My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

As 2012 comes to a close, many Austin theater companies are putting together their 2013-2014 season. Given the incredible talent in this town and the large number of daring, courageous theater groups in the Austin area, here are my picks for 13 musicals that I'd love to see produced in the 2013-2014 season.

13. FUNNY GIRL

Music by Jules Styne. Lyrics by Bob Merrill. Book by Isobel Lennart.

First produced on Broadway in 1964.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

Austin has its fair share of funny girls (Jill Blackwood, Michelle Cheney, Evelyn LaLonde), so FUNNY GIRL seems like a no-brainer for the Austin theater scene. Sure, this show may be a bit old and dated. It's one of those star vehicle dinosaurs from the 60s, but it's one of the best and most lovable of its kind. Given the hysterical book and the incredible score, featuring hits like "I'm the Greatest Star," and "People," it's hard to rain on this show's parade.

12. REEFER MADNESS - THE MUSICAL

Music by Dan Studney. Book and Lyrics by Kevin Murphy.

First produced in Los Angeles in 1998.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

Austin theater companies tend to do well with social and political satire, and the musicalized version of the 1936 cult classic film of the same name is satire at its hysterical best. Is there anything sillier than an opening number featuring stoned zombies or a deus ex machina moment in which Jesus himself tells our hero about the disastrous effects of pot-smoking?

11. THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS - THE MUSICAL!

Music by Eric Rockwell. Lyrics by JoAnne Bogart. Book by Eric Rockwell and JoAnne Bogart.

First produced Off-Broadway in 2003.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

Torn between Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Kander & Ebb? Why not do a show thaT Lovingly thumbs its nose at all of them! THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS - THE MUSICAL is a hysterical revue that theater lovers will enjoy, and moreover the four person cast and unit set means it's inexpensive to produce.

10. HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Trask. Book by John Cameron Mitchell.

First produced Off-Broadway in 1998.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

Sure, the movie's now a cult classic, but nothing beats the intimacy of the original stage show. Done as a one-man show backed by an on-stage rock band, HEDWIG is equally riotous and moving. And don't you think that a transsexual like Hedwig would find a surprisingly welcoming home in Austin, Texas?

9. MAME

Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman. Book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee.

First produced on Broadway in 1966.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

This one, like FUNNY GIRL, is another star-vehicle dinosaur from the 1960s. While any fan of musical theater probably knows the show or the score, it's blasphemous that according to my research, the show hasn't been seen in Texas since 1991. That means an entire generation of Texas have been exposed to the show only through the awful film version. That just won't do.

8. THE THING ABOUT MEN

Music by Jimmy Roberts. Book and Lyrics by Joe DiPietro.

First Produced Off-Broadway in 1993.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

I first saw this quirky, little-known show, about 10 years ago at a regional theater in California. Written by the same team behind I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE, it is a crowd-pleasing hoot about what men will do to preserve their pride in affairs of the heart. Another small-cast show which allows the ensemble to showcase their comedic chops, this one is perfect for Austin and, to my knowledge, has never been produced here.

7. NINE

Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston. Book by Arthur Kopit.

First produced on Broadway in 1982.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

My reasons for endorsing an Austin production of this show, which won Tonys for Best Musical and Best Score over DREAMGIRLS, is simple: It features an almost entirely female cast, and the actresses in Austin are downright incredible. Getting them together in one show would be amazing, and once again to my knowledge, this show has never been produced in Austin.

6. SIDE SHOW

Music by Henry Krieger. Book and Lyrics by Bill Russell.

First produced on Broadway in 1997.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

While it may have flopped on Broadway (it ran for just 91 performances), SIDE SHOW is an interesting and unique piece of theater. Based on the true story of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, this show boasts a beautiful score courtesy of the composer behind DREAMGIRLS and fun, campy circus motifs. Several Austin theater companies could easily polish up this forgotten gem.

5. SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS

Music by Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics by Craig Carnelia. Book by John Guare.

First produced on Broadway in 2002.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

Based on the 1957 film of the same name, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS may not be the late Marvin Hamlisch's most famous show, but it's certainly his darkest, and Austin audiences love dark pieces of theater. It would be fun to see Austin produce this moody, film noir-esque roller coaster ride about corruption and the power of the press.

