"But everything is beautiful at the ballet Graceful men lift lovely girls in white, Yes, everything was beautiful at the balle-et, I was happy, at the ballet."
A Chorus Line
Gush about Theater here. Don't hold back. Hamminess and theater are old, old bedfellows. Whether you've just listened to the OBC soundtrack a zillion times, dedicatedly attended every opening night, or openly adore even high-school productions, tell your love here!
There's a reason that William Shakespeare is the byword for greatness in the English language. And while we're on the topic of Shakespeare,
Twelfth Night has got to be one of the best comedies ever written, with shipwrecks, pirates, mistaken identities, Ho Yay, and The Power of Love all in full force, plus some amazing poetry.
Julius Caesar is a heartbreaking tragedy about loyalty, betrayal, suspicion, guilt, and remorse. Brutus is a wonderful tragic hero: he isn't a stereotypical "Judas" character who has it in for Caesar; he's a man who has been deceived into killing his best friend, and he genuinely feels horrible about it. All of the scenes are so suspenseful that they're almost hypnotic, even though the audience already knows how it ends. The play also has some awesome speeches and soliloquies.
Hamlet is perhaps the best thing ever written. Forget the more commonly quoted soliloquies; it's the feigned madness that makes this awesome, particularly when Hamlet and Polonius are on stage together. Actually, any time Polonius is on stage, it's great, because he's just so buffoonish that you can't help but laugh at him.
Don't forget the more commonly quoted soliloquies! Just because they've seriously succumbed to Pop-Cultural Osmosis does not mean they are not gorgeous. "Thus conscience does make cowards of us all / And thus the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought / And enterprises of great pitch and moment / With this regard their currents turn awry / And lose the name of action." I mean, wow.
It's totally not PC for me to say this... but I love Taming of the Shrew with all my heart, feminism be damned.
Bah, who wants PC? It's a funny, bawdy farce with lots of double-entendre sparring and physical comedy potential. Most halfway clever directors can figure out a way to smooth over the Unfortunate Implications anyway.
Macbeth is a really dramatic, awesome play. It's Shakespeare's Empire Strikes Back.
As Bill Cain explains inEquivocation, Macbeth is "five acts of murder, politics and pornography." Macbeth both his shortest tragedy, and his best. It's everything that's awesome about Shakespeare distilled into it's purest form.
"Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires." "Blow wind, come wrack, at least we'll die with harness on our back." "Lay on, Macduff, and damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'" There is a reason three of my top three quotes from anything are from this. Two, one, and three, incidentally (chronological order).
And what of Romeo and Juliet? Already incredibly feelingful and artfully depressing on its own, it becomes even better when you pick up on just how amazingly subversive the whole thing is; it manages to subtly parody adolescent crushes and Wangst while remaining a completely serious Tear Jerker. You can't do that with today's language.
Othello. The pure, unadulterated evil that is Iago will NEVER work again, for any other author. Everyone knows the story, but Othello's breakdown is so human, so powerful, it's easy to see why Shakespeare's popular even today. What a play. My god.
Othello was what first made me fall in love with Shakespeare many years ago, and I still thinks it's one of the best things ever written. The plot is so universal and so close to home and so disturbing at the same time, and the characters - from the creepy, ice-cold evil of Iago to the loveliness of Desdemona to the wonderfully human Cassio and Emilia, not to mention the complexity of Othello himself... the whole thing is just stunning.
As You Like It is sweet, romantic, snarky, satirical and slapstick-y by turns, has some genuinely beautiful poetry and brilliantly quirky characters, and a fantastically sharp-witted kick-ass heroine. It's still genuinely funny after five centuries, and it's got a happy ending for just about everyone involved; what's not to love?
The Comedy of Errors is a rare example of a play that's laugh-out-loud funny even to read, never mind see on stage; quite an achievement considering how long ago it was written. And another underappreciated Shakespeare I really like is Troilus and Cressida: one of his darkest works, but very, very true.
