Happy New Year and welcome back to Musical Mondays!
In case you’re new here, this column is a peek into the depths of the Musical Theatre archive, where I will showcase a few musicals that I think deserve a little more love. You can read my past posts by clicking here!
They’re the smaller, niche shows that not everyone will be familiar with – and that’s the point! They deserve just as much love as the big name shows, so every second Monday I’ll list a few, give you some comparisons, and a few examples of songs for you to check out.
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a satirical reimagining of the life of U.S. President Andrew Jackson as an emo rock star. The show follows Jackson on his rise to presidency, through all influencing factors and moments of his life. He was most infamous for stripping Native Americans of their land, forcibly removing them in an attempt to win back the votes of the American public. The show seems topical given America’s current political climate, as a focus on white nationalism still appears to be high on the agenda. The show is a great example of theatre telling the ‘not so nice’ stories of history, as well as reframing them in a more contemporary context.
Standout track/s: I’m So That Guy; Ten Little Indians; Public Life
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Shows about American history like Hamilton and 1776, rock musicals like Rent.
Click here to listen to the Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson cast recording.
Based on a 1954 play, 110 In The Shade follows a spinster living in the south west, her relationship with a local devorcé, and a con man who promises to bring rain back amidst the drought. The musical is true to its source material, with many of the lyrics taken verbatim from the text. The show’s music and lyrics were written by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones (of The Fantasticks), and book by N. Richard Nash. It premiered in Boston but was criticised for its long run time, forcing the creative team to cut a significant amount of the music ahead of its 1963 Broadway run. It saw a several revivals, with the 2007 Broadway revival most notable, starring Audra McDonald, Steve Kazee, and John Cullum in the lead roles. 110 is an interesting insight into southern American life, and has some really beautiful songs to boot.
Standout track/s: Another Hot Day; The Rain Song; Simple Little Things
You’ll like this if you enjoy: The Music Man, Oklahoma, The Fantasticks
The Mad Show is a musical revue based on the titular Mad Magazine. The team behind the show is absolutely astounding – book by famed writers Larry Siegel and Stan Hart, music by Mary Rodgers, and lyric contribution from Siegel, Marshall Barer, Steven Vinaver, and the legendary Stephen Sondheim. It’s a kooky, bizarre ride of a show, but definitely a great homage to its source. It has only seen an off-Broadway run professionally, which received a favorable response. The Mad Show is a carnival ride of crazy and satire, and although I’ve never seen the show, the music tells a very clear picture.
Standout track/s: The Boy From…; Misery Is; Hate Song
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Satirical shows like Reefer Madness and Cry Baby, the works of any of the incredible creative team.