Guten morgen everyone!
Today, I thought that I’d talk about some of my favorite musicals and what makes them unique. Personally, I think that standing out is a key factor in something becoming my favorite. I mean, what are the chances that a plain Jane thing will become a favorite of mine? That’s not to say that I don’t like “plain Jane” musicals. But… at the same time, they’re not my favorites. It takes something that stands out about the musical to really keep my attention. So, let’s talk about it!
•SCHIKANEDER (Music Composed by Stephen Schwartz)
– SCHIKANEDER is Stephen Schwartz’s newest musical that is currently only running in Vienna, Austria. It’s a German language musical though it is expected to get an English translation and run on Broadway sometime soon. This musical is amazing and I love it so much. But what’s unique about it? That’d have to be the style of the music. The music of SCHIKANEDER is very much modeled after the style of Mozart and it’s done really, really well. The music is very, very classical and it’s transports you right to the era. The costumes are beautiful as well.
· SOMETHING ROTTEN! (Music composed by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick) – Besides SCHIKANEDER, SOMETHING ROTTEN! is, without a doubt, the most unique musical I’ve seen in more recent years. Most musicals are based off of books, plays, movies, and / or historical events. It’s very rare to see a completely original musical. But if there ever was one, SOMETHING ROTTEN! is it without a doubt. The story is immensely unique and so are the characters. It’s impossible to describe it accurately but man, if you’ve seen SOMETHING ROTTEN!, you’ll know what I mean.
· TANZ DER VAMPIRE (Music composed by Jim Steinman) – It’s really hard to pinpoint at first, the uniqueness of TANZ DER VAMPIRE because there are so many things that could be seen as unique. But what stands out to me most is definitely the costumes, music style, and dances. So, let’s start with the costumes. I am tempted to say that I’ve never seen more beautiful costumes in my life (but I feel like that ought to go to ELISABETH). They’re elegant. Don’t look at the pictures from the Broadway version—the costumes for that production was horrible just like the rest of it. But when you look at the Austrian and German productions, the costumes are stunning. The music style is pretty unique as well but I can’t quite explain it. It mixes classic music with more modern styles and I think that’s super cool. Then, there’s the dances. Again, can’t really describe it but there’s something almost otherworldly about them.
· JEKYLL & HYDE (Music composed by Frank Wildhorn) – The most unique part of this musical has to be the way that it’s directed and also the style of the music. The musical is described as being a “gothic musical thriller” and really, that perfectly describes what I’m trying to say. The gothic thriller feel to it is so unique and the transformation from Jekyll to Hyde and back to Jekyll again is awesome and very well done.
· LES MISÉRABLES (Music composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg) – LES MISÉRABLES is by far the most inspirational musical that I have ever seen. It’s absolutely beautiful in spirit and I love it for that. The characters and their purposes are so well laid out and I really just admire Victor Hugo’s skill at planning because that even transfers well into the musical. The tragic yet inspirational feel to LES MIZ is wonderful. Not to mention that it’s a history based musical and I always love history based musicals (I’m a major history geek).
· WICKED (Music composed by Stephen Schwartz) – WICKED is quite possibly the most whimsical musical that I have ever seen and I admire it for that. The characters are very well done and easy to relate to. And the costumes. The costumes feel like they’re from some other world. That’s what stands out about WICKED to me. I’ll also give it a point for a unique storyline as well because the idea of telling “the other side of THE WIZARD OF OZ” is pretty great.
· THE LAST FIVE YEARS (Music composed by Jason Robert Brown) – The structure of THE LAST FIVE YEARS is what is especially unique. THE LAST FIVE YEARS is about a failed relationships told by both parties. Cathy tells her side of the story from the end to the beginning, starting with her reflecting on the divorce and ending at the end of her and Jamie’s first date. Jamie, Cathy’s husband, tells his story from the beginning to the end of their relationship, starting with circa their first date, ending with his own reflection of their divorce. It’s a great, great way of telling their story and I love how the stories meet in the middle at their wedding. While it is a devastatingly sad story, it does have happy moments and maybe that just adds to the sadness of it.
· PIPPIN (Music composed by Stephen Schwartz) – I think that it’s pretty obvious as to what is so unique about PIPPIN. And that’d be the circus elements. Goodness gracious… the circus elements are amazing and I don’t think that I have ever seen something quite like it nor ever will.
· SONG AND DANCE (Music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber) – This musical is unique in its structure. Act I is presented completely in song and Act II is told in dance. And it’s awesome. Or… the idea of it is awesome. I can’t really know because it’s not a show that’s currently running. But man, the music is awesome and I can’t get enough of it. Love, love, love it.
· THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber) – I don’t think that anyone will deny that THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece. But what really stands out to me about PHANTOM is the absolute elegance and near over-the-topness of the show. But it’s extravagant, almost flamboyant air is amazing and one of the best parts of it, I think. Also, those tunes are impossible to get out of you head.
· STARLIGHT EXPRESS (Music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber) – I’m constantly arguing with myself about whether or not I think that I like STARLIGHT more than PHANTOM. They both hold emotional weight with me and both are awesome. Anyways, we’re talking about uniqueness. And in STARLIGHT, all actors are on skates because they’re playing trains. It was deemed “too dangerous” for either Broadway or the West End (can’t remember which one). So… I’d go as far as to say that STARLIGHT is “too unique for Broadway”. Yep. Bochum, Germany, keep it up and keep the race on!
· ELISABETH (Music composed by Michael Kunze) – And here we’ve got the most successful German language musical of all time, ELISABETH. ELISABETH is one of my favorite musicals of all time. And I fell in love with it because of the uniqueness of it. In ELISABETH, Death is a character in the form of der Tod (the Death). And seriously, it’s awesome. Awesome. Another thing that makes ELISABETH unique? Well… the imagery / metaphors presented in the form of dance. So… Sisi literally danced with Death. Man, I love this musical.
Das ist alles für mich! What are your favorite unique points of your musicals? Tschüss!