My favorite top 3 favorite Shakespeare plays are the following: Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, and The Merchant of Venice. The first because it was the first romantic comedy and introduced the world to Belligerent Sexual Tension. The second because of its Christian themes and it being Shakespeare's most triumphant example of Getting Crap Past the Radar. The third because in spite of it being a "problem play," it puts the women in strong roles and reminds everyone that true worth relies in the content of a person's character, not a person's religion or wealth.
My favorite Shakespeare play is one of the better-known, but less critically beloved ones: A Midsummer Night's Dream. It doesn't spend a lot of time delving into the darkness of human nature or anything like that—because it doesn't need to. The characters are really well-written and the love story is both funny and effective. But most of all, the Mechanicals. Among the most hilarious characters I've ever seen on stage, and yet possibly the most sympathetic: a bunch of guys trying to create a work of art, with aspirations far exceeding their talent—but they press ahead anyway, because hey, why not? And in the end, Shakespeare lets them win—by inventing MST3K 400 years early. And it's utterly priceless. Pure genius.
The Henriad — Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V, are awesome from beginning to end, creating a story arc about the rise of the House of Lancaster and its most glorious moments, featuring epic battles, three-dimensional characters, and some of the most beautiful verse in Shakespeare.
Cats. Plot? Who needs a plot? It's still awesome! From the deliciously Large Ham Rum Tum Tugger, the sometimes snarky Munkustrap, the mystical, magical, phenomenal Mr. Mistofelees, or the exiled former glamour cat Grizabella, this is one of the best things ever. "Memory" is my all-time favorite song!
The Swedish version put up this year (2009) deserves special mention. Beautiful scenery (it takes place in an amusement park closed for the winter), top-notch acrobatics, wonderful acting and breath-taking songs. The song "Old Deuteronomy" deserve special mention. Not only did the actor playing said character manage to convey why the Jellicle Cats hold him in such high regard by just by walking to the stage, it was the only number not receiving applauds because it would've felt too rude to disrupt the respectful atmosphere!
Sweeney Todd remains my favorite score to this day. The sheer quality of Sondheim's music is just breathtaking. A true genius, Stephen Sondheim.
After years of unashamed fan-worship, Sweeney Todd remains the theatrical love of my life. The greatest musical score ever written, a fantastic combination of pathos, obsession, black humour, loathing and love, it's not perfection, but (as ever with Sondheim) it's as near as makes no difference. Sweeney's descent into madness is so brilliantly told that only a Complete Monster could fail to pity him, and he holds his own among the most celebrated tragic heroes of all time. Well, you did say gush.
Sweeney Todd. The love of my theatre life since I was 12. I love it because it turns life on its ear: the line between good and bad is blurred. We're expected to root for Sweeney and Lovett who are bad bad people that murder/bake people into pies, and the "bad guys" are the Judge and the Beadle, whom are supposed to maintain order, and some kind of moral standing. Not to mention the sheerawesomeness of the music.
I believe that pretty much everything Sondheim wrote after about 1970 is pure undiluted awesome; his earlier work is merely uniformly excellent. However, his pre-1970 work is very much in the vein of the composers and lyricists who went before him; it wasn't until Company that he started breaking moulds, which is what he does best.
There's something to be said for the pre-1970 stuff as well. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum? So much fun!
Into the Woods! It gets you misty-eyed and thinking deep thoughts about fractured fairy tales, and still manages to bring the funny in a big way. Plus, the finale is so Deathly Hallows.
Seconded. My favorite musical of all time. For many of us younger tropers, it's the first Deconstruction we ever saw, and damn does it deliver. The songs will never get out of your head, so thank your respective deities that they're so clever.
Assassins just does everything right.
Pacific Overtures gets a number of things wrong about Japanese society, but the things it does right are so right that even the Japanese don't care (it had a very successful Japanese production in 2004 that transferred to Broadway with a different cast).
Pacific Overtures ends with a musical number that is sheer, unadulterated Crowning Moment Of Awesome, composed of the entire history of Japan from the Meiji restoration to the present. Yes, even Hiroshima. Because Japan got back up on its feet and kept moving forward. Even typing about it is giving me goosebumps.
