Broadway musicals

Which Broadway show would you recommend ?

  • Aladdin

    Votes: 12 12.5%
  • Anastasia

    Votes: 5 5.2%
  • Cats

    Votes: 10 10.4%
  • Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

    Votes: 4 4.2%
  • Hamilton

    Votes: 40 41.7%
  • Miss Saigon

    Votes: 21 21.9%
  • The Book of Mormon

    Votes: 35 36.5%
  • The Phantom of the Opera

    Votes: 29 30.2%
  • Wicked

    Votes: 33 34.4%
  • Other

    Votes: 24 25.0%

  • Total voters
    96

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
41,022
Saw Here Lies Love last night and I thought it was one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve had in a while. The entire orchestra seating was converted to a modern disco club floor with platforms that moved throughout the show. The entire theatre from the rear mezzanine on was utilized for the staging and the screens and lighting was utilized to its fullest effect.

I was so happy to see Conrad Ricomora and Jose Llana, as I’ve been following their careers for the longest time (and Ricamora was out when I saw Ken Watanabe and Kelli O’Hara in the King and I.)

I was quite familiar with the score thanks to the original Off-Broadway cast recording and I’m so used to hearing Ruthie Ann Miles rendition of Imelda Marcos, so it took me a while to get used to Arielle Jacob’s’ rendition during the title song. Miles has a sweet, almost Disney Princess sound but that added some vulnerability and emotional resonance to her portrayal. Arielle Jacobs is more of a belter, and I think her voice is actually more fitting for the Byrne/Fatboy Slim score. She was also such a great dancer. I did miss Miles’ rendition of the songs but I think Jacobs’ fit the harder tone of this production (colored by life since it played in the Public with democracies struggling all over the world and with Marcos’ son recently elected president of the Philippines giving the show a more hard-edged tone).

I understand there wasn’t much of a “book” which meant Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos and Ninoy Aquino weren’t given the emotional depth or complexities one would expect from a “biographical” musical, but I actually enjoyed it. I feel there was enough there but it seems the creatives weren’t interested in trying to paint the Marcos as “complicated” as people as it seemed the message in the end was that yeah, they were people who had feelings and nuances but in the end, the damage they did was still the damage they did. It felt more about how their rise to power, excess, greed, and out-of-touch personalities harmed The Philippines. And I felt there was an appropriate amount of development for the audience to get it. I think this made the final song from the protestors more powerful.

Also, it was a highlight seeing Lea Salonga do her “guest star” role. I now can cross off seeing her live off my bucket list.

It was also brilliant seeing such Filipino talent on stage looking as if they were finally given such a big project where they could finally express those talents.

The DJ was awesome as well and helped get the crowd going. We all stood ups and danced our butts off. This is immersive theatre that I can get behind.
 
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Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
Messages
30,021
I missed all the skating yesterday because I drove down to Papermill Playhouse to see The Great Gatsby!

It was a fun adventure but a VERY bad show. Now that the Great Gatsby is in the public domain, we're going to get a bunch of musical versions. Maybe one of them will be good, but it's not this one.

All of the music was very generic and boring, they very much turned it into a love story with minimal depth, and, in a complete crime against the novel, they turned essentially every bit of subtext into... text.

Nest weekend I'm going full Sondheim. Headed to New York for Merrily We Roll Along and Sweeney Todd! Anyone else have plans coming up?
 

Momandsk8er

New Member
Messages
11
Too bad the show was not enjoyable. They usually have pretty good productions. We gave up our subscription to The Papermill this year to see a few shows on Broadway. Sounds like it was a wise move.
 

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
41,022
I missed all the skating yesterday because I drove down to Papermill Playhouse to see The Great Gatsby!

It was a fun adventure but a VERY bad show. Now that the Great Gatsby is in the public domain, we're going to get a bunch of musical versions. Maybe one of them will be good, but it's not this one.

All of the music was very generic and boring, they very much turned it into a love story with minimal depth, and, in a complete crime against the novel, they turned essentially every bit of subtext into... text.

Nest weekend I'm going full Sondheim. Headed to New York for Merrily We Roll Along and Sweeney Todd! Anyone else have plans coming up?
Friends of mine saw that at the Papermill Playhouse too. They were raving about it but their tastes don’t always align with mine.

Your statement about how it turned every bit of subtext into text… that’s one of the things I’ve been hating about a lot of modern theatre, especially revivals of classic shows (and tv shows and movies). It’s like subtext is dying and creatives either are or being pressured to get rid of it because audiences or consumers aren’t able to get it as much.

I watched a video on writing tips where the person was talking about the importance of subtext and not spoon-feeding, and trusting the audience by giving them space to make the connections on their own because reading is interactive. So many commenters were disagreeing and saying they never liked that and could never figure “messages” and “hidden meanings” out, and they thought authors had more of a duty to spell things out. It was an interesting discussion to read.
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
Messages
30,021
Too bad the show was not enjoyable. They usually have pretty good productions. We gave up our subscription to The Papermill this year to see a few shows on Broadway. Sounds like it was a wise move.

The production itself was well done, but when you produce new scripts, sometimes you are going to pull a miss.

