1. The Sound Of Music
    I auditioned for this show as a child. My sister got the part. Devastation reigned. Still loved the movie, the soundtrack, the whole experience, Julie Andrews. This show was maybe my first cultural obsession, because before that audition came between us, my sister and I reenacted the whole thing with our stuffed animals and my dad filmed it all. Somehow.
  2. West Side Story
    My dad showed me the movie a bit too early, but by the end of middle school I was in love. It wasn't like I thought "this is the worlds most amazing love story" (Romeo and Juliet). It was like: this is a masterpiece. This is American classical music. The production history of WSS is fascinating. When they finally got to casting, they thought jeez we're never going to be able to find an ensemble that can sing AND dance AND act. As crazy as that sounds. In 1957 it just wasn't done. God Bless.
  3. The Music Man
    Also premiered in 1957. Also a musical game changer. What this show does with rhythmic and melodic structure is astounding. You think you're in for this cheesy, folksy Oklahoma! kind of operation. But no. It's a well structured score that feels coherent. It's not standard after standard, solo after solo--much like Oklahoma! which came before it, or even Camelot which came after. This one had flow.
  4. Fiddler on the Roof
    A delightful and beautiful musical that is so specific and personal to me and many other Jewish theatre lovers. And yet Fiddler is also perfectly, expertly universal. I feel very lucky I got to perform in the ensemble as a little seventh grade Anatevka girl at my thoroughly un-Jewish middle/high school. Fiddler, amazingly, pops up everywhere in our culture: on Gilmore Girls, on Community, at everyone's wedding, in the musical fabric of In the Heights and many other shows. An eternal fave.
  5. A Chorus Line
    Kelly Bishop, first of all. Second of all, this show is my mother's favorite. The look she gets in her eye when A Chorus Line comes up in conversation is the same look I will have when talking about Hamilton in thirty years. This I know. A Chorus Line was that earth shattering musical for my mother when she was in her early twenties.