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Men Who Sing

I'm taking this space to pay tribute to Modern Male Actors Who Can Sing. Women are encouraged to take voice lessons, and are less shy about singing, so it's no surprise when they turn out to sing well. But men have to get past that whole "singing is for sissies" stereotype, especially in recent decades (unlike the '40s and '50s when, like, every movie was a musical), so I want to salute the ones who have made the biggest impression on me.

In this list I'll only include instances where I've seen the whole movie or play in question, not just YouTube clips. For example, I know Hugh Jackman has sung on stage many a time, but I've never seen one of his performances, so I can't really say I've formed an impression there.

However, I will provide YouTube clips for each of these men so you can enjoy them yourselves.

1. Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge. Ewan won me over as a lifelong fangirl through this film. The tragic love story and glittery sets would have been enough, but the heartfelt, skilled singing clinched it.

2. Neil Patrick Harris, Dr Horrible. Neil's a Broadway actor and singer, too, but this is the first time I was treated to his talents. So sweet, so funny!

3. Billy Boyd, The Return of the King. The Lord of the Rings films were full of great music, but Billy's a cappella gave me the biggest goosebumps.

4. James Marsters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. More Whedonverse here. God love the man for encouraging singing. Not only is James, as Spike, witty and sexy, but he can sing a mean Goth-rock, too.

5. Anthony Stewart Head, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And while we're on "Once More With Feeling," I can't omit Giles and his golden English voice. *sigh*

6. John Cameron Mitchell, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He's adorable in drag, and the movie is ten times sweeter and more clever than you expect going in. Plus, could the music rock more? I thought not.

7. Guy Pearce, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. For the most part, Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving, and Terrence Stamp don't do any actual singing in Priscilla, just lip-synching. But they're so fabulous that I had to find a way to include the film. So here's a clip of Guy singing for a few seconds. (Warning: some cheeky profanity in this one.)

8. Rick Moranis, Little Shop of Horrors. Reaching back to the 80s for this one, but what the heck. I sure hope Rick's gotten a chance to sing more than this one part, because he totally rocked it.

9. Tim Curry, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Reaching back even further for this one, but how can I not include Tim Curry in Rocky Horror? I rather doubt anyone else ever took camp so far, so successfully.

10. Gerard Butler, The Phantom of the Opera. Okay, not everyone can live up to Michael Creighton, but Gerard did a fine job trying, and is a fine man as well. Way too good-looking for the Phantom, actually.

It occurs to me that I could go on way too long with this list if I wanted, so I'll stop at ten. And I'm sure I'm forgetting someone obvious, so remind me.


( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
I salute the majority of these salutes.
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)
Cool. Good to get agreement from an actual Music Professional!
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
Hugh Jackman! John Barrowman! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
Hee. I'll have to get hold of that Oklahoma with Jackman, if I can find it. I definitely considered John Barrowman, but he hasn't had a big role with singing in anything I've seen yet--just a couple one-off songs in movies where he played That One Guy We Never See Again. Still, anyone singing "Springtime for Hitler" deserves a nod. :D
(no subject) - sea0tter12 - Dec. 11th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Johnny Depp? I thought he was brilliant in Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street (and as an aside, there is a barber shop just off Fleet Street, saw it last week. I wonder if it gets much in the way of business?).
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
Ah ha, I haven't seen that yet! I'd be happy to include Depp once I catch him singing.

I bet some people at least go to that barber shop just out of morbid curiosity. :) By the way, welcome back! I need to go catch up on your travel stories...
(no subject) - kali_kali - Dec. 9th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
I have a live version of Rocky Horror with Anthony Head playing Frank kicking about somewhere
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Oooh! I heard of that, but had forgotten. I found a clip or two on YouTube, and now I love him even more.
(no subject) - krisbotha - Dec. 10th, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 7th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
Yay for men who sing! :-) I always love a good musical!
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Agreed. They should get more men to do it! I plan on seeing Mamma Mia when it comes out on DVD...
Dec. 7th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
It's impossible to pick a favourite moment in the LOTR films, but Billy Boyd singing as Faramir and his troop ride out is definitely up there, for me.
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
Yes, to be fair, it's really the editing that gives me the chills--the ride footage on top of the sad song. Beautiful work all around.
Dec. 8th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
What about just about everyone in LOTR, but especially Pippin? Oops, I see someone firsted me on that one. Well, Aragorn, too.

