One of my obssessions is theatre, especially musical theatre. While there are few things I love more than watching stage shows, I am very picky about the ones I like. Much like my TV shows, I like my stage shows dramatic! I don't need happy endings, and while some upbeat, 'happy' shows are enjoyable, I love those that make you cry and think about what you just watched. There's nothing better than listening to a full orchestra live, which is also part of why I prefer dramatic shows over happy ones. If the overture is great, I'm usually sold on the show.
View a list of my theatre visits over the last few years.
Tanz der Vampire (Dance of the Vampires) This is my all-time, absolute favourite show. There's is nothing I love seeing more than this masterpiece on stage, and as of mid-2017, I've seen it over fifty times in various countries. This show is dark, funny, has a fantastic score, and best of all, (spoiler alert!) the bad guys win! Absolutely no sparkling, I promise (except for Herbert, the Count's gay son). It pains me that this exceptional piece of musical theatre was disected and sent to Broadway in a ridiculous transformation that naturally resulted in a quick end to its Broadway run, but I can only encourage everyone to listen to the original material in any of the many languages this show has been performed in. My recommendations are the original German (1997 version only!, but by far the best), as well as the Hungarian and Russian versions. Favourite character: Graf von Krolock, the best villain in musical theatre. Favourite song: Die unstillbare Gier.
Phantom of the Opera Let us journey across the pond (or, only as far as the West End), and I'd like to make mention of my favourite English-language musical: Phantom of the Opera. I like myself a great villain, and Phantom clearly has an exceptional lead character. With an antagonist you love and hate equally, as well as grand orchestration, this seems like the perfect show for me. In fact, many parallels can be drawn between the plots and characters of Phantom and Tanz, which is likely why I love them both so much. In all honesty, this is a very, very close second. It is such a shame that its sequel, Love Never Dies, has an equally beautiful score that makes my heart melt but such a ridiculous plot that I groan while watching it. Still, Phantom is grand. Favourite character: Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny (sorry!), the Phantom. Favourite song: The Mirror, if you'll allow it.
War Horse This one is different because it is a play rather than a musical, but it is one of the best things I have ever seen on stage (plus, it does have quite a bit of music, too!). I walked into this show not knowing what to expect; I'd only convinced my Mom to watch it with me because of the raving reviews it had gotten, and she was pretty annoyed that I had gotten her into a show about... horses? But we both walked out of the theatre with such heavy hearts and smiles on our faces, and I remember the first thing I said to my Mom was, "I want to see it again." And we did--3 times in 2 weeks, until its run had ended in my city. This is a show that will make you cry, like it has all the fully-grown tough men sitting next to me in the theatre. Thankfully, there's a short moment of darkness that you can use to dry your eyes before the curtains. I have never been as moved by a show. Favourite character: Albert. Favourite song: Only Remembered.
Rudolf A show that wasn't a big success, is historically not entirely accurate, and turns a piece of European history into a sappy love story. But what can I say? I love the orchestration, and it helps that the lead character was played by one of my favourite actors in the business. I love singing along to this show, even if it might not be a masterpiece. Favourite character: Rudolf. Favourite song: Soviel mehr.
Elisabeth Closely linked to Rudolf in terms of story (Rudolf was Elisabeth's son), Elisabeth has been far more successful and is a journey through the life of Kaiserin Elisabeth (Sisi) of Austria. It is a show of heartache and death (What other show has an entire leading character that is literally The Death?) and is outstanding in its score, featuring music quite different to other shows. Favourite character: Kronprinz Rudolf. Favourite song: Die Schatten werden laenger.
Les Miserables Every time I watch this show I end up thinking: "Why am I doing this to myself?" As you've probably noticed by now, I like my shows dramatic, and it hardly gets any more dramatic than Les Mis. I've seen this show a number of times, but I still cry like a baby from about halfway through Act 1 right until the very end. If you haven't seen this classic, you absolutely must. Favourite character: Javert. Favourite song: Stars.
Anastasia A new show also makes this list, and the reasoning is very simple. Anastasia was one of my favourite movies growing up, and they've used the music I love to turn an animated classic into a stage show! Not only does this show have all the songs I already love, but the new material that was added is equally beautiful, and the show is a live-action fairy tale. With such beautiful visuals and music, I'm willing to overlook a few plot weaknesses. Favourite character: Anastasia, Gleb. Favourite song: Journey to the Past.
Book of Mormon This hilarious show had me at Hello! (pun absolutely intended). Acting and choreography are great, and you meet some lovable characters along the way. For a fun show, it's even got good music! I also love Orlando, so I completely understand Elder Price's wish for it to be the location of his mission. References to The Lion King, Lord of the Rings, and other pop culture are a plus. This isn't a show for everyone, but you get what you expect, and I think it is terribly funny. Favourite character: Elder Cunningham. Favourite song: Two by Two.
Beauty and the Beast One of my favourite Disney movies is a musical, so how could it not make this list? I love the music of BatB, and this is a show that's got wonderful sets and costumes. Seeing an amazing production of this show is still on my wish list, as the first time I saw it I was too young to really appreciate the amazing costumes and choreography, and I've only come across tour and small theatre productions since. Favourite character: Gaston, the Beast. Favourite Song: The Mob Song.
Shows I'd love to see live: Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, Aladdin, The Lion King, Rebecca, Hamilton, and pretty much anything that I've already seen more than 3 times.