The 6 Best Contemporary Broadway Soundtracks!
Though you may be in quarantine, you can still have a great time listening to these brilliant Broadway favorites while you're home on Spotify, YouTube, or iTunes. Disclaimer: This blog is based solely on my personal opinion and musical interest. Enjoy!
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash
Shrek the Musical
Shrek encompasses many varying elements of astounding performance. The song selections are brilliant and incorporate styles of other genres like Jazz, Rock, and R&B. Alongside the storyline, Donkey will be sure to make you smile through his charming and witty sense of humor. Sutton Foster is the leading lady who originally plays Fiona in the musical. Her vocal belts alone are worth listening to the soundtrack. If you find the time in your "quarantined" schedule, make sure you check out the full length musical on either YouTube or Netflix.
Did you know Shrek was written by an 83-year-old? It was based on William Steig's 1990 picture book. He was prolific cartoonist for The New Yorker and a children's writer who was often referred to as "the king of cartoons."
Dear Evan Hansen
I very much appreciate the overall message in this musical. Teenage suicide can be a very sensitive topic to discuss and it was displayed very well in this musical. The main character, Evan, is the featured role in many of the musical's selections. The character has a wide vocal range and the acting isn't anything close to subpar. Pasek and Paul did an amazing job with implementing interweaving choral voices, which carries the soundtrack to have a uplifting and dynamic feel.
Did you know that Ben Platt, original Evan on Broadway, also starred in Pitch Perfect 1 and 2 and made his Broadway debut in The Book of Mormon?
Although this musical rides the fine line of classical and contemporary musical theatre, it is still widely performed today and is true timeless classic. The historical elements of the French Revolution within this musical are wonderful to hear alongside the songs. You will fall in love with many of the characters and be very empathetic of her their dire situations. Although the story is much more tragic in comparison to some of the other musicals mentioned, the listener can be reminded of how people difference backgrounds can come together and live in harmony. You can find Les Miserables (2012) the movie on Amazon Prime Video. You might recognize some of the featured actors like Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe. While you listen, I want to know when you hear Cossette singing a C6. In happens twice in the production and you will know when it happens because you would've thought you heard an angel singing.
Did you know that Eponine's "On My Own" was evolved from Fantine's songs? British theatrical producer, Cameron Mackintosh didn't want for Fantine to have two ballads back to back before she died so he decided to implement the song for Eponine to sing later as the plot advances.
Waitress the Musical
Waitress simply has a catchy soundtrack and very light feel. The musical soundtrack originally created by Actress/Singer Sara Bareilles, transcends from the ingredients of a wonderful pie made by Jenna (main character). "A Soft Place to Land" is a favorable song in the soundtrack that I highly recommend as an easy listen. I was fortunate to see this production live on Broadway when Jason Mraz played the role as Dr. Pomatter. Wow!
Did you know the musical is based on the 2007 film by Adrienne Shelly entirely "Waitress?" Unfortunately, Shelly was murdered in her NYC apartment just before the film was accepted at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
This visionary musical is absolutely genius. Every time I venture to New York I'm very hopeful to witness this show live be starting tickets are around $800+. Lin-Manuel Miranda has created a show that has fused contrasting music styles in a way that's appealing to multiple generations. If there was one soundtrack to suggest to the general listener, it would be very much be Hamilton. Although I tend to navigate towards the more "sung" songs like You'll Be Back, Satisfied, The Schuyler Sisters, and Burn, I too get excited about learning more about American history and Alexander Hamilton. The soundtrack truly takes you on a musical adventure through a compelling story about the life of Alexander Hamilton as well as showcasing world-class talent and extraordinary musicianship. Go take a listen on Apple Music or Spotify and tell me what song you enjoy listening to the most.
Did you know Hamilton started as a vacation and book? Lin-Manuel Miranda was vacationing in Mexico when he thought about the idea while reading a biography on Alexander Hamilton.
Bright Star the Musical
Since I'm originally from North Carolina, I had to include this home favorite on my list of musicals. I was very surprised on how much I enjoyed listening to soundtrack over and over since I can appreciate but don't favor Country music in general. I have actually seen this production on stage at NCSU Theatre in Raleigh, NC and at the PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel-Hill, NC. The music is seasoned, colorful, and lively. It makes you want to jump up and sing yourself! The most fascinating element to the soundtrack is the acoustic/folk instrumentation within the band ensemble. This provides a home and more authentic experience even if you aren't there to see it in person. You can listen to the entire live concert performance on YouTube. It showcases all of the musical's selections with the original Broadway performers! Is it me but are you surprised that Cheaper by the Dozen's Steve Martin created the music for this show and plays a mean banjo.
Did you know that the story of Bright Star took place in the mountains of Asheville, NC? That is the same city that houses the Biltmore Estate, America's largest privately own home.