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The Greatest Musical


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#1 Eastender

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:22 PM

OK here we go.
And before I name any here are the 4 criteria.
1 Story. Got to be a story that holds up.
2 Humour. We all like a laugh. While not mandatory I bet when we end up with a top ten they will all have moments of comedy.
3 Stonking good songs. And hopefully a real show stopper in there. How many times have you got home and could not sing a tune from the show you have just seen. Too often I bet.
4 Commercial. I know some of you will jump on this but it has to be here. No good writing the best musical ever if it closes in a week. Of course I say that if the first 3 are there then this will naturally follow.

So before we crack on and name shows how does this criteria stand up.
Not bad eh. but open to change at this early stage.

And rule 2.
Please name ONE show only (for starters) and make out your case.

#2 Eastender

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:25 PM

And the winner is GUYS AND DOLLS
Great story - two actually running parallel.
Humour - full of it Adelaide and Sarah's song Marry the Man Today is so funny.
Showstopper - Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat
And if the National brought back their brilliant version it could run for years.

Beat that. (I don't think you can).

#3 Titan

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:25 PM

Not completely sure commercial is essential as sometimes a great show can be let down by a poor production (look at the last Guys and Dolls revival on Broadway that flopped).

Les Miserables

* Not only has humour but also creates an emotional response in many people who see it. Not many shows stir the emotions
* Score is full of memorable songs, many of which have known to the public
* Epic story

#4 Cactus

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:49 PM

View PostTitan, on 25 June 2013 - 03:25 PM, said:

Not completely sure commercial is essential as sometimes a great show can be let down by a poor production (look at the last Guys and Dolls revival on Broadway that flopped).

Les Miserables

* Not only has humour but also creates an emotional response in many people who see it. Not many shows stir the emotions
* Score is full of memorable songs, many of which have known to the public
* Epic story
Agreed. There's a reason why it has run for so long and is so universally beloved. West Side Story also comes to mind...

#5 jaqs

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:50 PM

West Side Story.

Amazing songs, solid story, a couple of humorous numbers along with the more tragic.

I think that a great musical also needs great choreography to add to your criteria.

#6 Eastender

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:56 PM

Just butting in here.
Choreography - I did think of this and OK if there is any if you see what I mean. Les Mis will never win a choreography award will it.
BTW I made a list of 10 before I posted this subject and the three here so far were there.

#7 poster J

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:58 PM

Eastender, in my opinion there are many shows that could beat Guys and Dolls, it wouldn't even make my top 10 of Greatest Musicals and possibly not even the top 20.  I don't agree with all of your criteria, but I'll go by them anyway.

I’m putting in a second vote for Les Miserables – as far as I’m concerned no other musical comes close.

Story:  redemption, love, sacrifice, faith, hope, trying to make a difference - Les Mis has it all and it’s not shallow or light.  It doesn’t insult the audience by trying to make light of difficult issues, but has a depth and complexity to the story and the characters which gives the show an extra dimension.

Humour:  it’s not a show with a humorous subject, but it still manages to have just the right amount of light relief through the Thenardiers – just listening to Master of the House alone is hilarious.  And there’s other humour there as well – Eponine and Marius teasing each other, the barricade boys teasing a lovestruck Marius…

Songs:  Well, there’s no better score than Les Mis in my opinion.  You want showstoppers (though I disagree that a great musical has to have one – look at Once, for example – but that’s another issue entirely), this has them in abundance:  solos for almost every character with wonderful, meaningful lyrics: Who Am I? I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Stars, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables… from complex soul searching (Soliloquy) to prayer (Bring Him Home), and rousing ensemble numbers: Do You Hear the People Sing, At the End of the Day and of course One Day More.  It’s an almost flawless score and lives long in the memory.

Commercial: Well, it’s been running for 27 and a half years, that speaks for itself.

#8 poster J

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:00 PM

I disagree that a great musical has to have great choreography, especially if you only mean it in a dance context.  A musical doesn't have to have a lot of dance to be a great show.

#9 Cactus

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:23 PM

View Postposter J, on 25 June 2013 - 04:00 PM, said:

I disagree that a great musical has to have great choreography, especially if you only mean it in a dance context.  A musical doesn't have to have a lot of dance to be a great show.
Yes, it's far more than dance. I've seen some great choreography in plays (e.g. the final scene in the Globe's most recent Richard III). Of course it's often far more subtle... Les Mis has some great choreography (At the End of the Day and the barricade deaths being quite obvious examples) but not in the obvious sense.

#10 Tettekete

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 04:41 PM

I'm putting a vote in for Wicked.

Great story: The untold story of an iconic movie villain turned misunderstood victim, told in the form of a flashback through Glinda's eyes. Shows the effect Elphaba had on other characters throughout her life. The two leads are both female.

Humour: Act 1 is full of it, thanks to Galinda. Hilarious songs include What Is This Feeling? and Popular. Many humorous references to The Wizard of Oz are made throughout.

Songs: Apart from the obvious fantastic showstoppers like Defying Gravity and The Wizard And I, we also have extremely touching songs like For Good and As Long As You're Mine. Many of the songs bring depth to characters, unraveling their motives and character traits. E.g, in Thank Goodness we see how Glinda uses her bubbly blonde persona to keep the trust and respect of the Citizens of Oz, faking happiness and a cheery spirit because she is an influential figure. In her own way she is manipulative and much smarter than she lets on. In No Good Deed we finally see Elphaba's descent into madness and her accepting her wickedness, not just how misunderstood she is. She actually becomes the caricature people have painted of her, if only for a short number of scenes. Even extremely underused characters like Nessarose and Boq get to shine and add their piece to the puzzle that is Elphaba's life.

Um, what else... great choreography and sets and costumes!

(I'm rambling now... I have far too many feelings and theories about Wicked. Book version, too :P)
Seen (theatre): Once (London x 2), Wicked (Scheveningen, The Netherlands x6), Wicked (London x 22), We Will Rock You (London x3), Les Miserables (London x 1), The Phantom of the Opera (London x1), Rock of Ages (London x 1), Romeo et Juliette (Takarazuka Revue, Japan x 5), Studio54 (Takarazuka Revue, Japan, x1), For Whom The Bell Tolls (Takarazuka Revue, Japan, x1), Nova Bossa Nova/Meguriai wa Futatabi (Takarazuka Revue, Japan, x2), Nijinsky (Takarazuka Revue, Japan, x3), 9 to 5: The Musical (UK Tour, Sunderland x1), RENT in Concert (Newcastle x1), Singin' In The Rain (UK Tour, Sunderland x 1)

Seen (concerts, etc): Willemijn Verkaik "As I Am" solo concert at the AFAS Circustheater (2012), West End Eurovision 2013, Rachel Tucker at the St James Theatre studio, Scott Alan at the O2, Andrew Lippa at the St James Theatre




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