Welcome back to Musical Mondays!
In case you’re new here, this column is a peek into the depths of the Musical Theatre archive, where I will showcase a few musicals that I think deserve a little more love. You can read my past posts by clicking here!
They’re the smaller, niche shows that not everyone will be familiar with – and that’s the point! They deserve just as much love as the big name shows, so every second Monday I’ll list a few, give you some comparisons, and a few examples of songs for you to check out.
Bit of an eclectic mix for this week’s picks…
Music Is is a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. It opened in 1976 in Seattle and transferred to Broadway, unfortunately closing after only 14 previews and 8 performances. The show has practically disappeared since then, and it’s incredibly hard to find clips or copies of music from the show, but the story is fantastic and the songs (if you can find them) are super fun.
Standout track/s: Big Bottom Betty
You’d like this if you enjoy…: Shakespeare (or, more specifically, Twelfth Night)
Unfortunately, this show has been lost in the archives of music theatre, so I can’t find any clips or recordings to share! If any pop up, I’ll be sure to link them here.
Flora, the Red Menace was Liza Minelli’s broadway debut. I’m sure that die-hard Liza fans would have known that. To be completely honest, I didn’t even know that until I looked into the show. I knew of a few of the tracks, as they’ve become commonly used in the cabaret circuit, but I wasn’t aware they were actually from a show. Flora was the first collaboration of legendary team John Kander and Fred Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret), and interestingly enough, they wrote the show with Barbra Streisand in mind. Regardless, the outcome was extremely successful for Liza, winning her a Tony for Best Actress in the role, and helping launch her theatrical career.
Standout track/s: Sing Happy; A Quiet Thing
You’d like this if you enjoy…: Other Kander and Ebb shows; strong female leads, and obviously, Liza Minelli.
Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe has a rather self explanatory title. It follows the life of the acclaimed author, and the struggles that inspired his writing. The script itself pays wonderful homage to Poe’s literature, and is a must for any fans of his work. The music is a little bit gothic, a little bit edgy, and a little bit rock and roll. All existing production photos show off an incredible almost Steampunk design style, which I would absolutely love to see live.
Standout track/s: From the Beginning; Nevermore; The Raven
You’d like this if you enjoy…: Jekyll and Hyde, The Nightmare Before Christmas (I know it’s not a musical per se. But it’s a similar vibe. Spooky.)