early Spring, and it illustrates the Passover beautifully.

Ben-Hur

This should be one of our Pop Culture Blind Spots, because I’ve never seen it. As best I can tell, it’s about non-Bible characters who live at the same time as Jesus, participate in a chariot race, then witness the crucifixion. Not only have I not seen the movie, I didn’t read the book, either. Charlton Heston is in it, of course, and it’s a beloved classic, so I should really get on this.

Assorted Jesus Films And TV Miniseries

A note: there are plenty of other movies about the life of Jesus, some better than others. There’s The Last Temptation Of Christ, a Scorsese drama that caused a fair bit of controversy when it was released, and Jesus, a 1999 tv-movie staring Jeremy Sisto as Jesus and Debra Messing as Mary Magdelene (it was the height of the Will and Grace era). There are scores of others, too, so basically pick your favorite if that’s what you feel like watching. I haven’t seen any that seemed better than the others, necessarily, so maybe watch one of the more recent ones if dated costumes and sets will pull you out of it.

Assorted Children’s Specials

You won’t want to watch any of these unless you are trying to entertain a child, probably. I vividly remember The Greatest Adventure, an Easter cartoon about a child who goes back in time to witness the crucifixion. If you were in Catholic school, that passed for a really good Friday afternoon if your teacher rolled out the TV cart and played that bad boy.

Believe it or not, popular cartoons had Easter specials, too: the Smurfs, Rugrats, even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There are a few Easter Bunny specials that probably air on whatever ABC Family goes by these days: Here Comes Peter Cottontail, that kind of thing. Compared to Christmas, the pickings are VERY slim. There’s always Veggie Tales, if that’s something your kids like!

Hop

Now for an entirely different movie: Hop, a 2011 cartoon/live-action hybrid featuring the voices of Russell Brand and Hugh Laurie. I watched this with some nieces and nephews a few years ago, and I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. Bottom line: if you really want an Easter-y children’s movie,this isn’t a bad choice. The kids liked it, anyway.

The Sound Of Music

Definitely not an Easter movie, but The Sound Of Music always used to be on TV at Easter, maybe because networks look for movies that the whole family can enjoy when they’re together. Some of the scenery is sort of spring-y, plus the overall vibe of The Sound Of Music just feels like it fits with Easter and springtime. Okay: maybe I’m just up for any excuse to watch The Sound Of Music.

My first year of law school, a final paper for a class was due the day after Easter. I worked on it for weeks, finished it on Easter night just before The Sound Of Music began, and I swear, sitting down to watch The Sound Of Music felt like almost as refreshing as a beach vacation.

Miss Potter

Now things get tenuous. Beatrix Potter wrote about rabbits, and we think about rabbits at Easter, and this is a movie about Beatrix Potter. But honestly, there is all of this spring-y Lake District scenery, all of this rain and these farm animals, and it really does feel like Easter. Plus, Beatrix Potter-inspired cartoons always used to be on TV near Easter, so I still associate it with Easter.

The Secret Garden

One thing I love about Easter-time (at least here in the Northeast) is seeing life slowly spring back – watching crocuses start to erupt, and then tulips, and – if my garden is any indication – then a whole bunch of weeds, somehow, even though it’s still cold out. A whole sequence of The Secret Garden is about watching the garden come back to life, and that feels very Easter to me.

There are a few adaptations to choose from. Margaret O’Brien was great, but I sort of grew up on the 1993 version.

Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn was a little bit of 1940s marketing genius. First of all, it stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Second, it’s literally set (mostly) in an inn where many holidays are celebrated. It manages to be a Christmas movie (White Christmas), Lincoln’s Birthday (the less said the better: blackface), Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, and, of course, Easter(Easter Parade). Basically, you could pull this movie out at any time of the year, and it would be seasonally appropriate (and a little racist. It’s fine to skip that part).

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Not an Easter movie, but there’s a memorable Easter scene. Christos Anesti!

