Everyone loves a good feud. Maybe we don’t love it when we are the one feuding, but don’t deny that it’s kind of fun to watch a couple people that don’t get along go at it. It is especially fun when the rivalries are set to a great song or two.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the greatest rivalries to ever hit the silver screen in our favorite genre of the movie musical.
West Side Story
One of the greatest rivalries of all time is the one between the Capulets and the Montagues in the Shakespeare tragedy Romeo and Juliet, which eventually leads to the deaths of both their children. This is the theme and story from where the idea for West Side Story came. The setting was just a bit different and contemporary.
This tale consists of rival gangs in the streets of New York, the Jets, who are white and the Sharks, who are Puerto Rican. They continually fight over territories and racist assumptions. In the midst of it all we meet young Maria, who has a cousin in the Sharks. She meets Tony, who was once a Jet, but now has left his gang rivalries behind.
Yet, rivalries have a funny way of sticking with you and because he was once a Shark a love affair between the two seems to be impossible. They fall in love anyway and the rivalry of the two gangs in this classic musical and their riots cause Tony’s death, which is a slight difference than the double suicide in Shakespeare’s tale.
West Side Story is a musical with a great number of rivalries between neighborhoods, races, ethnicities, and sexes, which is why is has secured a spot on our list today.
Keep an eye on this website for the upcoming schedule of West Side Story!
Guys and Dolls
While this musical may not have rivalries as serious and tragic as the one in our previous musical, Guys and Dolls plays host to its own set of rivalries. We have Nathan Detroit, a con man and wise guy in New York City. Everyone expects Nathan to set up one of his legendary traveling craps game, which he would do if he had the one thousand dollars he needs to get it going.
Besides having his peers breathing down his neck, Nathan’s girlfriend of many years is hounding him to get married. What is a gangster to do? Enter Sky Masterson, a hoodlum who is just moving through town looking for some action. Nathan sees an opportunity and bets Sky that he can’t take a woman that will be named later to Cuba for dinner. The bet is for the one thousand dollars that Nathan needs so badly.
A sucker for a bet, Sky accepts and then Nathan names the woman. Miss Sarah Brown, who heads the local missionary and is Hell bent on converting some sinners. Sky sees he has his work cut out for him but he has accepted so it’s time to woo the church gal. Sarah is far from interested in Sky and his attempts at wooing her. She is more concerned with the fact that the head office is going to shut her down because she has been unsuccessful in her attempts to save sinners like Sky.
When he learns this Sky uses it to his advantage by offering her a deal. If she goes to Cuba with him for dinner, he will fill her mission with sinners. Backed into a wall Sarah agrees and flies off to Cuba with Sky and Nathan is now in debt two thousand dollars. To make it up he hosts a craps game in the Mission while she is away with Sky.
The entire story is light hearted and everyone wins in the end, but not until the settle some serious conflicts. There is conflict between Nathan and Adelaide, Nathan and the gang, Nathan and Sky, Nathan and Sarah, and between Sky and Sarah. Let’s face it, resolved or not, the rivalries in Guys and Dolls are plentiful and the conflict soars.
Again, this musical doesn’t focus on one rivalry it has so many we don’t know where to begin. Well, maybe we should start at the beginning. Sandy and Danny meet at the beach but she is moving after the summer and they both write off their romance as a short-lived thing. That is until one day when Sandy shows up at Danny’s high school.
Her reception isn’t well received by Danny at first. Of course, when he sees her he is very happy, because he loves her, but when he sees his friends, the T-Birds, watching Danny struggles with being genuine opposed to being cool. He then switches gears and acts like he doesn’t care whether Sandy is there or not and she runs away crying. This is how rivalry number one in the musical Grease begins.
Next we have the rivalry between Sandy and Rizzo. Sandy is an innocent girl from Australia and isn’t familiar with greasers and Pink Ladies and places like Thunder Road. Rizzo finds her whole act amusing and makes fun of her constantly behind her back. Of course, Sandy catches on and admits that Rizzo does not like her.
