Musical Theatre Productions That I Wish I Could(‘ve) See(n)

Musical theatre productions come and go. And maybe that’s the hardest thing about being a musical fan. There are casts and productions that you just wish and wish that you could see or could have seen and you just never get to. For fans of movies, they may not be able to catch the movie in theatres but they can always buy the DVD, even if whatever movie they want to get is from a different country. But when it comes to musicals and other stage productions, unless the production is lucky enough to be filmed, for those of us who just can’t travel across the ocean on a whim, we may never get to see the production or the cast. So today, I thought that I’d go over some of the casts / productions of musicals that I wish that I could have seen as well as the ones that I could still plausibly see yet are unlikely. These may include productions and casts that I have already seen and yet want to see again.

· LES MISÉRABLES w/ John Owen-Jones as Valjean and Earl Carpenter or Hayden Tee as Javert – I got to see LES MIZ on Broadway last year in April and while JOJ was technically in the cast, he was out with the flu which was unfortunate. I did, however, get to see Hayden Tee as Javert which was utterly amazing. Of course, the understudy Valjean was amazing but still, I wish that I could have seen JOJ as well because he is my favorite Valjean. And then, I would also really like to see Earl Carpenter as Javert. I think that his interpretation of Javert is one of the best out there. I suppose that it’s possible that this cast assembles again? But it’s unlikely. I’ll keep hoping though.

· LES MISÉRABLES in Berlin w/ Jana Werner as Fantine – This is one that I wish that I could have seen. In 2004 when this particular production was running, I did not know that LES MIZ existed—if I did, I wasn’t interested in it; I was still very young—and even though it would have been more plausible for me to have gone to Germany back then, I wouldn’t have even thought of going to see LES MIZ if we had. As a German speaker, I like to listen to songs in German. LES MISÉRABLES in German actually may be almost more familiar to me than the English one at this point (that might be a bit of an exaggeration). But when I found out that Jana Werner, one of my favorite German vocalists had played Fantine in Berlin I just died a little internally. Seriously. She’s awesome as Fantine. And look-wise too, she’s on point for Fantine.

· Original London Production of LES MISÉRABLES – This one is on the more plausible side of things. The original London production is still running and it would be awesome if I could see it one day. It’s a sort of dream of mine. Problem is, I’m not too keen on going to London or England in general (I’ve just never been the sort to really want to go to London… I’m not really sure why) but… for LES MIZ, I might give it a shot. I’ve seen the revival production and it was absolutely amazing. I’m glad that I saw it. But I want to see the original production.

· Revival / Tour Production of LES MISÉRABLES – I saw the Revival / Tour production on Broadway last April and I hope to be able to see it next year in Seattle when the tour comes around! This one is probably the most plausible of any on the list because I do plan on seeing this production again. A friend of mine and I have already been thinking about it extensively.

· THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in Oberhausen, Germany w/ Toby Joch as Raoul – Toby Joch is probably one of my favorite Raouls ever. And I wish that I could have flown down to Oberhausen to see him in PHANTOM. Not to mention that the Oberhausen production was absolutely wonderful. If he ever joins PHANTOM again, I will do whatever I can to go and see him in that production. Sadly, PHANTOM Oberhausen is no longer running but we’ll see. In general, I’d just like to see PHANTOM in Germany. If Toby Joch is playing Raoul, even better.

· THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway w/ James Barbour as the Phantom, Julia Udine as Christine, and Jeremy Hays as Raoul – I actually saw this cast last April when I went to NYC and loved it. This is my favorite cast of PHANTOM, actually. Everyone was amazing. Unfortunately, Julia and Jeremy are no longer with the company and I’ve heard that James is leaving soon. At any rate, if I can see James as the Phantom again before he leaves, I definitely want to. I’m hoping for a trip to NYC in June but whether or not that will happen is kind of up in the air still and I’m not even sure if he’ll still be there. Oh well. We’ll see.

· STARLIGHT EXPRESS at the Gershwin Theatre – So, this would technically be the Broadway production, I guess. I don’t know… personally, I just want to see how they would have managed to do this show at the Gershwin because STARLIGHT EXPRESS requires a very different sort of stage and they didn’t let them do modifications to the theatre. This one is a little bit just more out of interest and not genuine want to see the production.

