Posted in Musings on Musicals 🎵, Theatre

My Favourite Musicals | Musings on Musicals 🎵 #1

Hello! Welcome to the first in my Musings on Musicals, this is a new post series where I will be sharing my thoughts on everything musical theatre-related. It’s basically the content I was doing before I had my year hiatus but under a flashy new name that gives it it’s own special category. To kick this new series off, I wanted to share my absolute favourite shows. And, I mean these are my all-time favourites, not just current favourites.

Now, it would be impossible for me to actually put them into a list so I’ve instead picked my top nine and put them into tiers – everyone loves a good tier ranking system don’t they? So, tier one includes my top three absolute favourite musicals but I can’t put them in a 123 order so just know that I love all three of those equally. Tier Two is the my next three favourites which although I completely adore, just don’t quite make it to tier one and again, within their tier, they aren’t in any particular order and so on. I hope this makes sense, it did in my head!

Tier One

Hamilton – Some say it’s overrated, I say we don’t talk about it enough for my liking. I really do think Hamilton is the best musical ever written. It’s achingly smart and the impact it has made, not only on theatre, but in modern pop culture is an incredible feat.

Rent – This is the musical that catapulted me from musical fan to super-fan. I think I’ll write a whole post about it when I’m feeling sentimental but the first time I encountered Rent was when I watched the film and I cried at four different moments. Rent is a total marmite show, you either love it or hate it and I completely adore it.

Les Miserables – This is another show that really got me into musicals and, well, it’s just a classic, isn’t it? This is a show that all my family love and we used to play the songs on long car journeys. For me, this show is greater than just my love of theatre, it’s also a part of my childhood and reminds me of family memories.

Tier Two

Bare: A Pop Opera – It’s the style of the music – to me more rock than “pop” – and the heartbreaking story that I really love with this one. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever related to a song from a show so much as Nadia’s A Quiet Night At Home. I wish more people knew this show because it deserves so much more love.

Come From Away – I always think of Come From Away as a musical hug. I’ve seen it twice in the West End and can’t wait to see it again once theatres reopen. I can’t help but smile listening to this amazing true story and Me and the Sky is one of my favourite songs.

Jesus Christ Superstar – I’m slightly ashamed that this is the oldest musical on this list as it’s only from 1970 but I’m usually more of a contemporary musical gal. There’s something about this show that I love though. It’s thought-provoking with amazing songs and I couldn’t tell you the amount of times we’ve watched the Glenn Carter version in my house.

Tier Three

Once On This Island – This is a really recent favourite as I only listened to it this year but it has grown so much on me from multiple listens – I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t move up a tier in time. This show is just gorgeous.

In The Heights – Weirdly, when figuring out this list, I was a bit surprised I found myself putting In The Heights this high but I can’t not put it here because it really is one of my favourites. I can’t wait for film next year so that I can rewatch the story whenever I want and more people can discover In The Heights.

The Last 5 Years – Again, I didn’t really expect to put this here and I was actually between this and Bat Boy which I’ve bumped down a tier. It’s the lyrics that I love most of all with The Last 5 Years, especially in songs like Nobody Needs To Know.

Honourable Mentions

Whistle Down the Wind – Although Whistle Down the Wind isn’t an especially high-ranking favourite for me anymore, it was my first ever favourite musical so I think it needs an honourable mention. After seeing a production as a kid I fell in love with the show and it was the first musical I bought to play on my portable CD player.

Bat Boy – As I said earlier, this show nearly made it to tier three but I’ve moved it to honourable mentions instead. I love Bat Boy and it’s my favourite funny musical.

Dear Evan Hansen – It’s here because I felt weird not putting it somewhere, I love Dear Evan Hansen and You Will Be Found is a song that easily brings a tear to my eye.

What are your favourite musicals? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Theatre

5 Musicals That Could Actually Have Good Sequels

Musical theatre sequels aren’t really much of a thing – apart from the odd exception here and there. Love Never Dies is one everyone thinks of when it comes to theatrical sequels but then you have shows like The Cursed Child where you see two performances anyway, it’s basically like the second show is a sequel. So, I’ve put together a few shows that I think could have potentially amazing sequels.

