My Favorite Broadway Musicals (as of right now) and My Favorite Songs from Said Musicals (as of right now):
Why, you may ask? Because I have a lot of emotions and opinions that led me to spend an hour in the shower figuring this list out I just want to share a little bit more about myself with you guys. ;3
#1. Hamilton: An American Musical
Now, hold on. Before you just write me off as someone who just hopped on the bandwagon for the sake of hopping on the bandwagon- let me explain.
Like many people, Hamilton means a lot to me for many different reasons. Also like many others, it’s a piece of art that has moved and touched me in ways that very few others in any type of media have.
To start with, it had a million things going for me before I even gave the album a listen.
The American Revolution is my favorite subject in history. Always has been. Always will be. I actually remember learning about Hamilton’s decision at Yorktown to empty all of their bullets out and charge in practically unarmed, and thinking that whoever was in charge was straight up insane. I also remember turning around to my 7th grade classmates saying, “That worked? That actually worked?!” Surprise: no one cared.
I am a young writer, suffering from incredible amounts of self doubt like every other writer ever constantly wondering if choosing such an uncertain career path is the right thing to do, and if it’s even possible to make a real difference armed with nothing but words and ideas. This musical is “a love letter to writers”.
Alexander Hamilton and I are birthday buddies. Not kidding. I’m also the same personality type as John Laurens, so if I could time-travel and Alex and I could meet up…I think things could go well. Just saying.
I also have a bit of a legacy complex. Nowhere near as severe as Hamilton’s, but it’s real. It’s a thing.
My Top 5 Hamilton Songs because I like to torture myself:
1. “My Shot” 2. “Non-Stop” 3. “Burn” 4. “Satisfied” 5. “Who Lives Who Dies Who Tells Your Story”
I’m not going to go into detail because I have three other musicals to get to, and this post is already way longer than I expected. But if you really want to know- feel free to ask me, and I’d be happy to go in depth about it. Assuming people are still reading this.
#2- The Phantom of the Opera
Alright, I’m not going to go into this too much, since I know this musical gets a lot of flack, but here are my reasons:
It was the first non-Disney musical theatre show that really got me interested in the world of Broadway and musical theatre in general.
Say what you like about the story, but the music is gorgeous and also incredibly catchy.
I’m a soprano 1. I live for high notes and well…Christine’s last note in the title song is what I aspire to. I can hit it and notes above it, but I need more training in order to go about reaching and sustaining it properly without straining my voice
I love roses. And masks. And Christine’s dresses except for that God-awful brown one in “Past the Point of No Return”. Plus the “Masquerade” one is a bit gaudy, but mainly the brown one. Ugh. The whole production is just very aesthetically pleasing to me. My dream is to attend a real masquerade ball once in my life…let me dream.
It was my first Broadway show. ‘nuff said
My Top 5 Phantom Songs:
1. “Think of Me” 2. “Music of the Night” 3. “Phantom of the Opera” 4. “Past the Point of No Return” 5. “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”
I really wanted to put in the Finale, but I felt it was kind of cheating due to how many melodies resurface during it.
#3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame Stage Musical (La Jolla and Papermill Playhouse)
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Ink! You said BROADWAY musicals.” Listen. This should have been on Broadway. It met all of the qualifications. It was dazzling, had an unbelievable cast, gorgeous score and lyrics by Alan Menken and freaking Steven Schwartz for crying out loud! It was incredibly well received by audiences, but it is rumored that the cost is what killed it which is a load of horse crap in my opinion due to the fact they had a full choir. Honestly, I’ve heard tons of theories. All I know for certain is: this musical is phenomenal, and I’m glad that the rights are available to professional theatre companies, that way the show can continue to live on. They also have a magnificent album on iTunes and YouTube, so check it out!! So, here very quickly are my reasons:
Michael Arden. From his angelic, powerhouse of a voice, to his integration of Quasimodo’s hearing impairment which leads to his affected speech in the show, his insane physicality, and the vulnerability and honesty he brings to his performance. He’s just a phenomenal artist in every respect, and I felt like I learned so much as an actor just by listening and watching his performances.
The story is incredibly rich. This incarnation serves as the perfect balance between Victor Hugo’s original source material and the Disney movie’s beautiful songs along with brand new orchestrations and songs that just add so much life and depth to the story.
The storytelling. The choices in set, design, and costume adds so much to this tale. It has some of the most brilliant choices I’ve seen on stage. I just- you have to see it, there are too many things to touch upon.
The freaking symbolism. There’s so much of it in this show, but not too much that you feel overwhelmed. Just enough that you walk away feeling inspired and wanting to dig deeper and really reflect on life and society and the value of life and death….it’s just awesome, okay?!
The moment Michael Arden transforms from an ‘ordinary man’, walking upright in a plain tunic to Quasimodo on stage with nothing but some black lines he smears on his face to represent his facial deformities, a green cloak, a pillow on a rope tied across his body to be his ‘hump’, and the way he twists his body to make it all come together. Every time I watch that part of the scene, where he turns around to face the audience as Quasi and he rings the bell, I get chills.
This show has the best Entr’acte I’ve heard in my entire life. If you love epic choral pieces- definitely look it up. Also, you haven’t heard the definitive version of “Hellfire” until you’ve heard Patrick Page do it justice. And I’m not just saying that because he always likes my stuff on twitter.
#4: Les Miserables
I really don’t think I have to explain myself very much here. It’s a classic piece of musical theatre with an epic, sweeping score, rebellion, revolution, gorgeous ballads, all surrounding a message of hope and redemption during humanity’s darkest moments. It’s right up my alley. But, I’m not gonna lie- like many of you, the movie was my first real introduction into the show, but since then I’ve watched the 10th anniversary concert and I’ve done my homework on the show’s history. Colm Wilkinson rocks my socks. God bless him.
My top 5 Les Mis Songs:
1. “One Day More” 2. “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” 3. “Bring Him Home” 4. “Valjean’s Soliloquy” 5. “I Dreamed a Dream”
Now, please don’t skewer me on your pitchforks for not including “On My Own”. It was a very close 6 for me. “Valjean’s Soliloquy” has a lot of personal significance for me, and I just couldn’t overlook it. Plus, I listened to Susan Boyle’s version of “I Dreamed a Dreamed” wayyy to many times on my iPod nano to let that one slide. “Do You Hear The People Sing” is of course incredible, but it’s just really, really short.
Anywho, there you have it. That’s like three hours of sleep I’ll never get back. I hope you guys enjoyed it. If you did, go ahead and tell the world what YOUR favorite shows and songs are and why! Make it a tag if you like! That might be cool.
If anyone out there enjoys my ranting and wants to see me dissect each of my favorite songs or musicals- feel free ask me and I’ll dedicate a whole post to each answer.
Sometimes there are no words, no clever quotes to neatly sum up what has happened that day. Sometimes you do everything right, everything exactly right, and still you feel like you failed. Did it need to end that way? Could something have been done to prevent the tragedy in the first place?