Top Ten Musicals Any Actor Should Know ?

RentBoy86
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Top Ten Musicals Any Actor Should Know ?#1
Posted: 6/27/08 at 3:47pm
As a musical theater actor, what are the top ten musicals that you think I should be familiar with and know inside and out. I figured they would be the "classics," but I was curious to know what you guys thought.
FuturePenny2
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These are in no particular order and I'm sure people will disagree with my choices but its just my opinion hah.

Annie
Fiddler on the Roof
West Side Story
Les Miserables
Gypsy
Evita
South Pacific
Little Shop of Horrors
Hairspray
The Phantom of the Opera
He's so nurturing! - Penny Pingleton, Hairspray
Yankeefan007
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Guys and Dolls
Gypsy
West Side Story
Fiddler on the Roof
Hair
The Producers
Spring Awakening
Grease
Sweeney Todd
Threepenny Opera
philcrosby
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Show Boat
Oklahoma
Guys and Dolls
Gypsy
The Fantasticks
My Fair Lady
Fiddler on the Roof
Follies
Sweeney Todd
Les Miz
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BenKaye
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West Side Story
Gypsy
South Pacific
Sweeney Todd
Les Miserables
Fiddler on the Roof
The Producers
My Fair Lady
The Phantom of the Opera
Into the Woods
My blog- http://okayentertainment.blogspot.com/
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musicaltheatrefan3
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Ok, I decided not to take a hiatus, but to quit posting new threads.

Rent
Wicked
Hairspray
Aida
The Phantom of the Opera
A Chorus Line
Gypsy
Ragtime
The Drowsy Chaperone
Little Shop of Horrors
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NYadgal
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Your words don't carry alot of credibility.
"Two drifters off to see the world. There's such a lot of world to see. . ."
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Weez
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Let's see... I'm going to list composers/teams, and one show from each, and hopefully I can get this up to ten. :)

Lerner&Loewe
My Fair Lady

Rodgers&Hammerstein
Oklahoma!

Sondheim
Sweeney Todd

Bernstein
West Side Story

Guettel
Floyd Collins (EVERYONE MUST LEARN 'FLOYD COLLINS')

Lloyd Webber
Evita

Gershwin
Porgy & Bess

Loesser
Guys & Dolls

Kander&Ebb
Cabaret

Brown
The Last Five Years

Okay, they're mostly the obvious choices for these composers/teams, but I figure they're the obvious choices for a reason, y'know? ^_^

EDIT: I forgot Boublil & Schoenberg. Doh! Can we make this eleven? Les Miserables! Notch it up to twelve, and you can have Godspell (Schwartz) too. ^_^
Updated On: 6/27/08 at 04:07 PM
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zooxanthellae
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Sweeney Todd
West Side Story
Gypsy
South Pacific
Oklahoma
The King and I
Guys and Dolls
My Fair Lady
Follies
Cabaret


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philly03
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Les Miserables
Gypsy
EVITA
Phantom of the Opera
Sweeney Todd
My Fair Lady
Guys and Dolls
Beauty and the Beast (it ALWAYS pops up somewhere in regional theatre! Also, it's probably Disney's best literal stage show they have done yet)
Jekyll & HYDE (Again, usually done regionally, great fans always, and you can always use like 843975487 songs at cabarets, etc.!)
Sunday in the Park with George (Acting wise it's good to know!)
LePetiteFromage
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#10
Posted: 6/27/08 at 4:09pm
Updated On: 5/3/09 at 04:09 PM
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Some of these suggestions are kind of depressing...
LePetiteFromage
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#12
Posted: 6/27/08 at 4:14pm
Updated On: 5/3/09 at 04:14 PM
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Show Boat
Oklahoma
Carousel
My Fair Lady
Guys and Dolls
West Side Story
A Fiddler On The Roof
Gypsy
Company
Hair
WOSQ
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Rather than individual musicals, there are certain authors whose works count as one.

Hence ALL (including flops) of:
R+H
Sondheim
Loesser
Kander & Ebb

then:
Gypsy
My Fair Lady
Fiddler
She Loves Me
West Side Story
The Fantasticks

And then about fifty more (see others' lists).
"If my life weren't funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable." --Carrie Fisher
DrewBill
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So far I think jewishboy, zooxanthellae, and Weez have the lists that make the most sense.

And I have to say that one fan's list above is so completely laughable. Sorry, but what are you thinking? I hope it's meant to be a joke!
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defyingonbroadway
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In no particular order (including my opinions why):

Oklahoma:
It was a musical milestone with its choreography. It wasn't just a revue. It had a plot, and integrated music, drama, and dance into it.

West Side Story:
It makes a bunch of dancers look super gangster and it opened in 57! Come on! :) Robbins purposely cast amazing dancers that could embody their characters and make each of them different.

Phantom of the Opera:
The libretto is amazing, and the sets and costumes are just stunning.

Sweeney Todd:
The songs are so genius in moving the plot forward and really making the audience think (Like "It's man devouring man out there/So who are we to deny it in here"). I never thought I'd love a musical about a demon barber. You'd expect it to be like a cheesy '80s horror movie turned musical, but it isn't. It's just pure genius!

