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.
Gone Missing is one of my favourite hidden gems. Developed by The Civilians, an investigative theatre company in NYC, the show is centred around the concept of loss (both literal and abstract), different types of things that people lose, and how they cope with it. The Civilians used a documentary-like process to interview real life subjects for inspiration, and the book for the show uses their interview transcripts as verbatim dialogue. The process of the show’s development is fascinating, and I implore you to have a google and read up on it a bit more – I’ll be mentioning a few of their other shows down the line too! The music (composed by Michael Friedman of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) is fabulous, and I long for the day I can see this show staged in Australia.
Standout track/s: Lost Horizon; The Only Thing Missing; I Gave It Away
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Song cycles, specifically thematic ones like Edges or Elegies, Michael Friedman
21 Chump Street is a 14 minute musical. The brainchild of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show is based on a real story of a high schooler who falls in love with an undercover police officer. The original cast included Anthony Ramos and Lindsay Mendez, and even features Lin himself as the narrator. For a show so short, the songs really are catchy!
Standout track/s: I mean there are only 5… but definitely What The Heck I Gotta Do
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Lin-Manuel Miranda shows (Hamilton, In The Heights, Bring It On), Lindsay Mendez or Anthony Ramos, time saving!
Floyd Collins is a true gem with a beautiful score. Penned by Adam Guettel (The Light in the Piazza) and Tina Landau (SpongeBob Squarepants: The Musical), the show is based on the real-life story of Floyd Collins, an American cave explorer, and the final exploration before his tragic death. It analyses media exploitation, survival, greed, and many other intricate and deep themes. In true Guettel fashion, the score is incredibly rich and complex, and is an emotional journey from start to finish.
Standout track/s: Ballad of Floyd Collins; It Moves; Lucky
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Adam Guettel, historical musicals, Bluegrass shows like Bright Star and Big River (or just bluegrass music in general)