What Would Barbra Do?: How Musicals Changed My Life by Emma Brockes

By Emma Brockes

Emma Brockes did not regularly love musicals. considered one of her so much painful formative years stories is of her mom making a song "The Hills Are Alive" whereas younger Emma crossed the road en path to a babysitting gig. Mum stated the track could retain muggers at bay. Emma stumbled on it warded off pals, a social existence, and any likelihood of showing common. a few humans could slice off their arm with a plastic knife ahead of they might take a seat via Fiddler at the Roof or The Sound of tune. yet musicals are all over the place, and it truly is approximately time a person requested why. Emma Brockes firmly believes that, during this international, our lives can be far better lived to a Broadway ranking. well written and particularly witty, What might Barbra Do? is a component memoir, half musical heritage journey, and, at its center, the touching tale of a daughter, a mom, and the way musicals saved them jointly. it is going to have you ever guffawing and making a song.

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P the choice of Betty Hutton to replace Judy Gar­ land in the 1950 film version of Annie Get Your Gun was misguided to the point of criminal insanity. p no matter how dire the situation, it is never beyond the redemptive reach of a Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune. Young Biddyism involved knowing things that no under-twenty-five at the time should have known. We could list Frank Sinatra’s wives, like Henry VIII’s, in chronological order and with the fate that befell each of them. We argued late into the night over whether the video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller was inspired by the graveyard dream sequence in Fiddler on the Roof What Would Barbra Do?

There were strict rules regarding the emission of pre– 1960s music in the flat. My flatmate’s music taste had gone down a fairly traditional route of Pink Floyd, to Kiss and Aerosmith, to a revival of electronica, finally settling down, in his early twenties, to a stable diet of indy rock. He flinched when I used his five-thousand­ dollar stereo, bought on Gray’s Inn Road after months of deliberating over speaker quality and something called aluminum cone diaphragms, to play music with lyrics such as “June is bustin’ out all over” and “When I marry Mr.

32 M I I I Emma Brockes ost of my friends who like musicals were indoc­ trinated by their mothers in this way and most of them held out against it, too, until somewhere along the line they saw a film that overcame their resis­ tance. My friend Deniz, who never entirely recovered from being sung across the road that time, spent the early part of her childhood in Turkey, where her Eng­ lish mother played lots of musicals to her as a way of reinforcing her English. They were the main Englishlanguage culture she was exposed to and she assumed they were contemporary.

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