Written by Nathan Deane
Go onto Spotify and type in Musical Theatre you’ll get thousand of results. From Cats to Hamilton and more, it’s practically a goldmine of well-known musicals.
But sometimes the less well-known musicals are the better ones.
Everyone who knows me knows how much I loved Side Show at the Southwark Playhouse last year, it’s one of the best musicals ever written (no, seriously.) yet it’s terribly unknown. Going to a school full of teenagers, I can go and talk to someone about musicals and all they’ll say is “I love Grease!/Hairspray!”. A girl in my music class once turned around to me and said “You like some really weird musicals.” Some of the weird musicals included Hamilton, Waitress and…Side Show. A few lessons later (sorry, good music results!) she was hooked on Side Show and trying to convince her mum to book tickets for her birthday.
There are some great hidden gems, there are some hidden coals (what’s the opposite of a gem?), but here are the lesser known musicals that YOU should know about!
Lizzie the musical is based on the life of Lizzie Borden, who murdered her father and step-mother in their house on one sweltering day in August of 1892. The musical has a heavy metal/classic rock score, and it works extremely well to convey Lizzie’s struggles with abuse and bullying from her two parental figures. When her stepmother excludes Lizzie and her sister, Emma, from her father’s will, Emma leaves town. Lizzie’s father spots Lizzie and her neighbour (and supposed lover), Alice, going up to see her pet pigeons, he brutally kills them. Lizzie can’t take anymore and ends up axing the pair. The narrator of the show, Bridget, kind of shakes the story up when things aren’t going very well, and provides a sarcastic and witty comment here and there.
2. AMERICAN PSYCHO
American Psycho is based on the film and novel of the same name. It revolves around Patrick Bateman, a wealthy banker from New York who, as well as being a handsome and stylish businessman, is a serial killer. It features some killer (pardon the pun) music and lyrics and also some classic 80’s songs thrown in here and there! It ran on Broadway for a really short time and it’s a disappointment because I would have loved to have seen this show!
3. EVIL DEAD
Based on the film series of the same name, Evil Dead tells the story of 5 college students who go on a vacation to an old abandoned cabin in the woods (Oh yeah!) and accidentally awake an unstoppable force of demons from an ancient slumber. It features extremely catchy and cheesy music, as well as its own version of The Time Warp! It ran off-Broadway for a while, and I’m surprised it hasn’t had a UK production yet!
Lift is set in a lift in Covent Garden tube station within the time frame of a minute. A busker tells his interpretations of the stories of the strangers on the lift. It was originally staged in London, but recently I saw an amateur production locally…it was AMAZING!
Dogfight is based on the low-budget extremely unknown movie of the same name. It revolves around Eddie Birdlace, a US Marine, on his final night before he goes to fight in Vietnam. He meets a girl, Rose, who he invites to the “dogfight” which is basically a part in which the guy with the ugliest girl wins a sum of money. Rose doesn’t win, but she finds out the true intentions of the party and attempts to change Birdlace’s horrible actions. It’s a gorgeous musical with music/lyrics by Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan Hansen).
Hope you get stuck into these amazing shows!