With the rise of Hamilton as one of the greatest musicals to have graced the earth, many people are starting to get into musicals as a medium to enjoy. And why not? It is an easy way to get a story out without having to read the works it is often based on or to sit down to read or watch something. It can mostly be listen to and the imagery is left to our own imagination. So for those of you who wish to know which musicals to listen to, here is a list of my favourites, and yes, Hamilton is number one on the list.
1-Hamilton: An American Musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.(*ART*)
When I heard that there was a musical out there, with a diverse cast, hip-hop-like songs, written by an American whose family hails from Puerto Rico, and details the story of an “immigrant and orphan from the Caribbean”, I was enthralled. It felt as close as we would get in this decade and the past ones to telling an American story that delved into what it’s like to be an American right now. And the constant references in derogatory meaning to Alexander Hamilton’s “immigrant” status can be assimilated, not only to people born outside the U.S., of family born outside the U.S., but also to some of the struggles of Native Americas, who for a long period (and even today), are considered outsiders even as this is their original birth place.
My favourite songs are “Wait for it”, “The World Was Wide Enough”,”Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”,”Hurricane”, “Burn”,”Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down”, and pretty much everything else.
2-Rent (both musical and film) written by Jonathan Larson and screenplay by Stephen Chbosky)
This masterpiece about artists living the “bohemian life” in New York City and confronting life with HIV/AIDS, is one of the best things to have ever happened to Broadway and film. We follow seven people (plus the landlord) on what it’s like living like them when everything seems to be set against them, while at the same time accepting who they are, understanding each other, and dealing with grief and death. You may cry over twenty times.
My favourite songs are “La Vie Boheme”, “”Seasons of Love”, and “”Santa Fe”. Plus, the musical inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda!
3-The Rocky Horror Picture Show) screenplay by Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman.
This is a musical quite different to the other ones I mention, as it is mostly a horror/science-fiction, that will leave you asking more questions than it manages to answer. It follows a recently engaged couple as their car breaks down and they take refuge in the house of a secluded mad scientist who has created his own life form in the way of a muscular man. Soon they are being seduced by him and who the scientist truly is will be revealed.
My favourite songs are “Science Fiction/Double Feature”,”Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me”, “Dammit Janet”,”There’s a Light (Over at the Frankenstein Place)” and “Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul”.
4-Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz written by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman.
This is basically Wizard of Oz fanfiction about the Wicked Witch of the West and her contemporaries, but done brilliantly to ensure that we get various points of views and perspectives on what could have happened to fill in the blanks the original tale does not give. It is a tale of a love triangle but on an odd way, basic rights, and corrupt government.
My favourite songs are (as performed by the original Broadway cast) “No One Mourns the Wicked”, “Defying Gravity”,”I’m Not That Girl”,”As Long As You’re Mine”, “No Good Deed” and “For Good”.
5-American Idiot written by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer.
I am a huge fan of Green Day, and the album that was produced as the musical is my favourite of theirs, hence it is only logical that I love the production. But it is clearly not for everyone, it follows a depressing story of three friends and their lives, which are not happy, most of the time if at all. Great interpretation of the ego and human error. So good!
My favourite songs are“American Idiot”, “Jesus of Suburbia”,”Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, “Holiday”, 21 Guns” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends”.