Classic Movie Musicals with Dena Hill

The last few years have been pretty big for musicals. Hamilton took Broadway by storm in 2015, sparking a fresh interest in staged musicals. Then in 2016, La La Land sang it’s way into many a movie-goers heart. I’ve been musical fan since before I can remember so this renewed excitement is very welcome. So, you can imagine my excitement when the McKinney Classic Film Festival announced their 2017 lineup would feature Classic MGM movie musicals.

Unfortunately, I will be in London during the festival. I know, it’s a hard life. I was very sad to find out that the festival was taking place while I’m on vacation, but I still wanted to share info about the festival with all of you! What better way to tell you about the festival than by catching up with Founder and Director, Dena Hill!

You may remember that we featured a Q&A with Dena ahead of last year’s festival. I’m so excited that she’s agreed to come back for second Q&A! Enjoy!


The festival is now in it’s third year, how has it changed since the first festival in 2015?
The main thing is that the festival became a non-profit organization last year. (We do this event for love.)

How has your role as a founder changed and grown since the festival started?
It became more of an organizational role than one of just planning or concepts.

What are some of the things you’ve learned starting a festival from the ground up?
I had underestimated the commitment it takes to create an annual event. It is ever evolving.

What led y’all to choose musicals this year?
It seemed the next logical progression after dramas and comedies. Plus, we all love musicals!

I know last time I caught up with y’all, you were interested in increasing the educational component of the festival. Is that something you were able to do for this festival and if so how?
It’s a process. Our speakers are adding multi-media elements about different aspects of the films.

What are the plans for upcoming festivals? Are you planning on expanding or adding to any future festivals and if so what kind of programs are you looking to add?
We are discussing a WWI era commemoration for next year, so we’re trying to decide what that will mean for film choices and events.

We would love to expand the festival, but that is down the road.

Okay, so now for some additional fun questions. What is your favorite movie musical?

Who would win in this dance battle? and why? Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers or Cyd Charisse
Gene, Gene, Gene! No contest! But they are all exquisite and hard to compare. Still, Gene Kelly was brilliant, multi-talented (dancer, singer, choreographer, actor, and director), and sexy.

What show tune are you most likely to sing in the car?
Whatever pops into my head! This week it’s “Be a Clown” (by Cole Porter) from THE PIRATE!


As you can see, Dena and the festival team have been busy at work prepping for this year’s festival. I know I’m also excited for what they have planned for future festivals. One thing I love about the McKinney Classic Film Festival is that it’s run by true film fans. They know film and they appreciate the classics.

If you’ve recently found yourself discovering musicals, I strongly urge you to head up to McKinney to watch these classic movie musicals. The festival runs August 23rd through August 25th.

The Movie Musicals Featured Are:

GiGi (1958)

movie musicals - gigi


The Band Wagon (1953)

This film stars Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. The latter is my answer to the dance-off question I asked Dena. She is a dancing goddess and I love watching her!

movie musicals - band wagon


Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)

If for some reason you still need convincing, you can read about how Meet Me In St. Louis is not only one of my favorite movie musicals, but how I watch it every Christmas Eve.

movie musicals - meet me in st. louis


The Pirate (1948)

movie musicals - pirate


On The Town (1949)

movie musicals - on the town


A big thank you to Dena for joining me, once again, to talk classic films. If you head out to the festival be sure to let me know what you see! Also, please note that while all the picture I have here are in black and white, the films are in color.


More Info About the McKinney Classic Film Festival




Single Film Tickets:

$15 Adult; $10 Child/Student/Senior Admission

Film Buff Passes (includes admission to all five films)

$60 Adult; $40 Child/Student/Senior
*limited availability


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