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Live Theatre / Musicals

GA-MBIT

Member
Jun 16, 2017
646
Haines City, FL
All of the talk in the Hamilton thread has got me in the mood to gush about some theatre.

What are some of your favorite shows? Have you been able to see any on tour or on Broadway? Any deepcut shows that you love or super popular musicals you despise?
 
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MrBlonde

Member
Aug 7, 2018
554
Hey,

I live and work in the NJ/NY area and my fiance and I are big Broadway fans.

Some favorite shows are:
Little Shop of Horrors. I saw it off-Broadway starring Jonathan Groff. It was a lot of fun.
Sweeney Todd. Another off-broadway production, but they built the entire theater to look like the pie shop and had picnic style seating with only 4 musicians it was a very intimate and wonderful experience.
Groundhog Day. It wasn't long on Broadway but for a movie cash in, it had a great heart and sense of humor and the music snuck up on me as really strong.
Beetlejuice. I saw this when it first opened and loved the visuals and the heart. I was devastated by the politicking that got it closed.
Bandstand-great story and awesome cast, but didn't have enough unique to it to get legs and last long.

Those are more recent favorites, but my first show was Beauty and the Beast.

Soundtracks I recommend but didn't see:
Heathers The Musical-its music is too damn good to be ignored. You won't regret it.
Bonnie and Clyde

Majority of the time I like any show I see, but I feel like Rent hasn't aged well. 90s wannabe hippies refusing to pay rent doesn't make the characters endearing, it makes you a jerk to your friend who is a landlord.
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
8,431
Top 5 I’ve seen. Apart from #1, the ordering of this list varies some.

1 - The Wedding Singer (Broadway and Nat Tour)
- Miss Saigon (Nat Tour)
- Next to Normal (only seen regional production)
- Little Shop of Horrors (only seen regional/community productions
- Mama Mia (Broadway, Nat Tour, and Community)

Evita and Aida get honorable mentions.

Top 5 soundtracks of shows I haven’t seen:

- Be More Chill (off-Broadway is better recording)
- Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
- Six: The Musical
- Murder Ballad
- Tuck Everlasting
 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
24,851
Orlando
In The Heights, Hamilton, Book Of Mormon, Avenue Q, Dear Evan Hanson, Bare: The Musical, Be More Chill and Next To Normal have been a lot of my favorite shows, I’m clearly someone who likes Broadway when it tries to take a bit of a different approach to telling stories. I have a love for some older musicals though, especially Rogers & Hammerstein era.

I’ve only ever seen Book of Mormon on Broadway unfortunately, but a lot of touring shows. I’ve seen absolutely Incredible regional performances of In The Heights and Next to Normal though, one in Cocoa Beach and the other Clearwater.

My performance history isn’t too long and I got started pretty late, but I was Captain Von Trapp in Sound of Music, Tevye in Fiddler, The Candyman in Willy Wonka, one of the Wickershams in Seussical and a small side character (I believe named Luke) from Footloose. Learning that choreo was one of the toughest things for me, as I’m really not a dancer at all. I sort of stopped performing in 2015.
 
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rageofthegods

Veteran Member
Sep 10, 2017
2,057
Hey,

I live and work in the NJ/NY area and my fiance and I are big Broadway fans.

Some favorite shows are:
Little Shop of Horrors. I saw it off-Broadway starring Jonathan Groff. It was a lot of fun.
Sweeney Todd. Another off-broadway production, but they built the entire theater to look like the pie shop and had picnic style seating with only 4 musicians it was a very intimate and wonderful experience.
Groundhog Day. It wasn't long on Broadway but for a movie cash in, it had a great heart and sense of humor and the music snuck up on me as really strong.
Beetlejuice. I saw this when it first opened and loved the visuals and the heart. I was devastated by the politicking that got it closed.
Bandstand-great story and awesome cast, but didn't have enough unique to it to get legs and last long.

Those are more recent favorites, but my first show was Beauty and the Beast.