Mallrats

I told you there weren’t a lot of Easter movies, but who could forget the Easter Bunny scene from Mallrats? That’s enough to make the whole thing an Easter movie, in my book.

Life Of Brian

I wasn’t into Monty Python in high school, because I wasn’t in marching band and I didn’t run lights for the plays, and it seemed like everyone who did those activities loved Monty Python and everyone who loved Monty Python did those activities. But Life Of Brian is funny no matter WHAT extracurriculars you did 15 years ago! It’s about a man, Brian, who lived a life parallel to Jesus, except he was just Brian, a guy.

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Die Trapp-Familie, The German ‘Sound of Music’: A Laterblog

As far as we’re concerned, the hills are always alive with the sound of music. We both grew up on the Julie Andrews classic, and last year we live blogged NBC’s attempt at a live action production. Traci even took a Sound of Music tour in Europe. But something had escaped us until now: the 1956 German version of the story, Die Trapp-Familie. The later American film and musical, The Sound Of Music, is not a word-by-word remake of Die Trapp Familie – it is just based on the same story –  so we needed to know what was different!

Where curiosity knocks, YouTube answers … and we live blog. Enjoy!

M: Okay, one similarity between Die Trapp Familie and every American movie from the 50s: those 10-minute-long opening credits over scenery where they show the credit for every cast and crew member. I applaud whoever first moved those to the end.

This, basically.

M: Maria teaches a class full of kids, which makes a nice set up for her later dealings with the Von Trapp kids.

One plus of closed captioning: they can explain the translations that require a bit of cultural context. For instance, little Austrian kids say “devil” and “thunderstorm,” which – who knew? – are “mild expressions of anger.” Maybe the captioner realized that German always sounds a little angry if your ears are usually tuned into English.

I can totally picture a little 1940s child saying “oh, thunderstorms!” when he is expressing mild anger.

T: Maria is told ‘Girls shouldn’t whistle at all!’ because God Hates Whistling was the original God Hates F*gs.

M: I might be losing it, but in the scene with the abbess, you can almost tell exactly what’s being said without even reading the captions. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen The Sound Of Music one too many times. But seriously, would they please sing “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?”

M: Maria’s traveling outfit looks like it was stolen from Thoroughly Modern Millie. Also one of the items she packs appears to be a stick with some streamers on it. Is this a German thing I don’t know about, maybe? It’s like when a kid packs to run away from home, and they bring a teddy bear and, like, a handful of Connect 4 tokens.

T: This version of Maria is also much more aloof than the Julie Andrews version – not only is she whistling, but she’s sliding down staircases because she thinks it’ll get her to the chapel faster.

M: This version was filmed a lot closer to World War II than The Sound Of Music, AND it’s a German production. Things were still very touchy in the post-war period, so now I’m very interested to see how it’s handled.

T: Captain Von Trapp is very non-Captain like? Or is it because I’m so accustomed to Christopher Plummer? This dude seems more like an awkward and trepidatious waiter from Sardi’s.

M: Oh man, the entrance of the Von Trapp kids is just as good in this version, and is actually barely different from the American scene. I’m thinking either (1) both are pretty true to life, (2) the Sound Of Music was actually heavily influenced by Die Trapp Familie, or (3) as a matter of course, all children used to enter rooms in single file lines wearing matching pert sailor suits.

T: This is the trippiest version of Sound of Music I’ve ever seen.

M: NEW NAME ALERT. Rupert = Friedrich; Werner = Kurt, Agatha = Liesl, Hedwig = Brigitta, Maria = Louisa, Rosemarie = Marta, Martina = Gretl. These are actually the real Von Trapp kids’ names (I looked it up). Except, for some reason, “Rosemarie,” whose real name was Johanna. Makes sense.

So, the American version traded up for an even MORE stereotypical Austrian/German name than each child’s real name. Except Hedwig, which is pretty hardcore.

T: For some reason, in my head I’m confusing this movie with both Annie and Sister Act.

