That time of year is upon us when ghouls and goblins fly around and we are inundated with witches and monsters. Just when the weather changes and the leaves begin to fall to their untimely deaths, we are treated to a short time in October when everything evil is celebrated and haunted houses are abundant.
Of course, as with any season, there are musicals that fit into it like a foot into a show. So we would like to take some time to discuss five musicals we feel are great for the Halloween season.
1. Little Shop of Horrors
The first spooky musical on our list of favorites for Halloween is a comedy of the rock genre. We meet Seymour and Audrey, a couple of people who work at a flower shop. Both of them complain that they are tired of life in the slums and they equally wish for life out of “Skid Row.” To bring in more business Seymour brings in a plant that he bought at a Chinese shop during an eclipse.
Seymour has named the plant Audrey II, because he is secretly in love with his coworker. Of course, Seymour is too shy and insecure to ever tell the truth about his feelings to the original Audrey. In the meantime, Audrey II is becoming more and more demanding for a particular substance that helps the plant grow. This material is red and can only be of the “human” nature. The food that Audrey II craves is blood.
In the beginning Seymour was able to satiate his plant by pricking his fingers but his supply was getting low and his lack of energy showed it. Audrey II makes no mistake about pointing out what Seymour needs to do to satisfy his need. Seymour needs to kill for her.
Seymour thinks about Orin, the dentist boyfriend of Audrey, the woman not the plant, and how horribly he treats her. Audrey puts up with his abuse because the dentist can get her out of “Skid Row.”
After making an appointment with the dentist Seymour brings a gun and has every intention of killing Orin, but Seymour doesn’t have the heart and doesn’t do it. Still, Orin plays with the laughing gas and mistakenly asphyxiates himself. Orin begs Seymour for help but this is the point where our hero becomes evil.
Seymour watches Orin die and then drags him back to the flower shop to feed Audrey II. The owner of the flower shop, Mushnik, witnesses the dismemberment and flees his store. It isn’t long before the police arrive looking for Orin. Mushnik tells Seymour that he saw and Seymour introduces his boss to Audrey II.
When the flower shop owner see the plant and how it interacts and speaks, Mushnik envisions the amount of money he could make with a plant like that. He tries to convince Seymour to let him have Audrey II but in the end it is all in vain. Seymour tricks him to step closer to the dinosaur version of the Venus fly trap and Audrey II kills Mushnik.
The success that Mushnik dreams comes to Seymour and Audrey and their dreams of escaping Skid Row are finally in their grasp but Audrey II is growing larger and hungrier and her insatiable appetite for human blood is become more and more difficult for Seymour to deal with.
2. Sweeney Todd
Any musical with the addition The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the title certainly deserves a spot on our Halloween themed list. It opens with a chorus of citizens burring a body just as Sweeney Todd appears to explain that the play happens before the death of this person.
WE then see Sweeney Todd and his new friend Anthony Hope, who is a sailor. Todd explains to Anthony that he was once a barber who had a beautiful wife. But a judge had him banished so that he could make attempts to bed her. This is when Todd meets Mrs. Lovett, in her shop where she sells meat pies.
When he asks her about the apartment above her shop Mrs. Lovett tales Sweeney Todd his own very sad tale. When he learns from her that his wife rejected the judge’s advances the judge, along with his servant, lured his wife to his place and raped her. Upon hearing this Mrs. Lovett realizes who he is and tells him that his daughter, Johanna, is now a ward of the judge since his wife commit suicide. Johanna was a mere infant when he was sent away.
Sweeney Todd vows to avenge his wife’s death and rape and is delighted when Mrs. Lovett gives him the razors he once used when he was a barber. This friendship eventually grows into something deeper and darker.
3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
This musical is typically shown, at midnight on Halloween, at a theater somewhere in the world. In fact, the theater showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show are filled with their own antics and theatrics we highly recommend everyone make it to a theater showing at least once in their life.
There is probably no other musical more fitting for Halloween than this one, with the frightening Dr. Frank N. Furter and his entourage of strange folks. It all begins with Brad and Janet, who are in the most straight, moral love any one could find, if that is indeed what they are looking for. They vow their boring love to each other and set off after church one Sunday.
Of course, it starts to rain, as it will anytime a horror story is being told, and their car breaks down. They run to the nearest home and this is when they are taken in by Furter and his group. Still, Brad and Janet realize that there is something bizarre about this place they were in, but they had no way to leave and agree they could spend the night. Of course, because they are both so moral, they request separate rooms.
Frank N Furter takes time throughout the night to seduce both of them and lure both Brad and Janet into infidelity. Meanwhile, Frank N. Furter is creating a human by the name of Rocky, who he believes to be the most perfect physical specimen of a human being. Also, Furter murders Eddie, a rocker that comes breaking through the wall with his motorcycle. One of Frank N. Furter’s followers, Columbia, loves Eddie and this is when Frank N. Furter starts to lose the faith of his entourage, who just happen to be aliens, like him, from Transsexual Transylvania.
4. Wizard of Oz
How could any musical that involves witches and munchkins not be on a list of musicals great for Halloween? Needless to say, this movie has been a staple for Halloween costumes over the many years it has been out. Every fall there is at least one Dorothy, one Scarecrow, Tinman, etc. at a party somewhere in the world.
And how could it now be this way. The Wizard of Oz is filled with all the types of characters that make a holiday like Halloween great. There is an evil woman with a green face who kidnaps a sweet pretty girl and her dog. This witch’s untimely death comes about when the young girl accidentally douses her with water, which brings to her squealing about melting and forever imbedding that shrill call into our eternal brainwaves.
There is a Scarecrow that talks, dances and sings. A man made out of Tin who cries and rusts himself. There is a talking Lion who finds it difficult to scare a bunny rabbit and there is an entire village of little people called Munchkins who sing, dance, have an organization called the Lollypop Guild and dress up like flowers to hide from mean witches.
We can’t forget the good witch Glinda, who travels in a bubble, or the horse that changes colors every few minutes. The Wizard of Oz exemplifies the Halloween spirit simply by chance and for this we love it and feel it deserves a spot on our Halloween list.
5. The Phantom of the Opera
This is a story about a ghost, or a half ghost, that lives in the underneath of the Paris Opera House. He befriends a young new singer, Christine, who has dreams of being a star. The Phantom offers to train her and they begin to secretly meet in the underneath of the opera house.
With his teaching, Christine soon makes her way to the lead soprano spot in the opera company. She also falls in love with another and is unaware of how the Phantom feels for her. When the Phantom realizes that he can’t have her love he goes into a jealous rage and kidnaps Raoul, Christine’s love.
The Phantom blackmails her by saying he will let Raoul go if she agrees to stay with him, under the opera house forever. Christine realizes that as disfigured and socially awkward as the Phantom is, she does care for him and she consoles her educator. Still, an angry mob of Christine fans search for the Phantom and to find the soprano they love.
The Phantom has no choice but to disappear but his memory lives under the Paris Opera House forever.
Missing the those days of Trickin’ or Treatin’? Get the best of the sugary delights in the ballet world with Richard Strauss Whipped Cream, at the Gärtnerplatztheater!