I’ve always loved musical theater—see this post, and all the ones about Les Mis—but lately I’ve been obsessing about it more than usual. I think seeing Les Mis over the summer triggered something in me.
I traveled to New York twice in seventeen days. The day before New Year’s Eve, I just took a day trip there (it’s about a four-hour bus ride if the traffic’s not bad) to see Allegiance on Broadway. I had a feeling it would be closing soon and I wanted to see it before it was gone, and the subject matter—a Japanese-American family in an internment camp during World War II—interested me. Plus, Lea Salonga, who has one of the most gorgeous voices ever, and George Takei! The show had gotten mixed reviews, but I liked it a lot. The music was okay, but the story and performances were what made it really strong. I’m sorry to hear that it’s closing in a few weeks.
Then last weekend, I went down Saturday and Sunday for two shows. One was, for the third time since it’s come to Broadway, Les Mis. I’m quite sure I’ll never see a Jean Valjean better than Ramin Karimloo, but his replacement, Alfie Boe, played Valjean in the 25th Anniversary concert and is also very good. Unfortunately, Alfie ended up being out sick that night, but the understudy, J. Michael Finley, did a good job. Other standouts in the cast—Adam Monley was an excellent Javert and Brennyn Lark was great as Eponine.
The other musical I saw, at the Sunday matinee, was the second-to-last Broadway show for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. I didn’t know very much about it before I saw it, other than that the lead role was played by Bryce Pinkham, who graduated from BC a year before me (I don’t know him, though) and that Jefferson Mays played multiple characters. I’m glad now that I didn’t know more, because it turned out to be hilarious and delightful and if I’d been spoiled about much of the plot, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed it as much. The entire cast was excellent, and my head is spinning thinking about the quick costume changes Jefferson Mays, who plays NINE characters, must have had.
I have another trip to New York planned for Memorial Day weekend, which I’m really excited about because I’m going to see…Hamilton! I had to spend a ton of money on StubHub to get the ticket, but I’m dying to see it with the original cast, so I think it will be worth it.
I bought the Hamilton soundtrack recently after several listens on Spotify. Before I listened to it there, I’d heard a lot about it and thought it sounded interesting, but I was hesitant about it because I don’t like rap—like, at all. So when I finally heard the whole thing, I was shocked at how much I liked it, and it gets better with every subsequent listen (partly, I think, because you know the story better). If you’re like I was and think it sounds interesting but don’t like rap, have a listen to this song, “You’ll Be Back,” first. It’s sung by King George in the play (the hilarious Jonathan Groff), and it’s essentially a breakup letter to the colonies:
Now listen to the whole thing:
I’m really excited to see it in May—it’s one of the things to look forward to that I’m giving myself. I hear there’s some awesome choreography in it as well, so even though I’ll know all the music, seeing that will be new.
I’m also hoping to see Waitress on Broadway at some point. It’s moving there after premiering in Cambridge last fall, but unfortunately, it sold out very quickly and I missed it. The music is by Sara Bareilles, whom I LOVE, and she recently released an excellent album where she sings some of the songs from Waitress. Again, listen:
The other show I might see on Broadway this spring is She Loves Me. There are a lot of cool people in it—Zachary Levi, Laura Benanti, Jane Krakowski—but I mostly want to see it because of Andrew Kober, who until recently was in the Les Mis cast and featured heavily in Ramin’s vlogs.
Plus, my friends and I are thinking about seeing The Sound of Music when it’s in Boston in a couple of months. I love the movie but have never seen it on stage.
So this is shaping up to be the year of ALL the theater, and I’m really excited!