Don't know if Giles counts -- he was known as a singer, or singing actor, before he was known as an actor who sings. But if we can do that, I want to give special points to Hinton Battle for Once More with Feeling.

What about female actors how sing? Can I give double special points to Eowyn, for convincingly singing a song in a made-up language no one (not even the most hardcore fan, who's bilingual in Quenya and Sindarin -- and speaks no other language) understands? Well, OK, or Old English, as modified by its passage through Tolkien's imagination.

Actually, I stand corrected: A quick google shows that there are lots of people out there who understand Rohirric, and have posted translations of Eowyn's song. I guess I just don't take my fandom seriously enough.

/Naill can't sing.
//Not even a little bit.
///Not even after drinking. That's just someone else who looks like him.
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
Hmm, didn't know that about A.S. Head, so that may be a possible disqualifier. But he's probably better known for acting, so I'll stick to my listing.

If I get the time someday, I'll list the females--definitely, bonus points to Miranda Otto for being able to sing in freakin' Rohirric. But, being a straight female myself, I just don't get *quite* the romantic thrill from female singers that a good male voice can give me. ;)

Don't worry, I'm not the hottest singer myself. And I married someone who pretty much can't sing at all, so it's clearly not a deal breaker. Still, I hold out hope for my son...
(no subject) - ahab99 - Dec. 9th, 2008 04:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - naill_renfro - Dec. 9th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollyringle - Dec. 10th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - naill_renfro - Dec. 10th, 2008 07:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollyringle - Dec. 11th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - naill_renfro - Dec. 11th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollyringle - Dec. 10th, 2008 03:36 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - naill_renfro - Dec. 9th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollyringle - Dec. 10th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - naill_renfro - Dec. 10th, 2008 07:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
That was a great scene! And, of course, his rendition of "Springtime for Hitler." But when I saw those films, I had no idea who he was (and didn't connect them for years), so I can't say the impression was quite as strong...
(no subject) - gavinworld - Dec. 9th, 2008 04:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollyringle - Dec. 10th, 2008 03:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
I forgot how good Billy Boyd's voice was. To carry a tune thusly without accompaniment is no small feat IMO. Though I also highly enjoyed his singing at the Green Dragon. :)
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC)
Hee, yeah, I considered the scene where they're dancing on the tables, but this was a bit more technically challenging or something. He really is a good singer--needs to do more for us!
Dec. 8th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Re: the Return of the King scene - I've forgotten that Denethor's table manners were even more gross than Shelob's.
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
Hehe. Truly. Gandalf needs to lecture him about that too, while he's telling him off.
(no subject) - gavinworld - Dec. 9th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollyringle - Dec. 10th, 2008 03:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2008 10:41 am (UTC)
I know Hugh Jackman has sung on stage many a time, but I've never seen one of his performances

GO RENT "OKLAHOMA." Now. This is not optional. ;-) The staging of that production is a little weird, IMO, but Jackman makes the most utterly delicious singing cowboy imaginable. Doesn't hurt that he can dance like a mofo. (Ever seen clips from "The Boy from Oz? Yeaaaaah. And he can out-kick the Rockettes--see example.) Actually, I'm amazed that, having a child, you haven't been forced to watch Happy Feet 1,000 times and thereby heard him singing a la Elvis Presley, which is amusing in its own right.

Ewan's also brilliant in Velvet Goldmine doing a kinda-sorta Iggy Pop. That lad has NO inhibitions, and it makes his performances almost painfully intense to watch at times.

He's not exactly "modern," and he's not really *that* great a singer, but Gene Wilder breaks my heart into teeny little pieces singing "Pure Imagination" in Willy Wonka. (His "Putting on the Ritz" in Young Frankenstein is a scream, too.)