Soundtracks I recommend but didn't see:
Heathers The Musical-its music is too damn good to be ignored. You won't regret it.
Bonnie and Clyde

Majority of the time I like any show I see, but I feel like Rent hasn't aged well. 90s wannabe hippies refusing to pay rent doesn't make the characters endearing, it makes you a jerk to your friend who is a landlord.
Oh God Groundhogs Day was the Bees Knees. The way they did Hope was incredible, it walked that very fine line between being hilarious and emotionally charged while also being technically amazing.
 
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Tbad556

Veteran Member
Aug 17, 2009
6,858
Shows I've Seen:

- Wicked (Broadway and National Tour)
- Les Mis (National Tour)
- Hamilton (National Tour)
- Beetlejuice (Broadway)
- Hadestown (Broadway)

Incredibly hard to rank them by any means, but they all have a special place in my heart (Hamilton or Hadestown would be #1 if I had to choose). Beetlejuice was easily the most fun and deserved better. Hadestown is a masterpiece and I'm incredibly glad I had the chance to see it with the full OG cast. Hamilton lived up to the hype for sure. Les Mis and Wicked are both fantastic and are rightfully classics.
 
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Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
8,431
Any deepcut shows that you love or super popular musicals you despise?
Just noticed this part of the original post. The easy answer is South Pacific (“So Pathetic”), but the true answer for me is Dear Evan Hansen. I haven’t seen the show, but I have severe issues with the show’s over arching narrative where a teen defrauds a community out of thousands of dollars while preying on the emotions of a grieving family so he can get a girl to like him, and the only repercussions he faces is a gap-year. “Anxiety” doesn’t excuse the awful decisions the main character makes, especially when his manipulations just get more involved and the anxiety isn’t even how or why he gets found out. It’s a “hip” musical that did well because hip famous people supported their hip famous friend in the lead, and it won the Tony because hip famous people liked a show where an awful person gets away with his awfulness, essentially, scott-free.

Yeah, “Waving Through A Window” and “You Will Be Found” are catchy, relatable songs, but in the context of the show, they’re lies told by an ungrateful, self-important, liar with a “woe is me” complex.
 
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Tbad556

Veteran Member
Aug 17, 2009
6,858
Just noticed this part of the original post. The easy answer is South Pacific (“So Pathetic”), but the true answer for me is Dear Evan Hansen. I haven’t seen the show, but I have severe issues with the show’s over arching narrative where a teen defrauds a community out of thousands of dollars while preying on the emotions of a grieving family so he can get a girl to like him, and the only repercussions he faces is a gap-year. “Anxiety” doesn’t excuse the awful decisions the main character makes, especially when his manipulations just get more involved and the anxiety isn’t even how or why he gets found out. It’s a “hip” musical that did well because hip famous people supported their hip famous friend in the lead, and it won the Tony because hip famous people liked a show where an awful person gets away with his awfulness, essentially, scott-free.

Yeah, “Waving Through A Window” and “You Will Be Found” are catchy, relatable songs, but in the context of the show, they’re lies told by an ungrateful, self-important, liar with a “woe is me” complex.
Yeaaaah. I really love most of the soundtrack out-of-context, really enjoy what they did with the set design from what I've seen, and obviously Ben Platt's acting was top tier, but I just have very little interest in actually sitting through DEH at this point for this exact reason. I've watched bits and pieces of bootlegs throughout the years and it just doesn't translate well for more at all.
 
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redy2468

Rookie
May 6, 2012
445
Tampa <---> Orlando
Love this thread! Almost majored in Theatre, may minor in it. I'll start with underrated musicals.

Underrated Musicals

Reefer Madness The Musical
: A loose adaptation of the 30's cult movie. Very powerful messages that grow more and more relevant every year. A fun score, wonderfully offbeat, gory, and sometimes creepy. If you are a fan of musicals like Little Shop of Horrors you will probably like this one. A great movie adaptation of the musical is free on Amazon Prime starring Alan Cumming and Kristen Bell.

