The Broadway greats: Sondheim, Schwartz, Rogers, Hammerstein… and Hansard? It seems more and more that our favorite bands are taking over the Great White Way. Here’s a look at some of our favorite artists and the awesome musicals that they’ve been writing.
Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark — U2
We know what you’re thinking: oh no. But hear us out! Bono and The Edge helped to helm this show, and for all its flaws, there are some really great anthems woven into its story. Example? The soaring “Rise Above” that sounds like it’s straight off The Joshua Tree. Put aside your reservations about the plagued production and check out some tunes from the original cast recording. You’ll be glad you did.
Kinky Boots — Cyndi Lauper
Girls just wanna have fun…and shoes! The hottest ticket on Broadway right now is Cyndi Lauper’s Kinky Boots, based on the 2005 cult film. The story tells the tale of a shoemaker’s son who needs a new slant for his shoe business and finds it in the form of designing shoes for drag queens. The show is a heart-felt, bubblegum pop party that takes us through the zany world of the London drag scene. It’s impossible not to smile when you listen to Lauper’s sunny score.
American Idiot — Green Day
Admit it: you listened to American Idiot over and over back in middle school. Ever wonder what exactly was the plot of the CD? Or who exactly Whatshername was? Luckily, American Idiot: The Musical has the answers for you. The show is part Broadway musical, part rock show, part concept album come to life. It draws from the album American Idiot but also uses songs from the rest of their career (a perfectly harmonized rendition of “21 Guns” will send shivers down anyone’s spine).
Once — The Swell Season
Glen Hansard may have a lot of credits under his belt (like his band The Frames, a solo career, and an Oscar for Best Song), but our personal favorite is Once: A New Musical. The show follows the plot of the 2006 film, but many argue that it’s even better than the original. We’ll leave that to you to judge. The show features a cast that also serves as the show’s orchestra (there’s a lot of stomping, fiddling, and scenes set in a recording studio). Plus, get to the show early and you might just get a chance to jump onstage for a jam session with the show’s ensemble – how cool is that?!
Spring Awakening — Duncan Sheik
Though one of the lesser known artists on this list, Duncan Sheik still manages to pack a punch with his musical Spring Awakening. The 90s pop artist (remember “Barely Breathing”?) turned indie singer-songwriter weaves a tale of repression, tragedy, and first love under the reign of the Keiser in Germany. The twist? The historical story is tricked out with a rock score that feels like it could be the artist’s latest album. Filled with original songs, old fans will be thrilled to hear his musical theater repertoire. New fans will be downloading his older albums as soon as they get home from the theater.