I have been thinking a lot lately, about the range of genres you can find within a musical, especially in recent years. The sun has also started shining recently which means I can spend hours walking again. And here are my recommendations for some great musical albums you can rock out to in the sunshine.
- Jukebox musicals of classic bands.
This one may be cheating slightly but I think a way to ease into musicals is by listening to the jukeboxes. American Idiot based on the music by Green Day & We Will Rock You based on the music by Queen are two very good examples. I find it refreshing hearing well loved songs performed by different people. And with excellent vocals from actors like John Gallagher Jr & Rebecca Naomi Jones on American Idiot and Kerry Ellis & Sharon D Clarke on We Will Rock You, both cast albums are worth listening and jamming out to.
- Spring Awakening
Spring Awakening is a musical set in 19th century Germany about a group of teenagers discovering themselves and their sexual fluidity. The aggressive and feisty music written by Duncan Sheik represents the emotional stage you go through when you turn 15/16 years old. There are also some slow songs that still pack an emotional punch, but there are also sparks in the soundtrack that make you want to scream all your aggression out. Especially through songs like “The Bitch of Living”, “Totally Fucked” & “Don’t Do Sadness”.
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a show about the life of the main character, Hedwig, who is performing one last concert with her band.So it feels like you’re listening to a rock album. The show was conceived by John Cameron Mitchell (who played Hedwig in the film, Off Broadway and Broadway) and the music was written by Stephen Trask. The Broadway cast album stars Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig and Lena Hall as her husband Yitzhak. Hedwig also packs a real emotional punch. I absolutely adore the Broadway album. I’ve yet to see the show live but there’s apparently some audience interaction, transporting you to rock concert like it was held in academies around the country. I also find this cast album really great to run to with songs like “Tear Me Down”, “Sugar Daddy” & “Midnight Radio”.
- School of Rock: The Musical
This is the show that sparked something in me to write this post. Over the last couple of weeks I have fallen headfirst in love with School of Rock: The Musical. The show is based on the 2003 film with new original music & lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater. The music is a mix of rock as well as operatic classical music, that mostly take place during scenes set in the school. And I think it’s such a great union and nod to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s previous work as School of Rock is his newest foray into Broadway, while, Phantom of the Opera is the longest running Broadway musical. It’s also part of the post Hamilton earthquake in theatre land. Musicals can tell stories through different kinds of music and still speak to people. It’s a truly fantastic score. It’s all I listen to on my way home from work now. My absolute favourite is “Stick It To The Man” and I feel like this is an anthem for any time someone has pulled you down.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the music!
Until next time,