Rizzo, on the other hand, has been around the block a few times and is currently dating Kenickie. They get busy in the car, the condom breaks, next thing you know Rizzo is pregnant. This is when her shenanigans catch up with her and she starts to feel like she is an outcast. Yet Sandy reaches out and gives her friendship and this rivalry comes to a sweet and just ending.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a good greaser musical if there wasn’t a rival gang. The Scorpions are this to the T-Birds and the culmination of the hatred they have for each other comes to a head when the leader of the Scorpions, Leo, and Danny race for “pinks” at Thunder Road.
As with any other musical rivalry, it eventually comes to an end when the rival is beaten, as is the case with Leo, or when the rivalry turns into mutual love and friendship, as is the case with Sandy and Danny.
Of course, there are mini rivalries like Doody and Frenchie when she drops out of high school, between Marty and Sonny because she won’t return his affection and Jan with her sweets because she is constantly trying to lose weight. This musical has a number of rivalries and they all fit together to tell one great entertaining story.
The UK Tour for Grease is coming up in 2017 – stay tuned on their website for more news!
Rocky Horror Picture Show
This film, which has made its way onto many of our lists, has its own rivalries as well. There is the obvious one between Frank N. Furter, played by Tim Curry, and his house guests, Janet and Brad. Furter basically seduces them both into being unfaithful to the other and then keeps them hostage at his house when they come for help.
There is also the rivalry between Furter and Eddie Ex, the lover of Magenta, who Frank N. Furter kills for what seems to be jealousness, even though he has no feelings for Magenta. It seems that Frank N. Furter kills Eddie simply out of spite.
Of course, there is the rivalry that brews from this murder between Magenta and Frank N. Furter. In fact, when you look closely enough at this musical, it seems that the only rivalries to be found, in some way, involve Frank N. Furter.
This isn’t surprising though since he has that type of personality. A transsexual diva from Transsexual Transylvania. It is good for Earth though that Riff Raff, Columbia, and the other Transylvanians band together to get rid of Frank N. Furter once and for all. Otherwise who knows what kind of delicious devious deeds this larger than life alien would have brought to our planet, Janet.
The Wizard of Oz
The rivalry in this film is plain as the nose on our faces. The rivalry between the Wicked Witch and sweet innocent Dorothy. Yet, when we are looking at this rivalry we always side with Dorothy and can’t wait to hear the eastern Wiccan scream, “I’m melting!! I’m melting!!” We think if you look at it closely maybe the Witch was only fighting for what is rightfully hers.
First off, Dorothy kills her sister. Drops her house right on top of the unsuspecting witch and the woman is dead. Sure, she didn’t mean to do it. As Dorothy says, “IT was an accident” but she came barreling into their world rather carelessly if you ask us.
Then what does Dorothy do? She steals the ruby slippers. Sure, Glinda is the one who put them on her feet but why did Dorothy have to listen to her? She is old enough to know that the property of any deceased person should go to their next of kin. Those ruby slippers belonged to the Wicked Witch of the East but Dorothy kept wearing them anyway.
Finally, just so she can get what she wants, which is to go home, Dorothy sets out to kill the Wicked Witch on the order of the Wizard of Oz. Sure, she didn’t ask to be sent to Oz but, if we remember correctly, Dorothy was there only because she couldn’t get into the storm cellar because she ran away from home.
Why did Dorothy run away from home? Because she let her dog go into Miss Gulch’s garden even though she knew he wasn’t supposed to. IF you think about it, Dorothy antagonized Miss Gulch, which led to her anger, which caused Toto to bite the old lady and the rest is history.
This long time musical rival is always seen from one side and we thought, since it is one of our favorites, that looking at it from a different point of view might be beneficial. Plus, we are tired of the goody-goody act Dorothy has been playing all these years.