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.
Based on the film of the same name, Catch Me If You Can tells the story of real life con man Frank Abagnale Jr, and how he successfully scammed his way to being a millionaire. The story on paper is absolutely fascinating – how a 19 year old managed to get away with such a large amount of fraud without being caught for extended periods of time. The stage musical takes this story and expands it, adding some absolute bops, and making it a really enjoyable piece of theatre. The music and lyrics are by formidable duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the team behind Hairspray, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory The Muscial, and Mary Poppins Returns, while the show’s book is penned by Terrence McNally of Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime. With a team like this helming the show, it’s no surprise the show is great. But it gets better – the original Broadway cast was absolutely stacked, featuring Aaron Tveit, Norbert Leo Butz, and Kerry Butler. Catch Me If You Can is a really fun show, and I would loooove to see it do a national tour – Hayes Theatre Co. produced a short run in 2019, but we definitely need more!
Standout track/s: Someone Else’s Skin; Don’t Break The Rules; Goodbye
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Any of Whitman and Shaiman’s work, musicals about criminals like Chicago, The Producers, and Bonnie and Clyde.
Bad Girls: The Musical is another crime-themed show, based on a TV series of the same name. It follows a fictional group of inmates in a women’s prison in London. The stage production is definitely a more comedic interpretation of the TV show, but the characters and storylines are taken directly from the first season. It’s a super unique show, and really is a good time. It really sits on its own as a piece of theatre, in that I can’t think of anything quite like it. Bad Girls opened in Leeds in 2006, before moving to a West End run in 2007. It’s a woman-heavy show, and would be a really fun idea for a small community or independent theatre company. While we haven’t seen a professional production of Bad Girls in Australia to my knowledge (or frantic googling!) a filmed version of the musical is available to rent on Vimeo.
Standout track/s: A-List; The Key; The Future Is Bright; This is My Life
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Any of the crime-related musicals listed earlier, shows with a large cast of women like Nine and 9 to 5.
Do I Hear A Waltz? is a lesser known show with a well known creative team. With book by Arthur Laurents (West Side Story, Gypsy), music by Richard Rodgers (Carousel, The Sound of Music), and Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd, Into The Woods), I am amazed that more people don’t know to talk about this show. Adapted from Laurents’ play The Time of the Cuckoo, the show follows a struggling secretary taking her dream vacation in Italy, and the hijinks that ensue while she’s there. However, the show was not seen as a success despite all the right ingredients, with many agreeing that it did not add much to its source material. Nonetheless, it’s a lovely listen, and there are some fabulous songs within the score.
Standout track/s: Someone Woke Up; Take The Moment; Do I Hear A Waltz?
You’ll like this if you enjoy: The works of Rodgers, Sondheim, or Laurents, the original play The Time of the Cuckoo or the 1955 film adaptation Summertime.