One thing my father shared with us over the years was his love for musicals. He was a big fan of this American form of entertainment. He liked to sing and he liked to see a play. One of the first recordings and first musicals I ever heard was a record he bought when I was six - the Broadway musical 'Camelot' with Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Goulet in the lead roles. I can still hear the wonderful, sometimes wistful, opening instrumental and the actors' gorgeous and moving voices.
Musicals were made into popular movies in the 1950s-70s. Carousel, Riverboat, Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma!, Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Camelot, West Side Story, Porgy and Bess, and Fiddler on the Roof attracted large, enthusiastic audiences.
My favorite way to experience a musical, however, is live on the stage. There have not been that many that I've seen, but most have been great experiences. The performances I've seen were not professional, but high school and college shows. Some of those shined brightly, truly moving and powerful. It isn't so much the quality or expense of the costumes and set, or the perfection of the singing or orchestra that carries you away. There is something else, the passion and teamwork of the actors, crew, and director, a passion that connects with those in the audience.
Dad and I saw Guys and Dolls a few years ago, a production put on by Lafayette High School in Louisiana. His health was not good at the time, and he was barely ambulatory, and he was excited to be going. The production was a success for the students and for the audience, a most happy evening, and it remains a strong and happy memory.