Musicals Thread (Tony Discoveries)

Welcome! The purpose of this thread is to talk about all things related to the wonderful world of musical theatre. Each week (or so) I will post a thread with a topic/question for everyone to respond to. This is also a great place to mention any new musicals you’ve discovered and/or general recommendations for other musical fans. Heard/seen any good shows lately? Have any theatre news to share? Tell us about it!

We’re only a few weeks away from the Tony Awards, and so I thought this would be a nice time to talk about one of my favorite things about the show: getting to see new musicals! I don’t live anywhere near NYC, and I’m not exactly rolling in cash, so it’s not very often that I get to see new musicals. The Tony Awards is an opportunity to get a little taste of shows that I’ve only listened to and to discover new musicals that I haven’t heard of before. This is what I want to talk about this week: what shows have you discovered/fallen in love with by watching the Tony Awards?

For me, the answer isn’t easy because I’ve discovered a few shows while watching the Tonys. But, I’ve decided I should highlight the very first show that I discovered in this way. That show is Spring Awakening. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is based on an 1891 German play of the same name, and it’s about, well, a spring awakening. To be more precise, it’s about a group of teenagers experiencing their sexual awakenings and struggling against oppressive parents, teachers, society, etc. It’s a rough journey, to say the least.

In 2007 I was watching the Tony Awards. For whatever reason, this was the first year that I really paid attention to the show. I liked musicals before 2007, but I just relied on friends to tell me what I should listen to. And I hate award shows, so I figured the Tonys weren’t worth watching. That all changed as I was sitting in front of my TV watching the cast of Spring Awakening. Not only did I completely fall in love with the show, but the experience sparked a much stronger obsession with the world of musical theatre. Basically, this performance is the reason I’m sitting here in 2018 writing about musicals!

So, what did I like about this performance? Well, the first thing that grabbed my attention was Lea Michele’s awkward, vulnerable solo that started the performance (a medley of some of the standout songs from the show). It was incredibly haunting, and I found myself hooked to the TV waiting to see what would happen next. I couldn’t have predicted the fierce and raw chorus of young women that followed. And then, even more surprising, the music changed and a group of young men started singing from chairs. For a while none of the cast left their chairs, but it felt like they were ready to explode. And then (it still gives me chills watching it today) the camera moved to Jonathon Groff. Of course, I had no idea who he was at the time, but I’ll never forget the expression on his face as he sang. I’ve been fairly obsessed with him ever since. It’s all kind of blur after that, but needless to say Spring Awakening was all I listened to for months. So, thank you Tonys!

If you haven’t seen the performance, here it is:

Okay, that’s enough about my embarrassing obsession with Spring Awakening and Jonathon Groff, what shows have you discovered/fallen in love with by watching the Tony Awards?