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Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979 

Of the musicals listed below, which is your Top Musical of 1970-1979?
SWEENEY TODD 57%  57%  [ 12 ]
COMPANY 14%  14%  [ 3 ]
FOLLIES 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
A CHORUS LINE 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
CHICAGO 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
EVITA 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
PIPPIN 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR 5%  5%  [ 1 ]
PACIFIC OVERTURES 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 21

Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979 
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Post Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979
Some time ago, we did a series of weekly polls where we voted for our Top 10 musicals of each decade and then I compiled a list working out statistically what the Top 10 musicals were for each decade. I thought it might be fun to revisit the topic as those threads were among those lost when the board was moved. However, I thought we would take a slightly different approach this time. I saved the lists when I did the stats and so I have the ordered lists for each decade. I thought that we could, week by week, revisit each decade, this time using a polling feature with a vote for your favourite musical out of the Top 10 we collectively chose last time and then a few questions. Participation will be open ended in each thread, in other words there will never be a cut off date and new members can vote and respond whenever they like. Please don't skip ahead and try to start a new decade earlier. This can be great fun if we work together. As I remember, the discussions last time around became very interesting.

TOP 10 MUSICALS: 1970 - 1979

Vote for your number one musical of the decade, listed above in the order in which they ranked during the previous polls and answer the questions below.

1. Which is your favourite musical from this decade? Why?

2. Which musical on the Top 10 list is least deserving of a spot? Why?

3. Which musical from this decade that didn't make the list do you think should have appeared in the Top 10? Why?

4. Which cast recording of a show that premiered in this decade is your favourite? Why can't you stop listening to it?

5. If you could pitch a film version, television adaptation or revival for a musical from this decade, which would you choose? Who would you cast? Discuss.

For the sake of having an easy reference, other musicals that featured in the old poll included: Shenandoah, Godspell, Annie, The Wiz, Grease, Purlie, Applause, Rex, On the Twentieth Century, Raisin, Mack and Mabel, The Rocky Horror Show, They're Playing Our Song, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Robber Bridegroom, In Trousers, Two by Two, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Snoopy!!! The Musical and Prettybelle.

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Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:44 pm
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Post Re: Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979
1. Which is your favourite musical from this decade? Why?
No question about it, my favorite musical from this decade (in case you couldn't see it coming from a mile away with my avatar) is Jesus Christ Superstar. I admit to some bias, as it was the first show that exposed me to musical theater, but it's also my favorite for other reasons: the story is really powerful (Christianity is a huge religion which affects so many people differently, so it's interesting to tell this story in this particular way), the score is fun (written in the Seventies, with all that was happening at the time in rock and roll, and all of those other influences) but with lyrics that actually ask some very pertinent questions at the same time, and it's also a great source of debate (people have very passionate opinions on it -- negative and positive). You don't get that kind of thought-provoking with other musicals from this time; the treatment actually causes literal debate because of its subject matter.

2. Which musical on the Top 10 list is least deserving of a spot? Why?
If absolutely forced to pick, while not denigrating the quality of these musicals, I will say that Pacific Overtures and A Chorus Line both always played like revues to me. They did have a story, they did tell it well, but the presentational manner of storytelling always read as a revue to me. Follies has a similar quality with its pastiche numbers, but except for one, all of them are rooted in the plot, as only a master like Stephen Sondheim can create them to be.

3. Which musical from this decade that didn't make the list do you think should have appeared in the Top 10? Why?
As hard as it is to make this argument, because the show is just so campy, I have to go with The Rocky Horror Show. It's more than just sex, drugs, and rock and roll (as if that weren't enough). It's a brilliantly creepy satire of American sexual hang-ups and the excesses of the Sexual Revolution, all told in the language of 1930s sci-fi B-movies, 1950s muscle magazines, and 1970s glam rock. Indeed, when it first opened in London, the Daily Mail said, "Richard O'Brien's spangled piece of erotic fantasy is so funny, so fast, so sexy, and so unexpectedly well realized that one is in danger of merely applauding it without assessing it. That would be a pity. Because I believe Mr. O'Brien has something quite nifty to say..."

4. Which cast recording of a show that premiered in this decade is your favourite? Why can't you stop listening to it?
I have to say Sweeney Todd. It perfectly captures the atmosphere and the score, which is really what the album producer set out to do (read Craig Zadan's Sondheim and Co. for an enlightening explanation by Thomas Z. Shepard of what he wanted to achieve with the recording, and how he accomplished it).