4. ME AND MY DICK

Music and Lyrics by A.J. Holmes, Carlos Valdes, and Darren Criss. Book by Matt Lang, Nick Lang, Brian Holden, and Eric Kahn Gale.

First produced at University of Michigan in 2009.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

Yes, the title is not what you'd expect from a musical, and the fratboy humor is exactly what you'd expect from a show titled "ME AND MY DICK," but within all that crassness is a story with heart and charm. It also boasts a great score co-written by GLEE's Darren Criss and is the 1st student produced musical to place on the Billboard 200 Charts.

3. CARRIE

Music by Michael Gore. Lyrics by Dean Pitchford. Book by Lawrence D. Cohen.

First produced on Broadway in 1988.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

True, the musical adaptation of Stephen King's debut novel was a notorious flop on Broadway, but the recently Revisal version that debuted Off-Broadway this year is a vast improvement. The show allows for some tour-de-force performances, especially for Carrie and her mother, and a show about bullying seems timely. Couple that with the fact that the famous film version gets a remake in 2013 and it seems like the perfect time for a musical about this telekinetic teen.

2. PASSION

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by James Lapine.

First produced on Broadway in 1994.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

Though it may be the least known of Sondheim's works and is the only musical to win the Tony Award for Best Musical after closing, PASSION has one of Sondheim's most interesting scores. It also includes one of the most compelling love triangles in any musical and (wait for it...) full frontal nudity. Aren't there a few Austin actors you'd like to see in the buff?

  1. BONNIE AND CLYDE

Music by Frank Wildhorn. Lyrics by Don Black. Book by Ivan Menchell.

First produced on Broadway in 2011.

My Austin 2013-2014 Season Wish List: The Musicals

It's only a matter of time until Austin sees a production of this musical about two of Texas's most infamous historical figures. I sincerely hope we get a production of this sooner rather than later. While it didn't do well on Broadway, the show was praised by audiences and includes what is hands down Frank Wildhorn's best score.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order...)

CURTAINS

Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb, John Kander, and Rupert Holmes. Book by Rupert Holmes.

First produced on Broadway in 2007.

Musical, murder, and mystery? Yes please!

ASSASSINS

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by John Weidman.

First produced Off-Broadway in 1990.

A musical about Presidential Assassins is certainly unorthodox, but it's definitely thought provoking. And for Christ's sake, it's Sondheim.

JANE EYRE

Music and Lyrics by Paul Gordon. Book by John Caird.

First produced on Broadway in 2000.

Classic costume drama plus a beautiful score.

STEEL PIER

Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Book by David Thompson.

First produced on Broadway in 1997.

A Kander and Ebb jazz-filled score chock full of big, glitzy dance numbers.

PARADE

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Book by Alfred Uhry.

First produced on Broadway in 1998.

One of the most heartbreaking American musicals ever written.

KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN

Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Book by Terrence McNally.

First produced on Broadway in 1993.

Okay. I have a thing for Kander and Ebb, and this is easily their best work.

GREY GARDENS

Music by Scott Frankel. Lyrics by Michael Korie. Book by Doug Wright.

First produced Off-Broadway in 2006.

Given the immensely talented women of Austin, it seems that a musical about the Beale women of Grey Gardens would be a huge hit.

BARNUM

Music by Cy Coleman. Lyrics by Michael Stewart. Book by Mark Bramble.

First produced on Broadway in 1980.

A musical and a circus, this show would be a crowd-pleasing family hit, and it would be fantastic if one of the many areal dance companies in Austin were to get involved.

SWEENEY TODD

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler.

First produced on Broadway in 1979.

But only if it's done as a dinner theater show complete with meat pies. Just saying.

BIG RIVER

Music and Lyrics by Roger Miller. Book by William Hauptman.

First produced on Broadway in 1985.

A musical of Huck Finn featuring a folk and country score, this would be a surefire hit in Austin.

TOMMY

Music and Lyrics by Pete Townshend. Book by Des McAnuff.

First produced on Broadway in 1993.

It's The Who. Enough said. Bonus points if the producing theater would temporarily install pinball machines in the lobby.

SUNSET BOULEVARD

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Book and Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton.

First produced on Broadway in 1994.

Easily Andrew Lloyd Webber's best score. Alright, Austin, Norma's ready for her close up.

More Austin! More...


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Jeff Davis Jeff Davis is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where he obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Theater with an emphasis in Directing.


 
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