Wednesday afternoon I went to the dentist. I’m not sure what your dentist’s office is like, but ours is pretty hip. They have Macs in each room, and they use Pandora to play whatever music the patient wants to listen to.
I always dread being asked what music I want to listen to while I’m there because I don’t really listen to music. I almost always listen to audiobooks in my car. When I do listen to Pandora, it’s usually boy bands, Counting Crows (my favorite band), Disney music (sometimes without Christopher present), or Broadway musicals. None of those types of music is very fun to admit to, but…
This time when asked what “station” I wanted to listen to, I said Wicked. I had to clarify that I meant the Broadway musical and not some new band. Luckily the dental hygienist didn’t seem very current on music either. Some Wicked songs played, songs from other musicals too, along with some Glee covers and even some Disney tunes. It was fine. Not as distracting as my audiobook might have been, but it would have been rude to ask to put in my earbuds (unfortunately).
So, instead, while my mouth was being tortured, I thought about my favorite Broadway musicals. I thought I’d share them with you.
I grew up listening to the original Broadway cast audio cassette in the car with my mother and my twin sister. I’m not sure when my mom got the tape, nor can I believe she let my sister and me listen to it at such a young age. But I loved it even then. We went to see it live at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, NY when I was in junior high (I think). And I’ve seen it four more times since then. I love the unrequited love story of Eponine and the song “On My Own”. I even loved when Katie Holmes performed that song as Joey Potter on Dawson’s Creek. And I love the 2012 movie version; Anne Hathaway was amazing as Fantine.
I loved this production from the first time I saw it, again at Shea’s, the summer after my senior year of high school. The music is so upbeat and amazing, and the characters are so raw and real. I listened to the music a lot in college, and I saw the play once more as an usher at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee the year after I graduated. My favorite character is Mark Cohen, the film geek narrator with red hair and glasses. Have I mentioned that my dream was to have a red headed son?
Jim and I saw this play in Chicago, and we both loved it. He is a huge Wizard of Oz fan, so the story and characters were the draw for him. For me, it was just about the music. This play has some great songs. It’s coming to Milwaukee’s Marcus Performing Arts Center this fall, and we will be there for sure. With the recent success of Idina Menzel, the original Elphaba, the Wicked music had been coming up on Pandora for my Frozen “station”, so that got me back into this musical and was the inspiration for my strange request at the dentist’s office.
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera was a long running musical in Toronto when I was growing up in Buffalo, so we saw it there a couple of times: first as a family when I was in 7th grade, and then on a class field trip when I was in 8th grade. I will never forget my brother’s excitement the first time I saw it. He loved the chandelier falling, and he quoted the auctioneer for days afterward. Despite the high soprano singing throughout this play – high soprano really hurts my ears – I loved the Phantom’s songs. I took Jim to see the traveling version at the Marcus in Milwaukee a few years ago, and it didn’t even come close to the caliber of the Toronto performances I’d seen all those years ago.
The Book of Mormon
I just recently saw this musical with Jim and our friends, Sarah and Andrew, at the Marcus – another traveling show. It was amazing! The energy was so high, and the story and songs were hilarious. I am not a fan of South Park and usually not even a fan of comedy, but I found this play to be incredibly amusing. So much so that I Googled it right away to see if we could possibly see it again on the same tour in some nearby city. Unfortunately, we missed Chicago. We’ll track it down somewhere again – soon hopefully.
Are you into Broadway musicals? Or other types of theater? What’s your favorite?