If you know me, you know I absolutely love all things theatre, and this summer I had the amazing privilege to see four Broadway shows. I went on a New York trip with my drama club and saw Waitress: The Musical and Dear Evan Hansen. Later in the summer I got a birthday surprise from my parents to see Hamilton and Aladdin in Chicago (you rock mom and dad). Here’s my thoughts on these shows from the perspective of a theatre geek:
Waitress: The Musical
Waitress is about a young mom-to-be who makes a living by baking these creative and extremely tasty pies in a diner. I went into this musical not knowing anything about it, which I feel is always a great way to see musicals if you have enough self-control not to listen to the entire cast album-something I know most of us do anyways. I was lucky enough to see Sara Bareilles as Jenna a few performances before she left the cast, and her performance was breathtaking.
Let’s start with the theater itself. There are pie scents pumped into the theater. Actual pie scents. It’s nothing short of amazing. The merch is my favorite I have seen so far, and I ended up practically throwing my money at the lady selling it. There were even pies in jars being sold at intermission. The bathroom line also went pretty smoothly, and any regular Broadway patron knows how much of a disaster that can be.
The show was beyond hilarious, and Christopher Fitzgerald (who played Ogie) was phenomenal as always. There were so many times where I was in tears from laughing so much, and my theatre teacher now says he wants to sit by me in shows more often because I get so into the performances. The music is extremely catchy and fun to listen to. I feel bad that the musical got overshadowed by Hamilton at the 2016 Tony’s because any other year it would have taken home a lot of awards.
Dear Evan Hansen
Dear Evan Hansen describes a teen’s struggle with anxiety and falling into a web of lies he created. I don’t want to spoil too much for this show (but you probably already know all about it) because I went into this one knowing nothing as well and it made the experience so much better. Words cannot describe my love for this musical and its message.
I saw this show with original broadway cast, meaning I got to see Ben Platt. Seeing Ben Platt is seeing one of the highest levels of acting. As an actress myself, I’m always looking for new ways to portray characters, and Platt definitely showed me that. His performance was beyond amazing, and he utilized every second he was onstage. I have never been so moved by a character’s performance before.
The show itself had me in tears the entire time, from lights up to curtain call. It’s a very emotional play, so be prepared to cry your eyes out. It is suggested to NOT wear mascara or wear extremely waterproof mascara unless you want to be like me and spend the next morning cleaning the makeup out of your white sweater sleeves (not a fun experience but still worth it). There were also so many funny parts in the show that were perfectly timed in all of the emotion. This is a show that has greatly moved me as a person in ways I could never imagine, it really deserves the praise it has gotten.
Hamilton: An American Musical
Wowzers was this a musical to remember. I’m sure all of you know about Hamilton, but if you don’t, let me tell you. Hamilton is about America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton, and how he greatly impacted the world through his sheer willpower. The Chicago cast of this did a great job, and I really was blown away. It was especially amazing to be in orchestra section seats, something I’ve always dreamed of doing.
First, let me mention good old Daniel Breaker who played Aaron Burr (Sir). Name sound familiar? That’s because this wonderful human played Donkey in Shrek: the Musical, which you can see on Netflix. This was something I noticed whilst watching the show, which definitely had me laughing afterwards. His performance was wonderful, the same goes for the rest of the cast.
The Chicago cast made Hamilton a lot funnier than I’ve heard it was in New York. Many of the original lines were made comical, and it was nice to hear this new take on the show. I was surprised with how the show ran. I didn’t expect it to be entirely music, which it was. Each song quickly transitioned into the next, which was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I will continue to stand by the notion that this musical is pure genius, this show is just so unique! The choreography was crazy intricate too, and beyond enjoyable. I never knew just how big a part the ensemble was to this show (though ensembles are awesome), but they really are just as important as the rest of the characters.
Aladdin is a Disney musical based on the movie about a street rat who finds a magic lamp and summons a genie. I was thoroughly surprised by how entertaining this was, considering we decided to watch this last minute. I’ve described the musical as being a lot like a Disney ride with the way it runs.
The set was what most impressed me, it was insane. The flying carpet scene had me stunned, and I still can’t quite understand the mechanics of it. There were so many fantasy elements that really seemed magical. “One Jump” is one of my all time favorite Disney songs, and that number was amazing brought to life. Every scene was extremely entertaining, making it good for kids as well as adults.
The role of Genie is one of the most fun roles to play and watch. Bravo to Anthony Murphy for a great performance. I was also interested by all of the different characters and how they were portrayed separately from the original Disney movie ones. It was an all around fun watch, and if you’re looking for a kid friendly musical, this is it.
So Broadway lovers, any other musicals you’ve seen recently? If so, let me know in the comments! Until next time, grab yourself a hot coffee and listen to some Broadway music.