My list of Broadway productions that I have seen and (for the most) thoroughly enjoyed as of September 13, 2015 (NON-CHRONOLOGICAL):
- Beauty and the Beast (4/5) : My very first show, and while I do not remember it that well, I do remember the actress who played Mrs.Potts telling me that everything in the show was “Disney Magic”
- Newsies (5/5) : I think that I saw Jeremy Jordan on one of his last days for this one. This show was absolutely amazing. From the dancing, to the acting, to the vocal work, it was absolutely phenomenal. I still wish that I had had closing night tickets, but I would see it 20000x if I could. While I didn’t particularly love the movie (released in 1992), the musical is definitely going to have an everlasting presence for years to come.
- Shrek (3.75/5) : The theatre that this was in was really up in the Broadway streets, I think it was at the Broadway theater up in the 50’s actually. But I digress. While this was notify all time favorite musical, it did serve as a sort of ‘gateway’ if you will. This was my first time seeing Brian D’Arcy James (who will make another appearance on this list) and Queen Sutton Foster – who was absolutely fabulous. This was fun and cute, and while the music was actually very good, not one of my favorites…even though I still listen to the cast album every now and then.
- Wicked (infinity/5) : My all time favorite show. My religion. My go to cast album at all times. Any time, any seat, I will see this show again. This show is part of the reason I love the theatre so much. I love that “this show celebrates women and their strengths and differences” (Idina Menzel) and how it opened my eyes to more modern, unconventional and meaningful theatre like it.
- Fun Home (4.5/5): I saw this for Sydney Lucas. After her performance on the 2015 Tony awards gave me literal chills, I ran with my TheatreMania discount code and got my tickets. This story line is not the happiest and is definitely not for everyone, but a lot of people – including myself really like it. It tells a true story of awareness and has an amazing cast on and off stage.
- Phantom of the Opera (4/5): I think I would have liked this more if I liked opera. This was a beautiful production and story, however I found it frustrating that I could not understand what was being sung most of the time. It threw me off the plot line and the understood subtext and such. But, the actors playing Christine and the Phantom were insanely phenomenal. After show let down: no real stage door ):
- A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (5/5): Bryce Pinkham, I have decided to marry you. This show was absolutely hilarious. I recommend seeing this before it closes (1/17/2016) if only to see this amazing cast and laugh until your side hurts. Jefferson Mays, Bryce Pinkham, Lisa O’Hare and Lauren Worsham are amazingly talented in everything they do on that stage. Stage door tip: Jefferson does come out, but he takes a bit longer due to physical therapy sometimes.
- The Lion King (10/5): I saw this when I was much younger, possibly in the first few years of it being open. This is one of the longest running shows for a reason, it is absolutely amazing. This reimagining of the classic Disney movie takes songs you know and mixes them up in new ways that you would never expect in the best ways possible. This is a staple of Broadway culture (and as TSE tickets puts it: the only show tourists know) and you must see it. It is that good.
- Aladdin (5/5): Speaking of Disney, lets take a magic carpet ride. I always thought that Aladdin would work well on Broadway,but I had my qualms about the character of the Genie. Those were silenced by James Monroe Igelhart. I actually saw him in this the day before he won the 2014 Tony for Featured Actor in a Musical and told him he would (and should) win, and he didn’t believe us (:. This show is the best Disney has put out since #8 on this list and I highly recommend seeing the original cast, who are still there!
- The Little Mermaid (5/5): More Disney, I did not plan it this way, I’m sorry. TLM is my favorite movie, so obviously I needed to see it on stage. This show was great, accompanied by the angelic voices of Sierra Boggess, Sherie Rene Scott, Tituss Burgess and Heidi Blickenstaff, it did make me want to go under the sea all over again. This show is brought to you by Heelys, the official shoe of fishes and half-fishes on Broadway since 2008.
- It Shoulda Been You (4.5/5): Sierra Boggess again! This was such a funny and truthful musical about the wedding day of a Jewish girl to a Christian boy, both of whom are hiding secrets of their own. The show used real-life mannerisms and classic Jewish humor that was so very, very funny. It soared with the amazing vocals and acting of the entire cast! It is closed now, but definitely get the cast album and watch Lisa Howard’s soul-shaking 2015 Tony Awards performance!
- Annie (4.5/5): This revival was the first time I ever saw Annie on Broadway,and I absolutely loved it. The highlight was the orphan girls, who were amazing comic reliefs and wonderful performers. Lilla Crawford was not in the performance I saw, neither was Jane Lynch (due to the passing of Cory Monteith), but regardless, the production was absolutely amazing.