Sunset Boulevard: Based off the 1950's movie. Winner of Best Musical. However, the musical is not performed that much. I consider it to be Andrew Lloyd Webber's most complete musical. A gorgeous score and a compelling story that somehow seems to balance the genres of Drama, Romance, and Thrillers.

Groundhog Day: Glad to see others bringing it up on this thread. Had the honor seeing it on Broadway. Really takes a closer look at the themes and the story. Beautiful set design. Amazing music and lyrics that compliment each other amazingly well, Tim Minchin may be one of the next Sondheims.

Favorite Musicals, No Particular Order(Most of the above would make my favorite list)

Phantom of the Opera (Broadway, Tour, Local Production)
Something Rotten (Broadway, Tour, Regional)
Beauty and the Beast (Tour, Local Productions, Been in Show)
Les Mis (Broadway, Tour, Local Production)
Rent (Tour, Been in Show)
Sweeney Todd (Off Broadway)
Cabaret (Tour, Been in Show)
Chicago (Tour, Been in Show)

This list would go on and on honestly.

Overrated Musical

Wicked
: Just did not click with me. Very popular. Think the teenage drama plot felt really out of place for Oz, seemed to come out of nowhere.
 

rageofthegods

Veteran Member
Sep 10, 2017
2,057
For students in West LA, the Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills puts on live plays on the regular for something like $20. They put on semi-obscure musicals/imports from Europe along with original plays. I got to see their version of Frankenstein, which I thought was very creepy in all the right ways.
 
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Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
8,431
Overrated Musical

Wicked
: Just did not click with me. Very popular. Think the teenage drama plot felt really out of place for Oz, seemed to come out of nowhere.
I’ll say this about Wicked: I read the novel and Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz before listening to the soundtrack, and I hated how they adapted the (true) source materials to the stage. They took the D-plot of Wicked (which itself relies on the forgotten last 3/4ths of the original story that isn’t really mentioned in the movie), the history of the witches, and made that the entire show. They ignored almost all of the book’s socio-political, revolutionary commentary and desperate, flawed characters, and made the show focus nearly entirely on a single relationship. I was mortified and furious that they made the story so bubblegum.

But, seeing it, it WORKS, and it’s probably in my top 10 (definitely top 15). The relationship between Elphaba and Glinda is incredibly relatable and, by narrowing the focus, allows both characters to become real instead of caricatures. As much as I wanted to see the tiger sex dungeon and the “Truth about the Emerald City,” presented on stage, stuff like that would have made the show completely unyielding and depressingly cold. And while that’s perfect for a novel, it’s not what people want from a “Wizard of Oz Broadway.” The way they adapted it is really impressive.
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
4,071
I’ll say this about Wicked: I read the novel and Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz before listening to the soundtrack, and I hated how they adapted the (true) source materials to the stage. They took the D-plot of Wicked (which itself relies on the forgotten last 3/4ths of the original story that isn’t really mentioned in the movie), the history of the witches, and made that the entire show. They ignored almost all of the book’s socio-political, revolutionary commentary and desperate, flawed characters, and made the show focus nearly entirely on a single relationship. I was mortified and furious that they made the story so bubblegum.

But, seeing it, it WORKS, and it’s probably in my top 10 (definitely top 15). The relationship between Elphaba and Glinda is incredibly relatable and, by narrowing the focus, allows both characters to become real instead of caricatures. As much as I wanted to see the tiger sex dungeon and the “Truth about the Emerald City,” presented on stage, stuff like that would have made the show completely unyielding and depressingly cold. And while that’s perfect for a novel, it’s not what people want from a “Wizard of Oz Broadway.” The way they adapted it is really impressive.
I feel pretty similarly about Wicked. I'm a fan of the book and was frustrated by some of the sanding down, but damnit, the whole thing really does click, and much of the music is exceptional.