**Warning, spoilers ahead!**

Bare: A Pop Opera

I’d love to see the aftermath of the events of Bare, maybe with the sequel beginning a few months down the line. It would be so interesting to see how Peter, Nadia and co. handle their grief and graduate school to start new lives in university/college. We could see Peter find acceptance in his new community and maybe even find love again. Bare: A Pop Opera does such a great job at showing the complexities that can form between faith and sexuality so a sequel where Peter learns he can be both Catholic and openly gay in a far more accepting society than St Cecilia’s would be really heart-warming and such an important message for young viewers. This would be especially moving since we see his mum start to overcome her initial shock at realising Peter is gay and decide that she will ultimately love her son no matter what in Bare so the sequel could also dive more into Peter’s relationship with his mum.

I would also love to see a proper friendship develop between Nadia and Ivy. Their budding enemies-to-friends storyline only comes into effect in the last few scenes so to see Nadia be a supportive friend to Ivy as she makes the decision of what to do about her pregnancy would be great. As the school community seems quite traditional in their beliefs I’d imagine Ivy would be encouraged to keep her baby. In which case, the sequel could also tackle the topic of teenage motherhood.

Also, I just feel like I need more Sister Chantelle being a legend in my life so a sequel would be fab. K, thanks.  

Hamilton

Ok, so there’s a fairly obvious obstacle with this one in that Alexander Hamilton dies in the show and it’s based on real history so there’s no bringing him back to life for a fun zombie spin-off… or isn’t there???? Erm, no, I’m going to say there isn’t. I think a Hamilton sequel could work though if it was focused on Elizabeth Schuyler-Hamilton, AKA one of the most inspiring women in history. The show could tell the story her life after the death of her husband, which was hardly uneventful. Do I need to remind you she raised funds for the Washington Monument, spoke out about slavery and established the first private orphanage in New York City?

I, for one, would not say no to learning more about her in glorious musical form (not say no… see what I did there?).

Also, I saw a YouTube comment one time that had the theory that the show is called “Hamilton” because that could refer to Alexander or Eliza and that blew my mind and makes me think this sequel is totally justified. So, Lin, I know you’re really busy right now but like, just think about it ok?

Les Miserables

Lol jk, a sequel wouldn’t work because everyone dies. Except for Marius and Cosette. And no one really cares about them.

In The Heights

Sorry to throw another Lin Manual Miranda musical into the mix, I know he’s very busy and has no time for sequels but hear me out. Benny and Nina have some of the best love songs in musical theatre so I just want to more from them. I want to see Nina finish her degree at Stanford, move back to Washington Heights, marry Benny, have an amazing career in her field whilst Benny is also building up to an amazing career, have children with Benny, grow old with Benny and retire to a nice house paid for by the hard-earned money they both got from their amazing careers. Is that too much to ask?

Besides, I don’t want it to all be exclusively about Benny and Nina (but mostly about Benny and Nina), I also want to see Usnavi and Vanessa’s second date and I want Usnavi’s shop to be the most successful spot in Washington Heights. I want Vanessa to get to travel on an airplane as her and Usnavi jet off on a trip together. I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO BE HAPPY, OK. Is that TOO MUCH to ask? Is it?  

It’s ok, I’ve calmed down now… let’s move on, shall we?

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Now, for this musical sequel, wouldn’t it be so cool to see Jamie a few years down the road living his life as the iconic adult we all knew he was going to be? In this case, the sequel would just work because Jamie is just such a fun character. Another show all about him would definitely be an exciting treat for theatre fans. I don’t really have many ideas for the story as such but Jamie Campbell is a huge fan of the show and has seen it many times so it could go full theatre-ception by showing the adult Jamie New going to see a musical about himself from when he was younger which is the real musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie… I’m not even sure if that’s a good idea or just plain confusing but now I really want them to try it.

Something Rotten!

I’m sad this musical hasn’t made it’s way to the UK yet but as the story of Nick, Nigel, Bea, Portia, Nostradamus and Shylock ends up with them having to leave London for America as exiles it would be great to see them bringing musicals to New England. It would be an amazing chance for some more silly antics for this gang of ridiculous individuals, especially if they brought Omelette! to America. It would also be entertaining to see how Nick and Nigel would fair as fathers and we could maybe even see the brothers coming to loggerheads over which of them has the most theatrical family. I’m thinking a Cheaper by the Dozen 2-style family feud comedy show would work well here.

So, there you have it. Those are just a few musicals I think could work as sequels, from the sincere to the silly. I’d love to hear your suggestions too!