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.
Tell Me On A Sunday is a one-woman song cycle by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. It was originally performed alongside a dance piece known together as Song and Dance, however, in recent years the show has reverted back to a stand-alone musical. The one act piece is about a nameless girl (more recently known as “Emma”) travelling from England to America in search of love. ‘The Girl’ was famously portrayed by Marti Webb, but has also been performed by Bernadette Peters, Sarah Brightman, and Liz Robertson. It’s packed with absolutely beautiful songs, and is a fabulous way of showing off a talented female-identifying performer.
Standout track/s: Unexpected Song; Tell Me On A Sunday; Take That Look Off Your Face
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black shows like Aspects of Love and Sunset Boulevard, song cycles about relationships like I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and The Last Five Years
Dogfight is possibly one of my favourite shows. It’s definitely not without fault, but the music is just so good – which is no surprise when the music and lyrics are by Pasek and Paul. Based on the 1991 film of the same name, Dogfight follows three marines returning home from their deployment, and setting out on a cruel challenge – a dogfight, where each tries to find the ugliest date to a party. Leading man Eddie meets Rose, who helps him realise just how horrible the game is, as well as a true lesson in compassion. It’s punchy, action packed, and has an incredibly catchy score. The original Off-Broadway production starred Lindsay Mendez, Derek Klena, and Annaleigh Ashford, and the soundtrack is absolutely divine. The show made its Australian premiere in 2015 at the Hayes Theatre, starring Hilary Cole, Louis Lucente, Toby Francis, Rowan Witt, and Johanna Allen. Dogfight is a favourite choice for community and independent theatre companies due to its small cast size, but make no mistake – it’s a big show.
Standout track/s: Come To A Party; Dogfight; Hometown Hero’s Ticker Tape Parade; Before It’s Over
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Pasek and Paul shows such as Dear Evan Hansen, James and the Giant Peach, and Edges, musicals about the military such as On The Town, Miss Saigon, and Bandstand.
Elf is such a fun pocket-rocket of a musical. Based on the iconic Will Ferrell movie of the same name, we see a young Buddy accidentally getting transported to the North Pole, being raised as an elf, and subsequently discovering that he’s really a human boy. There are quite a few changes from the film, most significantly the development of Walter Hobbs’ character (no spoilers!), but it will still be enjoyable to anyone who loved the original. Plus, the creative team are the wonderful Matthew Sklar, Chad Beguelin (both having written The Wedding Singer and The Prom), Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone, The Prom) and Thomas Meehan (Hairspray, The Producers). I mean, come on. It’s a recipe for success.
Standout track/s: I’ll Believe In You, Just Like Him, Never Fall in Love, Nobody Cares about Santa
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Anything from the creative team, musicals about Christmas like Holiday Inn and White Christmas, children friendly shows like Billy Elliot and Annie.