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Student Blog: Six Underrated Musicals You MUST Listen to During Pride Month


These six wonderful musicals are all reminders of what- and who- pride month is about.

As Pride Month kicks off, we all go to blast the Kinky Boots cast recording on Spotify as we get ready for whatever pride events we'll be attending, wanting to acknowledge a "pride month musical." Normally, we associate pride month with parades and celebrations, and we don't always remember the reasons these celebrations are possible, or how difficult it is to be queer in society. So many of us don't even realize the plethora of LGBTQIA+ musicals we have right at our fingertips, so these shows, all of which are ideal pride month musicals, go unnoticed year after year. These six musicals listed here are all perfect for celebrating all the stories we remember this month, as well as year round.

6. Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens

More of a song cycle than a musical, Elegies is a collection of songs and monologues that tell the stories of AIDS sufferers and their loved ones. While quite a few of the songs are emotive ballads, there are plenty of catchy tunes embedded within these heavy-hitting stories, such as the jazzy male duet entitled "I Don't Do That Anymore." The message overall is beautiful- remembering those who did not survive the AIDS epidemic, and that certainly is something to be reflecting on during pride month. Pride is about more than just queer life now- it's about the trials that our ancestors faced in a much less accepting world, and Elegies is perfect for celebrating these lives and stories.

5. Everybody's Talking About Jamie

This is definitely the best new feel-good, glittery and upbeat LGBTQIA+-focused musical to come about in awhile. The plot centers around young Jamie, an English schoolboy who finds himself at home as a drag queen. He's accompanied on every adventure by his mild-mannered best friend, Pritti Pasha, and endlessly supported by his mother Margaret, aunt Ray, and drag mentor, Hugo. However, Jamie still faces prejudice and bullying at school as well as his own father's homophobia. This coming-of-age musical will have you singing, cheering, dancing, and strutting around for days on end, and it may even inspire you to wear a little more glitter every day as well.

4. Bare: A Pop Opera

In the theme of young gay schoolboys, Bare: A Pop Opera is about two young gay men in a Catholic boarding school. The music is that of a typical modern rock musical, such as Carrie or Rent, and because most of the show is sung, a listener can glean most of the plot just from listening to the cast recording. It's very easy to be drawn into these two boys' struggle as a couple trying to hide, as well as their individual struggles in coming out and keeping up their social images, all while taking part in their school production of Romeo and Juliet (the parallels of the two forbidden loves are very frequently mentioned). While it may be rather tragic, Bare will certainly hold your attention- and emotion- from the opening to the finale.

3. The View UpStairs

This particular musical is hardly ever brought up in public discourse, which I find to be shocking. The View UpStairs is based on true stories of those who frequented the UpStairs gay bar in New Orleans, Louisiana, which was the site of a deadly arson attack in 1973. In the musical, the various bar regulars all tell their stories through song, and every song is equally as lyrically powerful as it is musically upbeat. Despite the musical's grim basis, the songs and their stories themselves are heartwarming, such as the lovely "Completely Overdone," performed by one drag queen's endlessly supportive mother and the company. All in all, this is definitely a show to keep in mind particularly during pride month because it is just one of many ways of remembering the LGBTQ+ people who have died in these hate-based attacks.

2. It Shoulda Been You

Although there aren't a lot of lesbian-focused musicals in musical theatre, It Shoulda Been You is probably the funniest. At first, it doesn't seem like it has any queer elements- the show is about an upcoming wedding between Jewish woman Rebecca Steinberg and Catholic man Brian Howard, and all of the squabbles between and among the families seem to take up most of the spotlight at first. However, things quickly unravel as we learn the true origin of Rebecca and Brian's decision to marry, as well as the reason behind their choices for maid of honor and best man. Eventually, things do wind up the way they're supposed to, but the journey- and the music- are nothing short of hilarious along the way.

1. Fun Home

Like Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens, Fun Home is one of the emotionally heavier musicals centered around queer people. Based on Alison Bechdel's graphic novel of the same name, the musical follows cartoonist Alison in three different stages of her life: her early life, as an eleven-year-old slowly coming to terms with her sexuality (Small Alison), her college years, fresh out of the closet and journeying through life as an out lesbian (Medium Alison), and her present-day self narrating and reflecting on these times in her life as well as her relationship with her father in these times. Adult Alison reveals that her father, who committed suicide at the age she is as she narrates the show, was a closeted gay, and the Small Alison and Medium Alison storylines both illustrate her father's erratic, almost fearful behavior, as well as how significant all of her simple interactions with him were. The music may not be the most upbeat for the most part, but it's very easy to become attached to this show as well as to the incredible vocals of the entire cast.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Meredith Muirhead