To learn more about Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly book meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, click here.
This week is an audio freebie, so I decided to mix it up a little and talk about my favourite musicals! I’ve been hugely passionate about musicals ever since I was in my early teens, and I used to travel a lot to go and see my favourite ones, back when I wasn’t broke and housebound. I miss going to the theater, but even just listening to musicals brings me a lot of joy, and to all of my neighbours who’ve had to listen to my sing-alongs: sorry not sorry.
It was really hard to whittle my choices down to ten musicals since they’re pretty much all I listen to music-wise, and I love them all! But these are probably the ones I listen to and come back to the most.
Ciske de Rat
This musical, y’all. It’s a Dutch musical based on a book series by Piet Bakker. It follows Cis, nicknamed “the rat” because of all the mischief he gets up to. He is abused by his mother and stepfather and kills his mother in a fit of rage when she destroys a book that a now dead friend gave to him. When he is drafted to fight in WWII he is still grappling with his childhood trauma. I had the opportunity to see Ciske de Rat in Scheveningen once, and it was absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking.
Christmas is my favourite time of the year, but I can listen to this Christmas musical all year round. It never fails to cheer me up.
Surely everyone has heard of Hamilton by now, right? It’s a hip-hop musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton, and it’s explosive, emotional, and amazing.
In the Heights
In the Heights was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical, and while it didn’t reach the same hype level as Hamilton, it’s still really good. The beautiful songs tell the stories of people living in the Latinx NYC neighbourhood the Heights.
Jane Eyre has always been one of my favourite classics, so when I saw that there was a musical based on the book, I had to have it. Music-wise, it’s one of those musicals that lean a bit more towards the classical, which really lends itself to very dramatic sing-alongs. Again, sorry not sorry, neighbours.
Are you even really a musical fan if you don’t love Les Mis? I mean yes, because gate-keeping is bullshit and there’s a wide range of musicals for every taste. But it’s not for nothing that Les Mis is one of the longest-running musicals in the world. I’m personally partial to the Dutch cast recording from 2008 because that’s what I listened to first, and I also had the opportunity to see the very same cast in Amsterdam in 2009, so it’s the version that lives in my heart.
SANTA FE, MY OLD FRIEND, I CAN’T SPEND MY WHOLE LIFE DREAMING, THOUGH I KNOW THAT’S ALL I SEEM INCLINED TO DOOOOOOOOOOOOO—whoops, sorry about that. This is another one of those musicals that I don’t have to be in a specific mood for because it always hits the spot. I really hope that I get to see it live some day.
RENT is a true cult classic, and such a wonderful celebration of queerness, love, and life.
Urinetown is one of the most underappreciated musicals in my opinion. It’s inspired by absurdist theater and it’s just delightfully absurd, but the music is amazing as well, and you’ll find yourself crying to lyrics like, Ours was a love that never bloomed. Yet in that love there lives a brand new hope, it’s calling out to you. Its call is soft and gentle, tame and fine, it’s docile and benign, a pickle in the brine…
Anytime I’m asked about my favourite musicals, Wicked will always be on the list because it lives in my heart. I’ve seen it six times, and listening to the cast recording brings back wonderful memories of travelling and staying with friends, and being transported to Oz every time that overture nearly gave me a heart attack, heh.
Are you a musical fan? What are your favourite musicals? Let’s chat in the comments below!