Saturday, January 25, 2014

New (to me) Musicals: The Last Five Years, Drowsy Chaperon, & The Light in the Piazza

I love musicals, but have realized recently that I know next to nothing about the more "modern" pieces, basically anything after 1965 (and the likes of Phantom and Les Mis). This summer I really dug into Sondheim and still have a few of his to listen to/read (next is Assassins!), but now I'm working on all the others people talk about of which I know very little. To this end I started a Spotify playlist and took suggestions and am working my way through cast recordings.

I can't tell you who wrote what, or what themes or motifs are shared between composers and lyricists, but I bet you can't tell me how the House of Worth changed from Charles Frederick to Jean-Phillipe, or why 1879-1882 is so unique, so here is a (not entirely) lay person's responses to my first three "new" musicals.

Last Five Years
::: hopeful and heartbreaking
::: lovely instrumentation, accessible and light
::: I can actually sing these songs and not feel like a total hack for trying.
::: sharp, clever lyrics
::: poignant and sincere messages

The Drowsy Chaperon
::: I went on a few dates with the real Janet Van De Graaff's cousin
::: that first one has nothing to do with the musical
::: neither does the second
::: seems like Millie had a baby with R&H's Cinderella
::: what a romp
::: showy and exactly what a musical should be, by its own admission
::: seems like fun to costume :)
::: I imagined my friend Carter playing the narrator

The Light in the Piazza
::: I actually saw this on PBS years back
::: just me, or was it just a lot of screaming ballads?
::: I liked little bits here and there, but the whole thing kind of bled together
::: I did stop and think that "Let's Walk" is not bad

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