M: Maria has abandoned her Daisy Buchanan travel dress and she’s broken out the dirndl. Now they’re all ready to do whatever the Die Trapp Familie version of Do Re Mi is. But first: curtain outfits. Or in this case, table cloth outfits.

This fabric.

T:  OMGGG this is so boring without the music. Also maybe because I don’t speak German?

M:  I’m still disappointed nobody went to the hills to sing Do Re Mi. There’s a thunderstorm, so I have to hope that maybe some singing will happen?

T: ONE CAN ONLY HOPE.

M: NEVER MIND. The primary lyrics in what we know as the My Favorite Things scene: “Hop, hop, hop. Horsie, Run, Gallop!” It does sound marginally better in German.

T:  Also the captain is a horrible actor and doesn’t have an ounce of chemistry with the Baroness, who is much older. Also he doesn’t have chemistry with Maria either. Will there be a twist where they don’t actually end up together in the end??

M: Die kinder are “playing u-boat.” This is not a joke based on cultural stereotype.

T: I mean, IDK about you, but I personally played “pagoda” and wore rice hats on the reg.

M: Oh, we used to play potato famine. You just didn’t eat potatoes.

When the kids finally DO sing, they are harmonizing much more nicely than in the American movie. Not-Gretl has a cute voice. She’s my favorite. Also, the stick with streamers was just the end of her guitar. OOPS.

T: “The country bumpkin is leaving!”  – She’s a nun, folks.

Boys aren’t allowed to be with the girls? WHY IS THIS A RULE AMONG SIBLINGS

M: Creepy.

T: The Captain is sneezing and if I didn’t know the end of this already, I’d assume it was foreshadowing for some kind of pneumonia that kills him.

M: Christmas scene! They trim one of those old-fashioned trees that’s shaped like the cross between a shrub and a sea-monster. With live candles. And…a sparkler? Captain holds the lit sparkler at Maria’s face while she talks longingly at him.

I AM FIVE YEARS OLD

THIS IS NOT A GOOD ACTIVITY.

T: The Captain’s randomly lit sparkler is dangerously close to both him and Maria. Why even does he have this and why did he find it necessary to light at this very moment.

M: Fun fact: the children sing Silent Night – original German lyrics of course, but the captions directly translate the German lyrics. “The faithful, highly holy parents, who gaze on a beautiful child with curly hair.” Eh, it’s no “adieu, adieu, to you and you and you-oo,” but it’ll do.

See,  this is why translation software like Smartling takes context into account. Because these word-by-word translations are just awkward.  Though I did like learning “oh, thunderstorms!” as a mild expression of anger.

M: With all of the scenes the American version uses, I’m really surprised they don’t use this one. I mean. CHRISTMAS. Maybe some of the Austrian traditions would just come across weird to U.S. audiences. Like the Captain giving every child in the village wooden clogs in Maria’s name. That IS an Austrian tradition, right?

T: “Every child in the abbey today receives a pair of sturdy clogs in your name” AUSTRIA: WHERE EVERY CHILD WANTS A STURDY PAIR OF CLOGS

M: The children put on a play, but they’re shadows behind a sheet, and they are accompanied by Maria on the …. I’m calling it a harpsichord. I guess it’s supposed to be charming and innocent, but it’s creepy instead.

T: The kids are putting on a shadow play of Sleeping Beauty. I don’t know anything about Austrian Christmas traditions, but is this really one of them?

M: Well, the American adaptation of the story had to cut something to fit in all those “auf wiedersehen, good nights.”

Photo Jun 15, 10 40 03 PM

T: I appreciate that one of these kids plays the recorder. Can anyone in America say their 5th grade recorder lesson in music class helps them today in their recorder careers???

This Baroness bitch just told Maria to act in a more restrained manner around the Captain, and tells her he’s in love with her. Maria is shocked, SHOCKED to learn this, and her initial reaction is to leave ASAP.

“My dear child, you may know your prayer book, but about yourself, you know nothing.” – The Baroness, a little shit stirrer.

