Thursday, July 24, 2014

Broadway Shows I Want to See

Broadway in New York City is considered one of the best places to see musicals and other plays.  In fact, the pressure is so high; many productions test the waters somewhere else, doing a preview production in another city before coming to New York.  Also, as a general rule, a production must be a musical.  Sure, there are dramatic plays in NYC, but the big budget ones that get all the attention are the musicals.  With that in mind, here are the Broadway musicals I’m dying to see!  Since I don’t live in New York, here’s hoping that maybe a US tour will bring it to my city.

The musical that has most piqued my interest is Matilda, based on the macabre tale by Roald Dahl.  The play originally started in the UK and became a huge hit there, scored more Oliviers (their Tonys) than any other production in history.  Matilda Wormwood is a 5-year-old who has self-centered, selfish parents and attends school for the first time.  She encounters the kind Miss Honey and the evil headmaster Miss Trunchbull.  With a biting sense of humor and careful attention to the agency of the children, this musical is a special production.  The children ultimately rise up against Miss Trunchbull’s tyranny and she leaves the school.  As this is going on, Matilda is slowly realizing she has special abilities that no one else has.  Matilda has four young girls who alternate the title role.  Another fascinating fact about this production: Miss Trunchbull is played by a man, originated by Bertie Carvel in both the London and the New York production.  Standout songs include Naughty (Matilda’s standout song), Quiet, When I Grow Up (the big emotional piece), and Revolting Children. 
Aladdin is the second musical that I would love to see.  The most recent of the three Disney productions currently on Broadway, it is based on the 1991 animated feature, also one of my favorites.  Jafar is an evil advisor to the Sultan of Agrabah, who desires the lamp in the Cave of Wonders, but the mythical Cave is looking for only one person, “the Diamond in the Rough.”  This turns out to be Aladdin, a street rat who while running from soldiers runs into the beautiful princess Jasmine, disguised as a begger.  Aladdin is captured and put in prison, and then kidnapped by Jafar for his secret mission.  Aladdin passes the test and finds the lamp, only to be surprised that a genie is inside it.  Aladdin, heartsick for the Princess Jasmine, wishes to be a prince to court Jasmine.  Genie transforms him into Prince Ali, who returns to Agrabah.  Jasmine is initially wary of Prince Ali, and Jafar is suspicious of the Prince who looks very familiar….  Completely hilarious due to the zany humor of the Genie, the broadways show premiered in Seattle in 2011, and had a few other productions, until its official Pre-Broadway tryout in Toronto.  The show officially premiered on March 20, 2014 (previews started on February 26).  Standout songs include, Prince Ali, Friend like Me, Arabian Nights, and the big love duet, A Whole New World.

Wicked is another musical that is near the top of my list.  Wicked is a prequel of the legendary movie and book Wizard of Oz.  Wicked tells the story of two people, Elphaba the green-skinned, acid tongued but good hearted witch who finds out her roommate at Shiz University is Glinda the spoiled but well-meaning witch.  Elphaba and Glinda at first hate each other but due to a misunderstanding, Elphaba starts to reconsider and starts being kind to Glinda, who is in turn kind to Elphaba. Elphaba, as it turns out, has a natural ability for magic, making her a standout student and gives her an audience with the Wizard.  She uses her ability to make the winged monkeys, but at the cost of their speech and spell is irreversible.  She refuses to go along with the Wizard’s plans and escapes, so he responds by calling her wicked and makes a call for her capture.  She escapes to Munchkinland to her sister, but ultimately decides to return to set free the Flying Monkeys, which she does and then escapes.  Madame Morrible, who works with the Wizard, sends the cyclone which kills Elphaba’s sister and brings Dorothy to Oz.  Meanwhile, the three characters who Dorothy meets are given back-stories.  The rest of the play is the story from the movie and original book told from Elphaba’s point of view, along with a twist ending.  Standout songs include Popular, Defying Gravity, For Good, and What is this Feeling? 

Maybe someday I will have enough money to go to New York and see these awesome musicals, but until then, I will appreciate the soundtrack and reading about it online.  

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