Musicals That You Should See If You Enjoy Theatre
Stage productions that make me happy and probably will make you happy as well.
I think it's safe to assume no one cares for a reboot of a classic, but hear me out. Wicked is a new telling of the old fashioned Wizard of Oz, told from the Wicked Witch's perspective. The story starts at the end of the events of Wizard of Oz. Glenda announces the death of the Wicked Witch and the town celebrates the arrival of peace. From there, the rest of the story is told in flashbacks to Glenda and the Wicked Witch's (known as Elphaba) pasts, which are more telling than any of the townfolk understand. Some very familiar faces, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and even Dorothy are featured in and out of the story, yet the plot centers around Elphaba and Glenda's complicated relationship. This story recounts tales of friendship, trust, and sisterhood. In many ways, it even reflects societal perspective. Definitely a must watch.
Legally Blonde is a musical spinoff of its original film counterpart, Legally Blonde. Star Sorority girl and perfectly stereotypical "blonde", Elle Woods, ends up getting dumped by her long time boyfriend, Warner, who graduates his undergrad to pursue law at Harvard University. Elle, determined to win him back, applies to the Harvard Law program, is accepted based on merits, and reveals that she is extremely good at law. Near the climax of the movie, Elle even gets the opportunity to defend a woman falsely accused of murder. This movie is rather inspirational in its endevors, challenging gender roles and stereotypes, embracing the color pink, and encouraging independence. And ultimately, it's a cute story, from start to finish
Spring Awakening is a comical piece about teenagers experiencing their own "spring awakening," if you know what I mean. (If you dont, a "spring awakening" is a euphemism for a sexual awakening) This piece takes place in nineteenth-century Germany, with curious teenagers inquiring about their changing physical and mental desires. Some of these inquires include erotic dreams, contraception, insecurity, masturbation, and other intimate topics. This musical tackles themes regarding intimacy, love, and even more controversial topics like consent. This musical is a throwback to experiences that are as relavent today as they have ever been, even in nineteenth-century Germany. Plus, this musical launched the careers of Glee stars, Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff.
Memphis is a musical that recounts the 50s era and the true story of Dewey Phillips' career as one of the first white radio disk jockeys to play black music. Dewey (goes by 'Huey') discovers a whole underground network of black clubs in Memphis and soon finds himself in a pickle when he falls in love with a female black entertainer named Felicia against social conventions. This musical certainly isn't the first production that criticises the racist actions of 1950s America, however adding another one to the list certainly doesn't hurt. This musical also addresses themes of what it means to love, trust, and care for someone. Although not my all time favorite, it is certainly a memorable musical with fantastic music.
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Thoroughly Modern Millie is a musical spinoff of its film counterpart, Thoroughly Modern Millie starring Julie Andrews. This musical is the story of a small town girl's (Millie) story to the city in 1920, as so many great musicals are, that frame her New York "modern" style adventures with friends and foes and true love. Her quest in the beginning is to find a job and marry a rich boss in order to complete her dream. However, the end result is much different than Millie could ever expect in contrast with her beginning self. This musical explores feelings of freedom, romantic love, and friendship. And while it is a cute story, it is not very political either. There is almost no underscoring of political problems of the day in which it is attributed (I.E. rasicm, sexism, propagnda, ect) but in spite of that, Thoroughly Modern Millie has won six Tony awards since its stage adaptation.
Little Shop of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors is a classic high school theatrical production that directors favor because of its simplicity, yet its opportunity for complexity. This production has a film counterpart that stars Rick Moranis (best known in Ghost Busters) and features all of the same music from the stage production. This musical is set in the 1960s with a hopeful trio of characters that run a flower shop together and a trio of doo-wop girls who act as muses and explain the events of the story in song. Seymour, the gawky orphan that the shopkeeper, Mr. Mushnik, adopted off the street, cleans up the store and tends to the plants. Soon, his life is turned upside down by the appearance of a new plant in Mr. Mushnik's store that has cravings for blood and eventually human flesh. This musical is a black horror comedy that explores themes of love, misogyny, and moral opposition (difficulty to accept the right thing until it's too late).
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a stage production that reinacts the Peanut's adventures from the newspaper comic strips to the holiday cartoon specials. This play is an emsemble piece, which is a production that gives little to no set or props to the actors and has no linear plot line. Charlie Brown and the gang go about mundane child life processes yet reveal wise and almost adult-like revelations about life and society in which they live. It is a cute, simple production that is a family favorite.
The Addams Family
The Addams Family is a musical adaptation of the classic television show and comic strip, The Addams Family. This musical recounts just one night at the Addams household, to which the lead part of the show is the daughter, Wednesday Addams. Wednesday Addams falls for a boy named Lucas who the rest of her family is disappointed of because he is blatantly "normal." The events of the show occur when Wednesday invites his mother and father over to the Addams household for dinner, to which worlds collide hilariously. This musical explores themes of true love, family togetherness, and of course alternative lifestyles, as the Addams are so famous for.
Hairspray is a stage production of the 1980s hit film (and the 2007 reboot film). There's a reason they call this "Broadway's Biggest Musical Comedy Hit," for the star of the show is a large female character named Tracy who shows a love and affinity for dancing. Her dream is to get the opportunity to dance on the local television show, The Corny Collins Show, which shows off local dance talent and to win the heart of the cute boy who stars on said show. When she and her best friend Penny encounter a black kid at school named Seaweed, they learn a few new dance moves and a few new things about the civil rights movement happening in Baltimore. After Tracy gets her chance to dance on the Corny Collins Show, her life and the life of Baltimore is changed for the better when she encourages integration of television and spreads good cheer to all she meets. This musical heavily explores the themes of racist 1960 Baltimore as well as stigmas against woman, true love, finding yourself, and achieving the dream.
Kinky Boots is the true story of a fourth-generation British shoe factory owner named Charlie who struggles to keep his meager shop open after he inherits control of it as per his father's death. He makes an unlikely parnership with Lola, a drag queen, who comes up with an idea to save the shop: they are going to make custom shoes for local drag queens and kings. In this exchange, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different after all. This musical explores the gieving process, acceptance, and platonic love all the while making fabulous shoes.
My favorite and also most recently watched musical is Wicked; that is sort of why it is first. I never particularly cared for the original Wizard of Oz movie but this stage production has allowed me to see the classic and reboots a little differently. This version of the story is an incredible feat of creativity in my eyes and I would love to see this made into a film, what with all of the special effects and camera tricks film directors are capable of these days. In fact, it's my opinion that, with some tweaking, this would make an exceptional Disney fillm.
Think about it.