As I started visiting more musicals over the past two years, I thought it would be fun to write a Musical Best Of. Musicals I visited so far are listed here. In this post I will only talk about non-Takarazuka musicals as I’ll be giving Takarazuka its own post later.
Top 3 favourite musicals
01. Elisabeth. Forever my favourite musical. It’s perfection. I particularly liked the German version I saw, but all of them were brilliant.
02. Tanz der Vampire. Great music, and the musical is funny and touching at the same time.
03. Wicked. Love the story and the music, but especially the decors and costumes!
Most seen musicals
01. Tanz der Vampire. Seen the Antwerp production once, and the German production three times (Stuttgart twice and Berlin once, with a completely different cast every time).
02. Elisabeth. I’ve seen three different productions in three different countries in three different languages: Antwerp in 2009, Tokyo in 2010 and Cologne in 2011. And I am planning to see it many more times..!
03. Wicked and Soldaat van Oranje. I’ve seen two different productions of Wicked in London and the Netherlands, and went to Soldaat van Oranje twice.
Musical disappointment: Rocky over the Rainbow. From what I had heard about this Rocky Horror/Wizard of Oz crossover musical was that it was most of all very funny. Unfortunately, on the day I went to see it there was a snowstorm going on and all traffic and public transport was delayed. Thus, no more than about 30-40 people managed to get to the theatre and it seemed the cast also wasn’t into it at all. A few weeks ago I saw an amateur performance of the same concept, a mix between Rocky Horror and Chicago, and it was infinitely funnier and better performed!
Unexpectedly Impressive musical: Soldaat van Oranje (‘Soldier of Orange’). This Dutch musical is based on the book (and movie) with the same title. The story is very touching, but more than that: The technique they’ve used for this musical is incredible. The stage was especially designed for this musical, in an old airplane hangar. The stage is circular, and the round block the audience sits turns to reveal different parts of the stage. Also, there is a sea and a beach, with actual sand and water. The actors ride around on old motorbikes, and at the end of the musical the doors of the hangar open and they involve the outside in the musical with a real Dakota airplane! At first I was afraid all of these special effects would be overdoing it, but it worked really well and was very impressive.
Top 3 best music
01. Elisabeth. I can’t stop listening to the music of this musical, in any language.
02. Romeo & Juliette, and I can’t decide if I like the French or… the Russian! version better.
03. Tanz der Vampire.
Top 3 best actors/actresses
01. Annemieke van Dam as Elisabeth in the German production. That voice, that acting! I was really very pleasantly surprised by her, she was a perfect Elisabeth.
02. Yamaguchi Yuichiro. I unfortunately have never seen him in real life, although I had the chance (and now regret I didn’t take it). But this man’s voice is amazing. I love him in Elisabeth, Phantom of the Opera, Tanz der Vampire.. everything. His acting style is very particular, inspired by kabuki and may therefore appear a bit stiff, but amazing nonetheless.
03. Willemijn Verkaik in the Dutch production of Wicked. Love her as Elphaba!