Passion. It's very refreshing to see the whole "Beauty and the Beast" tale get Gender Flipped, and the songs may be some of the most haunting, ernest songs in musical theatre.
Company. Just... Company. There's just something about Robert's story that always resonates - instead of just being able to identify with one character, I can see myself in Bobby's self-sabotage, Amy's neuroses, Marta's kookiness, and Joanne's... Joanne-ness. And the score! My god, the score - nearly every single song is wonderful in its own specific ways, and there are these little bits of brilliance in things as small as the orchestrations (such as that moment in "Another Hundred People" where the trumpets echo the "Bobby/Bobby baby" motif and it's nearly impossible to hear until it's specifically pointed out to you), and there are just these wonderful scenes, like the opening and that scene with Bobby and Kathy (one of my all-time favorite scenes from any piece of theatre, ever), and... ugh, as much as I've always loved Sweeney Todd, there's a part of me that loves this show even more.
Company oh dear God Company. Raul Esparza. "Being Alive". I will always stand by my statement that Esparza's "Being Alive" is the greatest performance of any song ever sung on a Broadway stage. And it's Sondheim. Take awesomeness, turn it Up to Eleven and Over Nine Thousand, and you have Raul Esparza singing "Being Alive".
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is just brilliant in every way. There has never been a play that was just as wonderful to read as it is to watch. The wordplay, the wit, the Ho Yay, I find something new (and a new quote I love) each time I read it. The movie aint half bad either, frankly Gary Oldman and Tim Roth are quite easy on the eyes to boot!
Damn straight. (Well, maybe not so much... But you get the idea. X3
The French musical of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Notre Dame De Paris. It doesn't matter that no one on this wiki's heard of it...singers with absolutely gorgeous voices belting out beautiful, heart-wrenching songs with a backdrop of the technical marvels that were the stage and choreography. Just try listening to "Belle", "Le Temps de Cathedrales", or "Danse Mon Esmeralda" and say that that isn't a work of utter genius.
Seconded. There isn't really a weak song in this show: the above are just a few samples of how epic this show is (just try and stay away from the horrendous English translation). After Les Mis, probably my favourite musical ever. And both of them are based on Victor Hugo novels.
There is a version that never really went anywhere, and only Boston-area theater people are likely to know about it, but for all its flaws, if you can find the album, it's worth getting just for "Nearer to Morning Than Midnight".
Arcadia. Funny, smart, moving, clever, and without losing any of the humanity.
Seconded. It's a gorgeous piece of playwriting.
Thirded; I, like the one directly below me, will gladly tell you that Arcadia changed my life. It's what made me a theatre academic. Thanks, Tom!
Fourth'd. Playing Septimus Hodge was the best stage experience I've had so far.
Fifthed; I booked to see it on a whim and was blown away. It still stands as one of my all-time greatest theatre experiences, and I go a LOT.
I will happily tell anyone who listens that The Coast of Utopia changed my life. It's a bordering-on-ten-hour trilogy of Russians talking to each other and trying to change their country that manages to be hilarious, emotionally touching, and incredibly stimulating and thought-provoking. The characters are so amazingly real, you feel just how much they care about the ideas they're discussing. Plus Stoppard manages to balance all the philosophizing with some very human drama, which you feel double when you remember that the characters are historical and these events really happened (poor, poor Herzen). And that's to say nothing of the fact that Belinsky's monologue halfway through Voyage is nothing short of sublime. (Billy Crudup, who played Belinsky in the New York production, got a standing ovation after performing said monologue both times I saw him perform it, in the middle of the show.)
Yes, it's gorgeous—but no matter what the naysayers tell you, it's not the Scenery Porn that brings the fans back time after time but the heartbreaking tale of a "Beauty and the Beast" story gone tragically wrong.
"The Music of the Night" helps too.
Well, yeah, there is that. I mean sure, the possessive Stalker with a Crush thing wouldn't be attractive in reality, but as a fantasy? Fetish Fuel incoming, Captain!