Friends of mine saw that at the Papermill Playhouse too. They were raving about it but their tastes don’t always align with mine.

It was very spectacle heavy? I find that some people don't necessarily look past that to be critical of the writing, staging, etc. That may be the case with your friend?
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
Messages
30,021
Saw Merrily We Roll Along this weekend! Merrily has always been a problem script (although also a favorite to try to make work). It's too long and tends to drag, and it really needs an ending to be remotely emotionally satisfying.

But the production is great, especially the cast. Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Lindsay Mendez have all been favorites of mine over the last 1-2 decades, and they are perfectly cast and perfect together. It absolutely is worth watching just for their performances. The rest of the cast is also excellent. It's definitely worth seeing, despite the challenges the script has.


Sweeney Todd was our evening show, and it was brilliant. My mom went with me even though she doesn't like Sweeney Todd, and she still loved it. I did get to see Josh Groban, @peibeck, and you will be happy to know that he was excellent, as was Annaleigh Ashford. I felt like Groban was doing a pretty traditional Sweeney, which is not a downside, whereas Annaleigh Ashford was bringing a definitely different vibe than I have seen before. I thought she was great. The only performance I found notably off was Anthony. I saw Daniel Yearwood in Once on This Island as Daniel and thought he was great, but he just did not feel like the right person for this role. (He is a replacement. Jordan Fisher, the original cast member, has left to join Hadestown.) The choreography I mostly did not like.

I kind of want to see it again between the cast change to see the Sweeney covers, because I have also heard great things about them, but January is a challenging time for me.
 

VGThuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
41,022
Saw Merrily We Roll Along this weekend! Merrily has always been a problem script (although also a favorite to try to make work). It's too long and tends to drag, and it really needs an ending to be remotely emotionally satisfying.

But the production is great, especially the cast. Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Lindsay Mendez have all been favorites of mine over the last 1-2 decades, and they are perfectly cast and perfect together. It absolutely is worth watching just for their performances. The rest of the cast is also excellent. It's definitely worth seeing, despite the challenges the script has.


Sweeney Todd was our evening show, and it was brilliant. My mom went with me even though she doesn't like Sweeney Todd, and she still loved it. I did get to see Josh Groban, @peibeck, and you will be happy to know that he was excellent, as was Annaleigh Ashford. I felt like Groban was doing a pretty traditional Sweeney, which is not a downside, whereas Annaleigh Ashford was bringing a definitely different vibe than I have seen before. I thought she was great. The only performance I found notably off was Anthony. I saw Daniel Yearwood in Once on This Island as Daniel and thought he was great, but he just did not feel like the right person for this role. (He is a replacement. Jordan Fisher, the original cast member, has left to join Hadestown.) The choreography I mostly did not like.

I kind of want to see it again between the cast change to see the Sweeney covers, because I have also heard great things about them, but January is a challenging time for me.
I definitely want to see Merrily We Roll Along because some of the best creatives have had such challenges making the piece work that I find the whole thing so compelling. Thanks for your insights as I found them to be really helpful in deciding whether I want to see this production. I still haven't seen this production Sweeney Todd but I may check it out. Like you, I sometimes get more excited about seeing the actors who cover the roles in-between the bigger-named cast changes because that's when you sometimes get someone who is a theatre pro work their magic.
 

peibeck

Simply looking
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30,979
Saw the national tour of "Tina" last week. The lead was pretty good, but... well the book was pretty poorly written, imo. I'm soooooooo tired of "jukebox" musicals, or as I've started referring to them "karaoke" musicals. (So not thrilled we get "MJ" this season too.)
 

screech

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7,411
There definitely are a lot of jukebox musical. The only one that really piques my interest hasn't made its real debut yet (COVID ruined all its plans) - "What's New Pussycat" - the book "Tom Jones" set to the music of Tom Jones. No idea how good it will be, I just think the Tom Jones idea is clever.
 

Rhumba d’Amour

Well-Known Member
Messages
268
There definitely are a lot of jukebox musical. The only one that really piques my interest hasn't made its real debut yet (COVID ruined all its plans) - "What's New Pussycat" - the book "Tom Jones" set to the music of Tom Jones. No idea how good it will be, I just think the Tom Jones idea is clever.
That sounds AWESOME
 

Kasey

Fan of many, uber of none
Messages
16,361
I liked "Aint to proud", but I love that music. I saw the Tina musical a little while ago and thought the lead was fantastic and the story just OK.
 

VGThuy

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41,022
Makes me think it’d be more fun to just rent What’s Love Gotta Do With It.
 

peibeck

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30,979
I thought that Jersey Boys was really great, and everything else is mostly a failure. Most of them are flopping, too, so I don't get the point.

"Jersey Boys" was great. "Beautiful" was pretty good too. I can't think of any other jukebox musicals I'd ever want to see again beyond those two.

I had tickets for "Twas the Night Before," the Cirque du Soliel holiday tour tonight. If you enjoy Cirque shows, it is good. There were a few hiccups in a couple of routines, but luckily not on the show's most dangerous routines. I'm not sure where all it is touring (I'm guessing there may be multiple companies since it's obviously a limited season kind of show).

