Why all musicals should include nuns…

…well, why not?

The Sound of Music has long been an example of this, but now the new Sister Act can well & truly join the ranks of a classic nun musical.
An inspired gift choice from my sister was the brand new (i.e. less than a week old) stage soundtrack which has rarely been off my ipod ever since. There’s just something about the combination of classic film plot, nuns, Bible & church references, gospel/disco music that makes it utterly irresistable.
Add to the mix a classic composer of the Disney school (Alan Menken – Beauty & the Beast, Little Mermaid, Aladdin et al), and it really doesn’t matter that the film’s Motown soundtrack couldn’t be used.
I’ve not yet met anyone who’s seen the show and not liked it (and I’m not just talking about those who usually show a penchant for ‘musical theatre tat’), but there seems to be an added enjoyment for those with a church connection – especially a Catholic one. It’s all in the small details, like songs with the following lines in them:

“Shake it like you’re Mary Magdalene.”
“Fill th church, pass the plate! Everybody transusbstantiate.”
“Picture you and me one sweet, sweet night in a pool of votive candlelight.”
And because my sister gave me another inspired musical gift – the classic Starlight Express – I’ve been able to spend the weekend doing a bit of comparing and contrasting of musical theatre styles…
Is it just me, or do other people sometimes conduct bits of their lives as if it were an academic exercise? Most often these thoughts occur when I’m listening to music and I’m all of a sudden back in GCSE aural mode (though not usually complete with a man narrating proceedings with an ultra annoying Birmingham accent – just the way he said ‘Midland Examining Group’ was enough to draw a groan from my class). It’s all to do with listening to patterns, falling in love with particular techniques/moments and identifying similarities with other works/composers.
I’ve decided to spare you my thesis on the topic. Suffice to say that Starlight Express – the first musical on rollerskates (only musical on rollerskates??) hasn’t aged brilliantly. Some great songs, but let down by random songs about trains. Maybe it’s one of the ones you need to watch to understand? Sister Act will probably last, it’s got that timeless Disney quality about it.
Plus, I still maintain that if you throw a couple of nuns into a show, you’ve got an automatic hit.
[As an aside, should you fear that my sister’s gifts have exacerbated my appalling taste in music, her presents also included the Daniel Merriweather album which I highly recommend. She was using the age-old tactic of using a decent music purchase to cancel out a suspect one – it helps balance the world’s equilibrium.]


  1. ” exacerbated my appalling taste in music”

    There IS no better music than musical soundtracks.

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