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 on the first Monday of each month I’ll list a few, give you some comparisons, and a few examples of songs for you to check out.
Islander is an absolutely beautiful piece of theatre. A two-hander, it follows Eilidh finding a mysterious stranger washing up on the beach. The two actors play an assortment of characters, and use looping technology to create an etherial and gorgeous soundscape of a score. It’s such a brilliant idea to use looping technology in a musical, and the prospect of using these technologies on the stage is exciting. And, the music is Scottish folk-inspired. I can’t express enough how unique this show is. The show will be opening off-Broadway at the end of April, and I am very excited to see what comes of it.
Standout track/s: The Splitting of Islands; Video Call; Same But Different; Answerphone
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Folk-inspired musicals like The Last Ship, Once, and Bright Star
Based on the novel of the same name, From Here To Eternity is set in Hawaii in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The novel (and its subsequent film adaptation) are well known, but the musical isn’t. The initial novel manuscript was heavily censored by its publisher, and it was not until 2011 that the original version was released – it was then that composer Stuart Brayson proposed the project to lyricist Tim Rice and the rest is history. I was fortunate enough to watch a proshot recording of the show (screened by The Show Must Go On back during COVID lockdowns), and it really is an interesting show, but as many have pointed out, there are times that the music does not feel like it adds to the story. It’s worth a watch and a listen if you get the chance – you can stream it on BroadwayHD, and a new production is due to return to London later this year if you feel like travelling.
Standout track/s: Thirty Year Man; Fight From Fight; Run Along Joe
You’ll like this if you enjoy:
Set in the 1960s, Love In Hate Nation follows 16 year old Susannah Son as she navigates the National Reformatory for Girls. There she meets Sheila Nail, and the pair set out on a revolution, trying to tear down both the literal and figurative institutions they are trapped by. With music, lyrics, and book by Joe Iconis, Love In Hate Nation is a punk-rock feminist dream, and is a show that I would be very interested to see. It’s one for the outcasts, the dreamers, the losers, and the believers.
Standout track/s: Life In Hate Nation; The Three Failed Escape Attempts of Sheila Nail; The Revolution Song
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Other Joe Iconis musicals like Be More Chill, rock musicals like Rent, Jagged Little Pill, and High Fidelity, feminist musicals like Lizzie and That Bloody Woman