Five Private Watch Party Musicals for Springtime
3/3/2021 • 3 min read
A tough year was followed by an equally difficult winter, and now that the sun is starting to come out again we are ready for some good times! Few movies are as good for springtime as an upbeat musical — or even a moving romantic musical with some heavy themes. We've got both this season thanks to an array of Comeback Classics musicals, all of which are perfect excuses to bring friends and family together for a Private Watch Party.
Across the Universe
Julie Taymor's magical jukebox musical weaves 34 Beatles songs into a tapestry of love, drama and ambition that tracks the social and political events of the late 1960s through a turbulent love affair between Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Jude (Jim Sturgess). Rather than keeping things strictly literal, in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE Taymor launches the story into dreams, strange trips, flights of fancy and inspired visions that put the Beatles tunes to work like splashes of paint on a giant canvas.
One of the most successful musicals of the modern era, HAIRSPRAY adapts the stage musical which was, in turn, inspired by the 1988 movie by John Waters. It is an ideal blend of boisterous, joyous and just slightly off-kilter — the last of which truly honors the original Waters movie. As a teen in the early '60s, Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) wants nothing more than to be part of teen dance program "The Corny Collins Show." When her off-the-cuff audition leads to a part on the show, Tracy becomes a celebrity almost immediately — which leads to an ever-more-outrageous string of complications and conflicts, all backed by gleeful song and dance productions.
La La Land
Even the biggest Oscar gaffe in Hollywood history — when the movie was mistakenly pronounced as the Best Picture winner — hasn't overshadowed the fact that LA LA LAND is a glorious tribute to movie history, artistic inspiration, and the power of music. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are perfectly cast as a couple whose bittersweet romance is complicated by their individual dreams. The song and dance numbers mix realism and fantasy in ways that are delirious and dreamy.
Mix the tried and true formula of a sports underdog story with the world of competitive a capella performance and you have only the beginning of PITCH PERFECT. The winningly breezy comedic competition, in which a college freshman leads her school's all-girl singing group to new heights, is both earnest and something of a sendup of creative contests. Anna Kendrick leads a cast that is, ahem, pitch perfect, with Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow and Hana Mae Lee — among many others — hitting the perfect notes.
We didn't plan it this way but Anna Kendrick also leads the voice cast of this cute, quirky and compellingly musical animated adventure. She voices the irrepressibly happy Poppy who, with the determinately dour Branch (Justin Timberlake), has to save the colorful Trolls from monochromatic and Troll-devouring monsters. The story is mostly an excuse to introduce a long line of songs and characters, like Zooey Deschanel's Bridget, who all but steals the movie. TROLLS is like a candy-filled Easter basket blown up to big-screen proportions.
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All images courtesy of Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures.