Musicals YOU Should Really Know About!

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!

  1. LIZZIE 

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!

4. LIFT

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!

Read: REVIEW – LIFT: The Musical

5. DOGFIGHT

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!

 

Nathan xoxo

 

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MY TOP 9 SHOWS I SAW IN 2016!

Happy new year! As we head into 2017 (what am I saying, it’s the ninths as I write this), I decided to count down my top 10 shows of 2016.

9. Legally Blonde, Curve Theatre Leicester

Legally Blonde is a really feel-good show. I’d already seen it once before, but I was extremely hungry for more Elle Woods so I travelled to Leicester to see the show with Charlie. The show was absolutely amazing, it was completely different to the original Broadway, London and tour productions. 

8. Hand To God, Vaudeville Theatre London

Hand To God is an extremely funny play set in a small American town. It centres on a group of young Christian children, including Timothy, his mother, and the pastor. When Timothy’s hand puppet gets possessed, hilarity ensues. I loved this play so much, I wish I saw it more.

7. Spamalot, Kings Theatre Portsmouth

Spamalot is definitely not the best show out there. In fact, I was never really bothered about seeing this until a local theatre group put it on. The theatre group is one of the best in the area. The production was incredibly high quality and music, set, lighting and direction were some of the best I’ve seen for an amateur production. 

6. Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre London

2016 was the year of Kinky Boots. Both me and Charlotte saw the show in 2016, and we loved every minute. From the opening to the finale, Kinky Boots has you dancing in your seat and smiling the whole way through. Matt Henry is amazing as Lola and so was Killian Donnelly as Charlie. I think it may be time I booked another trip to the Price and Son factory.

5. The Bodyguard, Dominion Theatre London

I usually HATE Jukebox musicals so I wasn’t too excited to see this show, but am I glad I got tickets! The shows energy was up high the whole way throughout and Whitney’s songs were transferred gorgeously through the show.

4. In The Heights, Kings Cross Theatre London

In The Heights is one of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s masterpieces. I saw it in April of 2016, and twice in January of 2017, even closing night. I SAW LIN! (Video here) But this show is such a gorgeous show about family and that is really shown within the cast. They’re so close they could be a family!

3. wonder.land, National Theatre London

This show got really bad reviews. I kind of see why but for the most part I loved this show! The use of technology was gorgeous and the original music by Damon Albarn really helped bring the story of Alice In Wonderland into the 21st Century. It’s such a shame that the cast recording doesn’t sound good…at all. I was extremely excited for the cast recording too.

2. Lift, Stage Door Southampton

Lift was done so well it’s hard to be forgotten. I didn’t expect this quality or talent from a small amateur musical theatre group in Southampton. The music was flawless as was the acting and the staging. It’s a shame that the actors weren’t wearing mics.

  1. Side Show, Southwark Playhouse London

Side Show was literally the best show I saw last year. I saw it three times and honestly…three times wasn’t enough. I loved the whole show start to finish. Louise Dearman and Laura Pitt-Pulford as conjoined twins?! Sign me up!

I hope you enjoyed my top 10 of 2016!

Nathan xoxo