A Handful Of Theatre | Underrated Musicals #1

No doubt there will be another post like this. Consider this post 1 in a very long series!

I love musicals. I love the old school musicals. I love the new and game changing musicals. MUSICALS ARE GREAT.

If you’re looking for some good tunes, here are five that you may not know about!

In The Heights

Remember the other day when I did a whole post about this one musical called Hamilton? (It’s here if you missed it!) I mentioned Lin-Manuel Miranda had created and starred in a musical before Hamilton called In The Heights. In The Heights is currently playing at the King’s Cross Theatre in London and I managed to see it! In The Heights is a brilliant and vibrant musical following entwining stories in a neighbourhood in Washington Heights, New York. The music is absolutely amazing. It’s a mix of rap and latin music and the energy is off the charts. Every character more or less has their own song and the characterization in the songs really give you a feel of these characters and their journey throughout the show.

Here is the cast album with the original Broadway cast.

And here is the link with all info on the London production. intheheightslondon.com

 The Last Five Years

The Last Five Years is a fantastic musical. We follow Cathy and Jamie and their whole relationship throughout the whole piece with alternating points of view. Cathy’s point of view tells the relationship from the end of the relationship to the beginning. Jamie’s point of view tells the relationship from the beginning of the relationship to the end. You also get to see their jobs and the struggles in life but it is mainly focused on their relationship. It’s all sung through. It is written by Jason Robert Brown and I believe it was inspired by a former relationship of his? It was turned into a film starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan (remember his name, he pops up a lot in this post). I’ve never seen this on stage, I’ve only listened to two different cast albums. But even on tape, it comes across as a very intimate piece. From what I’ve seen through descriptions of the stage show, the only members of the cast are the actors playing Cathy and Jamie. And they only interact with each other in two songs of the show. In the film you see more of the other characters that are part of their lives and Cathy and Jamie interact with each other but you don’t get that in the stage show. I don’t know if that’s a director’s choice but it’s such a clever move because then there’s no real way to tell who is actually telling “the truth” per se. The film and soundtrack are blooming brilliant. Here is the link to the soundtrack from the film. Jeremy Jordan has the best voice in the world, in my opinion.

Hedwig And The Angry Inch

Okay, so I haven’t seen this one either. So I’m not 100% sure what the plot of this musical is but I LOVE the music. It’s essentially a rock album. What I understand of the plot is the show follows an artist called Hedwig who is telling her life story through her last ever performance. Another featured character is Hedwig’s husband Yitzhak who is her backing singer that she treats like shit. There is a film version of this starring Hedwig’s creator John Cameron Mitchell, but I haven’t watched it yet. I have the cast album with Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig and Lena Hall as Yitzhak. It’s a great musical album to go running to.

And here is the Tony Awards performance which should really give a feel of what goes down at the show.

Bonnie & Clyde

You know Bonnie & Clyde? Well it’s a musical about them. And it’s AMAZING. The music is very country based. It’s written by Frank Wildhorn and starred Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan. It only lasted a month on Broadway which I still don’t understand why. Because it’s a great and original presentation of a really famous story. I love the music. The performances are emotional and amazing. Especially for Laura, in my opinion, as she’s mostly known for being a soprano and this show really shows her voice in a different way.


Okay, this one may not be so underrated. Newsies is based on the Disney musical film ‘The News Boys’. It basically follows the same plot as the film but at the same time they’re both quite separate from each other. It’s still about the paperboy strike in New York in 1899. But it’s as if The News Boys was a first draft and Newsies is the published draft. There’s new characters and new plot twists and majority of the songs have been upgraded. I’ve only seen the film once and I thought it was a cute film. In the film the ringleader Jack Kelly is played by a very young Christian Bale. In the original Broadway cast, Jack Kelly was played by Jeremy Jordan (YEP HIM AGAIN.) Annoyingly, this show has not come to London yet. And it closed a few months after my holiday in New York so I missed my chance to see it. This has a very classic Disney musical feel to it. I really like it. I really want it to come to London, I think it would make a fantastic stage production. But here is the original Broadway cast album in the meantime.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy all these fantastic shows!

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