My Fair Lady
I have always adored this show, I even wrote my dissertation for my BMus degree on it. The first time I saw it on stage was during the 2001 west end revival and I loved how Lerner and Loewe's gorgeous melodies are so animated, but at the same time project an array of emotions. Feisty Eliza Doolittle is a soft cookie at heart whose Lerner and Loewe songs 'Wouldn't It Be Lovely' and ' I Could Have Danced All Night' show her vulnerability. The subtle hints of a romantic relationship between Eliza and the stuffy as well as arrogant Professor Higgins, unfolds just wonderfully during the show. Higgins is a great role as it requires cutting restraint but also precise comic timing.
This show set in late 19th century Germany can definitely be described as a Rock Musical. Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater have composed such stunning music that Spring Awakening is something quite special. The themes of the production are at times bleak and thought provoking ranging from first love to the aftermath of rape. One of the shows most powerful songs ‘The Mirror Blue Night’ is sung by the character Melchior and the male ensemble and I would challenge you not to get goosebumps listening to it.
This classic musical has recognisable songs that are known by people of all ages. The orphan boy kidnapped into a life of crime and poverty in 19th Century London, in theory, shouldn’t be such a great adventure but it works very well. Lionel Bart’s Oliver! contains energetically choreographed songs such as ‘Pick A Pocket Or Two’ as well as ‘Consider Yourself’. With much darker themes in Oliver!, songs such as Nancy’s ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ describe pain and tragedy from one of Charles Dickens most famous novels.
Love Never Dies
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera made me fall in love with the story of the tortured and bitter Phantom. With the success of its predecessor perhaps Love Never Dies has not been entirely judged as it should as a separate entity. The setting of Coney Island is a genius concept and adds to the gothic romance of The Phantom and Christine. The title song ‘Love Never Dies’ is one of the most haunting songs in Musical Theatre, with lyrics written by Glenn Slater and Charles Hart.
Last in the West End in 2012, this show is currently enjoying a Broadway run. Set in Germany as is Spring Awakening, 1930’s Berlin is a fascinating backdrop, even more so that the main character a nightclub worker Sally is British which adds another dimension. Songs such as ‘Money’ and ‘Cabaret’ by John Kander and Fred Ebb, have a piercing honesty and political undertones, which makes Cabaret one of the most exhilarating musicals you can have the pleasure of watching.
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