The Musical Magic of “Julie and the Phantoms”
When you attach Kenny Ortega to anything, you just know it’s going to be great. The famed director/choreographer has previously done the High School Musical film series and the Descendants film series. So if you’re a fan of both, then Julie and the Phantoms will definitely steal your heart.
The musical series stars newcomer Madison Reyes as Julie Molina. Julie has lost her mother and is struggling to find her passion for music again. She rediscovers it when three ghosts that died in 1995 appear in her mother’s studio. Luke, Alex, and Reggie are “the Phantoms” whose dreams were cut short after consuming street dogs. Through their friendship, Julie is performing with newfound confidence and the boys can be the band they’ve always wanted to be. A wonderful twist is that they can only be seen when the band performs.
So let’s discuss what you’ll love about Julie and the Phantoms! We bet you’ll want to watch it more than once. And you won’t be able to stop listening to the soundtrack.
Julie and the Phantoms has so many songs that’ll have you hooked. I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat for a few weeks now and love every song. Each one takes you on the journey the characters go through. The inspirational songs Julie writes with Luke are so incredible, you’ll get goosebumps. You feel such a sense of pride when you see the band perform in the show.
Music plays an important part in the series, especially for Julie. Music helps keep her mother’s memory alive for her and we see a change in her as she grows closer to the band. The song “Wake Up” is such a great start to see Julie embracing performing and music again. After officially joining the boys to form the titular band, Julie and the Phantoms, we get a newly confident Julie in “I Got the Music”. Plus an incredible musical number that’s reminiscent of High School Musical.
There are fun songs from Julie’s former friend; Carrie’s band Dirty Candi. “All Eyes on Me” is – as the kids say – a bop. Especially when you see Alex joining them onstage, dancing his little ghost heart out.
The soundtrack has some great old Hollywood type numbers when the boys visit the Hollywood Ghost Club and meet Caleb (wonderfully played by Cheyenne Jackson). Right off the bat, you can probably sense Caleb’s intentions aren’t pure, but “Other Side of Hollywood” and “Nothing to Lose” are such grand numbers. If you’re one for villain numbers and show-stopping theatrics, these are the songs/numbers for you.
So Many Emotions
I’m just going to come right out and say it; this show will make you cry. It may be targeted to a younger audience, but it deals with some pretty heavy issues. In regards to grief, Julie deals with the passing of her mother. Before she meets Luke, Alex, and Reggie, Julie is still grieving and shutting herself off from performing. Through her bond with Luke, Alex, and Reggie, she is able to love performing again even going through the trunk of her mom’s belongings. You’ll see Julie wearing things from her mother’s trunk that shows her growth and embracing her talent. Julie’s best friend Flynn becomes her biggest supporter especially when she finds out about the band. Flynn is there for Julie every step of the way, even helping her keep up the charade of the boys being holograms.
At first, the deaths of Luke, Alex, and Reggie may seem comical. But it’s actually heartbreaking that their lives were cut so short. This especially comes up when Alex and Reggie show Julie that Luke isn’t as selfish as she thinks he is. They take her to Luke’s parents’ house where Luke is watching his parents celebrate his birthday complete with a cake. Luke also reveals how Alex and Reggie’s family situations weren’t perfect either. Alex’s family didn’t approve of his sexuality and Reggie’s parents were “one fight away from a divorce”.
The show also introduces one of the most genuine and adorable LGBTQ+ relationships. Alex meets a fellow ghost, Willy (played by Booboo Stewart) while walking along Sunset Blvd thinking. The two form such a great bond with Willy helping Alex navigate his newfound ghost powers and coming to terms with his new existence. Alex is a very anxious person and Willy helps him embrace his new life, enjoying himself a bit more.
There’s a song on the soundtrack that gives the series its most devastating and emotional scene that for three weeks, I’d start to cry when I’d think about it. “Unsaid Emily” is a song Luke wrote for his mother before his untimely death about their strained relationship.
What makes this song even more of a tearjerker – and believe me, listening to the song alone does the job – is the montage that accompanies it in the episode. The montage consists of Luke running away after an argument, writing the song in the studio, and rehearsing the song with the band. The emotions erupt as the song reaches the climax as Luke’s parents find out their son’s fate when sirens appear at their window. I’m fine, totally fine.
The lyrics paint such a heartbreaking picture of regret and unsaid things – hence the song’s title – that it’ll forever make me want to grab tissues and just cry. It’s also so beautifully sung by Charlie Gillespie who portrays Luke. I hope we get to hear more heartfelt tunes from him soon.
It’s devastating and it leaves you emotional for a good few weeks. It’ll leave you feeling emotions about loved ones you’ve lost connection with. “Unsaid Emily” has been received well by fans. Charlie has revealed he’s had fans message him about the great impact the song has had on them following a loss.
The behind the scenes goodness doesn’t stop there either, Paul Becker, one of the choreographers for the show has also uploaded behind the scenes footage on his Youtube channel. Kenny Ortega has also uploaded some rehearsal footage of the musical numbers on his Instagram profile. Find and follow us on Twitter @capeandcastle to share your thoughts on Julie and the Phantoms and be sure to check out our site for more articles!