Essential Performances 2013 Update: Musical/Comedy Edition

For this year’s annual update, we are abiding by the weird and wacky Hollywood Foreign Press guidelines for this historically-debatable category of Musical or Comedy, which has often included some eyebrow-raising choices that range from appropriate, inspired nominees and winners (like John Cameron Mitchell in Hedwig and the Angry Inch or Twiggy in The Boy Friend), to head-scratchers that sorta make sense (like Yvonne Elliman in Jesus Christ Superstar or Linda Ronstadt in The Pirates of Penzance), to utterly perplexing (like George Hamilton in Zorro, The Gay Blade or Patrick Swayze in Ghost).

In our newest edition, we are judging things a bit differently, taking into consideration each performer’s vocal, musical, comedic and/or romantic prowess, and considering some choices that might seem a bit unorthodox if we’re being totally polite. We’re proud to present a new twist on one of our favorite PopMatters series this year, but please note that many other Musical or Comedy performances can be found throughout our previous editions, so this new list is not an attempt at being definitive, just adding trying to add just a touch more lightness to the mix, but as you will see, the depiction of music in film can often be a dark place despite outward appearances. We will post five performances per day for the next two weeks.

Our featured interview for the series is a staggering one that I feel fits snuggly within the universe we’ve created here this year. As we usually do, we’re featuring a dynamic woman, known for her legendary styles of performance, and sometimes for performing, well, herself flawlessly. Courtney Love is a true force of nature, and has long been a hero of mine, since my time spent living in Seattle in the halcyon days of Live Through This. The rock star, actress, writer, artist, model, icon, hyphenate and I spoke exclusively about what makes a great film star, her favorite singers-turned actors, and how playing music informed her acting performance that makes our list (sorry, spoiler: she appears for The People Vs. Larry Flynt!).

For a look at past Essential Performances series please follow these links:

100 Essential Female Performances

100 Essential Male Performances

2010 Essential Performances Update

Exclusive interviews with Melanie Lynskey, Margaret Cho, Pam Grier, Melissa Leo, Lonette McKee and Jacki Weaver.

2012 Essential Performances Update

Exclusive interview with Piper Laurie

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Candice Frederick is an NABJ award-winning journalist, movie contributor for Bitch Flicks and The Urban Daily, and the film blogger/founder of Reel Talk. Follow her on Twitter.