Nothing makes me as excited as discovering a new Broadway musical that I love. Seriously. I cannot describe the feeling of pure joy I get the first time I listen to the cast recording of a musical that resonates with my soul.
I can remember the magic of listening to Wicked for the first time. I was 17, I was sitting in the passenger seat of my friend Natasha’s bright red Ford Mustang. We were on the way to lunch after choir and she stuck the album in her CD player. From the opening number, I was hooked. The instruments, the singing, the entire experience. I was quickly swept away by the world that Wicked pulled me into.
After that, I went out and bought the book, and then the sequel, and continued reading the entire series. I loved everything about it. It was the first step I really took in widening my world view and making me reconsider the very, very conservative view I had on things. It was a turning point in my life.
That year, I also discovered Rent, and, again, I fell in love with everything about it. I loved the story. I loved the characters. My heart broke for Roger and Mimi and I cried legitimate tears for Angel and Tom. I learned how to truly be a humanist from Rent; I learned how to love everybody, because everybody is important.
Since then, I have fallen in love with musical after musical. I discovered my love of Bonnie and Clyde. I hum “Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad” to myself regularly. I found myself enraptured by Pippin and Waitress and Hamilton. I’ve even loved the lesser-known musicals, like Bright Star and Tuck Everlasting.
I just want a musical to take me to a new world. I love musicals for the same reasons I love books. They tell stories of lives I’ll never live. And they’re collections of art.
They’re great culminations of art and music and dance. The scenery, the costuming, the choreography, the lyrics, the melodies. They all combine into an experience that transports me into a new world, into a new life. I get to live a thousand lifetimes through art and music and literature.
My latest obsession is not a new musical to me, though it’s new in its current incarnation. Anastasia was a movie I loved very much in my childhood. I loved Meg Ryan’s voice acting, and more importantly, “Once Upon a December” never grew old. I loved it. I loved the spooky-sounding waltz. I would sing it for hours on end when I was little.
The live-action Anastasia features some pretty interesting changes from that movie I loved so much when I was young, though. For one, Bartok is nowhere to be seen. Seriously, Broadway, you couldn’t give me a flying, dancing, comedic-relief bat? Rasputin does not feature prominently (or at all) as the villain. And the show is much more politically charged than the animated film. And as an adult, I love it. I love these changes. I love the new songs. I love Aaron Tveit’s interpretation of Dmitry (I also just love Aaron Tveit. He’s pretty dreamy.) I love the cast recording; it’s been on repeat on my Spotify for weeks.
The energy that sparks through me when I discover a new musical I love so much is indescribable, but Anastasia ignited those sparks in me again. I swear, there are very few things as wonderful as a good musical or a good book.
So, here’s to discovering your own magic. Here’s to finding your own sparks of beauty.
The Plucky Reader
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