Hair:
Because without Hair, not only would be all be bald, but we probably wouldn't have musicals like Spring Awakening, in my opinion. It was the first real rock musical. Also, without Hair, we won't see Jonathan Groff naked in the fall (I'm seriously JUST KIDDING)

Avenue Q:
It's a musical comedy with puppets...shouldn't every actor know that? :)

Fiddler on the Roof:
Each character is so developed and gives the audience a chance to really empathize with almost all of them. I think it's definitely one of the greatest musicals to zero (haha, not Mostel) in on a culture

Spring Awakening:
I honestly think that Spring Awakening has quite a bit in common with Fiddler. It portrays a culture to the audience. The characters are defying their traditions. And the music is amazing.

A Chorus Line:
I think everyone can find a character to relate to in A Chorus Line. Even though the show doesn't really have a direct plot, it's structured in a really clever way, utilizing all the elements of a good musical.

Wicked:
Some may call me unsophisticated for loving Wicked, but then so be it. It takes the audience on such a journey, and whether or not one likes Wicked, they have to admit that they can relate to For Good, or Defying Gravity.

BONUS

Rent:
It may be a little overrated, but I love it. It brings awareness to a serious disease, and problems in our humanity as well. In my opinion, it isn't just the musical Seasons of Love came from, it's a masterpiece! :)
Gothampc
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Are you talking about important milestones in musical theater or are you talking about need to know material for auditioning?
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
RentBoy86
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Technically both. But, as someone who is about to make the leap into the professional world, I figured I'd ask which shows I should be most familiar with. I feel like I don't know anything about the Golden Age shows, and I'd love to listen to the scores, I just can't afford to keep buying Cd after Cd of "flops" and whatnot. I love finding new songs to sing at auditions and whatnot, so I really enjoy off-beat lesser known musicals. I figured I'd need to know the big wigs (I.E. Hairspray, Wicked, etc.), but I also want to know the "classics" so I don't come off as some ignorant actor who "just wants to be famous."
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People basically have the right idea... until they say something ABSOLUTELY retarded. Here's the real scoop.

So technically, "The Black Crook" (1866?) was the first musical ever. Really, all you need to know is that it was the first time people had the bright idea to put singing, dancing and acting together. Of course that where the brilliance of the Black Crook ends, so it isn't really something you need to know in a life or death theatrical situation, but it is good to know the beginning of musical theatre.

"Oklahoma!" (1943): First musical to have a really definitive plot. Extremely influential show. The beginning of the musical theatre monopoly of Rodgers and Hammerstien. If you haven't heard of it you are not worthy of the joys of musical theatre (slight overstatement).

"Guys and Dolls" (1950): The perfect musical comedy. It's attainable to people of all ages. I swear, this show will never die. Simple plot, catchy songs. I'm going to be in my third production of it in a week, and it probably won't be my last time. It just is so perfectly crafted that it is still enjoyed fifty years after it's creation.

"West Side Story" (1957): Another milestone. It introduced Sondheim, who is arguably the greatest composer/lyricist in musical theatre... ever. In the opinion of this writer, it is nearly impossible to go through life and not have heard any of the songs. It has influenced not only musical theatre, but every genre of music (Michael Jackson, for instance).

"Hair" (1967): It was the first musical to break every taboo and be universally accepted by the public. It defined the genre of rock musical. Without Hair, there would be no Rent or Spring Awakening. That's why it kind of made me sick to see that people had listed those two shows without listing Hair.

"Chorus Line" (1976): I'm getting bored of explaining myself, so i'll just list the musicals from now on.

Fiddler on the Roof

Phantom

Les Mis

Into the Woods

Rent




"There are only two worthwhile things to leave behind when we depart this world of ours: children and art." -Sunday In The Park With George
Updated On: 6/27/08 at 07:11 PM
rewritemystory
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re: Top Ten Musicals Any Actor Should Know ?#20
Posted: 6/27/08 at 11:21pm
For influence, I guess...
Oklahoma!
Les Mis
Cabaret
RENT
Gypsy
Phantom of the Opera
Evita
Guys and Dolls
West Side Story
Chicago


I was debating with Fiddler and Sweeney.
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re: Top Ten Musicals Any Actor Should Know ?#21
Posted: 6/27/08 at 11:38pm
myshikobit - I would much rather hear your justifications for Phantom and Les Miserables than any of the ones you explained.

In my opinion, Les Mis and Phantom are both British pop operas that are sung through; though Les Mis is clearly superior (and that's not saying much) I don't think either has had a profound influence over musicals in the long run. I mean lets face it British-born, sung through musicals were a short-lived fad that died in the nineties(for the most part).


I would like to amend my list, and add "Company." Sondheim's idea for a concept musical was groundbreaking!
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re: Top Ten Musicals Any Actor Should Know ?#22
Posted: 6/27/08 at 11:42pm
Showboat
Guys and Dolls
Cabaret
Les Miserables
RENT
Sweeney Todd
West Side Story
Gypsy
A Chorus Line
South Pacific
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rewritemystory
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re: Top Ten Musicals Any Actor Should Know ?#23
Posted: 6/27/08 at 11:43pm
I'm not myshikobit, but I added Phantom and Les Mis because of their huge cultural impact. I think it would be very hard to survive as an actor today without a basic knowledge of both, even if their quality can be debated. I don't care for them myself, but I think they are influencial enough to merit being on the list.
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re: Top Ten Musicals Any Actor Should Know ?#24
Posted: 6/27/08 at 11:57pm
zooxanthellae: I totally agree with you, and think that your list is probably the most comprehensive, well considered one here.

But I think that there's an argument to be made that of the British sung-through musicals, "Evita" is probably the best of them, and perhaps deserves a place on the top ten list. On the other hand, I would be hard pressed to eliminate anything from your list to make room for this show.