Arabian (arabian) wrote,

Give My Regards to Broadway! Part 1

I've always loved Broadway musicals (early favorites were Les Miserable, Evita, Pippin, Cats and Phantom of the Opera). I got my love of musicals from my mother who had albums of almost every musical from the 80's and 90's. Because of that, I was able to keep up with shows and stuff without making the effort myself. However, once she went into the hospital and then passed, I mostly let my love of musical fall to the wayside. Sure, I popped in and out and watched the Tony's each year, but I didn't buy or listen to any or anything.

All of that changed last year when I listened to Wicked on a whim and fell totally in love with it (and Idina Menzel). This led to getting a bunch of others, but I still wasn't full-fledged until recently. I don't know why, but I've been on such a Broadway kick lately, it's insane. That's all I've been listening to and I have a bunch of new favorites (my current one being Duncan Sheik's Spring Awakening -- which I'm listening to right now). Below are a list to the Broadway musicals I have on my computer and brief commentary on them. (I'm just doing the first batch -- I have bunches more) I know I have a few fellow Broadway fans on my flist (you know who you are :), so I'd love to hear from you.

Also, I'm more than happy to put up zips of the musicals listed, and I would LOVE to hear some suggestions (and possibly downloads) of ones I don't have on my list.

Aida -- I'm actually not the biggest fan of all performers in the OBC (I've heard a few versions of Idina Menzel as Amneris and as I adore Menzel, it does slightly hurt my appreciation of Sherie Ryan Scott) and yes, it's cheesy and overblown. And, honestly, there are a few songs that I'm not fond of and, in my opinion, the lyrics aren't always that fabulous ... but, but, but, I'm still swept away by the beauty and drama of it. I also love the fated destiny that you get about the two lovers. Plus, I ADORE, ADORE the opening song -- "Every Story is a Love Story" because it's so true ... and yes, I have totally thought of making a Logan/Veronica vid to that song, hee.

A Little Night Music -- I have a confession to make -- I'm only marginally fond of this because I saw the movie version with Elizabeth Taylor (yes, Elizabeth Taylor) as a pre-teen and fell totally in love with it. One reason is that I adored the Eric/Anne subplot because Lesley-Anne Down and Christopher Guard had a really great chemistry and I thought Guard had an amazing voice. Sadly, I was so not impressed with the guy's voice playing Erich (although I think he has a different name in this production). Also Diane Rigg was the AWESOME! Still, I love the words and music, and oh, what I wouldn't do for a copy of the music from the film -- I can't find it anywhere, sigh -- but this is still damn good (and probably much better for most people who didn't see the movie at a young age were thus not corrupted).

Avenue Q -- How can you not love a musical with puppets singing songs like: "It Sucks to Be Me," "Everyone's a Little Racist Sometimes" and "The Internet is for Porn"? Hee! Although, admittedly, I also love the big "ballad" "There's a Fine, Fine Line" which is just beautiful. What can I say? This is funny, outrageous, so politically incorrect, romantic, fresh and lively. And did I mention 'Gary Coleman' is one of the supporting characters?

Beauty and the Beast Original Broadway Cast -- I was surprised to love this so much, but I do and in fact, I actually like this better than the movie. The additional songs are great and I ADORE Susan Egan who played Beauty in the original Broadway cast (and then Meg in the Disney cartoon, Hercules -- with one of my fave songs ('I Won't Say I'm in Love") ever from Disney). The Australian version I have for one reason -- Hugh Jackman plays Gaston. And he is AWESOME!

Beauty and the Beast Australian Company (See B&B OBC)

Cabaret -- Let me say that I do adore Natasha Richardson. I've been a huge fan for about eight years and have seen almost everything's she done, but good Lord! What were the casting people thinking?!?! Yes, she can act -- you can tell just from listening how great an actress she is because you can feel every word she's singing ... Ah, and there we come to the crux of the problem. She. Can. Not. Sing. Sigh. It's really a shame because Alan Cumming as the Emcee IS divine and deserved every solitary word of praise he got. It's worth listening to for him alone.

Caroline or Change -- This didn't get that much attention (although it did get some well-deserved Tony nods and one win), and had only a four-month run, but that was likely because it's not flashy or a spectacle. One review said it was "a play masquerading as a musical" and that's a damn good description. Reviews across the board were pretty much gasping at the heartbreaking beauty of this musical. It's just solid, real and achingly, beautifully amazing. Pinkins' big number ("Lot's Wife") is mind-blowing, heart-wrenching and incredible; she delivers it as well as everything else she does in this musical ... brilliantly. Let me put it this way -- I adore Idina Menzel. Seriously worship her. I have every thing she's recorded, bunches of live performances, etc. have driven my sister crazy talking about how awesome she is ... and if Tonya Pinkins had won the Tony (she was nominated; Menzel took home the prize), I would have felt it perfectly justified. That is how completely kick-ass Pinkins is. The whole thing is just amazing. And for any Dreamgirls (or heck, From Justin to Kelly fans! HAH!) Anika Noni Rose is in this production also -- she won the Tony for featured actress in a musical (and deservedly so). And, Grey's Anatomy fans, Chandra Wilson (Dr. Bailey) has a supporting role as well. Whatever it takes -- check this out!

Okay, if there's any interest in me continuing this with the other 20+ musicals I have, I will. But this is taking a bit of time and I don't really want to do it just for my benefit with no back and forth response. So ... if there's interest (in also maybe sharing Broadway rec's and downloads), I'm all for that.
Tags: broadway, idina menzel

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