I wish life were a musical.
Music makes us feel better. It conveys our thoughts and dreams better than spoken words alone, and our favorite songs liven up droll days while making chaotic nights bearable. But since we can’t live in a musical, at least we go visit one for a few hours.
Musical theater is an escape from reality into fantastical worlds of passionate love, myriad colors, and heart-rending melodies. This weekend is the Tony Awards, which honors the plays and the wonderful, wonderful musicals that debuted on (or returned to) the Great White Way this year. Here are a few wallpapers to honor the bright lights — and brighter songs — of Broadway.
Bringing childhood classics to Broadway and melting our hearts with a mix of nostalgic devotion and new complexity is a trend that I personally hope never ends, but there are few childhood classics left that could possibly hope to top the latest show in this trend: Anastasia! This has been a long, long, LONG time coming, and the show has been majorly reworked for the stage, taking into account a more mature audience, more Russian history and culture than the original incarnation, and a passionate band of cast and creators. The cast album dropped on Friday, just in time for you to binge before Sunday’s awards, and I’ll be off in the corner, bawling my way through it wishing for tickets to New York to watch it.
Sunset Boulevard is such an iconic show, and a piece of cinema history, and no woman quite embodies that egomaniacal diva Norma Desmond quite as perfectly as Glenn Close (and I mean that in the best way possible). She can cackle like Cruella, but give me “I am ready for my close-up” and she’ll stop every heart in the hall. Other women may have originated the role and tried to own it in different eras, but Glenn Close owned the role over 20 years ago on both coasts and she owns it today on both sides of the Atlantic. What can we say? Glenn Close rules.
Bandstands have largely faded from the American scene outside of the occasional dance hall or vintage affair, replaced with playlists and DJs, which is a shame, because there’s nothing like live music that can change and evolve and breathe with the beat of its audience. But make no mistake, Bandstand isn’t just a jazzy ode to yesteryear, it’s a high-stakes, high-strung musical that digs deep into the issues veterans faced (and continue to face) coming home from war and finding a new place in the world they’ve returned to. It reminds us all once again how music has the power to connect and heal hearts when nothing else can.
Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812 brings together War and Peace and Broadway, and it — HEY, COME BACK! Josh Groban is in it! Arguably one of the world’s greatest vocalists made his Broadway debut with this inventive and immersive musical that takes us into the lives of two lost lovers looking for the spark of passion they need to reignite their lives. If you’re ready to have your heart shredded and your eyes cried to nothing, go queue up the cast recording. And maybe clear the afternoon. You’re gonna need some time.
Hamilton will forevermore be a cornerstone of Broadway, a pinnacle of blended talents and musical genres and historical intricacies that has stolen the hearts of at least one generation and promises to capture the generations to come. Hamilton is truly an epic, and it’s helping to dispel the notions of all stripes: musicals aren’t just dopey showgirls in gooey gowns, rap is most certainly a high artform, HISTORY IS NOT BORING, and living is harder than dying and it is so worth it.