5. If you could pitch a film version, television adaptation or revival for a musical from this decade, which would you choose? Who would you cast? Discuss.
Oh God, you had to ask this one. Well, first of all, Jesus Christ Superstar being my first show, it was the first project that I actually had ideas for. I could see a new version in the proscenium stage of my mind. My sole ambition related to the show, after I discovered I didn't possess the vocal range of a Ted Neeley or a Carl Anderson, was to one day direct a new production, but the staging concepts I come up with have ranged from interesting to embarrassingly awful, and therefore I am always reluctant to share such concepts. One version, which I worked up with infrequent collaborator Andy Simpson, centers on a half-concert, half-play approach similar to the Who's early live performances of Tommy, and can be found online here. I see several things in it now that I would re-work with the benefit of age, but there's still a lot of good stuff in there that has stuck with my general view of the show.

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Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:52 am
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Post Re: Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979
1. Which is your favourite musical from this decade? Why?
Oy vey. This list contains some of my favourite shows of any decade, so this is tough. I'm gonna go for A Little Night Music (today). I think the show is beautifully structured, Hugh Wheeler's book is hilarious and deeply affecting by turns and the score is one of Sondheim's best (I consider Send in the Clowns to be one of the most finely crafted songs in musical theatre). The show strikes the perfect balance of wit and something darker - whipped cream with razor blades. I never get tired of it. Honorouable mentions to Sweeney, Company, Follies and Evita. Follies and Sweeney so nearly pipped ALNM to the top spot and I'll probably change my mind tomorrow.

2. Which musical on the Top 10 list is least deserving of a spot? Why?
Pippin. A mediocre score from Stephen Schwartz with only one or two great songs combined with Hirson's rather tedious book. Endless productions try out various 'concepts' in order to elevate themselves above the material and it rarely works.

3. Which musical from this decade that didn't make the list do you think should have appeared in the Top 10? Why?
I'm gonna go with On the Twentieth Century. Comden and Green's lyrics marry so well with Cy Coleman's wonderful score. Revival, please! Though not with Kristin Chenoweth.

4. Which cast recording of a show that premiered in this decade is your favourite? Why can't you stop listening to it?
The 1995 National Theatre recording of A Little Night Music starring Dame Judi Dench, Laurence Guittard and a young Joanna Riding. Dench gives one of the most moving performances I've heard and her cracked, cello-like rendition of Send in the Clowns is, to me, peerless.

5. If you could pitch a film version, television adaptation or revival for a musical from this decade, which would you choose? Who would you cast? Discuss.
Most of these are recently/soon to be revived anyway! Let's have On the Twentieth Century. I'd love to hear Audra McDonald sing this score, possibly with Linda Lavin as Letitia and Hugh Jackman as Oscar.

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Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:51 pm
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Post Re: Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979
1. Which is your favourite musical from this decade? Why? Company. The book is obviously perfect and it deals with a topic that most people don't think very hard about and should.

2. Which musical on the Top 10 list is least deserving of a spot? Why? A Chorus Line. I agree with Marvin; it plays exactly like a review.

3. Which musical from this decade that didn't make the list do you think should have appeared in the Top 10? Why? The Wiz. It takes a beloved story and updates it in a fun and groovy way.

4. Which cast recording of a show that premiered in this decade is your favourite? Why can't you stop listening to it? Mack and Mabel. There's a reason God... I mean Jerry Herman lists this as his favorite score.

5. If you could pitch a film version, television adaptation or revival for a musical from this decade, which would you choose? Who would you cast? Discuss. Company; Applause; Pippin, and Pacific Overtures.

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Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:57 pm
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Post Re: Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979
1. Which is your favourite musical from this decade? Why?
Overall my favorite musical of all time is Company. Although I don't think it is as good as Sweeney Todd, Follies and A Little Night Music. It is just something about it which really appeals to me. It is of course well written, which helps!

2. Which musical on the Top 10 list is least deserving of a spot? Why?
It is without doubt in my minds Pippin. The score is horrible. I am astonished by how many people dismisses A Chorus Line. I think it is one of the finest Musicals ever written. It is one of the only musicals I know which successfully integrates Dance into the story and makes the original choreography essential. How many Musicals achieve that? It is the Ensemble Player's musical. It is to show the audience what being a part of an ensemble really is all about. Of course one can say that "the story is weak", but where is the story? It is a Concept Musical which focuses on the individual dancers in the ensemble. I think it gets its point across as well as any other well-developed Concept Musical. The songs are integrated beautifully, and the characters are well fleshed out.

3. Which musical from this decade that didn't make the list do you think should have appeared in the Top 10? Why?
I don't know. I think the list is perfectly fine as it is with the exception of Pippin.

