So... what are your favorite Musicals / Plays & Stuff

MA-Simon

Senior Member
With covid and working from home. I really enjoy listening to plays and stuff.
Any I should check out?

I very much enjoyed:
-> The Book of Mormon (From the makers of south park)

-> Les Miserables (It goes on 1h longer then expected, but very, very great)

-> Miss Saigon


Lesser so:
-> Wicked. (... It's was just not as engaging. No interesting characters for me.)

I really liked the humor of The book of Mormon and Les Miserables. :D Stuff I can enjoy listening to any day!
 

josephspirits

Active Member
Into the Woods. I was obsessed with the vhs copy we had when I was a kid, and to this day I just love everything about it. All of Sondheim's stuff that I've seen is great, but this is an especially great example of so many phrases, melodies, and rhythms all weaving in and out of each other, coming and going, morphing and evolving. It just makes me so happy and I feel like I always discover new connections across the score and story. I was thinking recently about how it is sort of like "orchestral jazz" in the sense that voices come and go, bouncing off of each other, sometimes beautifully, sometimes shockingly, but always in a way that keeps things alive and moving.
 

josephspirits

Active Member
The two others that come to mind right away are on opposite ends of the spectrum in a way, but The Young Girls of Rochefort (French musical film) and Sweeney Todd (another Sondheim).
 

NoOneKnowsAnything

Active Member
With covid and working from home. I really enjoy listening to plays and stuff.
Any I should check out?

I very much enjoyed:
-> The Book of Mormon (From the makers of south park)

-> Les Miserables (It goes on 1h longer then expected, but very, very great)

-> Miss Saigon


Lesser so:
-> Wicked. (... It's was just not as engaging. No interesting characters for me.)

I really liked the humor of The book of Mormon and Les Miserables. :D Stuff I can enjoy listening to any day!
Oliver!
 
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cuttime

Member
Not a big musical fan in general, but Ulvaeus, Andersson, and Rice knocked it out of the park with "Chess" IMHO:

Bjorn and Benny followed up with some lovely music but a rather weak libretto in "Kristina fran Duvemala".
 

wst3

Lunatic - it's really that simple
Moderator
Tough call!

My parents played all the standard Broadway fare when I was growing up, so I became accustomed to the genre, even as I became somewhat bored with it. From that era I guess Camelot and My Fair Lady are two of my favorites, although I have no burning desire to hear either at the moment.

At the moment Rent and Hamilton would be at the top of my list. I can listen to either of them and find new bits. Just amazing work!

I can also listen to Tommy, JC Superstar, and even Godspell and enjoy them.

Chess just blew me away when the album came out.

Starting Here Starting Now is a remarkable musical review that really captures the soul of the "standard" Broadway musical, without falling prey to many of the pitfalls.

Into the Woods and Wicked are another couple that I enjoy.
 

NoOneKnowsAnything

Active Member
Just a few from recent years off the top of my head:

- Hamilton (if you only have time for one)
- Dear Evan Hansen
- Come from Away
- Hadestown
- In The Heights
- Fun Home
- Heathers
- Groundhog Day
I thought both Hadestown and In the Heights were horrible. I’m surprised Groundhog Day didn’t last longer. Hamilton is genius and that’s about my favorite time of American History. My only criticism about Hamilton is that the vast majority of songs are completely forgettable, probably because I don’t like rap or hip hop, and it exalts the Founding Fathers without properly focusing on the fact that other than John Adams most of them were slave owners and the Constitution itself embraced slavery. However, nothing like Hamilton has ever existed in theater which is what makes it so unique even though the music itself is completely derivative from rap and hip hop. I also find the plot of the show to be a little boring. Alexander Hamilton was also dipped in the utter corruption of Wall Street, which is still and has always been thoroughly corrupt, the show barely touches on this. So there is a false idealization of the Founding Fathers without showing the complexity and imperfections of these very human people. Defenders of the show claim it’s a piece of Art 🖼 so chill, but the current PC climate sweeping the country makes me wonder will it kill this show too for idealizing and exalting slave owners. Also, Alexander Hamilton values power, wealth, and fame as far more important than his supposed stance against slavery which makes him a shameless opportunist (like most Americans today) that’s no where in the musical either. The downfall of America is that it values money more than anything else, so Alexander Hamilton is the prototype for all of America past, present and future. I wish this musical got into that dilemma.

 
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davidhewitson

New Member
Sunday in the Park with George (another Sondheim.) This is the show that made me love musicals. It's about Georges Seaurat, the French painter and his struggle to realise his artistic vision. The score is just beautiful, pointillist just like the paintings.


Floyd Collins. This might have my favourite orchestrations of any musical, and 'Riddle Song' is a remarkable bit of dramatic songwriting. I highly recommend you check out the album.