I'm a big fan of musicals and have had the opportunity to see more now that I travel to New York more regularly. A few off the top of my head that I've seen done professionally, either on Broadway or in touring or high-end regional productions --
  • The Phantom of the Opera (many times)
  • Love Never Dies
  • Wicked
  • The Prom
  • King Kong
  • Hamilton
  • Waitress
  • Hadestown
  • Beetlejuice
  • Aladdin
  • Frozen
  • Moulin Rouge!
  • Chicago
  • Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical
  • The Band's Visit
  • The Book of Mormon
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
  • Avenue Q
  • Oklahoma!
  • Monty Python's Holy Grail
  • Shrek
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
I've had a chance to see quite a few more in smaller productions over the years and even performed in a couple. Ones I'm still dying to catch include Heathers, whose soundtrack I absolutely adore. Not a big fan of Dear Evan Hansen, Follies, Rent, or Godspell.
 

redy2468

Rookie
May 6, 2012
445
Tampa <---> Orlando
But, seeing it, it WORKS, and it’s probably in my top 10 (definitely top 15). The relationship between Elphaba and Glinda is incredibly relatable and, by narrowing the focus, allows both characters to become real instead of caricatures. As much as I wanted to see the tiger sex dungeon and the “Truth about the Emerald City,” presented on stage, stuff like that would have made the show completely unyielding and depressingly cold. And while that’s perfect for a novel, it’s not what people want from a “Wizard of Oz Broadway.” The way they adapted it is really impressive.
I am clearly in the minority here and have known that for a long time haha. Most of my theatre friends love the show. The show clearly isn't for me, but I am glad so many others enjoy the show. The novel is definitely on my bucket list. Maybe it will make me appreciate the show more even if it is wildly different.
 

Legacy

Veteran Member
Jul 27, 2015
8,431
So, since I just found out the Aida revival (my first actual Broadway show, and one that sneaks in to my top in certain moods), I’ve read up a bit on it, and I am amped.


Leaning in on the history of Egypt’s colonization (and enslavement) of Nubia has the potential to make a powerful show about love a challenging show about power and race. Listening to the soundtrack again, there are a lot of natural emotions that are kinda glossed over that, turned up appropriately, can really hit people hard. Especially if we get an overtly furious Aida and guilt-stricken Radames. The emotions are already there, but are swallowed in a lot of conflicted inner-turmoil. I want visceral.
 

Joe

aka TestTrack321
Staff member
Moderator
Feb 15, 2012
14,199
Pittsburgh, PA
I haven't seen as many musicals as I wished I could have but one of my favorite new podcasts is Musical Splaining with Lindsay Ellis and Kaveh Taherian. Their last episode had guest Hank Green and they discuss Hamilton. Other episodes include Love Never Dies, Six, Frozen, and Cats.

 

rageofthegods

Veteran Member
Sep 10, 2017
2,057
I haven't seen as many musicals as I wished I could have but one of my favorite new podcasts is Musical Splaining with Lindsay Ellis and Kaveh Taherian. Their last episode had guest Hank Green and they discuss Hamilton. Other episodes include Love Never Dies, Six, Frozen, and Cats.

This podcast is magical when they both hate the musical. The Rent and Love Never Dies episode are practically the Great American Poem.
 

Cup_Of_Coffee

Veteran Member
Aug 7, 2018
5,075
BEFORE its on Broadway? Oh boy, this is a bit of a game changer for theaters. I pay attention to theatre news and there was almost no buzz surrounding it. This is a big deal though, new musical, hasn't opened, going to streaming. Wow this has never happened.

I don't want live theatre to die but I also hope another production or 2 does this. But also, yikes for Broadway. Broadway will never be the same again I sadly think.
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
24,851
Orlando
Watching a filmed recording is absolutely nothing like experiencing theater in person, but it's hard for me to argue that shows like this going onto Netflix and Disney+ is a bad thing. They will be seen more on streaming services more in a few days than an entire broadway run ever could expose people to. I hope Broadway bounces back, but things like this going to streaming services is actually a great thing for the exposure and access to live theatre.