Wicked dazzled me, took my breath away... and got me together with my future husband.
That musical is PURE WIN, I don't care what the purists of the book say.
Thesis papers could be written on Stephen Schwartz's lyrics; simple and playful enough for children to enjoy, profound enough for adults to ponder over for years, and loaded with ancient poetic techniques (such as Defying Gravity's repetition of "I hope you're happy!" with a very different meaning than it's first appearance in the song).
I had only ever gone to one play in my life (not counting high school musicals) before seeing Wicked. As of last week, I've seen it twice onstage, and heard the soundtrack enough times that I know almost every song by heart. The characters, the story, the awesome, awesome music, the happier ending...There is no bad here.
My favorite song ever was Defying Gravity before I saw the show. Then I went to see the play. It is now off the scale. I saw it again with my brother, father and mother, and my brother, who dislikes music in general, liked the musical. I laughed, I cried and then I cheered. Because, purity to the books or no, the play is awesome. Not to mention, the man came up with a rhyme for 'tandem'!
That musical is FANTASTIC. The raw emotion put into the songs is PURE GENIUS.
There are better-written and higher-quality musicals than RENT, but everyone has to feel something when Angel dies because we've all got our own versions of him, everyone feels awesome when "La Vie Boheme" starts because we've all celebrated just because we can, and everyone has that point in life where it feels like everyone is leaving and you can't do anything about it. To me, RENT isn't just about artists/AIDS/homosexuality; it's about love and friendship and everything that comes with it, and that's why I love it.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Also, see that page? Yeah... I've probably added about 1/5th of those examples...
Exactly. RENT is more than "oh, isn't that the musical about the gay people and AIDS?". It is, but more than that, it's a celebration of life; yes, it has the controversial elements, but at the end, it's not about that. It's about living as if you were to die tomorrow and letting your heart go; it's about remembering the past but never letting it hold you back; it's about life not being measured in the problems and bad things that come up— it's measured in friendship, celebrations, good times, and, yes, love. It's not the best musical ever, but it's still my favorite.
Cirque du Soleil shows have a tendency to be wonderful, but I would never have become a fan in the first place if not for Mystere. Yes, the acrobatics are beautiful, especially the bungee trapeze act, and so is the music. But the secret to its success is it's so darned funny: whether it's the adventures of Bebe Francois and his "papa", the pompousness of the Man in Pink, or the everything of his nemesis Brian Le Petit, it's comedy (and Audience Participation) at its best.
Quidam was the first Cirque show I ever saw, and I've been hooked ever since. Extraordinary feats of human strength and agility mixed with incredible theatricality and amazing music? Sign me up!
A Chorus Line is one of the best stories you will see in any medium, ever—a touching, funny, heartbreaking celebration of the basic humanity and uniqueness of ordinary people.
I am not ashamed to call myself a Tosca fangirl. From an early age. That opera kicks ass.
Gilbert and Sullivan. Even though most of the people and practices they satirized have been dead for decades, they're still funny as hell.
Some of them are parodying genres and are just as relevant today. Patience with its poser-poets and fangirls, Ruddigore skewering gothic romances, Iolanthe mocking inherited wealth and privilege- all still perfectly understandable.
Avenue Q is one of those things that makes me glad to be alive. Sure, anyone could do "it's Sesame Street type puppets, but they talk about grownup problems!" but they didn't just rest on the novelty of being a puppet musical that talks about mix tapes, racism and internet porn- they created real characters with warmth and humanity and a story that is genuinely relatable. I have yet to introduce it to someone who didn't end up a huge fan of the show. Memorable songs, witty lyrics and one of the most perfect, true endings ever in any media ("For Now" is a surprising Crowning Moment of Heartwarming for me) makes this one of the best musicals ever.
