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|The Sound of Music with audience members dressed up as nuns, Nazis and imaginative incarnations of
the Von Trapp family successfully started the sing-a-long trend in which the words are projected onto
the screen for audiences to belt it out. Aside from joining the chorus and being encouraged to dress
in character, patrons are often handed goodie bags with specific items and interactive screening
guides relating to the action on screen. Subsequent editions have included Mary Poppins, The Wizard
of Oz and West Side Story (it goes without saying that the Midnight movie cult hit The Rocky Horror
Picture Show is the granddaddy of all these sing-along sensations). Now 1978’s mega hit about the
1950s, Grease (which had its beginnings right here in Chicago) is getting the Sing-A-Long treatment
in theaters beginning July 8th. We have some suggestions for future editions (and welcome yours):
Slice-A-Long Sweeney Todd
Come dressed as the murderous demon barber of Fleet Street, his nefarious companion Mrs. Lovett
or one of their unfortunate victims and sing for your life to “Pretty Women,” “The Worst Pies in
London,” “Johanna,” and other classics from the Stephen Sondheim score in this 2007 Tim Burton
musical. Suggested props: toy straight razors, meat pies, rats, vials of fake blood, and perhaps a
flashlight to find your way around those inky dark London streets. No barber chairs allowed!
Swim-A-Long Mamma Mia!
The requirements for this 2008 box office smash are easy: dress as if heading to the beach or the
disco and prepare to return musically to the 70s (thanks to the never ending Abba songs like
“Dancing Queen,” “Take A Chance On Me,” “The Winner Takes It All,” ad nauseam). Don’t forget
copious amounts of white sand (to emulate the Greek isle locale) and to visit your friendly spray tan
center first – all the better to resemble stars Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda
Seyfried, and company. Pail and shovel optional.
Lots of costume possibilities in this 2002 Best Picture winner starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Renee
Zellweger as Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, a pair of sultry murderous jailhouse vamps/nightclub
singers (think fish net stockings, all manner of lingerie and lots of eyeliner). The Kander-Ebb score
offers a razzle dazzle’s worth of sizzling originals (“All That Jazz,” “Cell Block Tango,” “When You’re
Good to Mama,” etc.) that seamlessly blend with standards of the period. Good prop possibilities,
too: rat-a-tat machine guns, hip flasks and plenty of fake moola to bribe Queen Latifah as the
prison matron Mama Morton.
Before heading to Good Will, don those tattered rags one last time pretending to be one of the street
urchins from this beloved 1968, Best Picture Oscar winning musical version of Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.”
Lionel Bart’s lively score featuring “Consider Yourself,” “I’d Do Anything,” “Where Is Love?” and “Who
Will Buy?” has been delighting audiences for decades. Suggested props include an empty bowl (to
be filled with gruel when Oliver begs, “Please sir, I want some more”), assortment of scarves (to
learn pickpocket techniques from Fagin), wallets filled with phony English pound notes, paste jewelry,
pocket watches, etc. (loot stolen from wealthy victims by the Artful Dodger), and glow sticks (to
represent the moonlight when poor Nancy sings “As Long As He Needs Me” about the villainous Bill).
Lip Sync-A-Long Victor/Victoria
Indulge your dress up fantasies with a cast of characters that include showgirls, love sick gangsters
and flamboyant “female illusionists” with this gender bending musical comedy starring Julie Andrews,
Robert Preston and James Garner. With all the attendant glitter, no one will notice if you’re singing
or lip syncing (that’s part of the point anyway) the Leslie Bricusse-Henry Mancini songs which include
“Le Jazz Hot,” “Crazy World,” “The Shady Dame From Seville,” and “Chicago, Illinois.” And if ever a
sing-a-long edition called for the wearing (and eventual removal) of a wig (or two, or three), this
1982 movie is it.