· STARLIGHT EXPRESS in Bochum w/ Kevin Köhler as Rusty and Trina Hill as Pearl – Whereas the Broadway production is one that I would have wanted to see mostly out of curiosity, I genuinely, really would like to see STARLIGHT in Bochum. Seeing Kevin Köhler might be more plausible than one might think because he comes back to STARLIGHT to play Rusty pretty frequently though I think that I probably will never get to see Trina Hill as Pearl (unfortunately).

· SONG AND DANCE on Broadway w/ Bernadette Peters – This musical is really unique and I’d have just really wanted to see it on stage. Plus, it’s Bernadette Peters and I love Bernadette Peters. Also, it’s noted to be one of her best performances ever. And I’d just have loved to have been able to see it. I have the CD and everything but you know, you’re missing a whole half of the show with just the CD and I’m willing to bet that the acting was phenomenal.

· Original Broadway Production of INTO THE WOODS w/ Bernadette Peters as the Witch – Again, Bernadette Peters. And as much as I think that the movie adaption that we got for INTO THE WOODS is one of the best musical movies that we’ve ever gotten, I still largely prefer the stage version for some reason. And with Bernadette Peters as the Witch, what more could I ask for?

· Revival Production of PIPPIN on Broadway w/ Matthew James Thomas as Pippin – I have the Cast Recording from this production actually thanks to a teacher I had for History in high school. But I never got to see it on Broadway (unfortunately) and I would have loved to have seen this cast. The tour production was also wonderful though!

· OLIVER! w/ Samantha Barks as Nancy – OLIVER! is just that one show that started me on my path to loving musical theatre. Samantha Barks is an awesome singer and I’d have loved to have seen her portrayal of Nancy especially because she also played Éponine in LES MIZ and I believe that the two characters are quite similar indeed. I think that it would have been really cool to have been able to see if there were any similarities in the way she played the two characters.

· OLIVER! w/ Ruthie Henshall as Nancy – Samantha Barks may have played Éponine and Nancy but Ruthie Henshall played Fantine and Nancy. Ruthie Henshall is one of my favorite singers of all time and I love her portrayal of Nancy. Her version of “As Long as He Needs Me” is my absolute favorite without a doubt.

· OLIVER! w/ Ron Moody as Fagin – Ron Moody was my favorite Fagin and forever will be. I was blown away with his performance as a child and still am today. Seriously, this man was amazing. I’d have loved to have had the chance to have seen him perform.

· Original Wien (Vienna) Production of SCHIKANEDER w/ Mark Seibert as Emanuel Schikaneder and Toby Joch as Johann Friedel – Two of my favorite German singers in one show? You’re kidding right? That’d be a dream come true. And seriously, this is a production that I could maybe possibly get to see (though it is highly unlikely). The costumes are amazing and so is the music. Also, shoutout to German-language musicals!

· German Original Production of WICKED w/ Mark Seibert as Fiyero and Wiljemin Verkaik as Elphaba – Again, Mark Seibert! Yup, he was the original German Fiyero and I would have loved to have seen him and Wiljemin Verkaik (I hope that I’m spelling her name right) perform together. That would have been amazing. Also, I first listened to WICKED in German with this cast so… that would be amazing if I could somehow go back in time and see this production. Oh well, there are dreams that cannot be (wrong musical, I know).

· Original Wien (Vienna) Production of ELISABETH w/ Pia Douwes as Elisabeth (Sisi) and Uwe Kröger as der Tod (Death) – Guess what musical I’m listening to right now? Yep, it’s ELISABETH. And while it’s not this particular cast, I still would have loved to have seen this cast even if it’s not necessarily my favorite. Pia Douwes is amazing as Sisi but she’s not my favorite and Uwe Kröger’s voice is just a little too soft for my tastes. But nonetheless, I have a high level of respect for this original cast and I would have loved to have seen it. Again, though… German-language musicals are amazing and deserve more recognition.