I feel like everything is happening super fast now and all of a sudden the Captain’s in love with Maria. In SoM that didn’t happen until at LEAST the 3rd hour.

Maria consults with Mother Abbess on matters of the heart, and after their convo, she goes back to the Captain and tells him Mother Abs told her she “must” marry him. I mean, okay.

This whole agreeing to marry each other before kissing this is just so foreign. Not just because this is in German.

M: I hate it. Captain and Maria get engaged, they kiss finally, the kinder cheer. The nuns get Maria all gussied up for the wedding (it’s a 1950s German movie kind of gussied).

Photo Jun 15, 10 55 19 PM

CHEMISTRY.

T: The wedding just ended and they cut to a crying baby, because they have one now. And the Captain basically just confronted Maria about not paying attention to him enough as she freaking feeds their baby with a bottle.

M: Die Kinder are really getting into their singing, but it’s much more churchy and less catchy than in the American version.

T: For the first time, seeing the kids all together and singing and playing instruments is extremely creepy to me, for some reason? It’s got a similar sweatshop vibe but not as harsh…?

M: I haven’t counted how many times die kinder have sang the word hallelujah but we’re well into the dozens, maybe hundreds. Makes “la, a word to follow so” feel positively inspired.

T: I must’ve missed something because the “Doctor” who is dressed like a Priest is now conducting the kids, and he’s making them harmonize at the dinner table. Literally these kids are eating soup and he’s making them practice.

M: Delicious irony: Captain, in his mahogany and leather library, saying “we are poor people.” DRAMATIC.

T:  I feel like because I’ve been watching this for so long (like an hour) I’m starting to understand German. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I understand the words ‘ya’ and ‘Maria’.

M: Me too! I think it’s because my ear is picking up any word that is the same as in English – plus the, like, 5 German words I know.

M: Now the house is going to become a B&B, I suppose. Whatever, fine.

T: And  the head butler now works at Reception and a bunch of Italians are the first guests. Is this seriously what happened???

Two of the boys see a sign on their travels about a singing competition and one of the kids says “it’ll be good advertising for the inn”, since that’s what their lives have come to now.

Is anyone going to sing Edelweiss or….?

M: Werner is crying before a performance. Werner WOULD. But they pull it together and sing a folk song (?) about hunting. With the kids lined up I can see that they were aged up a bit in the American movie. Was that specifically so they could do a teen plotline with Liesl, like soap operas do in the summer? Because in Die Trapp Familie, she looks more like 12 going on 13, tops.

T: “Bow-wow run you rabbits run you deer as fast as you can in the brambles! Else the huntsman comes with his flint musket and he shoots after you! Tra-ra, tra-ra!” WUT.

M: UGH. So… Nazis? Gonna happen?

M: Ah, here we go. Captain refuses to ‘heil’ at a guy in lederhosen. Well done, Die Trapp Familie.

T: YOOO FRANZ HAS BEEN A SECRET NAZI FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS

So we don’t get to see the fam hide in the convent? The police are there but Franz tells them they’re out and def not hiding in the library. And they trust him because he’s wearing a Nazi pin. Okay, Franz. I take the Tyra gif back.

Also, the set of this house looks like the Sound of Music Live! I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or not.

T:  The Von Trapps make it to America, and we know this because of the realistic Statue of Liberty outside the window.

Photo Jun 15, 11 30 19 PM

M: I already feel like the escape will be a lot less interesting without Rolf. But major bonus: we get to see Maria waiting to leave at some sort of American embassy or lounge. There’s jazz music, American flags, and men smoking cigars. Basically, the first ever America-themed party.

“A real attraction – a choir in leather shorts!” – The American dude who’s speaking in German

M: Germany: where the most harrowing part of the movie is an inefficient and slow bureaucracy. The family is holed up at the embassy (?) waiting for entry.

The American representative is speaking German, but he has that growelly, extra-rhotic “American” accent that happens when British people do a bad American impersonation.

