Musical Review: The Phantom of the Opera

Details: Saw the version starring Sierra Boggess and Norm Lewis a while ago. The official site is http://www.thephantomoftheopera.com/

I’ve listened to the music from the Phantom of the Opera for decades now. Finally, I had the chance to watch the show a while ago and I thought it was good. I thought Les Miserables was better, but it was still good.

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Musical Review: In Transit

Details: I saw it when it was on Broadway in 2016. You can find the playbill at http://www.playbill.com/production/in-transit-circle-in-the-square-theatre-2016-2017

In Transit is a musical that is performed purely A Capella. There is no background music. Everything is performed by voice. While I enjoyed the show, it did remind me just how much I enjoy live instrumental music.

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Musical Review: A Chorus Line

Details: The original won a bunch of Tony Awards. I saw the 2006 revival version. The playbill can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/a-chorus-line-gerald-schoenfeld-theatre-vault-0000009540

A Chorus Line is one of those legendary musicals that made a bunch of money, won a bunch of awards, but came out decades ago. I had a chance to watch the 2006 revival a while back and, though some of the subject matter is dated, I really enjoyed it.

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Musical Review: Miss Saigon

Details: There is currently a revival of Miss Saigon on Broadway, but the version I saw originally had Lea Salonga in the lead role. The playbill says that it opened on Broadway in 1991. You can find the playbill for the original Broadway performance here: http://www.playbill.com/production/miss-saigon-broadway-theatre-vault-0000012256

When I think about the show Miss Saigon in the context of the current public and political discourse, it’s hard not to feel some discomfort. Miss Saigon is a musical that gave a lot of Asians a chance to perform on Broadway, a place with few if any roles for that ethnic group. Lea Salonga, now a Broadway legend, was discovered through Miss Saigon. On the other hand, Miss Saigon is your classic “white savior” story that takes place mostly in a whore house and has a lot of scantily clad Asian women running around on stage for a lot of the show.

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Musical Review: In the Heights

Details: Won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2008. Opened on Broadway in 2008. You can find the playbill at http://www.playbill.com/production/in-the-heights-richard-rodgers-theatre-vault-0000003064

In the Heights is the musical that first brought Lin Manuel Miranda to fame. It’s an entertaining show, though personally, not my cup of tea. You can see Lin Manuel’s fingerprints all over the show, but it’s no Hamilton.

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Musical Review: Dear Evan Hansen

Details: Won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2017, among others. The playbill for the original Broadway cast can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/dear-evan-hansen-music-box-theatre-2016-2017. The official site is https://dearevanhansen.com/

In the last few years, Book of Mormon established itself as the best show on Broadway. Then Hamilton came around and did the same. Now comes Dear Evan Hansen and, though I wouldn’t say that it’s definitively better than Hamilton, it is the successor to Hamilton as the next best show on Broadway.

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Musical Review: Waitress

Details: Nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2016. The playbill for the original Broadway cast can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/waitress-brooks-atkinson-theatre-vault-0000014142. The official site is http://waitressthemusical.com/index.php

The above clip is the first time I’d ever heard of the musical Waitress. It was at the 2016 Tony Awards and after that, I was desperate to see more of this show. Waitress is an adorable, funny romantic comedy with music written by Sara Bareilles.

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Musical Review: School of Rock

Details: Nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2016. The playbill for the original Broadway cast can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/school-of-rock-the-musical-winter-garden-theatre-vault-0000014098. The official site is https://schoolofrockthemusical.com/

School of Rock is a musical based on the movie of the same name. Like Sister Act and Legally Blonde, this is a fairly shallow musical that isn’t great for adults looking for something better than your average musical. This is a good show to bring your family to though.

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Musical Review: Hamilton

 

Details: Won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2016, among others. Playbill for the original Broadway cast can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/hamilton-richard-rodgers-theatre-vault-0000014104. The official site is http://www.hamiltonbroadway.com/

I’ve read a lot about Hamilton that refer to it as not just one of the most successful Broadway shows of all time, but as a phenomena. I don’t know about that, but Hamilton has accomplished something that few shows have ever done. Hamilton has shown me something new. In fact, Hamilton has shown me something that I could not ever have conceived of. Hamilton is a ridiculously entertaining musical that combines numerous musical styles along with a civics lesson about Alexander Hamilton and American history. The result is a show that is so original and contemporary that I doubt anyone other than Lin Manuel Miranda could have come up with it, much less executed it so successfully.

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Musical Review: Once

Details: Won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2012. The playbill for the original Broadway cast can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/once-bernard-b-jacobs-theatre-vault-0000013862. The official site is http://oncemusical.com/

Many shows are mostly dramas or comedies with romance thrown in on the side. Once is not one of them. Once is undoubtedly a romance first and foremost. It’s a beautiful, bittersweet, simple, yet stylistic story about love found, love lost, and how music can weave those feelings together.

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