I love musical theater. Who doesn't?
Well, a lot of people, unfortunately. But for every plebe who can't recite entire scores of Broadway shows from memory (slackers), there is a passionate fan who understands the obsession. Right now, the obsession is Lin Manuel-Miranda's "Hamilton," an impossibly well-done masterpiece of a show equally impossible to get to.
I believe those in charge of launching Broadway productions feel our pain, and should look to numb it with 'substitute' shows. Therefore, I have compiled the following list of five shows which would (hypothetically) be good options to go see while waiting for "Hamilton" tickets... because the show must go on.
Another musical from the team behind "Mamma Mia," "Chess" basically flopped on Broadway when it premiered, lasting only two months. The 2008 concert version at the Royal Albert Hall (an excellent production,starring Idina Menzel, Josh Groban, Adam Pascal and Kerry Ellis) fared slightly better.
I believe "Chess" never got a fair chance and should be allowed a "do-over," so to speak. It was too cerebral for its time, but that initial failure does not mean its beautiful numbers should languish in near-obscurity forever. I would love to see the concert cast reunite, at least for the beginning of its run.
"Outlander" fever almost guarantees "Brigadoon"'s success with 21st-century audiences. It keeps the star-crossed love story and kilts, but does away with the bloody bits. I don't know what Damian McGinty is up to these days, but I would love to see him in a Brigadoon revival.
With a certain presidential hopeful claiming to "Make America Great Again," it's more important than ever to prove that America already is great—and what better way to do it than with a popular Rodgers and Hammerstein musical? Besides having many well-known songs ("Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'," "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" and the title number, among others), "Oklahoma!" has wide crossover appeal. It's not as squeaky-clean as "The Sound of Music," but is just as dark at times as "Carousel," without the preachy second act. I would love to see Oscar Isaac as Curly, but he doesn't have the right vocal range.
4. "The Music Man"
A wholesome American favorite, "The Music Man" was revived on Broadway 15 years ago with Rebecca Luker (who also starred in "Brigadoon," above) as Marian Paroo (better known as "Marian the Librarian"). I like the 2003 film cast better than the Broadway revival cast; with Matthew Broderick, Victor Garber and Kristin Chenowith, it's a smorgasbord of Broadway favorites. If you watch this movie, you'll see why it needs to make a return trip to Broadway. Despite its datedness, "The Music Man" is both timeless and endearing.
If a "Music Man revival" were to occur, I have the perfect leading man in mind: Matt Bomer. The "American Horror Story" and "Magic Mike" star is the ideal choice because:
A. He has played a con man before (in the impeccably clever and enthralling USA Network series "White Collar").
B. He can sing well (see below).
C. He's very handsome.
I rest my case.
5. "Children of Eden"
Stephen Schwartz's sleeper hit based on the early chapters of Genesis has never had a Broadway run—yet—but is a favorite of colleges and community theaters. I had my first exposure to the show last winter through a phenomenal student production put on by the Messiah College Theatre and Dance Department, which led me to this realization: it is one of the most underrated musicals out there. "Children of Eden" has all the charm and levity of "Godspell" and all the depth and romance of "Pippin." It boggles me why it has never gotten to the Great White Way. I hope its shining moment comes soon.