· Revival Production of ELISABETH in Essen (Germany), or Wien (Austria) w/ Annemieke Van Dam as Elisabeth (Sisi) and Mark Seibert as der Tod (Death) – So… this is the cast that I’m listening to right now. And it’s my favorite cast without competition. Hey, look, Mark Seibert showed up again! Yep. Who’d have thought? Everything about this cast was magnificent and I just hope that Mark and Annemieke join ELISABETH again when it gets another revival because I will do everything that I can to get myself over to either Germany or Austria to see the show.

· Belgium 2009 Production of ELISABETH w/ Ann van den Broeck as Sisi and Oliver Arno as der Tod – So, even though I understand very, very little Dutch (I can only understand some of it because it’s pretty similar to German), I’d have loved to have seen these two in ELISABETH because they’ve kind of grown on me. It’s just a cast that I think would have been interesting to have seen.

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So, that’s all for me! Are there any productions present or past that you would love to see or would have loved to have seen? And one more kinda random question: if you had the opportunity to see a musical in German in either Austria or Germany—you wouldn’t have to pay for anything; let’s just say that someone gifted you plane tickets and tickets to see the show—would you? (even if you didn’t / don’t understand a word of the language) Vielen dank und tschüss!

(Hardly relevant, but it snowed in Seattle last night and it’s supposed to snow a few times next week too!)

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12 thoughts on “Musical Theatre Productions That I Wish I Could(‘ve) See(n)

  1. This is a fascinating post. I am not fully picky about who I see play who in a production. But whenever I discover that I have an understudy for a lead character, I tend to get kind of nervous. In 2016, when I saw Newsies I had an understudy for Katherine and in 2015, I had an understudy for Valjean and understudies for both Pippin and the Leading Player

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    1. When I went to see Les Miz on Broadway, I was really hoping to see John Owen-Jones as Valjean because he’s my favorite Valjean but he was out with the flu and I was initially kind of worried as to whether or not I would like him but I was pleasantly surprised. I also saw the understudy Marius but he was also amazing!

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      1. My understudy for Valjean was incredible. I was quite nervous because I saw the show in London and I already was so familiar with the character. But I was pleasantly surprised.

        But the other three, these understudies were for characters I had not yet discovered yet. But still was nervous. Some I feel like understudies are underrated in a way because they can make the characters believable

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      2. Yeah, understudies are great. Actually, when I saw Phantom on tour, I got an understudy for the Phantom whom I actually preferred to the guy we would have seen. I guess it ultimately comes down to personal preference, but understudies are amazing. My favorite Raoul of all-time was actually an understudy / cover / swing for both Raoul and the Phantom as well as stepping in as the slave master in the Hannibal scene and seriously, just knowing that amplified my appreciation for him

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      3. I think understudies don’t get enough credit from fans. In a lot of ways, their jobs are a lot more stressful than the set stars’ because a lot of the time they don’t get much of a warning as to when they might have to get on stage for any given character.

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      4. Yeah, that’s definitely true. Especially if they’re swings. If they’re swings, they might have to memorize the parts for many characters. And seriously, that’s awesome. Not to mention that when they’re not doing any understudy work, they’re usually in the ensemble or playing some other role. I don’t know, they constantly amaze me

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      5. The swings most certainly have that going on. No clue how swings, understudies, and standbys do it. Sometimes it almost seems as if some of the understudies and standbys should have been the principal ones in some of the characters

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      6. Definitely! For Phantom Oberhausen, I am so glad that Toby Joch, the swing / understudy Raoul and Phantom got a lot of fan support and love from fans because he was absolutely amazing and just an overall really nice guy. It’d be great to see more understudies get that sort of support but unfortunately that doesn’t usually happen. They work so hard and they do a really great job too!

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  2. I would have loved to see the OBC of Wicked, 25th anniversary cast of Phantom, 10th anniversary cast of Les Mis, and honestly any version of Wicked with Willemijn Verkaik =P

    As for Elisabeth, I would have liked to see the Essen one with Pia & Uwe, or the Thun version with Willemijn/Christoph Goetten. But the tour with Mark Seibert & Roberta Valentini/Annemieke van Dam looked pretty dang awesome too.

    Obviously, these are all just my wishes xD

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    1. I would have to agree! As I was writing this list, it kinda just sunk in that I will never be able to see most of these productions. But man, if time travel was a thing and plane tickets were cheap… I’d go to see these things without a second thought

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