My Top 5 Favourite Musicals

5 Muscials blog header

5. Cats—

 

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I love the fact that this is not a ‘serious’ musical. The songs are fun, exciting and silly, and though the plot is rather thin and perhaps slightly nonsensical, the spectacle of this show is amazing. The costumes are bright, unique and very cool. The dancing is amazing and I cannot even comprehend how those actors can dance the way they do.

Ever since I was very little, I’ve been dancing to Magical Mr. Mistoffelees and Macavity the Mystery Cat, before I even knew that it was a musical, so it has a lot of nostalgia attached to it as well.

Because so much of what I love about Cats is focussed on the dancing and gymnastics, I really love the DVD version.

4. Newsies—

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I struggled with my placement of Newsies, since this musical is amazing. However, after evaluating it against all the other musicals I love, I decided that the while the story of Newsies is really good, entertaining and (loosely, very loosely) based on a true story, it’s overall execution is not as good as the following musicals. I’ve also never seen Newsies and I’m cranky that it’s not on Broadway anymore (not that that really changes anything. Broadway is an awfully long way from Australia).

But this musical is still so cool! It’s perks include fun and unique music and lyrics (the music is written by Alan Menken—since Newsies is based on a Disney movie—who is fast becoming one of my most favourite composers), a really compelling storyline about a gang of boys and a girl reporter attempting to change the status quo, and some really good singers. Also, there’s Crutchie and Davy, need I say more? My favourite—and as far as I am aware—the only cast recording of Newsies is the Original Broadway Cast.

Those boys are also mind blowing. I didn’t even know it was possible to tap dance the way they do.

3. Anastasia—

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I’ve never seen Anastasia either, but I hear rumours it is going on tour and coming to Australia sometime in the next fifty years, so…

Anastasia is based on the animated movie of the same name, which came out some time in the last century, and it’s inspired by the legend of the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia. And it’s also very cool.

It has beautiful music, which leans more towards a classical sound (but for some tracks, such as Land of Yesterday, it has a very ’20s sound to it, which makes for some nice variation), and beautiful lyrics. It can be serious, but it is also humorous at points (Learn to Do It is quite amusing) and ultimately it is a story of dreams, forgiveness, mercy and love. In my opinion, some of the most beautiful songs are In My Dreams, In a Crowd of Thousands, The Neva Flows, Still, Journey to the Past and also the haunting melody of Once Upon a December.

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Christy Altomare as Anastasia and Derek Klena as Dmitry. Picture source

And it also has Ramin Karimloo in it, so that’s a bonus. And Christy Altomare is an amazingly beautiful singer.

Again, this is only a new production and the only cast recording is the Original Broadway Cast. It’s fantastic and you should definitely go check it out.

2.The Phantom of the Opera—

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Did you think this wouldn’t be on the list? This musical has everything that I shouldn’t like—revenge, madness, romance, unrequited love, and, even worse, a love triangle. And yet, I love it!

Why?

There’s something so human about Phantom. It isn’t just a gothic horror story, it is a story of someone who has suffered terribly and is unable to let go of it. Someone who loves all the more because of the agony he has gone through, and yet cannot express his love in a healthy way. It is the story of a girl who had lost her father and is incredibly lonely, putting her faith in a man who can never live up to her expectations. It is the story of a man willing to lay down his life for his best friend and love.

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Basically, it’s just a story about people, who get themselves into a ridiculous situation and then go from there. The emotions in the music, the lyrics and the voices of the actors are just amazing, also the costume and dancing aren’t bad.

There are hundreds of cast recordings of Phantom, but my favourite is definitely the Original London Cast, with Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton, however the 25th Anniversary Cast is also very good, with Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess (she is an amazing Christine, probably my favourite) and Hadley Fraser.

1. Les Miserables—

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Yes, of course. Les Miserables is my favourite musical by far. I remember trying to explain to a friend the difference between Phantom and Les Mis and what made Phantom a “great” musical and what made Les Mis a “fantastic, beautiful, mind-blowing, heartbreaking master piece”. The difference, as I see it, isn’t in the score (I probably prefer Phantom in that regard) or even the songs (though the songs are awesome), it was, again, how real it was. Phantom is a story about a masked, lasso-wielding, genius madman who is passionately and irrevocably in love with a beautiful young soprano. The story is somewhat ridiculous.

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Samantha Barks as Eponine and Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche Picture Source

But Les Mis, while not populated with real characters, is about people who might have been. Fantine may never have existed, but girls like her—forced into prostitution to feed their families—have and still do. Though Marius and Enjolras did not exist, there have been hundreds of students who have given their lives in the struggle for what they believe is right. Hundreds of people were and have been either wrongly convicted or given far too harsh penalties (unfortunately, Australia was literally built on that).

But it is a story of hope, despite its tragic nature, and it is the kind of story that gets better and better the more you delve into it.

My favourite casts of this are the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast, the Original London Cast and the 25th Anniversary Cast.

And a special mention!