- Billy Elliot (5/5): Even if you are not a big dance person, you will love this show. This story of a young, angry boy with a prodigious talent for ballet is so enthralling that the dancing just has a hand telling it. Elton John’s original music and Lee Hall’s lyrics made this show so much worth the wait to get a ticket.
- The Book of Mormon (5/5): Where to begin. I got to see Andrew Rannells, Nikki M. James and Rory O’Malley in this amazing religious satire. Again, like Fun Home, this is not for everyone. You need to be able to joke about your religion (or any) to enjoy this show. It may also fare you better to like South Park, as Trey Parker and Matt Stone are the creators/producers, et cetera. Some songs are show stoppers (Turn It Off) and some are slower plot-based songs (I Believe), but they are all great.
- War Horse (3.75/5): I am not a huge play person. I find musicals much more entertaining. But, I wanted to see what all the hullaballoo was about the puppetry. In that aspect, the play was phenomenal. But, it was way too long in content. This is a sad and beautiful story of a soldier trying to find a horse he knew as a boy, but it was simply too much. It almost felt like they just added extra stuff to make it longer. LCT is a beautiful theatre, but they need to change their drinks policy. I almost missed the second act because they don’t let you inside the theatre with anything other than bottled water…
- Matilda (4/5): Okay, Matilda is one of my favorite books and I was curious how it was going to be adapted into a Broadway show, even more a musical. What I found with this show is that there needs to be a sensible balance between spoken dialogue and song. For me, this was unbalanced. While the performances were amazing and the songs and production out of this world, there was simply too much talking.
- American Idiot (2/5): I love Green Day now, but when I saw this (not my choice), I did not. If I had seen it two/three years later, I would have really liked it. Just not the right timing.
- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (4.25/5): I saw this with Nick Jonas and I have plenty pre-show stage door stories about that. But I digress. This show was a lot of fun. That’s like it’s understood tagline, “you will have a lot of fun and laugh a lot”. It was extremeley enjoyable and Michael Urie is hysterical. The music is one of the show’s better aspects (*cough* Brotherhood of Man *cough*).
- Mary Poppins (3.75/5): Not rated because it was not good, it was very good, just not the show for me. This, like the movie, is like a classic Broadway show, with classic songs and dancing. All of which was amazing, just not m favorite. One of the best things though, is seeing Mary fly across the audience, very cool.
- Kinky Boots (4/5): I saw Billy Porter in this and it was the best way to see this show because I firmly believe that no one else can play Lola like him. The music in this show greatly overshadows the story though, but it’s okay. Lola, Charlie and all the other characters have such better interactions through song than with dialogue.
- Something Rotten (4.75/5): Apparently it is hard to be the Bard. This love letter to musical culture was uproariously funny and so kind-hearted with its story of being true to yourself. The cast is astounding as well. Two words: Christian Borle. If he is not playing Shakespeare, do not see it. He deserved that 2015 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical hands down. Brad Oscar, Heidi Blickenstaff, Brian D’Arcy James, John Cariani and company do a fantastic job with some of the most original source material and music I have heard in a while.
- Finding Neverland (3.25/5): This was simply okay. The first act took forever to get through and felt a million songs long. This was the first time I ever considered leaving in the middle of a show. However, the second act more than made up for its predecessor. It moved and told the story in a much more entertaining fashion. The stage door was interesting to be at though, there was some rudeness from some lead stars, some really nice cast members and a lot of pushing.
- An American in Paris (4/5): This show is strange for me. I like to dance, I’m not a huge fan of watching dancing for long periods of time. But, all that aside, this show was beautiful. With all my strange preferences about dance-centric shows, the choreography was absolutely stunning, as well as the sets and music. The entire cast is absolutely amazing, especially Leanne Cope, to whom I told that she was near perfection at the stage door and she was adorable in responding “no, but thank you”.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (10/5): It was absolutley brilliant. Even though 2015 Tony winner for Leading Actor in a Play Alex Sharp did not perform in the show that I saw, his “other half” if you will (Taylor Trensch), was absolutley amazing. This show is about acceptance and awareness and realizing that no matter your limitations, yes, you can do anything. All in all, saw a great show, got both Christophers to sign my Playbill along with the rest of the cast, got a “prime number” seat [a cool promotion the show does that if your name adds up to a prime number (a=1, b=2 ect.), you get a button]!
- The King and I (4.75/5): Kelli O’Hara and Ruthie Ann Miles are worth the price of admission. The story and music of Rodgers and Hammerstein is phenomenal as you would expect, and the children in the show are astounding. Just be prepared for a semi-empty stage door as many people don’t know LCT has one.
Until next time!