Weekend Watchlist | Musicals

By The Pitt News Staff

The hills are alive with the sound of music! Musical movies, TV shows and even stage recordings have made a comeback in recent years, but are they as good as what came before? The Pitt News Staff has their favorites to recommend to you, so get ready to get your groove on!

Dreamgirls (Hulu) // Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

“Dreamgirls” is the film version of the 1981 musical, starring Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson in her debut role, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and more. While the creators have denied that it is based on the life story of “The Supremes,” there are many notable similarities

However, regardless of the show’s historical accuracy or lack thereof, the show and the film based on it tells the compelling story of a Motown girl group rising from performing at talent shows in Chicago to the top of the charts. The film begins with Deena (Beyoncé), Lorrel (Anika Noni Rose) and Effie (Hudson), also known as the Dreamettes, performing at Amateur Night in a Detroit theater.

There, they meet Curtis Taylor Jr. (Foxx) and get jobs touring with Jimmy Early (Murphy) and from there begin to launch an R&B record label that grows and grows in popularity at the expense of the Dreamettes’ friendship.

The show and film have a great R&B soundtrack and the actors all provide stellar performances — not just Beyoncé — including Hudson’s powerful rendition of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” “Dreamgirls” is a classic that everyone should check out at least once.

Cats // Patrick Swain, Staff Writer

Yes, that “Cats” — the beloved feline-based Andrew Lloyd Webber musical bastardized into a bizarre humanoid nightmare. An impressive ensemble cast, including Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen, drags the viewer through a hellscape of singing and dancing CGI “cats.” These horrifying creatures have human bodies with feline features, crawling through the uncanny valley on all fours and sporadically assuming a bipedal position —which is somehow more disconcerting. There is almost no semblance of a coherent plot. Jason Derulo is in it. It’s terrible. Everyone should see it once.

I saw “Cats” in theaters. I don’t know whether it was morbid curiosity or self-loathing that intrigued my friends and I, but nevertheless we found ourselves sitting in a theater on a Friday night, $11 down the drain. As soon as one of those viscerally terrifying cats appeared on the big screen, chaos ensued. Nobody there had any intention of giving this movie a hint of earnest attention, so we sat back and enjoyed the two-hour bad trip. Behind me were screaming children and confused parents, in front of me were wonderstruck college students on some sort of hallucinogens. As the highly anticipated credits rolled, I wondered what a Jellicle was — and to this day, I have no idea.

In retrospect, walking into that theater in early 2020 was the moment that the world started going downhill. I don’t know much about the butterfly effect — but if James Corden meowing and licking his “paws” doesn’t signify the end of times, I can’t say what does. May God have mercy on our souls.

Galavant (Hulu) // Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager 

I’ll say it, “Galavant” was deeply under-appreciated in its time and deserves so much attention now. The show is a musical-comedy that was canceled after two seasons back in 2016 — a loss we will never recover from as a society.

The story is about Galavant (Joshua Sasse), a knight who’s trying to win back his lady love Magdalena (Mallory Jansen) from the evil King Richard (Timothy Omundson). Along the way he teams up with Princess Isabella (Karen David) and his squire, Sid (Luke Youngblood), all the while singing songs that Alan Menken wrote. You might know Menken as the guy who, along with Howard Ashman, wrote the music for several films during the Disney Renaissance, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when I say the songs in this show are equal parts hilarious and catchy.

The show is a riot, earnestly poking fun at chivalric tales similar to Monty Python with songs that are as catchy as they are hilarious.