Despite the flashy stunts, glitter, youthful cast and 80 minute, intermission-less run time the young girl behind me got (vocally) bored after the first hour and told her grandpa she was ready to go. Other kids around me were more entranced.
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
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30,021
"Jersey Boys" was great. "Beautiful" was pretty good too. I can't think of any other jukebox musicals I'd ever want to see again beyond those two.

I did think Beautiful was good, although not great. At the time, I think I had only really seen Jersey Boys for jukebox musicals, so my standards were higher, but I liked it.

I do also have a completely ridiculous love of Rock of Ages (the stage show, not whatever the movie was supposed to be). But that show is intentionally ridiculous.
 

VGThuy

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41,022
I love Mamma Mia but boy did it open the floodgates.

I don't know if I dislike jukebox musicals more or musicals that just take a movie, recreate it scene-by-scene, and add songs to it. Taking cute or great scenes from a movie and blowing them up into huge spectacles.... not my thing.

I guess My Fair Lady was kind of like that, but 1) it was a play they were adapting (with some input from the 1930s film adaptation), and 2) when those are the songs, then it's okay, haha.

There was also The Band's Visit as well, but the songs were more intimate for the most part.
 

vgerdes

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Messages
689
I'm soooooooo tired of "jukebox" musicals, or as I've started referring to them "karaoke" musicals. (So not thrilled we get "MJ" this season too.)

Look, I get that Broadway is over-saturated with them right now, but not all jukebox musicals are automatically bad.

"Rock of Ages" was one of my favorite Broadway shows of all time. "Nothin' but a good time," as the song says. And they had a live band rockin' out on stage every night, so definitely not karaoke.
 

peibeck

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I scored 6th row center tix for the pre-Broadway tryout of "Death Becomes Her" in Chicago this May for my birthday. :cheer: "Smash" star Megan Hilty has the Streep role.

Saw the tour of "Funny Girl" earlier this week. Both leads have amazing voices, but I wouldn't say the acting chops to carry either the camp or the heavy, heavy second act. They weren't terrible, just not outstanding. And the two of them literally have to carry all of the show.

Oh, and @Theatregirl1122 the production of "Great Gatsby" you loathed is headed to Broadway this spring. I'm surprised given the tepid reviews.

A bare bones set but tech heavy revival of "Sunset Boulevard" is Broadway bound this spring as well, with Nicole Scherzinger in the lead, reprising her London turn. Saw a YouTube clip and was stunned by her voice. https://youtu.be/Vj-jtKO2cPs?feature=sharedhttps://youtu.be/Vj-jtKO2cPs?feature=shared
 

Theatregirl1122

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30,021
Yeah, I heard the rumors it was going but hoped they were wrong. My friends and I did a lot of yelling when we found out it was true.

I can’t imagine what the producers are thinking. I can’t imagine what the producers of a lot of shows are thinking tbh. Why are so many shows opening this spring? It’s like they’re trying to fail.
 

screech

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7,411
I scored 6th row center tix for the pre-Broadway tryout of "Death Becomes Her" in Chicago this May for my birthday. :cheer: "Smash" star Megan Hilty has the Streep role.
The special effects in the Death Becomes Her movie were so good (won the Oscar). I wonder how they'll work around the logistics of live theatre for it.
Also, they better keep in Meryl's 'I See Me' song from the beginning. (I never noticed until just rewatching that clip, that it's all one long shot until they cut back to Meryl from Bruce and Goldie. I wonder how many takes it took)
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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35,854
I thought that Jersey Boys was really great, and everything else is mostly a failure. Most of them are flopping, too, so I don't get the point.

It's kind of a proven product, in that the songs are already popular, and it can be a good way to monetize the catalogue of an artist who's dead or who doesn't want to tour any more. But I agree, the show itself has to be good as well as the songs. If I want to see someone pretend to be an artist and sing their songs badly, I can go to a "tribute" show for a lot cheaper.
 

screech

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7,411
I liked "Aint to proud", but I love that music. I saw the Tina musical a little while ago and thought the lead was fantastic and the story just OK.
I saw Ain't Too Proud and I thought it was just okay. I was, however, unintentionally mentally comparing it to Jersey Boys the entire time (and it came up short).
The best part of Ain't Too Proud for me was the voice of the guy portraying David Ruffin.
 

MacMadame

Doing all the things
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58,485
Jersey Boys told a story and told it well. It wasn't just an excuse to sing certain songs with a loose plotline stringing them together. This is where most Jukebox musicals go wrong, IMO. No real story or only a meh one.
 

peibeck

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30,979
The special effects in the Death Becomes Her movie were so good (won the Oscar). I wonder how they'll work around the logistics of live theatre for it.
Also, they better keep in Meryl's 'I See Me' song from the beginning. (I never noticed until just rewatching that clip, that it's all one long shot until they cut back to Meryl from Bruce and Goldie. I wonder how many takes it took)

I seriously doubt the "I See Me" song will be in it as the composer and lyricist were never connected with the original movie. Kristen Chenoweth did the workshop production but apparently wasn't available to do the Chicago production.
 

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