Sing Your Heart Out: The Best Musicals to Jam To During Quarantine
As this quarantine continues, it can be hard to find new music to listen to when you spend most of the day listening to the same few playlists. Listening to musicals are a great way to fill up time in the day, and can be an introduction to so many different kinds of music. All of these shows can be found on most streaming services such as Spotify, Youtube, Apple Music, and more. These six musicals are perfect to listen to when you want to dive into the world of musical theater, or if you just want some new music and stories to listen to.
6. In The Heights
Famed director and performer, Lin Manuel Miranda, is most famous for creating the show Hamilton. However, he had many other amazing works before it. He wrote, directed, and starred in “In The Heights” in 2005. This musical takes place in the Hispanic community of Washington Heights, New York. The story follows three days in our main characters' lives. Bodega owner Usnavi dreams of opening a bar in his home country, the Dominican Republic. Nina loves Benny, a shy young man who has worked for Nina's parents for years, but her father opposes their union because he wants Nina to finish her education at Stanford University. All of them try to work through their struggles with money, love, and family. The score consists of twenty-four songs including “Carnaval del Barrio,” “In the Heights,” and “No Me Diga,”. This show is also famous for its use of hip-hop, salsa, merengue, and soul music. This musical was well-received by critics and fans, including EHHS’ English teacher and drama club director, Ms. Kari Collins: “I feel like “In the Heights” sometimes gets overshadowed because it’s by Lin-Manuel Miranda and everyone of course talks about Hamilton. I would argue that “In the Heights” is even better! It’s such a topical, beautiful story.” The soundtrack is about an hour and forty-five minutes long, and worth every minute of it.'
5. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
In the mood for a rollercoaster of emotions or a fit of laughter? Then “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is the show for you. This isn't a show on Broadway, but rather a critically acclaimed musical TV show. Rebecca Bunch is a whip-smart real-estate lawyer who works for a top New York City law firm. One day she happens to encounter Josh Chan, her boyfriend from summer camp whom she hasn't seen in years. After telling her he is moving back to his hometown of West Covina, California, Rebecca decides to follow Josh without his knowledge in the pursuit of happiness. She meets many new friends, conspires to get Josh back with her friend, Paula, and finds herself in endless schemes and awkward situations. Each episode has two to four original songs including but not limited to, “Settle For Me,” “Gettin’ Bi,” “The Math of Love Triangles,” “Let’s Generalize About Men,” “Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal,” and many others. Each song is a different genre the composers included show tunes, EDM, an 80’s power ballad, and beyond. This show is genuinely hilarious, but still touches on difficult topics such as love, mental health, feminine health, sexuality, and many more. In other words, this show has something for everyone. The show consists of four seasons, all of which are available to stream on Netflix.
Have you seen all of the panic buying at the store yet? Are you scared of running out of toilet paper? Well, what if I told you that there was a show with essentially the same problem. Urinetown takes place in the not-so-distant future after a twenty-year drought. Private restrooms have become outlawed and all public toilets are now owned by the megacorporation, “Urine Good Company,” who require all citizens to pay to pee. After citizens decide they have had enough, a hero emerges to liberate the people and bring back their most basic needs. There are 20 songs with the most popular song being “It’s a Privilege to Pee.” The show was widely well-received by critics who fell in love with the amazing ensemble, hilarious satire, and overall powerful themes.
3. Spongebob: The Musical
As crazy as it seems, Spongebob: The Musical is an amazing show that is worth listening to. The show takes place in the classic town of Bikini Bottom where everything is perfect and everyone is happy. At the Krusty Krab, Mr. Krabs promises Pearl that she will be the manager one day, but she rejects it. When Spongebob steps up to ask for the job, Mr. Krabs says no, saying that he is just a simple sponge. Spongebob tries to convince Mr. Krabs otherwise when violent tremors fill the town. The volcano is about to explode and wipe out all of Bikini Bottom, leaving Spongebob to step up and save the town. It features 20 songs including “Bikini Bottom Day,” “BFF,” “Super Sea Star Savior,” and “Best Day Ever.” This goofy and fun musical has songs of many genres from gospel, techno, rock, and many more. EHHS student and Drama Club Co-President Radoslaw Wisniewski likes this show because “it's just more than what you think it would be. It’s not just a two hour Spongebob episode with a couple of songs. It goes into depth about racism and friendship, and how society conforms. It’s a lot more than you would think out of a Spongebob musical.” Spongebob: The Musical is a genuinely amazing show and is definitely worth the listen, and it only takes an hour to listen to. Local theater enthusiast and expert, Amanda Pascale, agrees, “It sounds so weird to say that the Spongebob musical is good, but it honestly changes you!” So just trust me, and give it a listen.
2. Mean Girls
Much like the movie that it’s based on, Mean Girls: The Musical is a wild ride from beginning to end. Produced by Tina Fey, the show follows Cady Heron’s journey from being homeschooled in Africa to the twists and turns of a regular American high school. She makes new friends, until she falls into the laps of The Plastics. The school’s top mean girls welcome Cady into their group and make her one of their own, but everything goes wrong when the top Plastic, Regina George, begins dating Cady’s crush. It includes 24 original rock and pop songs, including “Meet the Plastics,” “Apex Predator,” “Revenge Party,” and “Cautionary Tale.” You may even recognize some of these songs from going viral on Tik Tok. The soundtrack only lasts about an hour and is a nonstop party the whole time. So if you enjoyed this cult classic, then you will love this spectacular show.
Honorable Mentions--Other Shows EHHS Loves
Grease- A show about the friendships, romances and adventures of a group of high school kids in the 1950s.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee- A show about an eclectic group of six mid-pubescents who all vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. All while candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives through a series of (potentially made-up) words.
Shrek: The Musical- Based on the award-winning animated movie, Shrek, in which a lonely ogre journeys with his donkey friend to rescue a princess trapped in a tower.
Little Shop of Horrors- A sci-fi show about a timid florist and his man-eating killer flower named after his crush.
Hadestown- A retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a jazzy, New Orleans inspired post-apocalyptic world.
Many people may remember the classic nursery rhyme about Henry VIII’s six wives, "Divorced, beheaded, and died, divorced, beheaded, survived.” But now, for one night and one night only these six wives are back from the dead to tell their sides of the story and explain why they had it worst with Henry. Local theater enthusiast Adira DeMatteo expressed, “It tells the story of six women who held one of the most powerful positions in history.” Accompanied by an all-female band named The Ladies In Waiting, this pop-opera includes nine original songs with one epic mashup at the end called Megasix. This song isn’t on the cast recording, but it can be found on Youtube. The songs that are included on the recording are sure to rock your world, for example, “Don’t Lose Your Head,” “Get Down,” and “Ex-Wives.” When asked about why she enjoys this show, Abby Brooks stated: “I like the songs and the storyline.” In addition, some of these songs have also received the hype on Tik Tok for some time. The best part, this soundtrack is only a half-hour long, making it the perfect show to listen to when you are bored. So if you are in the mood for a nonstop party, or a feminist anthem to rock to, then Six is the show for you.
These shows are all so unique, but so amazing in their own way. They are sure to leave you laughing, dancing, crying, and singing all day. Musical theater is the perfect combination of musical range and storytelling. There is a story to be told through every song and deserves to be shared. All of these shows can be found on most streaming services including Spotify, Youtube, and Apple Music. So if you are bored and just want to have a mini dance party for yourself to take you out of the quarantine blues, just check out these musicals wherever you find music.