Grab a coffee, sit back, relax and enjoy these 10 fabulous YouTube videos, selected by our very own Music Theatre fanboy – Joel Granger!
If you’re anything like me, you have spent far too much of your summer holidays getting sucked into an Internet vortex of Ellen DeGeneres and SNL videos. To counteract this, I often like to kid myself into ‘being productive’ and watching renowned Music Theatre performers. After all, I’m pretty sure that if I watch really good people be really good enough times; I’ll soak up at least a bit of their skill and learn a few things along the way. Hence, I thought I would celebrate the New Year with you all by providing a top list of youtube videos of some of my favourite performers in some of their best performances.
(Disclaimer: I have no doubt that you may have seen some of these already, but I dare you to scroll past them and not watch them again for the twentieth time).
1. Cheyenne Jackson – Xanadu Tony Awards Performance
Cheyenne Jackson is one of those performers that I don’t quite know how to respond to. Half of me wants to constantly scream to the world that he is the best thing to ever happen to theatre, and the other half just wants to go and cry because I’ll never have even an ounce of his talent. (Also, as much as I love Lily Tomlin, feel free to skip her speech and go straight to the performance at 1:30)
2. Patti LuPone – Ladies Who Lunch
Love her or hate her, I don’t think there is any doubt that Patti is the epitome of stage presence in this performance at Sondheim’s 80th Birthday. I’ve watched this video an embarrassing number of times, always convincing myself that this is just a brilliant lesson in bringing out the sophistication of a lyric.
3. Jessica Keenan Wynn – Candy Store (Remix)
Almost every MT I know has played the original cast recording of this song on repeat. But this is the original Heather Chandler at her 54 Below Show in New York in a really cool arrangement of the song. It’s people like her that make me proud to be a ginger.
4. Jeremy Jordan – It’s All Coming Back to Me Now
Just when you couldn’t think he could any better, there’s a key change.
5. Laura Michelle Kelly and Matthew Morrison – What You Mean to Me
This is truly one of my favourite songs to come out of a new musical, and I think the way these two sing it together is truly stunning. Also, if you haven’t listened to Laura Michelle Kelly on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ musical soundtrack, please go and do it right now. Or maybe after you’ve finished this article.
6. Brian d’Arcy James with Taye Diggs and Julia Murney – Make Me Happy
How this man did such an emotionally and physically taxing performance night after night is quite beyond me. Apart from the obvious talent, I am so in awe of his vocal chords of steel and his obviously impeccable technique.
7. Laura Osnes and Steven Pasquale – If I Loved You
If I had to pick my favourite male and female voice on Broadway, it would probably be these two. So whichever casting director put these two opposite each other deserves a hefty Christmas bonus. This video also works as a fantastic master class for subtlety and complexity, with both of them giving performances that work fantastically for both camera and a theatrical sense.
8. Hannah Waddingham – Last Midnight
I’ve got to admit that I’m a pretty hard audience member to please. I just rarely seem to get through an entire performance without thinking about something else. That’s why actors who can literally stand and command my attention through the specificity of their song delivery are my favourite people ever. Let alone if they can do it through a computer screen. And that is why Hannah Waddingham will continue to be one of my favourite West End stars.
9. Jeremy Jordan with Laura Benanti – This Is Not Over Yet
I know I’m totally cheating by having two Jeremy Jordan videos on this list, but its Jeremy Jordan, so I’m allowed. I’d never really heard him sing legit material until I saw this video, and I was truly in awe of how beautiful his tone is and how versatile a singer he is.
10. Jonathan Groff – Anything Goes
He’s self admittedly not the most proficient dancer in the world, but his presence and his personality really shine through, and you cannot help but love watching him. It’s also comforting to know that even big, Broadway stars still obsessively watch youtube videos of other big, Broadway stars.