HillSide Story: So Long, Farewell

This is it. We have made it to the end of the semester and the end of our careers at The Tufts Daily. What a way to go out. Thank you for indulging us as we write about what we love most: musicals. This week, to close out the column, we would like to share some of our favorite musical-related media that we have not yet discussed. We encourage all of you to use this time at home to check out these titles as they are sure to lift your spirits. So let’s get started!

Musical TV Shows

Anna Hirshman (AH): I love musicals in whatever form in which they arrive on the screen or stage in front of me, but I especially love a musical TV show because it can last for years (and I can rewatch it many times). My top pick has to go to “Glee” (2009–2015). It gave us fresh takes on old classics, some bangin’ original music and stories that were both ridiculous and entertaining. “Glee” took me through my formative teenage years, and I could not ask for better company for the emotional roller coasters than Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and the real star, Heather Morris.

Allie Morgenstern (AM): I definitely have to agree with Anna about the quality of “Glee,” but she’s the expert so I’ll let you take her word for it. Besides “Glee,” I’d have to go with “Smash” (2012–2013). It’s about creating and casting a musical all about Marilyn Monroe. Also, the show is stacked with some legendary actors, like Bernadette Peters, Christian Borle and more. I always wished that “Bombshell”, the Marylin Monroe musical in the show, would actually get produced in real life because the musical numbers were awesome. I still listen to them sometimes. I got a little sidetracked and didn’t finish season two, but as soon as online classes are over, I’m getting back on that roller coaster, and I suggest you join me!

Made-for-TV Movie Musicals

This is where we really shine. We love a Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM), and those fall squarely within this category.

AM: I’d like to talk about a highly underrated movie, “Lemonade Mouth” (2011). It’s a great, feel-good movie about friendship, family and being yourself, especially in high school when standing up for what you believe in can be really difficult. I also want to add that I watched the full movie two days in a row with my housemate Kate this semester, and this is one of the highlights of my senior year.

AH: Let us all acknowledge that grade school would have meant nothing without the High School Musical franchise, providing us with the beacons of hope that are Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. While they did not last as a couple, their performances, the epic musical numbers and Ms. Darbus’ endless sass coalesced into the beauty that is the original “High School Musical” (2006). 

Animated Movie Musicals

AM: After much debate, I decided to go with “The Prince of Egypt” (1998), a movie that I watch every Passover because it beautifully tells the story of Moses and the Exodus. I shocked myself when looking up the release date for this because the animation in this film is absolutely stunning. The soundtrack is also powerful and moving, and the story itself is very well told. I am always impressed with how they make a biblical, ancient story so entertaining and fun to watch. 

AH: Call me basic, but a good princess movie is hard to beat. And there is just something about “The Little Mermaid” (1989). I take pride in my ability to sing every word to “Part of Your World” and “Under the Sea.” Maybe it is because I loved swimming so much growing up. I should unpack that sometime. 

Movie Musicals

We recognize that we primarily covered our favorites while writing the column, but there are always more movie musicals to discuss. Seriously, there are a bunch of old ones online we have never even heard of, and that’s saying something. 

AH: In honor of our upcoming graduation — well, degree conferral (it’s complicated) — I have to choose the movie I watch far more often than any other, “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” (2008). I know every line and little detail in that movie. Anyone catch the moment Troy Bolton looks down at his wrist to check the time but there is no watch there? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, check me dancing and singing along to “Can I Have This Dance?” in my living room multiple times a year. 

AM: Can confirm that she both watches this movie and dances to the songs a lot. My pick is “Enchanted” (2007), which takes a fun spin on a traditional animated princess movie. The cast is stellar, including Patrick Dempsey, Amy Adams, James Marsden and Idina Menzel, and the music is just so much fun. Who knew Amy Adams could sing? This is such a good movie to watch if you’re looking for a pick-me-up.

Musicals on Stage

AM: “Wicked” (2003) will forever be my favorite musical. The show is funny and beautiful, and the cast recording makes me happy whenever I listen to it. I’m a sucker for a show about a powerful bond between friends, and just listening to “For Good,” a bittersweet, loving duet between the two leads, gets me every time. 

AH: This was an easy one for me, too. The most amazing experience I’ve had in the theater is seeing “Dear Evan Hansen” (2015). It is the closest I’ve seen to art imitating life. I’ve never had such an intense emotional experience as when Ben Platt was pouring his heart out on the stage. It is a tiny but mighty theatrical event. 

Honorable Mentions

It was quite a challenge we gave ourselves to choose amongst our favorite musicals, so we felt an honorable mention section was necessary so we do not hurt the feelings of any of the shows. 

AH: Following the categories as they are ordered above, my honorable mentions are “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (2015–2019), “The Cheetah Girls” (2003), “Aladdin” (1992), “Grease” (1978) and “The Book of Mormon” (2011). 

AM: In the same fashion, my honorable mentions are “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” (2019), “Camp Rock” (2008), “Tangled” (2010), “Les Miserables” (2012) and “Waitress” (2015). 

Once again, thanks for letting us rant so much about everything in the realm of musical performances (and our love for Jeremy Jordan, of course). We hope that you enjoyed reading our column as much as we liked writing it. We are sad to be taking our final curtain call (we love a good theatre reference), but this has been a highlight of senior year.


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