My “Mraz Does Broadway” Fantasy

West Side StoryI was watching West Side Story the other night; it’s by far my favorite musical, although Newsies is a close second. How can you not want to get up and dance along with all those young guys in knickers? And Spot Conlon? Totally started my interest in tall, skinny guys with bad attitudes and good aim. Which hasn’t actually worked out all that well for me, so maybe Newsies should come off my Top 5 list. Something to consider.

Anyway, I hadn’t seen West Side Story in ages, and even though I knew the music by heart, it still suprised me how good it all sounded. That’s what quality filmmaking is all about – producing something that can be watched over and over again and still bring massive enjoyment. I mean, I know how it’s going to end and I still cry every time, starting with the scene where Doc, full of frustration and sadness, asks, “Why do you kids live like there’s a war on?” and through to the end where… well, I won’t give away the end for the three people who read this blog and have never seen it.

So that got me thinking about Jason Mraz and his theatrical background and training and how if he was able to take a Muppet classic like “Rainbow Connection” and make it his own, he could probably make some showtunes come alive for another generation, starting with West Side Story. Don’t look at me like that, just stay with me here. Mraz may not look like a Tony, but I would love to hear what he could do with “Something’s Coming”, or even “Maria”. Hell, I’ll bet he could give Rita Moreno a run for her money with “America”. Ay yi yi!

I’m not suggesting that Mraz to do a whole Broadway album, because that would be way too Oprah, but if Gwen Stefani can popify Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music, I think Mraz could throw one of these tunes into a live show and have it go over well. At least with people like me who were raised on Oaklahoma! and The Music Man and Oliver.

What other songs would I put into the Mraz Musical Jukebox? No Andrew Lloyd Webber, but a good dose of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

  • Steam Heat – The Pajama Game
  • Dulcinea – Man of La Mancha
  • What I Did for Love – A Chorus Line
  • Luck Be a Lady – Guys and Dolls (If Brando can do it, Mraz certainly can.)
  • Edelweiss – The only entry I would allow from The Sound of Music
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Mary Poppins (Just for whimsy, and because his mouth can easily handle that kind of confusion.) 

Are your feet a tappin’ yet? Me too. Now I really want to watch Camp.

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