Favorite Opening Sequences in Musical Theatre?

Personally, I’m of the mind that the opening of a musical is severely important. But what are my favorite opening sequences from a musical?

· “Prolog / Alle Tanzten Mit dem Tod” from ELISABETH – Seriously, opening sequences are sequences that I’m generally disappointed with. But this opening does not disappoint. Lucheni is an unreliable narrator and one that I don’t necessarily like as a person, but goodness’s sake… he’s a good storyteller and a good narrator. There’s no doubt of that. And all of the imagery of this scene is perfection. Also, the music? Sehr perfekt! (That’s not spelt wrong… that’s German.) I usually don’t listen to opening sequences from musicals over and over again but this song is one of my most repeated. In fact… I’m listening to it right now. No joke.

· “Overture” from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – Okay, “Overture” is an epic beginning. Not kidding. Not kidding at all. It’s perfectly dramatic—PHANTOM is a dramatic show—and it’s just wonderful. Does this deserve another “sehr perfekt”? Probably. Boy… I am being generous with my “sehr perfekt”’s today. I usually save that for super wonderful things. Anyways… we go on.

· “Look Down / Work Song” from LES MISÉRABLES – “Look Down / Work Song” isn’t what I’d say is the strongest opening that I’ve seen for a musical but that’s not saying that it’s a bad start either. In fact, I think that it’s a very good start for the story that’s about to be told. We get to see Valjean and we get to see where the conflict between him and Javert originated and I think that that’s really important.

· “Home” from WONDERLAND – This isn’t really a big musical number but it is emotionally big and it’s done really well. I love it so much. Seriously, this might be one of the most quotable songs that I’ve ever heard and I think that the words of this musical speak to everyone in some way. Should I give this one a “sehr perfekt!”? Well… okay. I’ll give it a “sehr gut!”

· “No One Mourns the Wicked” from WICKED – This song is actually what got me into WICKED originally. I think that there’s something so wonderful about this song. Emotionally too. It’s not a song that seems emotionally engaging but it really, really is especially if it’s not your first time listening to / seeing it.

· “I Need to Know” / “Façade” from JEKYLL & HYDE – Frank Wildhorn is such an underrated composer in my opinion. JEKYLL & HYDE really proves that, I think. Granted, story isn’t the best and set’s kind of sloppy but the music is great. The opening sequence for this one is no different!

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So, what are your favorite opening sequences from musicals?

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14 thoughts on “Favorite Opening Sequences in Musical Theatre?

  1. Wicked has one of the best openings ever. I love right at the beginning when the dragon operates and the monkeys open the show and automatically am in OZ. I find Les Mis’ opening wonderful as well and its before the first scene and those first powerful notes and when I saw the show in the West End, I knew it would be more than expected once I heard those notes. Than of course there is the wonderful opening of Pippin.

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      1. Another opening favorite is from Newsies. That opening introduces the main character, Jack Kelly, and his special bond to Cructhie and that bond gets the emotional connection started. This happens during “Santa Fe (prologue), which leads directly into “Carrying the Banner”

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      2. I ended up getting the movie for Christmas. I will watch it, but at the same time kind of protective of the stage knowing some of the differences. Knowing it was a flop movie, don’t know in a way

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