When I drafted this post months ago, I had never listened to the A Tale of Two Cities musical, but I have now. And safe to say, it is one of my favourite musicals ever. There’s so much passion and fire in it, and the music is awesome. However, I didn’t want to horribly kick any of these musicals off the list, so for now A Tale of Two Cities will not be counted as a top 5. But I love it much, and it’s awesome, and go and listen to it right now.

So there you have it! My five favourite musicals and why I like them. What are your favourite musicals? Why? Do you love any of the same ones I do?

 

29 thoughts on “My Top 5 Favourite Musicals

  1. I’m a musical newbie, but my favorites are probably in the heights, Hamilton, dear Evan Hansen, and Heathers. I’m going to try to listen to le mis soon, it seems like something I should do lol

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  2. My top 5: that is difficult, in my case it might be 6 musicals.

    1. Les Mis/Wicked- well that makes them tied?
    Well, Wicked carries my vision perfectly: a wonderful story with comedy, spectacle or dance, romance, complexity, positive and negative emotions in the score and strong emotional connections. My favorite musical character is in it, who is Elphaba.

    But Les Mis tied due to its powerful, heartbreaking, and hopeful story with these memorable characters whose lives are so interconnected and directly and indirectly impact each others live, with a brilliant, epic and passionate score (that is what makes up with not really spectacle or dance) and so many reasons. Wicked is the reason that my love for musicals was sparked and Les Mis the reason why I am passionate about musical. It is so hard for Les Mis is pass Wicked because of Wicked’s spectacle or dance and because of Elphaba, but at least it is tied.

    Now about the others, no clue what the order is so will list the others.

    2. Sound of Music- well this story has a lot of nostalgia attached to it. A story about family and music. It is a childhood favorite of mine so it is very special. Its score is so wonderful: through memorable songs that are fun.

    3. Annie- just like Sound of Music, it is part of my childhood. Before Wicked entered my life, Annie was my favorite musicals.

    4. Phantom of the Opera- it is beautiful and haunting, but angelic and beautiful. It is a very dark and mysterious love triangle. There is something about it that draws you in.

    5. Newsies- well, the dance in the show is mind-blowing. Jack and Crutchie are my favorite of the Newsies. The score is so fun and catchy, but at times emotional. Its story is so inspiring. Love all of the Newsies due to the close bond they have and they feel like family. The intimate relationship between Jack and Crutchie is very special.

    6. Beauty and the Beast- a fun and emotional score, memorable characters, and such a magical love story.

    7. Rent- it has been part of my life since Fall of 2012. Though sad, its message is wonderful. It has wonderful songs. I don’t know why I love characters, but a lot of it has to do with the bond they share.

    8. Music Man- I love when there is such a light-hearted show. It is so fun and so is its score.

    9. Pippin- I love the revival production it with the circus elements. I almost didn’t get to see it because when mom got tickets, there was only day left with seats together. So I do love Pippin.

    10. South Pacific- a beautiful love story with fun and at times an emotional score. So I love South Pacific.

    So it is hard to pick a top five list. At least I know which shows belong at the top. The tie between Wicked and Les Mis is hard to pick between and I love my reasons for why they are tied.

    As you have noticed, the musicals that are loved tend to have a wonderful score.

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  3. This is a pretty great list! I still need to give Anastasia a shot–will definitely be getting to it in May, though! I do really like all of the ones that are on this list! And I’m glad that you like A Tale of Two Cities! It’s a total tearjerker. You should check out the concert DVD–it made me cry even more than the soundtrack did!
    Aside from the musicals that you mentioned here, there are of course, Elisabeth, Tanz der Vampire, and Schikaneder, Something Rotten!, and a lot of other ones that I could as my favorites!

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  4. I’ve never seen Les Mis on stage but from a young age I have been pretty obsessed with it, I just love the music and the characters and the songs and pretty much everything! I think my favourite musical ever has to be Wicked, the songs are just some of the best things ever, the story is amazing and even though it’s set in the magical land of Oz deals with really relevant subjects and has really important elements like corrupt government, oppression, female friendship and standing up for what you believe in even if it means striking out on your own (sorry, this descended into gushing territory rather quickly!). I also saw Dreamgirls at the West End in London last summer and absolutely adored that too! Great post 🙂

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  5. Yes, definitely try Anastasia! It’s so cool 😀
    Ooh, I’ll have to look for the concert dvd, I’d definitely want to see it if I could find it 🙂
    I’ve listened to some of Elisabeth and Schickaneder and I really like the music and general sound of it, but I haven’t had a chance to get on youtube and listen to the whole thing yet, so I’ll definitely have to get onto it.
    Thanks for commenting!

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  6. I haven’t seen it on stage yet but I’m really hoping to one day! I remember the first time I listened to it, I was so confused by it. Like, why on earth should either I or Javert care that Valjean stole a loaf of bread? That was a pretty long time ago and I understand it a lot better now and love it a lot.
    I’ve listened to bits of Wicked, but never the whole thing! I’ve honestly not been that captivated by it, but I think I should give it another go.
    I’ve never heard of Dreamgirls before *runs away and scribbles down on list*
    Thanks for commenting!

