Musical Review: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Details: More information can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/the-25th-annual-putnam-county-spelling-bee-circle-in-the-square-theatre-vault-0000003219 and https://www.mtishows.com/the-25th-annual-putnam-county-spelling-bee

Score: 8/10

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical and a comedy about a spelling bee. I think the most distinctive and appealing part of this show is not just the humor, but the substantial amount of improvisation and audience participation.

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Musical Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Details: I couldn’t find any official site with information so here’s the wikipedia site and the NY Times review: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame_(musical) https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/19/theater/review-hunchback-of-notre-dame-at-paper-mill-playhouse.html

Score: 8.4/10

This production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. There is no doubt in my mind that if this show actually made it to Broadway (which it didn’t), it would have been flooded with Tony Award nomination and a few Tony Awards as well.

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Musical Review: Next to Normal

Details: Won a bunch of awards including a few Tony Awards. More information can be found at http://www.playbill.com/production/next-to-normal-booth-theatre-vault-0000001652

Score: 8.2/10

Next to Normal is a heart wrenching musical that hits a lot of the same emotional notes as Dear Evan Hansen, except the focus is less on a teenager and more on a parent. It’s advertised as a rock opera but sounds more like pop rock to me. Whatever it is, I really enjoyed both the story and the music.

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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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