I originally set out to make a list of "the best musicals of the 2010s," according to my opinion. When I looked up the musicals within the parameters I set, I realized I was only familiar with a trifle few, so I can only list those that I have at least a little bit of an opinion of. Sigh. But before that, can you believe that there are actually musicals based on Barack Obama and Bill Clinton? It's true. Look up Hope - Das Obama Musical and Clinton the Musical. Weirdest things.
I'm going to rank these musicals in order of how I like them, so prepare for some musical theater overload... I mean fun. ;)
5. Love Never Dies (2010)
In theory a sequel to the immensely popular The Phantom of the Opera (we'll talk about that later) doesn't sound like that bad of an idea... or maybe it does? Regardless of my thoughts on the subject, a sequel was created over twenty years after the creation of the original. Initially, I was excited as I had fallen in love with the original story. If you watch the above video you'll see what was right with Love Never Dies. Ramin Karimloo is the fantastic performer who played the Phantom many times, so it was natural that he was signed on to play the famous character in the sequel. And he was beautiful. His voice has a rich and lovely tone. Ramin Karimloo wasn't the problem and neither were the other performers. The overall music of the show was quality, catchy stuff. The problem with this production (I actually saw the Australian version so not the original cast) was that it changed the core of the original story, making its message and plot line as well as some important character aspects completely different. The original story is actually based on a classic novel, so the huge changes this sequel made were sort of a slap in the face to the original book and musical. While I can complain about this musical for many points and refer to it as fanfiction, I do occasionally enjoy it for some of its music (written by the original composer) and as a sort of... alternate universe. But don't tell anyone. ;)
4. The Wizard of Oz (2011)
Okay, so the last one and this one were kind of even in my mind. I like Love Never Dies if you take away the roots of it. On the other hand, I've never been the hugest fan of The Wizard of Oz. I like it fine, but it's always been a bit meh to me. In 2011 Andrew Lloyd Webber (famous for Phantom, among other things) was involved in the creation of a new version of The Wizard of Oz. The new musical included the beloved original songs but changed a lot of the dialogue and added several new songs. I'm actually a fan of the new songs. Above is one of these songs, Wonders of the World, showing Dorothy's first meeting with Professor Marvel of the story. Michael Crawford is part of the video, famous for being the original Phantom. Yes, I promise not every one of these will connect to Phantom of the Opera. I performed in Wizard of Oz when I was seventeen, and we added several of the newer songs. I played Glinda and Auntie Em, so I advise you to go look up Already Home from this musical. It's fabulous. My brother was Professor Marvel/The Wizard. Perhaps one day I'll share some clips from that, but for now know that I love the new songs in this classic show.
3. The Addams Family (2010)
Okay, this is a pretty weird musical, just putting that out there. But through its weird, creepy exterior there are some catchy tunes and somehow funny sequences... that really shouldn't be funny. This musical is based on the classic TV series and nineties revival films of the famous dark family. Some of the dark humor employed is viewed in the clip from my favorite song in the musical, Pulled, featured above. While singing about falling in love, the usually sour-pussed Wednesday is... torturing her brother? And he's happy about it? Like I said, weird. But somehow the weirdness works for this musical, even if it's a little too weird for me.
2. Matilda (2010)
Speaking of weird, this one is that. But it's also incredibly adorable. It seems that shows based on classic movies and literature have been popular this decade. This one is based on a little British girl who is determined to write her own story, or Matilda by Roald Dahl. In the above clip, you see the four young actresses who played the title role during an awards show. These are the British Matilda's, not the American ones, as the American production didn't start until a bit later. They didn't play the part at the same time, but they are each comfortable and bright young actresses. The show itself is whimsical and fun with a few weird bits thrown in for good measure. Whatever else it is, it's been a popular show in the last couple of years.
1. Newsies (2012)
I loved the Disney movie Newsies before I ever heard of it being turned into a stage show, so it's probably obvious that I love this musical. The original 1992 film starring Christian Bale was a certified flop but gained much cult acclaim. The nineties apparently weren't the time for musicals about newsboys striking against newspaper moguls. The music was written by Alan Menken, famous for such films as Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Someone had the bright idea to transfer it to the stage twenty years after the movies initial release, and the results were amazingly opposite. Newsies was a hit, meeting with both popular and critical acclaim. And it's no wonder. With wonderful music, flawless choreography, and lots of talented young men, it was built for the stage. I always dreamed to see the show on Broadway, but I still haven't been able to make that trip up to New York that I've been dreaming of. So when the show shut down so that it could go on tour, I was a little disappointed--until I realized that they were coming to a city very near me. That means I get to see this energetic show in November! In the above video, you'll see a mash-up of one of the songs, The World Will Know, during recording and on the stage.
So there you have it. I obviously need to extend my repertoire on musicals from this decade. A few that I'm enjoying now and may have to spotlight in future are Finding Neverland, Amazing Grace, and The Count of Monte Cristo.
What about you? What's your favorite musical from the 2010s? Did you hear about any newer ones from me, or are these all old news? Let me know!