It’s no secret that I love musicals. I appreciate all shows, and I believe they are all a success in their own way. However, I thought it would be fun to showcase a handful of shows that I feel are slightly underrated and deserve a little bit more love and appreciation.
Before I begin, let me clarify that by underrated, I’m meaning that they either got a run of a year or less, didn’t seemingly have an obvious big following or press attention compared to other shows or didn’t find their way to the West End. This is also just a matter of opinon, from my point of view. It’s just a bit of fun, and hopefully might highlight some shows that have passed you by.
Disclaimer: I mention bootlegs openly. Whilst I understand that morally people may disagree with them and watching them, that is your opinion and that is fine. For me personally, I only tend to watch them for shows I either know I won’t get to see (ie Broadway shows or shows I missed), or shows that have closed. Other factors may also lead me there, but mostly I abide by these rules, and in the cases mentioned here, they are all closed shows that I never would otherwise have seen!
Let’s get to it…
- Made in Dagenham – Those who know me well will know this show holds a special place in my heart. For it was essentially the show to spark my passion for theatre. I just walked out of the theatre feeling like I wanted to change the world, and I was just buzzing. Based on the film of the same name (which is currently available on Netflix UK by the way!) – it tells of the women of Ford Dagenham who fought for equal pay. It’s dramatic, comical, emotional, and empowering. I will always Stand Up for this show!
- Finding Neverland – I confess, I have only ever loved this show from across the pond. However, I have done so since 2015! It can be quite difficult loving a show you know you’ll never see, especially when you don’t have the context of visuals. However, I have watched the film it’s based on, seen Bootlegs, and listened to the cast recording countless times – and I find it such a shame that it never got to cease life on British shores. Especially with the London backdrop, I think it could have done quite well here. Regardless, I really love the music and the balance between being a bit of fairytale magic but an emotive drama too. If you don’t know, it’s essentially a tale of how JM Barrie got his famous tale of Peter Pan off the ground…
- If/Then – My experience with this show is much the same as Finding Neverland really, I fell in love with it around the same time due to my admiration for Idina Menzel and found myself mourning that I knew I’d never get to see it live. The story of this is much more complex, especially to try and pick-up from a cast recording alone but it questions how different life could be if you chose one path over another. As the lyrics go ‘and you wonder what if?‘. I think everyone at some point in their life experiences a ‘what if’ moment. The music is pretty epic, and again it’s essentially a comedy-drama which as you can tell, is something I’m rather fond of. I would love to experience this show live and unravel the story better.
- Young Frankenstein – Whilst arguably not a hugely underrated show, since it got a solid 11 months in the West End and a tryout month in Newcastle, and a decent Broadway run 10 years earlier with generally really good reception to both productions with reasonable followings. However, from a few comparisons, I think the West End production was definitely much more streamlined and slicker; and I do think it deserved to be kept alive a little longer. For it was just a comedy genius!
- Beauty and the Beast – Sadly, the musical a bit before my time. It premiered in the West End the year I was born, and toured to faraway places when I was about 6 at best! Therefore my only connection is audio/video bootlegs and cast recordings, and my love of both the original animation and live-action remake. I feel like it’s now the Disney musical that everyone forgets about though. I am so crossing my fingers for a long-overdue revival sometime soon. I feel like it’s the life after lockdown fairytale we all need…
I’m sure there’s plenty more I could mention, but they’re probably 5 of the main ones I can think to mention! Let me know your thoughts on these shows? And please share the shows that you feel are underrated!