I grew up as a “theater kid” and have never been a stranger to the ever famous Broadway in New York City. I’ve seen several shows over the past 2 years, but saw some huge stand outs over the last weekend. Over the past 4 days, I have eagerly sat through 5 of the hottest Broadway Shows, including THE Hamilton.
How does one even begin to describe the glory that is Hamilton? This show deserves every ounce of praise and every award it’s ever won. I was afraid that my expectations would be too high, but I was left astounded. I’m well in the Hamilton fandom that binge listens to the sound track daily, but nothing compares to hearing the songs live. There is so much talent here.
Hamilton is also the perfect figure on which to base a musical. He had a big part creating the United States as we know it, but his ambition as a person and his indiscretions at home make him a fascinating specimen. Lin Manuel Miranda had so much to work with when he wrote the play, and he stayed true to history. I wish my history classes were taught in the form of musicals.
Needless to say, Hamilton was the highlight of the trip. Go get yourself “in the room where it happens” and see this.
The next major stand out of this trip was Waitress. I always liked the movie Waitress, which stars Keri Russell. The story in the musical stays true to the movie. It’s the same story of how a woman brings herself to leave her abusive marriage, after becoming a mother and having an affair with her doctor. It sounds like it would be a much darker show, but the musical is a comedy.
One of my favorite parts of the show is that the main character is a fantastic baker and works in a pie diner. The theater sold pie during the show, and I could smell the pie baking during the acts. It made me feel like I was in the diner too.
Last but not least, the music for this show was written by Sara Bareilles, in her Broadway composing debut. It’s easily one of my favorite sound tracks of all time. She filled it with raw human emotion in a powerful way I will never forget, while still staying true to the story and keeping the show a comedy. You can hear her sing her own work here in this rendition of “She Used to Be Mine.”
The next highlight of this trip was seeing Josh Groban, who is a famous classical singer, live. He is currently starring in the Broadway show, Natasha, Pierre, and the Comet of 1812. I’ve always admired Groban, who plays the role of Pierre, because of his angelic voice. As my mother describes it, “It’s like listening to the voice of Heaven.” I am happy to say Josh Groban is even better live than in his many albums.
The show itself is entertaining. The cast as a whole is fantastic. It tells the story of the first part of War and Peace, with it’s main focus on Natasha’s love life and Pierre’s existential crisis. The show is played like a Russian Dinner Theater, with the cast interacting with the audience. It’s a different environment and a nice change from the normal theater going experience.
The next show of the trip was Wicked, which I actually was seeing for the second time in my life because I love it so much. I don’t have too much to say about Wicked, other than the fact it’s a classic that everyone should see. It’s fun to see the Wicked Witch of the West, who was made famous in The Wizard of Oz, actually get a happy ending. Again, this musical has an incredible score. It’s been on Broadway for years, and I have a feeling people will be coming for many more. When I was there, the house was completely full.
The final show of the trip was School of Rock. I’ve never seen the movie version, but I’ve heard amazing things. I really enjoyed this show. It tells the story of a man named Dewey, who leads a class of children to success at the Battle of the Bands. I would also classify this show as a light-hearted comedy.
The real praise to this show for me goes to the children in the cast. I was so impressed with the talent of these kids. They all play their own instruments, can sing, and can dance. They’ve done so much in their short lives that I question what I’ve done with my own. Cue existential crisis.
Finally, Andrew Lloyd Weber composed the music for the show, which should make it a must see. With the exception of Love Never Dies, the musical that was written as a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, I don’t think Weber has ever written a flop.
Needless to say, there is no business like show business and there is no place like Broadway. If you happen to find yourself in New York, make sure you check out what’s playing. There’s so much to see and so much to do!