We can think of a million reasons why someone might want to stay inside and watch a musical with their significant other. The holidays are approaching and money is tight. The weather, in some areas of the globe, will be getting much colder, which prompts hibernation.
Honestly, does anyone need a reason to sit on the sofa with someone they love, snuggled under a blanket, with some popcorn and a great love story waiting to be watched? We didn’t think so.
If this is something you are planning for the near future than here are some suggestions from us on what romantic stories might best fit the mood.
1. West Side Story
The plot of our first romantic story surrounds two gangs in New York. Maria, who is Puerto Rican fall in love with Tony, who is associated with the opposing gang. They fall in love, it is forbidden, and violence and death ensue as a result of their teenage passion. It is based on Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare and the story has been told a million times. Still, this film is arguably the most well-known version of this timeless tale.
When it was first decided to turn this successful Broadway musical into a movie they took into consideration that a movie is much different than a play. A play or stage musical is seen from a distance where, with film, there are close-ups so the producers wanted to hire actors that could be plausible playing teenagers. That eliminated members of the original cast like Larry Kert and Carol Lawrence.
Other actors who took a shot at playing Tony in this 1961 classic were Warren Beatty, Tab Hunter, Anthony Perkins, Russ Tamblyn, Burt Reynolds, Troy Donahue, Bobby Darrin, Richard Chamberlain, Dennis Hopper, and Gary Lockwood. Beatty was one of the “final five” and inadvertently gave Natalie Wood the opportunity to win the role of Maria.
At the time the duo, Beatty, and Wood were filming another tragic love tale titled Splendor in the Grass and dating off camera. When Beatty did his screen test for West Side Story he asked Wood to read opposite him because they had been rehearsing together. After viewing the tapes, the producers fell in love with Natalie Wood and didn’t consider anyone else for the role of Maria. Ironically Beatty didn’t get the part.
2. Harold and Maude
This classic film, which is musically backed by Cat Stevens, was released in 1971. It may not be your traditional musical but the scenes alongside hits like “Trouble” or “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” make it as much of a musical journey as it is a dark comedy and a romance. It is the story of Harold, who is nineteen, and his first love Maude, who is just about to turn eighty.
The pair meet while attending funerals of people they do not know and become fast friends and eventually lovers. Harold is the son of a wealthy heiress and she is insistent that he get his life in order. She sets him up on several blind computer-generated dates to find him the perfect match.
Meanwhile, Harold and Maude around running around the area relocating dying trees and getting chased by the police. When Harold succeeds in scaring off the third date his mother has set up for him she decides that he can now be the problem of his uncle, who is an officer in the United States Army.
Harold tells Maude that he is being shipped off to Vietnam and they devise a plan to thwart his family’s attempts to make him join the military. Once they do, it is set that Harold is just mentally ill and he is free to do as he wishes. He plans an elaborate party for two at Maude’s place because she is just about to turn eighty-years-old.
Little does Harold know that Maude has her own plan on how she would like to celebrate the eightieth year of her life beginning, and that would be with her own suicide to end it. Harold is faced with the very fear that he had been subjecting his mother too for years but this time it’s no joke. This time, the suicide is real and Harold is left to decide whether or not he can love again.
3. A Star is Born
We aren’t referring to the 1954 film with Judy Garland, but the 1976 version starring Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. Streisand plays Esther Hoffman, a singer who is just getting started out in show business while Kristofferson plays John Norman, a rock star. They meet by accident of several occasions but, when she doesn’t fall over herself because of his fame he becomes obsessed with her and romantically woos her until they fall in love.
Of course, he loves her vocals and gives her a big push by helping her record and convincing her to sing in front of his crowds even though she is seriously frightened. Meanwhile, John, or Johnny as Esther calls him, is sabotaging his own career by drinking too much, showing up late for everything, and doing too many drugs. He is the quintessential rock and roll bad boy and he is only calm and collected for one person, Ester Hoffman.
Before long Esther’s career really takes off and she is busy with recordings and tours. Still, she loves Johnny with all her heart and even though he is an alcoholic drug abuser who cheats on her she stays by his side. Esther stays by his side but his self-destructive ways get the best of him in the end.
The lovely thing about this musical is that there are several love stories intertwined. First, we have Tracy Turnblad and Link Larkin. Tracy is a heavy girl who has the confidence to fit the dresses and big hair she wears in this musical based in 1960’s Baltimore. Tracy dreams of being a dancer on the Corny Collins show but the show’s most popular girl, Amber, and her mother do anything they can to stop Tracy from dancing on the show.
In the meantime, Link and Tracy fall madly in love in the midst of racial turmoil. Of course, they help bring about the integration of the Corny Collins show and live musically and happily ever after.
Then there is Penny and Seaweed. Penny is Tracy’s best friend and she has a passion for music and The Corny Collins show as much as any Baltimore teenager at the time. Mrs. Pendleton keeps a tight hold on Penny though and never allows her to go anywhere or see anyone. Of course, once Penny meets the son of her favorite disc jockey, Motormouth Maybelle.
Seaweed and Penny go to the same school but have never met due to the segregation policies in Baltimore at the time. Like any great musical, Hairspray helps us sing and dance our way through the toughest of times, even a segregated city during the Civil Rights Movement.
Romantic movies are great. Now, have you tried a romantic time with your loved one watching a theatre performance – on your couch, snuggled under a blanket and with some popcorn? Why not give it a try?