I would like to second that. The times they break the fourth wall (Trekkie Monster sometimes does in the "Internet is for Porn" number when, in response to Kate's "normal people don't sit at home and look at porn on the internet" he points at a random audience member and says "You do."; and of course, the Money Song) count as Crowning Moments of Funny and, surprisingly, the end of the first act is quite emotional (if subject to Mood Whiplash, given that the funny "My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada" separates the more twee "Fantasies Come True" and melancholy "There's a Fine Fine Line").
You Can't Take It With You: Perhaps the greatest play to do in high school drama. I've seen so many performed at Thespian conferences and they've all been excellent with so many different interpretations adding such depth.
Les Mis is called a Broadway Musical because of its (US) premiere there, but it is, by every definition in the book, an opera, except with miked singers.
We'll, for now, put aside the incredible adaptation that it did of a Door Stopper of a book; the heartwrenching lyrics and sweeping scope. The wide variety and range of the cast means that, in any good production you see, there's bound to be at least one actor, one character, who just leaps out from the crowd, whether it's the battered but never broken Fantine, the pure idealism that is Enjolras, the deliciously corrupt Thenardiers, the justice-loving Javert, or heck, even rapturous, lovestruck Cosette, someone will be a star.
The Drowsy Chaperone. The ending of this musical makes me feel better about having to face the world, knowing that life really is a bit of a mess, but at least we've got musicals.
No, The Drowsy Chaperone is not a proper parody of any era of the American musical, but it is by, far and away the most fun I've ever had at a Broadway show—the music is memorable, the plot is delightfully meta, the jokes are unrelentingly funny, and it actually seems to earn the heartfelt moments it gives its sardonic, snobbish protagonist. Historical accuracy? Who needs it? This show is brilliant. End of story.
Legally Blonde: The Musical. It's supposed to be candy-colored fluff, but its lyrics are ingenious. It repeatedly lampshades itself, the original movie, musical theatre tropes in general, and pop culture en masse on a regular basis, and it handles the hot-button issue of homosexuality in quite possibly the most awesome fashion ever.
Shrek: The Musical. It's not supposed to be terribly deep or thought-provoking, but I am in love with the show. There's "I Know It's Today" which is all about wishing that today will be the day that your knight in shining armor will finally come and rescue you from the tower, and "Who I'd Be" which is a Crowning Momentof Heartwarmingand possibly a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for Shrek. And the actor playing Farquaad is walking around on his knees all the time and between him and Pinocchio generally steal whatever scenes they're in.
Evita. I used to think Andrew Lloyd Webber could only write fluffy, crowd-pleasing material like The Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, or Starlight Express. Evita, on the other hand, is a dark and political show; the narrator clearly hates the protagonist, and the poor workers are just as screwed as the people in Les Miserables. The show is a true rock opera, full of delicious cynicism.
The Music Man just makes me smile—a good old-fashioned musical comedy with loads of endearing characters and one of the most infectious scores ever written.
West Side Story. When I performed it, I wished I recorded it. The girl playing Maria was so perfect, the harmony between Maria and Anita in 'I Have A Love', the Jets in 'Officer Krupke'. I wish I could go back and make sure he got Lt. Shrank...or Tony.
I have played Shrank, and oh, the music. I cried every goddamned time at the final music that plays over Maria sobbing over Tony's body.
Jesus Christ Superstar. Full stop. My mother was singing along with "Trial Before Pilate" when I was about 3- and so I, being her daughter, quickly fell just as in love with the play (actually, the 70s film version) as she had when she was a kid. My God.... The drama! The relationship between Judas and Jesus! Mary Magdalene! The lead singer from Deep Purpleplaying Christ in the original soundtrack! And the music!!....
Guys and Dolls is the only show that made it into the top 100 longest-running shows on Broadway twice, for two different productions. And with good cause: dated as it is, it's a witty and charming and downright gorgeous delight from "Runyonland Music" to the final reprise of the title song.
Equivocation by Bill Cain. Quite possibly the most successfully complex drama since Arcadia. So many layers and multiple meanings... it is by turns suspenseful, sad, and ''bloody hilarious'.' And the original cast at Oregon Shakespeare Festival were just astonishing: six actors play all the roles— and that's symbolic too. And Henry Garnet's speech with the Title Drop is totally a Crowning Moment Of Awesome:
"Equivocation: Don't answer the question they're asking. Answer the question beneath the question. The equivalent question. Answer the question really asked. And answer it with your life."
