About six months ago, I did a post on my favourite underrated musicals and it had a good reception. Of course, I appreciate a lot of underrated musicals, so I decided to do a follow up post, drawing attention to a few more of my favourite underrated musicals.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Guys, this musical is my absolute favourites at the moment. I mean, its awesome. It has a massive choir, it has an intense plot, the music is so dark and atmospheric and the actors are incredibly talented.
But this show is just so underrated. It’s so underrated that for some reason it never made it to Broadway, which is a musical crime of the utmost severity.
But anyway, this musical is great. Its based on, and includes many songs from, Disney’s movie, but it incorporates several darker elements from Victor Hugo’s original novel. This does make it a pretty full-on musical to listen to, but honestly, all the Latin choruses and that high note at the end of “The Bells of Notre Dame” make it worth it.
Anastasia isn’t underrated in the sense that nobody’s ever heard of it, but I do think people underestimate how good it is. Anya herself is such a relatable and lovable character, and Dmitry is such a rogue, but also so charming–basically a fangirl’s daydream.
So why doesn’t this musical get the love it deserves?
To be honest, I don’t know why Anastasia had such a mediocre run on Broadway. I mean, it didn’t flop but it certainly wasn’t Hamilton. However, I feel that Anastasia is the sort of musical that won’t make a bang, but will be around for a long time to come.
Also, before we move on, can we just talk about Gleb? I feel that he’s the best addition to this new version of Anastasia, just because he’s such a human antagonist with such good inner conflict. He beats Rasputin by a long shot.
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Look, this musical has problems. For one thing, no matter how many times I read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia it never seems to make sense. It really is nonsensical, and very little like the book.
However, the music, the actors and songs are really good. Douglas Sills and Terrence Mann are great as Percy and Chauvelin and the songs will remain stuck in your head for weeks. The lyrics are also suitably bloodthirsting for a story about the French Revolution (just listen to “Madame Guillotine”)
It’s got some good standout songs, such as “Into The Fire”, “Falcon in the Dive” and “The Riddle” and they’re all hugely satisfying to listen to. Also, if you’ve read the book, you can just imagine these songs going with the plot of the book and not worry about the convoluted, nonsensical plot of the musical.
A Tale of Two Cities
After I’d finished my initial post, I couldn’t believe that I’d forgotten A Tale of Two Cities a.k.a. my favourite musical ever.
ATOTC is definitely underrated. I read a few of the critic reviews that were published back when it was first released and a lot of them said it was too much like Les Mis, too unoriginal, or something along those lines. I can understand that, but at the same time, it really isn’t anything like Les Mis–it just happens to be set in France during a Revolution.
Anyway, ATOTC is a great musical, even though it only has a few, rabid fans. We are loyal though, and we will defend its owner ferociously.
Of course, there are a few standout songs–namely all of Sydney Carton’s, plus “Without A Word”, “The Bluff”, “The Tale” and “Finale”.
Come From Away
This is a new one, both to me and the general world. It’s basically about a small town in Newfoundland where all the planes coming from, or going to, America were diverted to after the 9/11 attacks.
It’s a fascinating piece of work, and its ongs have a good balance of narrative, humour and emotion.
If you’re a bit more sensitive though, there is a bit of adult content in this musical. It includes a fair bit of swearing (several mentions of the f-word, among others), a gay couple, and the occasional comment.
My favourite songs include, “Welcome to the Rock” and “Me and the Sky”.