Friday, March 22, 2019

The Friday 5: 5 Favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber Shows

I know I spend a great deal of time writing about Sondheim and Kander and Ebb on this blog. That's not to say I don't enjoy others. Having recently enjoyed a re-visit to The Phantom of the Opera, I've been thinking about Andrew Lloyd Webber a lot lately. Actually, it would be easier to name the Lloyd Webber shows I don't like - I had difficulty choosing just 5 that I consider my favorites! Here they are from 5 to 1 (plus an honorable mention!):

The Friday 5
5 Favorite Musicals of
Andrew Lloyd Webber


Though I missed this show on Broadway, I did see the National Tour (starring Melissa Manchester and several members of the Broadway company), and I loved it. "Tell Me on a Sunday" is one of my favorite songs, and Lloyd Webber's "Variations" is glorious.

#5: Cats

I know it is the "in" thing to mock and ridicule Cats, but when it was new (and I liked the revival, too) it was breathtaking and cutting edge. At the Winter Garden, it was immersive; the set was enchanting, the dancers remarkable and the music soaring. I could sit through "The Jellicle Ball" over and over...

#4: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Tuneful, fun and catchy, this is my go-to show for a pick-me-up sing-along (that's a lot of hyphens!). Is it odd that I feel a sense of pride that I can recite the colors on demand? It doesn't get much better than hearing this score with the incomparable Laurie Beechman.

#3: Jesus Christ Superstar

Powerful and better and better with each listening, Superstar will always be a favorite. I love the instrumental sections, and "Everything's Alright" is my favorite song for singing in the shower. But the sheer drama of it all is endlessly compelling. "Gethsemane" and "Heaven On Their Minds" both move me, too.

#2: Evita

I'll never forget the very first time I heard the American Cast Recording. I could not believe the power of Patti LuPone's voice, and the brilliant range of emotions she conveyed. And the score... catchy, melodic, striking. Brilliant. It says something about the work when it's most famous song is about my 10th favorite of the lot.

#1: Sunset Boulevard

I was smitten with the Sunset Boulevard from the very first note. And it remains the only show I've ever seen at the matinee, then turned around and bought tickets for that evening's performance. Of course, I love all of Norma's arias, but I really delight in the whole package that is "Let's Have Lunch." And that final sequence gives me chills at the memory of it.

Any of his shows you'd add to this list?


The answers to last week's Broadway Jeopardy! Questions:

$200: Billie, Bess, Sarah: Who is Audra McDonald?

(Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Porgy and Bess, Ragtime)

$400: Rose, Nellie, Mame: Who is Angela Lansbury?

(Gypsy, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Mame)

$600: Rose, Nellie, Eva: Who is Patti LuPone?

(Gypsy, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Evita)

$800: Rose, Aurora, Anita: Who is Chita Rivera?

(Bye Bye Birdie, Kiss of the Spider Woman, West Side Story)

$1000: Hillary, B, Nora: Who is Laurie Metcalf?

(Hillary and Clinton, Three Tall Women, A Doll's House, Part 2)


Two of three recent musicals featuring 3 actresses playing the same role

What are Fun Home, Summer and The Cher Show? (any 2) 

Fun Home: Alison: Beth Malone, Medium Alison: Emily Skeggs, Small Alison: Sydney Lucas

Summer: Disco Donna: Ariana DeBose, Diva Donna: LaChanze, Duckling Donna: Storm Lever

The Cher Show: Babe: Micaela Diamond, Lady: Teal Wicks, Star: Stephanie J. Block

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