If you’re a theatre fan, there’s a chance you have a set “group” of plays and musicals you consider to be your favorites. It’s always good to branch out and listen to new musicals, too. Even if you discover they’re not your style, there’s no harm experimenting and exploring.
That was my challenge this week. I found 2 Off-Broadway musicals that I really enjoyed and listened to this week. I want to talk a bit more about theatre on this blog. After all, what’s Center Stage Nutrition without the center stage part?!
In the comments let me know what you think if you listen, and tell me about some musicals I should check out!
Nevermore by Jonathan Christenson
If you’re a fan of small casts with multiple roles, gothic imagery, and Edger Allen Poe, then you’re in luck with Nevermore. A biographical musical based on Poe’s life, the musical is epic and has similar qualities to a rock operetta.
Pieces like Poe’s The Raven are put to music with a killer bass line interlaced with small chorus pieces. Other numbers I’ll need to check out when I can, since I couldn’t grab the cast recording at this time. You can get a preview of their numbers on their YouTube channel, and order the CD from their website. This biomusical holds a lot of potential for education and outreach, and seems to be popular for schools according to their ‘upcoming performance’ page.
Of everything I’ve heard so far, I really love “We are your Nightmares”. There’s a production in Chicago being put on in January at Black Button Eye Productions that I need to get tickets to! Stay tuned here for a recap of that show.
Hadestown by Anais Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin
Folk and indie fans rejoice, Hadestown is on Spotify for you to listen to. Fans of The Great Comet will recognize Persephone’s voice as the lovely Amber Grey. (If you haven’t listened to Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812- go listen, seriously). Other notable performers are Reeve Carney as Orpheus, and T.V. Carpio as Eurydice. On the Spotify recording you have Patrick Page as Hades and Andre De Shields as Hermes.
In this retelling of the myth Orpheus and Eurydice, the setting is a post-apocalyptic world with a 1920’s influence. Hadestown is a factory, rather than just the underworld, with Hades as the powerful, bass-y boss. This story is heart wrenching, and the music forwards the plot beautifully. You get to hear problems of the long-term relationship of Hades and Persephone (characterized by Hades greed and Persephone’s longing for the pass). You also get to hear the struggles of a new relationship in Orpheus and Eurydice- doubt, fear, and trust are all examined in this show.
If you like mythology, folk music, and more of a narrative-style of musical, then Hadestown deserves a listen. It’s worth noting that Hadestown is a folk operetta, meaning the music bridges the gap between musicals and opera. It has more music than a musical, but more dialogue than an opera.