T: It’s SO distracting!!

M: Oh. It’s Ellis Island? I missed something. The Americans are all dressed like friends of the Rat Pack: high waisted slacks, trilby hats, wide ties, pocket squares. The phrase “come on!” is not translated into German, because it transcends language, I suppose.

T: Again, did this whole thing go down at Ellis Island, because singing here to stay in the U.S. seems a little extreme.

M: The kids sing at Ellis Island, and the American execs gaze at them with hearts or maybe dollar signs in their eyes. Looks like die kinder Trapp are going to become the Von Trapp kids after all.

T: Do you think the baby Von Trapp is going to be part of this too because I’m starting to think they’ve just been holding a large down pillow this entire time.
Photo Jun 16, 12 58 44 AM

M: YOOO I missed the baby and honestly thought he was clutching a pillow to his breast.

Representatives of all the nations of the world are in the embassy, like a full set of those Madame Alexander dolls in ethnic dress. And they all watch with tears of joy glistening in their eyeballs. Die kinder sing for.ev.er.

T: They sing for.ev.er. and it’s the creepy kind of singing that will for.ev.er. haunt me in my German-speaking dreams.

M: For the final performance, the kids sing this movie’s equivalent of So Long, Farewell. Except it’s Brahms’ lullaby instead. All the sentiment, none of the snap. Actually, that sums up my take on this movie in general. It doesn’t have the catchy Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes, but it’s still a sweet story with the same beautiful technicolor scenery. If you don’t mind reading your movies – or want to test out your semesters of college German – I’d say it’s worth 90 minutes.

T: Yeah, and this So Long, Farewell version has the lyrics, ‘Tomorrow morning, if it’s God’s will, you’ll be awakened again.’ Why do all these tunes sound so morbid to me?! Plus Maria breaks the fourth wall and says ‘Gud nacht’ into the camera. But I pretty much agree with Molly – it’s a sweet story, and if you’re into this kind of biopic, you’ll like it. But I think I was comparing it to Sound of Music too much, which obviously isn’t the way to go into this, but alas, here we are. TBH, I got bored in the beginning and had to stop and start again, but hey, different strokes for different kinder.

 

Playlist of the Month: Songs From Musicals We’ve Been In

Ah, the first breath of spring. In high schools across the nation, now is the time for students to work together to create something bigger than themselves, to forge new friendships and let their talents shine. Baseball season? Nah. Prom planning? Please. It’s high school musical season!

We spent the first years of our friendship hanging out in our high school’s auditorium during musical rehearsals. We had snacks from a special “junk food locker” (an abandoned locker that we stocked with bulk candy) and played Bullshit and Spoons with the young, pre-gay gay boys we were friends with. Before high school, we were both big fish in our respective theater ponds, and being in chorus and dance company roles just felt so wrong, but we were still happy to be involved in a show.

Even the songs still stick with you years later. In honor of those hardworking theater kids in Hell Week for Grease or Man Of La Mancha right now, here are some songs from musicals we’ve been in – songs we still get stuck in our head over a decade later.

Check out the entire playlist on Spotify!

Molly’s Picks

Feel So Near – Some Weird Play From My Childhood

When I was a kid, I was in this odd, somewhat avant garde youth theater company. I mean, of course I was. For a few years our plays were these adaptations of obscure folk tales with minimalist staging and costuming and kabuki-inspired makeup. A chorus of children sang this folksy tune by Dougie MacLean and what do you know, it sounds pretty good sung by a chorus of children. I’m including this as a nod to my weird childhood.

Oh What A Beautiful Morning – I Seriously Cannot Remember What Play This Was

Oh, cool, Oklahoma? Nope. Just some random play I was in that rather inexplicably included the song Oh What A Beautiful Morning. Again, it was a strange childhood, theater-wise.