Porgy and Bess. What can I say, it's the greatest piece of musical theatre writing of all time. I cry every time. The 1976 Houston Grand Opera album recording is delicate and brash in all the right places.


The Pajama Game. A brilliant comedy about labour relations in the 1950s. The whole movie version is up on Archive.org if you have a look on Google, which I highly recommend!

 

Cathbad

Active Member
@MA-Simon If you liked The Book of Mormon, try Avenue Q. It's a hoot.

The Kurt Weill operettas are very atmospheric, with a wonderfully kitsch and grotesque musical language.
 

Harzmusic

Active Member
I thought both Hadestown and In the Heights were horrible.
I loved the british live album of Hadestown, but did not care for the Broadway version. Never had the opportunity to see either live. Maybe that's how our opinions are so different here. Also I can understand anyone who isn't that into rap or hip hop not liking In The Heights. In Hamilton there is much more to love if you don't like the style of music - not so much in In The Heights.


Defenders of the show claim it’s a piece of Art 🖼 so chill, but the current PC climate sweeping the country makes me wonder will it kill this show too for idealizing and exalting slave owners.
I really hope that it will not. It is impossible to make a piece of art (particularly about historically events) that talks about everything at length. Sometimes you have to make your points one at a time, instead of making all the points at once.
Hamilton does make some very great points. The failure of making an additional point more strongly should not render all the other points invalid and the work of art unworthy of presentation.

The makers of Hamilton are well aware of the historical context and the involvement of founding fathers in the system of slavery, and also very aware of the moments where they bent the historical truth in order to tell a better story. They did not erase the involvement of founding fathers in the institution of slavery or Hamilton's problematic links to Wall Street from the story. There was a whole Cabinet Battle #3 that ultimately was cut for time from the final production focusing on the possible abolition of slavery:
And there are countless references to these issues within the final version of the show. They just did not focus on them in favor of a different aspect of the story.

In my opinion it is worth discussing and reflecting upon, maybe worth critizising - but it's not worth canceling.
 

NoOneKnowsAnything

Active Member
I loved the british live album of Hadestown, but did not care for the Broadway version. Never had the opportunity to see either live. Maybe that's how our opinions are so different here. Also I can understand anyone who isn't that into rap or hip hop not liking In The Heights. In Hamilton there is much more to love if you don't like the style of music - not so much in In The Heights.



I really hope that it will not. It is impossible to make a piece of art (particularly about historically events) that talks about everything at length. Sometimes you have to make your points one at a time, instead of making all the points at once.
Hamilton does make some very great points. The failure of making an additional point more strongly should not render all the other points invalid and the work of art unworthy of presentation.

The makers of Hamilton are well aware of the historical context and the involvement of founding fathers in the system of slavery, and also very aware of the moments where they bent the historical truth in order to tell a better story. They did not erase the involvement of founding fathers in the institution of slavery or Hamilton's problematic links to Wall Street from the story. There was a whole Cabinet Battle #3 that ultimately was cut for time from the final production focusing on the possible abolition of slavery:
And there are countless references to these issues within the final version of the show. They just did not focus on them in favor of a different aspect of the story.

In my opinion it is worth discussing and reflecting upon, maybe worth critizising - but it's not worth canceling.
I agree ☝ with you. I don’t want the show cancelled. And, you are right that it stirs a national dialogue that needs to occur. Sadly, I think racism is so ingrained in such a huge amount of Americans that I just don’t believe BLM will be able to sustain lasting and substantive change other than helping those who are already successful or those who would have succeeded despite it.
 

gpax

Senior Member
I add my thumbs up for Sondheim as well. Anything by Sondheim. I was lucky enough to see the original cast of Into The Woods. The recent 90th birthday tribute was remarkable, all from singers sheltered in place. My personal favorite is Sunday In The Park with George. Don’t overlook his earlier stuff like Company.

I tend to enjoy musicals like Cabaret and Chicago. Go further back: Cole Porter’s Anything Goes is a gem of a score. I write musicals, so my 1980s influences/inspirations were A Chorus Line, and Dreamgirls. But I also love (and played Jesus in) Godspell.

Don’t overlook small cast and off-broadway works like the Fantastics, and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (I played Snoopy in a production).

Les Miz is a must if you’ve not been over exposed to it already. Bragging again, I saw the original cast at the Barbican.

I did not expect to like the live TV production of Jesus Christ Superstar that NBC staged in 2018, and reran this year. It’s really a great watch, where John Legend’s fair acting is made up for by his voice.

I confess I’m not a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, though have seen them all. Sometimes it’s the staging.

Just watched Hamilton on Disney. Loved it despite the US History teacher in me. It’s as good as broadway gets.