I’ve grown up with musicals all my life, and though I still have many more to discover and become obsessed with, these are the five which have stuck with me and I never tire of listening to. Funnily enough, they’re all ones I’ve only recently known, too.

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I got the DVD of the 2001 film on my fifteenth birthday and I remember watching it is absolute AWE. It is visually stunning, and so so sexy. I love the 1920s as it is, so I was very jealous of Zellweger and Zeta-Jones being able to dance around in shimmering flapper dresses. I love the style of music, and how theatrical it is – it reminds me why I love the all-singing and dancing musicals of this era. Velma Kelly is most definitely a dream role of mine, and I can’t count the number of times I have sung and danced to the Cell Block Tango  in my room (and on stage), including learning all of the monologues off by heart. I think what I also love is the representation of the media and celebrity as fickle and ever-changing, and how relevant that is in our society almost one-hundred years later than the era the show is set in, as well as the strength of both female leads.

tl5y

Again, I was introduced to this musical through the recent movie by my friend Sam. The film was okay, I guess, but I can tell how much better it will work in the median of theatre. I’m not one for romantic plots really, but there is something so real about the way Jason Robert Brown writes his lyrics – they all sound like ordinary conversations and dialects such as “You know what makes me crazy? Can I just say this?”. I also love the structure of the show, in that it runs chronologically through the five years for Jamie, but reverse for Cathy – seeing at her most vulnerable leading to her in her happier days. And yet, there is that tinge of sadness as we know it won’t end well for her.
Because of this time order, there are repetitions of lyrics and melodies which are completely flipped because of the context. I ADORE THIS. I love repeated melodies and phrases in shows, as they’re something that gets stuck in your head and the way they are used is very clever, too.
I am very excited to see this show in November at the St. James’ Theatre with Samantha Barks.

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My lovely friend Abbie introduced me to this show at the beginning of 2015, based on the cult ‘80s film (which shockingly I had never heard of), and I watched both within the space of the week. I then listened to the soundtrack non-stop and I think I know every single lyric. I subsequently introduced lots of my other friends to the show. I like how modern it is (despite its ‘80s setting), and the style of music is very contemporary. I also like it’s dark humour, and I most definitely (badly) look up to Heather Chandler. I love her sassy attitude – I even dressed up as her for Halloween. (I’d like to note I understand she is not a good role model).

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I love fairytales and I like dark humour and themes, so putting them both into one – let alone a Sondheim musical – is definitely going to win me over. I could talk about this show for a long time, and probably will in various blog posts over time, as it is so cleverly structured, both in plot and musically. I think the show tells some very important lessons, and the way it flips everything we thought we knew as children on its head – “Witches can be right, Giants can be good”. There are so many themes touched upon and explored in this show, from parenthood and family, to love, wishes, making your own choices and growing up, as well as our morals and placing the blame. I think this show, though quite old now, is still so relevant for today’s audiences.
I recently saw Into the Woods at Cardiff Open Air, and you can read my review here.

 

in the heights

I didn’t know anything about this show when I was taken to see it with my friends Conor and Katy who had both seen it multiple times, but boy did I fall in love. I love the mixture of rap and ballads, and the staging of the show at the Kings Cross Theatre in traverse lends itself to the community feel the show brings. It is colourful, the atmosphere is infectious, and my favourite role has to be the sassy hairdresser Daniela (not for name readons, though partly). The choreography is incredible, and I’m hoping to catch the show again next time I’m in London before it closes in July.

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