The History Boys by Alan Bennett. Oh, man. Never fails to blow me away. This show is so hilarious and heartwarming and heartbreaking and intelligent all at once. It has phenomenal things to say about education and history and growing up. The characters are marvelous, the dialogue spectacular. Even the music interspersed in the show is fantastic. The production I saw had an additional level of awesome in its set changes, which were performed by the boys with lots of acrobatic tricks.
The Light in the Piazza. Full stop. The sets, the music, the costumes, the lighting. I was lucky enough to see it on Broadway with two of my best friends for my sixteenth birthday. Blew me away.
Tanz der Vampire and Elisabeth should be given more love. The music and lyrics are mindblowing, the sets gorgeous, and the plot never gets boring. German musicals are ridiculously underrated!
There is not enough squee in the world to express my love of those two musicals. And to top it off, the one two punch of Tanz and Elisabeth found me the four best friends I've ever had.
Next To Normal. Amazing music, beautiful lyrics, and six of the best performances on Broadway today. Alice Ripley just takes your breath away (because Diana's story is one continuous punch to the gut after another), and I couldn't take my eyes off Aaron Tveit (and no, not just because he's gorgeous). From the silly, retroactively heartbreaking "Just Another Day" to the jaw-dropping beauty of "Light", it's just brilliant.
We Will Rock You. Oh, it's cheesy as any show out there, with a tacked on plot, but there's something about the enthusaism each of the performers put into their roles. Not to mention the large rock of Queen played to the highest of standards. There are many reasons this show ran for over a decade in the West End, despite spending its first year being trashed by all the critics.
The stage adaption of The Lion King. In my opinion, it's one of the best stage musicals out there. Everything seems to be perfect! The visuals, the music, the characters, the little bits of comedy, the atmosphere, the costumes, the choreography, the emotion, everything is just stunning, leaving you with a huge "8O" on your face when it's over. I've been a fan of the original movie for a long, LONG time, but I actually think this show is better than the original! Also, the opening number "Circle of Life" pretty much makes the show.
Having seen it twice, I have to agree.
Cyrano de Bergerac is the greatest play (and one of the top greatest romances) period. Forget Romeo and Juliet, give me this heartwarming, heartbreaking love-and-friendship triangle with its surprisingly heroic intellectual female lead, Take That at Love at First Sight, and the trueWarrior Poet for its hero!note For English translations, this only applies to Brian Hooker's. Sorry, Anthony Burgess.
The Importance of Being Earnest. A hilarious comedy full to bursting with quotable lines — including some much deeper truths than one expects in a comedy, yet they never seem out of place. Allow me to quote just one:
"It is always painful to part from people whom one has known for a very brief space of time. The absence of old friends one can endure with equanimity. But even a momentary separation from anyone to whom one has just been introduced is almost unbearable."
Camelot is just such a gorgeous musical, even the sparest productions of it. (I've seen four versions so far, and am not nearly done yet.) The story is classic; the songs are exquisitely singable; the plot combines tragedy, comedy, and a unique love story; and the ending always makes me cry. "Don't let it be forgot..." indeed.
"Angels In America" is a pure masterpiece. The characters, the ideas of it, they're all so real and moving. And at the end you realize Prior's prediction did come true. This play is gorgeous.
Spamalot. I had to see it multiple times because when I first saw it, I missed most of the best lines because I was doubled over in laughter through most of the performance. One of the best experiences I have ever had at a theater.
In the Heights is just completely brilliant. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it just makes you feel good. Not to mention, how often do you hear Cole Porter referenced in hip-hop?