4. Which cast recording of a show that premiered in this decade is your favourite? Why can't you stop listening to it?
Well, to be honest the only Cast Recordings I don't listen to frequently from that list are Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar and Pippin. I never listen to Chicago, because I prefer the Soundtrack and the London Recording to the Original. I usually listen to the Studio Cast from '96 when it comes to JCS, and Pippin has a horrible score which I only listen to maybe once every second month or so. The OBC's of Sweeney, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, A Chorus Line, and Pacific Overtures, as well as the LA recording of Evita are on my iPod at all times (only having 16gb makes me shuffle recordings around a lot, but the above mentioned are always include.)

5. If you could pitch a film version, television adaptation or revival for a musical from this decade, which would you choose? Who would you cast? Discuss.
I would LOVE to direct A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, and Evita here in Norway. I would do all three shows minimalistic. I have few ideas of how to do them, considering it is not going to happen. At least not any time soon.

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Post Re: Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979
1. Which is your favourite musical from this decade? Why?
Without a doubt it would have to be Sweeney Todd and Jesus Christ Superstar at a close second.

2. Which musical on the Top 10 list is least deserving of a spot? Why?
A Chorus Line- I find the show very dull and boring and I never liked the score.

3. Which musical from this decade that didn't make the list do you think should have appeared in the Top 10? Why?
Hmmmmmmmmm can't figure this one out, but I may be able to answer this in the future

4. Which cast recording of a show that premiered in this decade is your favourite? Why can't you stop listening to it?
Definately Jesus Christ Superstar since I'm never able to get any of the songs out of my head.

5. If you could pitch a film version, television adaptation or revival for a musical from this decade, which would you choose? Who would you cast? Discuss.
Frankly I wouldn't want a film or revival since directors and producers always change things and ruin the whole thing :(

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Post Re: Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979
1. Which is your favourite musical from this decade? Why?
I cast my vote for Sweeney Todd. It's the clear winner in this poll without my help, but I do adore it -- it's my favorite Sondheim show, and for a few years, it was my favorite stage work, period. (Yay for this list being half Sondheim, as well!) Chicago would be my second choice.

2. Which musical on the Top 10 list is least deserving of a spot? Why?
I'd probably go with A Chorus Line. Fun show, but there's really not much to it.

3. Which musical from this decade that didn't make the list do you think should have appeared in the Top 10? Why?
The Wiz, for sure. Fun, hip reinterpretation of a classic, and a nice reminder that the Arlen/Harburg Wizard of Oz wasn't the only pre-Wicked Oz musical out there.

4. Which cast recording of a show that premiered in this decade is your favourite? Why can't you stop listening to it?
The original Broadway cast album and the New York Philharmonic concert version of Sweeney Todd get pretty much equal play from me -- the former is gorgeously atmospheric and features the great original cast, but the latter keeps some bits omitted from the OBC album and features George Hearn and Patti LuPone (who, IMO, surpass Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury in those roles).

5. If you could pitch a film version, television adaptation or revival for a musical from this decade, which would you choose? Who would you cast? Discuss.
A film of Company or a good remake of A Little Night Music could be quite interesting. A revival of Evita that went back to Harold Prince's original direction (and possibly was filmed for TV or a big-screen Fathom Events release) would also be much appreciated.

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Post Re: Top 10 Musicals Revisited: 1970 - 1979
1. Which is your favourite musical from this decade? Why?
Sweeney Todd. It pushed the boundaries of what musicals can be. It's scary and funny and ultimately very moving. The score is phenomenal of course, as is the book (and Christopher Bond provided the entire framework -- and even a fair bit of dialogue -- with his wonderful play).

2. Which musical on the Top 10 list is least deserving of a spot? Why?
I'd be tempted to say Follies if it weren't for the score being so brilliant. I think I'll go with Pippin. While I really like the current Broadway production, I feel the show itself is rather weak.

3. Which musical from this decade that didn't make the list do you think should have appeared in the Top 10? Why?
I might have included Godspell, though I understand why it didn't make the list. I'm not even that in love with the show as a whole, but I absolutely adore the score.

4. Which cast recording of a show that premiered in this decade is your favourite? Why can't you stop listening to it?
The original Broadway cast recording of Pacific Overtures. It's one great song after another, and I love the whole East meets West feel of it.

5. If you could pitch a film version, television adaptation or revival for a musical from this decade, which would you choose? Who would you cast? Discuss.
Pacific Overtures. And this is probably bonkers, but I'd like Terence Malick to direct it.

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