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.
If you were wondering what happened to all your favourite Disney princesses, have no fear – Disenchanted has the answers! Snow White leads a pack of disappointed princesses whose stories didn’t turn out how the movies told us they would. Belle is constantly hungry, Ariel is sick of following the rules, Pocahontas wants to tell her real story, and Rapunzel is… German? Every single moment of the show is hilarious, with the writing a refreshing change from the typical Disney formula. And while funny, Disenchanted is still packed full of good morals and messages – particularly that we can do just fine without a prince coming along to save the day. It‘s a great pick for small independent or community theatre productions, and quite possibly even high schools.
Standout track/s: All I Wanna Do Is Eat; Without The Guy; Two Legs
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Satirical/parody shows like Avenue Q, any Disney Princess movie.
Band Geeks is a tribute to high school marching bands. Although not the most relatable for Australian audiences, the show is sweet, following the students of Cuyahoga High on a mission to save their beloved Marching Beavers. The show is all about embracing your inner (or outer!) geek, championing your passions, and sticking to your guns. The score is rousing and anthemic, and the show would make a fantastic high school production. The show had a short run with Goodspeed Musicals in Conneticut, but to my knowledge has not received a proper professional run. The cast recording features some Broadway favourites such as Patti Murin (Frozen, Lysistrata Jones), Jared Gertner (The Book of Mormon, Ordinary Days) Lindsay Mendez (Dogfight, Carousel). Considering we’re getting plenty of shows down under that are explicitly about American experiences (cough, Hamilton), I’d love to see a production of this staged in Australia sometime soon.
Standout track/s: Lost in the Brass; The Back of the Bus; Get it Together
You’ll like this if you enjoy: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, 13 The Musical, Lysistrata Jones, the TV show Glee.
Based on the novel by William Goldman, No Way To Treat A Lady follows an actor Kit and detective Morris, both with mutual dreams of being a headline in the New York Times. With very different methods, Kit turns to murder to seek out his fame, with Morris being assigned the case. The story screams drama, and really was a perfect choice for a musical adaptation, and each cast member must be a triple threat due to there only being 4 in the show, but with each playing a multitude of quirky and large characters. Book, music, and lyrics are all by mastermind Douglas Cohen, and all three ooze of wit and sophistication – it really is just a brilliantly written show. Lady had its first workshop in 1987, and opened off-Broadway in 1996. There was a brief run in Sydney with Neglected Musicals, but I would love to see this re-staged soon (or at least staged somewhere where I can get to see it!).
Standout track/s: Only a Heartbeat Away; Safer in my Arms; Front Page News
You’ll like this if you enjoy: The original novel or its film adaptation, Curtains, Catch Me If You Can.