Colm Feore has a fabulous singing voice, but the only musical I've seen him in was a Canadian stage production that isn't available in mass release, more's the pity.

Tim Curry is also delightful in Annie, especially when singing with Carol Burnett. They play off one another magnificently.

Harry Connick, Jr. *drools* But it's arguable that he was a singer before he was an actor, so he might not count.

Will Smith. Ditto.

Kevin Kline. OH MY GOD. I still get all hot and bothered and wibbly every single time I watch Pirates of Penzance, and I've seen it so many times it's embarrassing.

Ben Kingsley tries to sing and fails comprehensively in Twelfth Night, but you have to give him credit for honest effort. :-)

I'm sure I'll think of a dozen more as soon as I click "Post." :D

Dec. 9th, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
Great choices!

You can rent Oklahoma? Well then, cool, I'll do that. 'Tis on the Netflix queue!

I considered a lot of these, actually. Thought of Velvet Goldmine but couldn't recall if the actors themselves actually did much singing (but I did appreciate the snogging).

Definitely considered Gene Wilder, for "Puttin' on the Ritz" if nothing else. :D And Kevin Kline, who sang in De-Lovely pretty well if I recall...

Will Smith, good point! And, hee, I'd forgotten that bit with Kingsley. Nice try, at least.
Dec. 8th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
JOHN C REILLY. - Chicago, among other things

David Hasslehoff *snerk*

ummm - Did Robert Downy Jr sing in the Singing Detective?

Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line

Jamie Foxx in Ray
Dec. 9th, 2008 03:36 am (UTC)
I definitely thought of Reilly, for Chicago! He's the one who stood out for me in that movie. On the whole, though, I didn't care for the film. I admired it, but didn't like it--too hard, cold, cynical. I'm a mushy Moulin Rouge kind of person.

And I also very nearly listed Joaquin Phoenix for that wicked good Johnny Cash impression. If I were listing women, I'd include Reese Witherspoon, too.

Hah, I don't even want to know about Hasselhoff's singing career. And I may have to investigate this Robert Downey Jr film...
(no subject) - pokeystar - Dec. 9th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollyringle - Dec. 10th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dirae - Dec. 11th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollyringle - Dec. 15th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - barbara83 - Dec. 9th, 2008 07:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pokeystar - Dec. 9th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 10th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
Have any of the ASH/Giles fans heard about REPO?!
I didn't take the time to read ALL 41 comments (sorry) but I just wanted to know, since this is about singing...

Has anyone heard about it?

ASH plays the title character, Repo Man, in Repo! The Genetic Opera.

If you haven't heard about it, definitely check out the trailer at http://www.repo-opera.com Seriously, I've seen the movie 6 times, and I just melt EVERY time he does that growly thing *gaahahahaha* *returns to lurking*
Dec. 12th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Have any of the ASH/Giles fans heard about REPO?!
I have heard about it! On NPR of all places. I'm very excited. I've saved it on my Netflix queue already.
Dec. 12th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
R Pattz!
I haven't read the comments yet,so if I'm repeating what someone else has already said, sorry.

Robert Pattinson sings ... I like his voice at least. He's got two songs on the Twilight soundtrack (well one if you bought the cd, but two on the iTunes version because iTunes is the devil.)

I'm probably forgetting people but you named most of the ones I knew about, and a few of them I didn't.
Dec. 15th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
Re: R Pattz!
Hee, I heard about Pattinson's singing, but haven't actually heard it yet. Maybe in a future edition I can include him...
Dec. 15th, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
Well, I must say yay to men who sing!

Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia! He's so charming, and sounds a bit like David Bowie too! Oh, and Colin Firth too (same movie). I didn't know they could sing. Took me completely by surprise. And what a lovely surprise it was!

Dec. 15th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
Cool! I have that on my Netflix queue. I adore Firth, and like Brosnan a lot too, so I look forward to that.
( 53 comments — Leave a comment )

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