I consider myself a long time fan of Broadway musicals and showtunes, and since New York City is about 940 miles away from Bettendorf, I spend lots of my free time listening to musicals and watching videos of musicals on YouTube. Over time, I have found musicals that changed my life for the better.
“Dear Evan Hansen” is one of my newest obsessions and a new Broadway musical that tells the story of a high schooler with social anxiety disorder dealing with the death of another student. It stars Ben Platt (“Pitch Perfect”) as Evan Hansen, Laura Dreyfuss (“Glee”) as Evan’s crush Zoe, and Mike Faist (Broadway cast of “Newsies”) as Connor, Zoe’s brother who commits suicide. The show is directed by Michael Greif, who also has credits directing “If/Then,” “Next to Normal,” and “Rent.” Some of my favorite songs from this show are “Requiem,” “Sincerely, Me,” and “Anybody Have a Map?.” “Dear Evan Hansen” is a great show if you are new to musicals and want something contemporary sounding.
“Fun Home” is based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Bechdel’s coming of age story explores the relationship between her and her father, suicide, sexuality, and family. Alison is played by Beth Malone, Emily Skeggs, and Sydney Lucas in the original Broadway cast. The three actresses play Alison at different ages and stages in her life. The songs in “Fun Home” can be funny and also very sad. My favorites are “Telephone Wire,” “Come to the Fun Home,” and “Flying Away (Finale).” “Fun Home” is a good musical to listen to if you are looking for one with a more serious story and deeper songs.
Lastly, I cannot write a story about musicals without mentioning “Hamilton,” a show about the founding father, Alexander Hamilton. I had the pleasure of seeing this show in Chicago and it was incredible. “Hamilton,” with music, lyrics, and book by Lin Manuel-Miranda, is a unique kind of American musical that features rap and hip hop music as the focus while teaching a part of America’s history that is neglected and forgotten. Manuel also played the title character in the original Broadway cast. The music is very catchy and tells you the complete story. I especially like “One Last Time,” “The Room Where it Happens,” and “Dear Theodosia,” but all songs are worth listening to. “Hamilton” is the perfect pick if you are looking for a musical with a different sound than any other.
Although I have countless musicals that I call my favorite, these are three that I will always go back to. If you are at all interested in music or theater, I highly recommend listening to these.