So, as I have never explicitly stated, but most of you probably could have guessed–I really love musicals. I live in a super small town, so the odds of me seeing one live until I move out are very unlikely–but I don’t even care, I absolutely love the way stories can be told through music, and all the funky instruments, and just how unapologetically loud and dramatic they are. And over the years I’ve definitely found some favourites, so yeah! Here they are.
The Mad Ones
I just found this show a few weeks ago, and I fell in love with it immediately. For one, the main character really reminds me of myself, and she’s very fun to project all my problems onto, especially my current what-do-I-do-after-I-graduate crisis. It has some super cool imagery, and uses learning to drive a car as a metaphor for pretty much the whole story, which is absolutely brilliant and something I’m so mad I’ve never thought of before. The instrumentals, the vocals, and just the story as a whole are so beautiful and well done, and definitely give me chills.
The Mad Ones follows cautious our protagonist, Sam as she completes her last year of high school, and tries to muddle through what she wants to do with her life with her reckless best friend, Kelly. It’s heartbreaking and poignant and so underappreciated, so please check it out!
Favourite song: “My Mom is a Statistician”
Dear Evan Hansen
This one is super close to my heart–honestly, it was the only thing that got me through the first semester of ninth grade, and helped me feel not completely alone in my problems.
It follows our protagonist, Evan Hansen, a high school boy who struggles with anxiety. His therapist gives him this assignment to write letters to himself, and he starts each with Dear Evan Hansen. When Conner, a classmate who he never really know, through a weird chain of events, commits suicide and dies with one of these notes in his pockets, his parents think the two were friends. Evan plays along with the lie, desperate for their love and approval, and unable to further hurt this messy, grieving family. It’s such a good portrait of what it feels like to struggle with mental illness, or at least it depicts what I experience pretty well. There aren’t many songs, but each of them are so polished and beautiful, and really pack a punch. So yeah, you should check it out! (I would also highly recommend the book adaptation; normally adaptations are kinda awful, but it’s an exception to that rule, and I love it so much.)
Favourite song: “You Will Be Found”
My friend introduced me to this musical early last year, when no one really knew about it, and now it’s gotten more popular I get to be incredibly obnoxious about the fact that I liked Six before it was cool. Like Dear Evan Hansen it doesn’t have a lot of songs, but every single one of them packs a huge punch. (Also, they’re all absolute bops, and I feel like you’d enjoy them if you just heard one out of context.)
It’s about the six wives of Henry the Eighth, whose stories have historically been outshadowed by his own. Each wife gets her own song, and in the last one, they all get to sing together. It’s so much fun to listen to, and also contains more feminist rage than I knew it was possible to fit into nine songs–which is definitely a good thing–has some very fun themes about defiance and survival, and makes me feel feelings
Favourite song: “Six”
I don’t know anything about jazz, but Hadestown makes me want to listen to more of it. First off, it’s a retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, with a cool, 1900s feel to it–and we all know that I’m absolute trash for Greek mythology retellings with a twist. The vocals are all absolutely phenomenal, and the characters are so fascinating and well-written. It’s one of those stories that just sits with you for a really long time after it’s over, and also left me emotionally destroyed for, like, a week.
It’s about survival and hope against all odds, about change and growth and redemption, and most of all love–but it’s definitely no Disney movie; it’s gritty and harsh and real, too, and I think that’s where the beauty in it lies.
Favourite song: “When The Chips Are Down”
That’s about all I have for today! I hope you guys enjoyed, and I’ll be back next Saturday (I’m thinking I’ll talk about some people who inspire me, but don’t hold me to that). Take care of yourselves, and stay safe.
Lots of love,