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.
Pretty Filthy is another hidden gem from The Civilians, the investigative theatre company behind some of my favourite shows. This 2015 show is all about porn. Yes, you read that right. Pornography. The associate artists behind the show interviewed a slew of creatives and performers within the porn industry to put the piece together, ultimately culminating in a ‘docu-musical’, a piece of (mostly) verbatim theatre exploring the journeys of those who entered the field. Its music and lyrics were penned by Michael Friedman (of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Love’s Labour’s Lost, alongside other productions with The Civilians), meaning the show is packed with toe-tapping tunes from start to finish. It’s a really interesting glance into an industry that doesn’t get much positive media representation, and I think once again The Civilians have nailed it – combining theatre and journalism to explore the taboo, the unknown, or the undiscussed.
Content Warning – Pretty Filthy contains graphic discussion of pornography, and depiction of sex and sexual acts.
Standout track/s: Names; Impossible Girls; F*ck The World; Pretty/Filthy
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Other shows produced by The Civilians such as Gone Missing and Mr Burns, A Post-Electric Play, musicals about controversial subjects like Reefer Madness and Avenue Q
We Are The Tigers is a pop-rock murder mystery musical. I know, how cool does that sound? We follow cheer captain Riley and her squad trying to solve the mystery of the serial killer who has started hunting them down. If you’re a fan of campy horror/slasher movies, you will love this show. The show is packed full of iconic film tropes, but is a refreshing take packed with catchy music. It premiered in Los Angeles in 2015 before making its off-Broadway run in February 2019, and I would absolutely love to see it make its way to the independent theatre scene. It’s fun, it’s camp, and it’s a real good time. I’ve only had the chance to listen to the soundtrack, so would love the opportunity to see this in person sometime.
Content Warning – We Are The Tigers contains graphic discussions and depictions of death
Standout track/s: Captain of the Team; Worst Team Ever; Move On
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Shows like Evil Dead: The Musical and Heathers: The Musical, shows about cheerleaders like Bring It On and Lysistrata, horror movies like Scream, Sleepaway Camp, and Cabin in the Woods
Urinetown is a masterpiece of musical satire. It’s a flat out mockery of capitalism, bureaucracy, the legal system, and politics in general – a delightfully topical array of themes. The show follows a town in an immense drought where public toilets have been taken over by a megacorporation who charge for their use in order to control water consumption. Anyone who challenges these laws takes a trip to the titular Urinetown, a place no one seems to come back from… We see our hero Bobby Strong take on the megacorp in the ultimate hero’s journey, full of laughs and… pee. I simply can’t explain how well written this show is. The show won the triple crown at the Tony awards – Best Book, Best Original Score, and Best Direction – and was nominated for 10 awards overall. It’s definitely been a popular show with schools, community theatre, and independent companies, but I would love to see this show get more love, particularly in our current political climate…
Standout track/s: Urinetown; It’s A Privilege to Pee; Snuff That Girl
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Other satirical musicals like Reefer Madness, Spamalot, and Avenue Q, meta-musicals like [title of show] and The Drowsy Chaperone