I can’t believe it’s taken me SO LONG to write this.
As some of you know, I did a degree in Musical Theatre. I graduated with a first in 2012 and then tried to get into acting work. And, y’know… failed.
But hey, it’s all good! Cos instead, I ended up meeting Gary, finding a reception job, renting a flat, and starting a blog.
I still love going to the theatre though. I have a HUGE Spotify playlist of musicals, and every couple of weeks I have a proper old singsong in my bedroom. So I decided it was about time I clued you in on some of my favourite musical shows!
PS. These are all musicals I’ve actually physically seen on stage before. If I had to make a list of all the ones I love based on soundtrack alone, we’d be here for a very long time…
I’ve seen this show 3 times already and have no doubt I’ll see it again some day.
Wicked is the untold story of the witches from The Wizard of Oz. What happened before Dorothy? Who is the green witch? Where did she come from? And why in Oz’s name does Glinda travel by BUBBLE?!
It’s funny, it’s smart, the music is catchy, the vocals are stupendous, and the story is pure heart. Both times I’ve seen this show, I’ve come out feeling inspired and uplifted and wanting to go and just DO something with my life.
It opened in 2003 on Broadway and is still playing to packed out audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
Highly recommend! :)
My Favourite Songs: Defying Gravity and For Good
Rent is a rock opera about love, about friendship, about art, about death and about life.
It’s based on Puccini’s La Boheme and follows a group of friends in New York in the 80s, as they deal with being artists, following their dreams, living with AIDS and learning to be honest with themselves.
There’s actually a film version of this show (with Elsa from Frozen playing the promiscuous half of a lesbian couple!) and I totally recommend getting yourself involved with it.
Sad fact: Jonathan Larson, the writer and composer of the show, died unexpectedly the night before the show finally opened. He also won three posthumous Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for RENT.
My Favourite Songs: Seasons of Love, La Vie Boheme and Without You
3. SWEET CHARITY
Some of you might not have heard of Sweet Charity. I’d hadn’t until I volunteered and worked backstage on it at university.
But I bet y’all know the song HEY BIG SPENDER, am I right?
Shirley Bassey made it famous, but originally it was written by Cy Coleman as one of the big musical numbers for Sweet Charity.
The musical follows Charity Hope Valentine, an ever-optimistic dance hall hostess in the 60s who just wants to find love and settle down.
Aaaand obviously things don’t quite work out to plan. Because musical theatre.
The story itself is a bit roundabout but the outcome is one of my absolute favourites in a musical, mainly cos it’s unexpected and optimistic.
The lines are funny, the songs are jazzy and super-catchy and the dance numbers are FABULOUS (choreographed by the ever-eccentric, ever-genius that was Bob Fosse).
There is actually a film version of this show as well (starring a verrry-young Shirley MacLaine as Charity), but really, the musical is SO much better!
Oh and Sammy Davis Jr makes an appearance as a pot-smoking hippy church-leader.
My Favourite Songs: There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This, If My Friends Could See Me Now and Where Am I Going?
2. LEGALLY BLONDE
Legally Blonde is one of my favourite girly films, so when I heard about the musical version, I was SUPER excited.
I’d already become obsessed with the Broadway soundtrack before it transferred to London, and then feel completely in love when my friend and I managed to score front row seats at the Savoy Theatre.
What can I say? It’s pink, it’s fluffy, the songs are great, the book is funny and Elle Woods is my heroine.
I went back again twice to see this before it closed: once for my cousin’s hen do (which was hysterical cos the whole top tier of the theatre was dominated by pink feather boas and sparkly headbands), and once on my own, just cos I felt like it.
I came out of that theatre beaming and skipping, every. single. time.
So if you want feel-good and high-energy fun, you want Legally Blonde. Cos you know what they say… Blondes really DO have more fun ;)
My Favourite Songs: Serious, Chip on my Shoulder and Bend and Snap
Saved the bestest for lastest!
OK, so first of all: let’s just pretend that the film doesn’t exist shall we?
We performed Cabaret in my second year at uni.
At the time, I was in a very bad place confidence-wise. My grades had been AWFUL so far, especially my performance ones, and I’d already decided I was going to leave after the original two-year foundation course had finished, and not carry on to the BA. I’d actually already started lining up work experience for other things.
So when we were told we’d be preparing Cabaret, I just thought: greeeeeat… I’d seen the film and HATED it. I didn’t connect with the story, I didn’t like Liza, I didn’t like the music…
This was going to suck.
Then along came this awesome director, with this fab vision, for this incredible show. I listened to the soundtrack. I watched Youtube videos of the actual live musical. And I fell in love. I became SO passionate about it.
I worked incredibly hard on my audition, and came away with the part I wanted: Sally Bowles.
The whole experience of working on Cabaret was absolutely magical. It re-built my confidence, taught me SO much (about myself as well as performing) and it’s something that has stayed with me and still influences parts of my life. I even have a charm on my bracelet to remind me of it!
Cabaret follows the story of Cliff, a young idealistic American who arrives in Berlin in the late 30s, determined to write the Great American Novel and experience life. On his first night, he meets Sally at the Kit Kat Klub, and soon his life has been turned upside down by a girl with green nails, no money and a passion for the dramatic.
The rise of nazism is a heavy theme throughout the show. I don’t want to give you spoilers, but I can guarantee that you won’t come away untouched or unmoved.
My Favourite Songs: Don’t Tell Mama, Perfectly Marvellous and What Would You Do?
THIS WAS SO TOUGH. I could literally go on forever with this list!
The Light in the Piazza, The Last 5 Years (movie out next month!), I Love You Because, Sister Act…
And then there’s the ones I haven’t seen: Book of Mormon, Phantom, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (among others).
Who knows what I could be missing out on!