The Boy Next Door – Meet Me In St. Louis

In eighth grade, a group of 10-15 local Catholic schools got together to put on a mega-musical. It was like an awkward plaid dream team, and I was thrilled to land in the principal cast. Because I’ve been the same person my whole life, you won’t be surprised to learn that it was the comic relief character, who was an Irish maid. But I had a solo and I was very pleased and honored to finally be in a play where I wasn’t wearing white pancake makeup and a black turtleneck.

I Can’t Be Bothered Now – Crazy For You

When I was a kid my sister had the cassette tape of the Crazy For You soundtrack, and I thought it was just about the best thing ever. [A note: during my sister’s high school tenure our school was putting on, like, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Rough.] I know the concept of compiling a bunch of Gershwin’s best tunes into a loosely conceived plot is probably, technically, bad, but our school put this on our junior year and years later, I can barely decide which song to include.

On The Street Where You Live – My Fair Lady

Senior year, we performed My Fair Lady and I learned that when it doesn’t involve Audrey Hepburn or Julie Andrews, I really don’t care for My Fair Lady. But we had fun with it – I remember sitting in English class singing Ascot Gavotte with extra-plummy accents because as seniors, and I guess as people, we just didn’t care. In true Lerner and Loewe fashion each number is catchier than the last,  but I’m including On The Street Where You Live because I remember my mom singing it when I was little, and in fourth grade I thought it was THE perfect song for my grade school crush. Yes, like so many theater kids before and after me, I was maybe just a little dramatic.

Traci’s Picks

Embraceable You – Crazy For You

Like Molly said, I could barely decide which song to include because every song was a classic. I legit changed my mind about which one to put on the list three times. Crazy For You was the first time I was really exposed to music of this era – that I actually paid attention to. Lo and behold, I took a liking to it. Since the musical is a bunch of Gershwin songs put together, this one is from Girl Crazy, as seen here by Judy Garland and a bunch of strapping young men. Swoonworthy.

Something Good – The Sound of Music

Okay, I’m cheating a bit. This song wasn’t included in the OG Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, which is the version I was in, but rather was added for the film that we all know and love. After the movie, however, this song was included in some revivals of the show so it counts. The version by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer is stunning and simple, like a reflection of their love *awwww cheesy stfu*

Close Every Door – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Like Molly said, we were “big fish” in our respective little ponds, and for me, that pond was my church. We used to put on full musical productions (and were kind of really good and well known for it in the immediate community?) so it’s not like me in a basement naming all the colors of Joseph’s coat. Anyways, this show marked my first “big” role – I was a Narrator. Emphasis on A, because I was one of 6 HAHAHA. When I would listen to Donny Osmond’s version of the soundtrack, I was obsessed with Close Every Door, particularly the last 45ish seconds when he does the key change and the riffs at the end – changed my life. Also, that’s when I retroactively developed a crush on Donny Osmond way past his prime. IDK you guys, I was a weird kid.

I Don’t Need Anything But You – Annie

Annie is like a rite of passage for any theatre kid, including this AZN one right here. I obviously wasn’t Annie, and by the time I did the show, I was too old to be an orphan, so I was a servant/the “Star-to-Be” aka the solo in NYC aka the part OG Annie Andrea McArdle plays in the Audra McDonald verz of Annie. This song always struck me as a super sweet tune between Annie and Daddy Warbucks, and was just filled with positivity about the future. She’ll learn soon enough.

Beautiful City – Godspell

Again, I guess this is cheating a bit, since Beautiful City wasn’t included in the original 1971 Off-Broadway cast recording, which is the soundtrack we went by when my church did the show. It was the first real musical I was ever in, and I’m kinda sad that this song wasn’t included. The song was written for the 1972 film, starring Victor Garber as the big JC, and the version above is from the 2011 Broadway revival starring Hunter Parrish as Jesus. When I first heard this, it was probably a mix of me not being too familiar with it and the fact that I was stunned by how beautiful Hunter’s voice is. It’s a haunting song that still holds up in 2015. Fun fact: My friends walked down the aisle to this song. Not creepy, really cute and made me cry.