Musicals that make me feel like I’m a Broadway baby

Make sure to check the rest of the Fave Wave: Installment 1

I have always loved going to the theater to see musicals. This love stems not so much from the shows, but from my grandparents’ love for the stage, as they introduced me to theater-going at an early age and often played Broadway soundtracks on their stereo for me. In my naivety I thought that everyone went to the theatre multiple times a year. It was, after all, normal for my grandparents to take me to see the drama productions at New Bedford High School when I was in elementary and middle school. They also took me and my sister to see the New Bedford Festival Theatre at the Zeiterion every summer that they volunteered with the organization. (I remember many hours spent helping my grandmother seal tickets inside envelopes for the mail, which is how we earned our free seats.) Looking at the Festival Theatre’s calendar, I can tell you that I attended in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2008, but I might be forgetting some of the shows I saw there.

I still love going to the theater and try to see at least one show a year. Usually I manage to  attend one performance at the Zeiterion and another performance at the Providence Performing Arts Center (my two favorite theaters). I realize that it might seem odd for a young woman to attend a show by herself, but I enjoy it so much! I like going with friends and loved ones, but there’s something liberating about flying solo. Side note: if you’ve never gone to the movies (less stigma than the theater) by yourself, you should definitely try it!

What follows are a list of my all-time favorite musicals. Most of them are arranged in no particular order. However, I do have to say that my number one is, well, my number one.

#1. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

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I am OBSESSED with this musical telling the biblical story of the dream-prophet Joseph, whose own brothers betrayed him but in such a manner that Joseph became one of the most powerful men in Egypt. I love how the show was clearly written for young children, but let’s be honest, I am nothing more than an over-grown child. There is a wide range of music genres in Joseph so that the show is sure to appeal to everyone. Like most shows targeted to children, there are many one-liners that have a different meaning for the adults in the crowd. Give “Potiphar” a listen and you will see what I mean!

Why you should see the show: family drama (including attempted murder/selling a sibling into slavery), entrepreneurship/chasing the American dream, overcoming class distinctions, revenge vs. forgiveness, and Elvis impersonators. Best number? Definitely “Benjamin Calypso.” Damn song’s catchy.

Not sold yet? Listen to the soundtrack’s remix, which serves as the show’s lively curtain call, and you will hear all of the best songs from the show.


Close Seconds

Les Miserables

Why you should see the show: immersive experience of one of the many French revolutions, star-crossed lovers, evolution of a hero, bad-guys-who-ain’t-so-bad (they’re just doing their job). Why you should watch the film: Hugh Jackman and Helena Bonham Carter.

Phantom of the Opera

Why you should see the show: complicated melodies and harmonies, accessible opera, stunning costumes and special effects, touching story about the (relative) beauty of humanity.

Hamilton

Why you should see the show: more complicated melodies and harmonies, elevation of rap into white-bread America, fun review of the American Revolution for AP US History (goodbye studying!), cultural capital.

The Producers

Why you should see the show: the Broadway equivalent of a catch-22 and the best poor-taste Hitler jokes.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Why you should see the show: amazing special effects, one actor playing basically every role in the show, jokes about the Victorian age and British aristocracy.

Evita

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Why you should see the show: killer soundtrack, tango, a deep understanding of South American politics. Why you should see the movie: Madonna killing her performance as Evita. Take that, haters!

Kinky Boots

Why you should see the show: drag queens doing what drag queens do best, adult men overcoming their insecurities and growing a pair, Cyndi Lauper-authored soundtrack.

What are your favorite musicals/musical movies?