Based on the 1891 play of the same name, Spring Awakening tells the story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer sexuality. While its themes of abuse teen pregnancy, suicide, and depression can make for a hard life, it’s lends to alternative rock so beautifully. Plus, Lea Michele before she got Glee auto-tuned.
Must Listen: Totally Fucked and Touch Me.
Okay to Skip: And Then There Were None if only for it’s use of extensive dialogue . My Junk for its overly poppy feeling, but hey, it’s about crushing hard .
In the Heights
You may recognize Lin-Manuel Miranda from his role on House, where he played a bipolar patient who overestimated his rapping ability. In reality Manuel is a lyrical super star, most notably free-styling his acceptance speech at the Tony Awards back in 2008. In the Heights explores three days lives of Spanish-Americans in the New York City neighborhood of Washington Heights, where Manuel himself grew up. Effortlessly combining rap and more traditional Latin music such as salsa it’s impossible not to get sucked into the story.
Must Listen: 96,000, Blackout
Okay to Skip: Piragua
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
With tag lines like History Just got all Sexypants you can expects Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson to be a little irreverent and tongue in cheek. BBAJ presents the life of our 7th President in the style of emo rock. So it’s a little over the top, a little whiny, a lot loud, and often historically accurate.
Must Listen: Second Nature, the beautiful introspective song reflecting on the uneasy ground America was formed on, and The Hunters of Kentucky, an actual campaign song from 1821 used by Andrew Jackson though backed by electric guitars this time.
Okay to Skip: The Corrupt Bargain, thought it (mostly) accurately describes how John Quincy Adams won the election of 1824 through somewhat shifty means, it does have the most vaudevillian sound on the album.
American Idiot is perhaps the best know album from punk group Green Day. When the band envisioned the album they so it as a rock opera, so it seems natural that it would transfer to Broadway. Though all the songs have been heard before eon previous Green Day albums, the mashups, new orchestrations and inclusion of male and female voices make it a whole different album from what you heard in 2004.
Must Listen: 21 Guns and Whatshername – these songs perhaps changed the most from CD to Broadway
Okay to Skip: None- play this one through
Like American Idiot, Once had a previous life before the stage. And like AI the stage brings something entirely new. Best know for the Oscar winning song Falling Slowly, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová brought their raw voices and minimalist orchestrations On Broadway we are presenter with a much broader sound as almost everyone in the 15+ person cast acts as the orchestra, playing unconventional instruments such as the mandolin and the accordion And lead Steve Kazee and Cristin Milotti present the same power if not a little bit more polish than the originals.
Must Listen: Gold and When Your Mind’s Made Up
Okay to Skip: Abandoned in Bandon – the terrible lyrics and off key singing make sense plot wise,but it isn’t really friendly on the ears.