We saw our first Broadway musical in 2014 (Chicago, in case you’re curious) and I was instantly hooked. As a huge fan of musical movies and TV shows, it wasn’t much of a leap for me. Since then I’ve been an avid consumer; there’s nothing like it.
Just counting Broadway (both at home & traveling) productions, we’ve racked up a reasonably impressive 19 shows in three years, and countless others if you include stuff at the local level. Here they are, more or less in order of my most to least favorite:
- The Band’s Visit
- Fun Home
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch
- Fiddler on the Roof
- The Color Purple
- War Paint
- Miss Saigon
- Kinky Boots
- In The Heights
- Something Rotten
- A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
- Book of Mormon
- Love Never Dies
I’ve also learned a thing or two about what I like/don’t like along the way:
- I love modern and innovative takes on theater.
- That said, classics are classics for a reason and are almost always good.
- Stephen Sondheim is a genius, with lyrics so smart and poignant that it leaves you humbled just to sit & listen.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber is the Anti-Sondheim, and I pretty much hate anything associated with him.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda, while great, seems limited in his scope. He’s more or less written the same musical twice (with different decades), which makes me wary of the constant accolades. #timewilltell
- Unless you’re Lin-Manuel, sung-throughs are probably a bad idea.
- I kind of resent ‘for the tourists’ shows (think anything based on Disney films or starring kids/animated characters/animals) because they take up valuable theater space.
- Don’t really like intermissions/people who can’t sit still/anyone on their phone/those who can’t be bothered to clap/etc. etc.
- The weirdest concepts often make the best shows.
If you’re still reading, thanks. I know this isn’t exactly riveting stuff.
One final thing thought (indulge me): why is it that all the naysayers (most of whom have probably never bothered seeing a musical or play) think it’s okay to mock theatergoers? From: “Never had a desire to see one, but I guess someone has to like them.” to “The ticket prices are ridiculous – I can think of a million things I’d rather spend money on.” and everything in-between, I get it all the time.
The consensus being that Broadway is for snooty old people in NYC with nothing better to do. But here’s the truth: Bway seats (exception: Hamilton) usually cost less than concerts (I’ll pit my theater $$ against your Taylor Swift tickets any day of the week), or comedy tours, or NFL seats… and I rarely hear anyone complaining about spending money on those.
If you enjoy TV, movies, books, music, thinking and/or being entertained, you’re probably going to love Broadway (and rightfully so). Plays are no more or less silly/serious/snobby/scholastic than anything else you’ll encounter — so lose the preconceived notions and give it a try! You never know, you might actually like it.