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  7. That’s an impressive list! I don’t think I’ve even listened to 10 musicals! ;P
    I’ve always liked Sound of Music too! I love how Jack and Crutchie and the rest of them are all like brothers! it’s such a family orientated story, rather than revolving around romance or whatever. I really love that about it 😀
    Oh, the music is half the reason I love musicals! sometimes I just like listening to instrumental versions of Les Mis just because the music is beautiful!
    Thanks for commenting!

    Like

  8. I really love the concept of Hamilton, but I can’t stand rapping, so I just content myself with listening to Burn over and over again 😀
    Dear Evan Hansen is really cool too! It was one of the ones I considered for this post. Not listened to In The Heights or Heathers, though I’ve heard about them.
    Thanks for commenting!

    Like

  9. Haha I can imagine! I think when I was younger before I started actually listening to the lyrics I was just completely taken in by the music, plus I played I Dreamed a Dream in my piano lessons and that completely hooked me! Quite honestly I hadn’t really heard of Dreamgirls either until me and my friend went to London and ended up going to see it but it is so good! No worries, and thanks for giving me a chance to rant about musicals! 🙂

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  10. I’m really itching to just listen to Anastasia ahead of schedule… maybe I’ll do it this Friday if I’ve got time!

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  11. I love that the Newsies are family and a group of brothers. Yes, Jack and Katherine fall in love, but the story of Newsies focuses on them. They are one special family. The intimate bond between Jack and Cruthcie is so beautiful.

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  12. Ah! So many good musicals! Les Miserables is definitely my favorite musical, and I love Phantom and Anastasia and Newsies as well! The only musical on this list that I am not as crazy about is Cats, but I do like a lot of the music. Andrew Lloyd Webber has a certain haunting quality that I enjoy.
    And I am thrilled to hear that you have discovered A Tale of Two Cities!!! I really like a lot of the music from that show. Especially “I Can’t Recall” and “Let Her Be A Child.” James Barbour’s voice is amazing.
    Some of my other favorite musicals include Secret Garden and Jane Eyre. (Jane Eyre has James Barbour in it, which is a bonus.) I also really enjoy Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin because Alan Menken is brilliant.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes, the music is absolutely beautiful! I Dreamed a Dream would sound absolutely amazing on the piano, 😀
    So, what’s Dreamgirls about? It’s pretty cool that you got to go to London, I’m slightly jealous 🙂
    I always love a chance to rant about musicals (my second favourite topic after books and writing) Thanks for stopping by!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Haha! I can understand, Cats is definitely not for everyone!
    Yes, the music from A Tale of Two Cities is amazing! Why don’t more people know about this musical?? James Barbour is an amazing singer too, I think I heard him in the Jane Eyre musical, I’m pretty sure he’s Rochester in that.
    (Ha, I should finish reading your comment before I start replying, you just mentioned the Jane Eyre musical).
    Oh yes, Alan Menken *is* brilliant.
    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It didn’t sound amazing in the beginning because I was just starting to play piano but by now it does sound pretty nice 😂😂 It’s about a trio of singers during the 1960’s trying to make it big but it’s so amazing because it deals with race issues and girl power and family and all sorts of important issues. It’s been made into a film with Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce in it too (but the film isn’t as good!) Same! 🙂

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  16. I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS POST. And I didn’t even KNOW there was a ATOTC musical…I’m currently reading the book for school so I looked up the musical and IT IS BEAUTIFUL. Also, from reading the other comments: Jane Eyre is a musical?? What else have I missed in my life???????

    And I honestly think that some of the songs from Phantom are more romantic than anything I’ve ever heard in my life. I want All I Ask of You and Music of the Night to play at my wedding…

    Thanks for the follow! Love your blog!
    ~Hermione

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  17. Haha I can imagine 😛
    I looked it up earlier. It reminds me of a movie we have here in Australia called The Sapphires. That’s about three (or maybe four?) Aboriginal girls who go to Vietnam and sing for the troops. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve researched the real girls.
    I’ll definitely put it on my list of musicals to listen to. I honestly have a super long list right now, and it makes me happy, so much to listen to, but not enough time to listen to them all!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you!! 😀 I really enjoyed writing this post. AND OH MY GOODNESS YES!!! ATOTC is amazing, it’s completely beautiful and I love it so much. AND OH MY GOODNESS YES AGAIN Jane Eyre is a musical too! It’s really beautiful, I especially love the song Brave Enough For Love, which is near the end/or the finale, not sure which.
    Oh yes, if I ever get married I definitely want All I Ask of You to play. It’s so beautiful, and though I don’t usually like romantic songs, that one is my favourite songs of all time.
    No worries, it was a complete accident, if I’m going to be honest with you, but I enjoyed your blog, so I don’t regret it! Thanks 🙂

    Like

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