I haven’t talked about theatre on this blog in a very long time, which is unsettling to me, considering how big a role theatre will always be in my life. I’ve been going to see plays and musicals on a regular basis since I was 13, and I’ve been obsessed with movies like Grease and The Wizard of Oz since I was 2.
But today, I’m going to share with you my top 5 favourite musicals of all time.
Next to Normal
I fell in love with this show when I first heard the cast recording. I didn’t even really grasp the story just from the music, but I knew it talked about mental illness (depression, anxiety, etc.) and therefore would be something I’d love. When the tour with Alice Ripley came to Toronto, I got great seats and I cried the entire show. I just have so many feelings towards Next to Normal because I feel I can relate to all the crazy happening on stage. It’s emotionally powerful and honestly my favourite musical of all time.
I will go see RENT any time it’s on a Toronto stage. I could listen to the cast recording all day long and never get bored. The writing is fantastic, and the feeling of community and love for “la vie boheme!” that you get coming out of that show is unbelievable. It makes me proud to be a writer, and inspires me greatly. If I could write something half as wonderful as RENT, I’d be set.
The first time I saw Wicked, my sister and I cried because we couldn’t believe we were finally seeing this show. It wasn’t just a musical for us at the time, it was an experience we’d been anticipating ever since it hit Broadway. We saw the Toronto tour, but even still, just sitting in the theatre was giving us chills. To this day, I will never forget the feeling of soaring in my heart when Elphaba takes flight during “Defying Gravity”. It made me feel like I could do anything in the world – and that’s why I love theatre.
Rock of Ages
I’m typically not one to go see “funny” shows, but this one had an 80s soundtrack to go along with it, and let’s get serious – I’ll do anything if I get to hear another rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing”. The music drew me to this show, but it was the laughs that kept me going back another handful of times. Breaking the fourth wall, feeling as though I was involved in the show, was something I really appreciated. Rock of Ages did a great job at keeping the entire audience upbeat and rocking along with the cast.
Green Day’s American Idiot
I couldn’t have a musical list without including American Idiot. Green Day is my band. I’ve seen this show a couple times, and at first I wasn’t sure how much I liked seeing the story I’ve heard so many times on the album play out before me. It was like when a fan of a book is offended by the movie version. Well, I got over it and saw it again, and had a huge appreciation for what they did to transform the rock opera into a rock musical. The story becomes a spectacle, and the music becomes an anthem.
What are some of your favourite musicals? Plays?