Everyone has heard of smash-hit musicals such as Hamilton and Wicked. They’re big, exciting, and earn a lot of publicity. Unfortunately, there are tons of amazing musicals that for one reason or another never reach the level of fame they deserve. Here are a few of them.
Hunchback, based on the Victor Hugo novel (and full of songs from the Disney movie) had its world premiere in La Jolla, California. The show later moved to Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey, where it had a successful run. With a gorgeous two-story set, a brilliant cast including Michael Arden and Ciara Renee, and a full choir singing in five languages, Hunchback seemed a worthy candidate for the Broadway stage. Unfortunately, the show had a lot of setbacks that kept it from the Great White Way- including the size of its choir. The rights to the show were recently restricted as well, so Hunchback may go unproduced for quite some time. But don't let that keep you from experiencing it- you can listen to the Studio Cast Recording on Youtube, Spotify, or iTunes!
Bonnie and Clyde (music by Frank Wildhorn) had all the makings of a great musical: a compelling story (one that needs no introduction), beautiful costumes and sets, and some major talent. Broadway stars Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes (pictured above) took on the infamous roles of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker for a run at the Gerald Shoenfeld Theatre that sadly lasted only two months. This came as a shock to director Jeff Calhoun, as the show had shown promise in its previous runs in La Jolla and Sarasota. Bonnie and Clyde will, unfortunately, remain one of those under-the-radar musicals- but a fabulous show nonetheless. Listen to the Original Broadway Cast recording here.
Another Jason Robert Brown musical off the stage too soon. Parade is based on the real-life story of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager in 1913 Georgia, who is accused of the murder of a young girl. The original cast featured the talents of Brent Carver and Carolee Carmello. Parade made its Broadway debut in 1998. It won a few Tonys, and while the show initially had several productions, it is fairly unknown today. The most recent production was a concert version conducted by Jason Robert Brown himself and starring Jeremy Jordan and Laura Benanti. Listen to the Original Broadway Cast recording here.
Based on the book by Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting tells the story of Winnie Foster and the Tucks- a family that lives forever. The musical had its world premiere in Atlanta and later moved to Broadway. Despite its heart-warming story, beautiful sets, and gorgeous costumes, Tuck Everlasting simply could not bring in a big enough audience. The show closed after a two-month run. Part of the show's downfall was that it did not generate enough publicity- it was nominated for only one Tony Award (costume design) and it did not have any big names. Still, the cast featured some incredible talent (Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Carolee Carmello, Terrance Mann) and showcased the amazing voice of 12-year old Sarah Charles Lewis. Give them a listen.
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