Okay, so I am an absolute theatre nut. I spend more than I should on theatre tickets. I’m really lucky to live close enough to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Toronto, and Shaw Festival. They all feature different productions, and through them, I have managed to see a lot of different shows. I couldn’t possibly pick my favourite shows, as it changes constantly, but not a day goes by that I don’t have a song from musical theatre stuck in my head, or come up with a Shakespeare quote to apply to a situation.
Here are some of my current obsessions:
I’m pretty much convinced that this show was written for me. If you have seen season 3 of Slings and Arrows, you’ll know there is often (not always, but often) a fair bit of tension between dramatic and musical theatre performers. I LOVE that someone came up with the idea of combining Shakespeare and a musical (yes, I know this has been done before: West Side Story, Kiss Me Kate, The Lion King, etc, but this has Shakespeare as a character, and involves writing a musical during the Renaissance). On top of that, Christian Borle seems to be wonderful as Shakespeare (won a Tony), and I have always loved Brian D’Arcy James. His work in the soundtrack blows me away. I’m hoping that on our layover in NY, we may sneak to the theatre to catch a matinee. We have a lot of fun singing along with the soundtrack, in the meantime.
This show won the Tony for Best Musical this year. I really enjoy all of the music, and actually have the opening number stuck in my head regularly, but I have to link to this one. I cannot get over how talented this girl is. 11 years old, and her acting and singing is amazing! A friend of mine is the luckiest person alive, and won tickets to the show, so she showed up a few hours ahead of time to pick up her tickets, and the girl was bombing around the lobby, playing like any average kid, which I think is the coolest story. Anyway, the song is catchy, and is regularly quoted and sung around the condo. Plus the show CLEANED UP at the Tony’s.
We were in New York two months before that season’s Tony’s. We had a pretty established schedule – had to see Les Mis, Violet, and If/Then. We were strongly encouraged to see Bridges of Madison County (amazing choice, even though it was snubbed for the Tony’s). We really wanted to see Cabaret with Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams, but it was sold out basically forever. Instead, we tossed around the idea of Rocky, which Joaquin was really excited about. When we got to NY, everyone suggested Gentleman’s Guide was amazing, but we stuck with Rocky. Rocky may have closed quickly, but I’m still glad we went to see it. It was so intense, and I don’t think it will ever tour. If it does, the production won’t be able to capture the staging of the final fight scene in the same way. Gentleman’s Guide, on the other hand, will be in Toronto next spring! We’ve been listening to the soundtrack a lot, and I have boned up on the plot. I CAN’T WAIT to see it performed live, with all of the crazy acting and costume changes. I’m pretty interested to see how they get the audience to root for someone who is pretty morally corrupt, too.
These are all fairly new choices, but I also need to throw it back to some older classics:
Since I discovered this musical around the age of 8, it has been my favourite. I also have a slight obsession with Ramin Karimloo. I had already seen Les Miserables 6 times, but when the show came to Toronto for its pre-Broadway run, I went to see it three times (in the front row each time). At one point, I applauded so hard that I burst a blood vessel in my hand.
Then, as I mentioned, we went to NY to see it on Broadway, with mostly the same cast, but beefed up. I was in the front row again, and it was one of the most incredible experiences. I really think you can never see it enough times.
I have also seen this show multiple times. I used to be kindof sick of it, and think it was overdone. But then I saw it again after a long hiatus, and I was reminded how powerful it is. The reason it is so popular is because it is so incredible. Music of the Night was the best example of this. Everyone knows it and sings it, but you can never hear it too many times, as long as it is performed well. I have seen the show six times, and will be one of the first in line to see it when it returns to Toronto in December. Contrary to what you might think, my obsession with Ramin is not the reason for my love of Phantom, but it certainly does help.
On a related note, I was a big skeptic about Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom which takes place ten years later. Then Joaquin bought me the CD and I was so hooked. I feel bad that the show never really got a chance, because flaws aside, it had real potential.
I host a weekly radio show about musical theatre, but I have been on hiatus all summer. Writing this post has gotten me so excited to get back in the booth. I have already come up with a great list of themes, but let me know if you have any suggestions!
Questions for you:
What is your favourite show?
Have you seen any of the shows I’ve mentioned?
Music of the Night: love it or hate it?