The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh. Absolutely one of the best plays ever - deeply disturbing enough to make Sweeney Todd look like Funny Girl, but downright laugh-out-loud funny at times ("I'm so sick of everyone here using their bullshit traumatic pasts to justify their own shitty behavior. My dad was a violent alcoholic. Am I a violent alcoholic? Yes, I am!") and the ending packs such a huge emotional punch. As far as Surreal Horror black comedies set in totalitarian fucking states go, this one is far and away the greatest.
What can I say about Little Shop of Horrors? A totally bizarre setting full of fun, bizarre characters. A creepy/funny/mysterious Greek Chorus narrating in three-part harmony. And a plot that, while it's genuinely funny, also contains a serious message and some very real Tear Jerker moments. It rattles all over the Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror. It stands up to analysis, it's got some of the most sing-able songs you'll ever hear, and it's one of the most original musicals ever to surface, period. Plus, there's a giant and very cool evil plant who eats people and sings jazz.
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is great for anyone who's a fan of Peanuts, a fan of wit in general, or just a fan of the warm feeling you get when you realize it hasn't been such a bad day after all.
Any musical created by Team Starkid. A Very Potter Musical and its sequel are absolutely brilliant parodies of the Harry Potter. They make fun of all the ridiculous elements of the series, while still celebrating its awesomeness. Plus, they get a special mention for making Voldemort a sympathetic character. Starship is an absolutely fantastic story about an alien bug who just wants to be a Starship Ranger. It's a great story, and Pincer is one of the greatest villains in existence(probably because he's played by Dylan Saunders). Their newest show, Holy Musical B@man is a pretty epic parody of Batman and other superheroes. All of their shows have fantastic music and give off a very Disneyish vibe, despite that they are definitely rated PG-13. Oh, and they're HILARIOUS!!
Hi, don't mind me, I just wanted to add this in here: Evil Dead The Musical. Take everything you love about the Evil Dead trilogy, mix in some kick-ass and hilarious songs, not to mention (in the version I saw) some fantastic actors who really do justice to both the characters and the original actors, and you've got yourself a bloody funny show. Pun definately intended.
Chess. Just Chess. Beautiful music from Benny and Bjorn, some of the cleverest writing from Tim Rice (he considers it his magnum opus), and a story as old as time, but made awesome by the manner in which it's told. Anthem has to be one of the most powerful songs in the history of musical theatre. And The Soviet Machine one of the most infectious and fun.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory proves that family-friendly "corporate" musicals adapting well-known tales don't have to go through the motions, but can put a lively new spin on things. Brilliant updates to the source material — particularly Violet becoming a satire of modern celebrity culture! Ear Worm original songs and a beautiful incorporation of "Pure Imagination" from the 1971 film! Scenery Porn and Costume Porn! Line after line of funny dialogue and lyrics — watch out for the Black Comedy! And, best of all on the Original London Cast Recording, Douglas Hodge giving the world a Willy Wonka for the ages — as funny, mysterious, unsettling and larger-than-life as one could want (wait 'til you hear the Act One closer "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen"), and poignant on top of that ("Simply Second Nature", a ballad about Doing It for the Art, is heart-melting). To quote a very different Sam Mendes directorial effort, "Spec-ta-cular!"
The Book of Mormon is far and away one of the greatest musicals ever. I'm a tried-and-true theatre fangirl, and, aside from Les MisÚrables, no other musical, play, or opera has ever captivated me, amused me, shocked me, thrilled me, or saddened me like The Book of Mormon has every single time I've listened to the Original Broadway Cast Recording or seen it performed onstage. Through all the silliness and shock value, it really is a brilliant piece of satire with a beautiful message that (in my opinion) essentially boils down to, "the most important thing in life is that you're happy, kind, and a good person who works to in some way make the world a better place, regardless of your religious beliefs."
La Cage aux folles. It manages to go from hilarious to terjerking to heartwarming and right back to hilarious again in mere minutes. It delivers the message "Be Yourself," and it really hits home with the show-stopping "I Am What I Am." And besides, a show about two gay men coming out on top in a fight against a Jerkass politician who hates everything they are, and proving they can be both homosexual transvestites and a devoted couple and wonderful parents? Warm And Fuzzy Feelings all around!