We here at Frolic geek out about all kinds of things, and musical theater is no exception! From both on and off-Broadway, here are four of our favorite musicals that all of you need to be aware of.
Be More Chill
Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, Be More Chill demonstrates how musicals can make hits out of the strangest source material. Be More Chill first premiered off-Broadway in 2015, starring Will Connolly, George Salazar and Stephanie Hsu. After the original cast album gathered a cult following of superfans, BMC was eventually brought to Broadway. It closed on August 11th, but the music lives on in both the original and Broadway cast albums! Be More Chill has a very strange plot: loser, geek, or whatever protagonist Jeremy Heere is desperate for popularity…so he swallows a supercomputer that attaches to his brain to teach him how to be cool. With quirky songs like “The Smartphone Hour” and absolute genius numbers like “Loser, Geek or Whatever” and “Michael in the Bathroom,” it’s clear why so many love this musical so much.
Standby was selected for the New York Musical Festival in 2013, and that cast album is available for free right here. When five strangers awaken in an airport with no memory of how they got there and no way out, they must work together to decide who gets to board the next flight. They soon realize that Standby is no ordinary terminal, and reaching their destination will be a little more complicated than boarding a plane. The show, though dark, is funny, uplifting and hopeful. The honest, electric love story will leave you feeling all the feels, and that twist at the end??? We cry every time.
Content Warning: There are themes about and mentions of suicide throughout the album, so please be careful if this is a topic you are sensitive to.
The Lightning Thief
Let’s be honest for a second: Everything we know about Greek mythology, we learned from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson book series. But did you know that the iconic book The Lightning Thief was adapted to a musical back in 2017!? And that our beloved George Salazar played the dual role of Grover/Dionysus? And that we are crying just thinking about the song “The Tree on the Hill?” If you’re not familiar with PJO, here’s a quick recap: Percy and his friends (save Grover, who’s a satyr), are half human and half god. When someone steals Zeus’s thunderbolt, Percy has to quest to get it back! With a campy, addictive score, it’s no surprise that The Lightning Thief is headed to Broadway!
Wonderland, (totally not) coincidentally, stars Darren Ritchie of the aforementioned Standby alongside Janet Dacal of In the Heights. This upbeat, fantasy musical re-imagines Lewis Carol’s Alice as an adult living in Queens. When she’s transported to Wonderland through an elevator shaft, confusion and musical numbers ensue! There are lots of fun new twists on the Alice in Wonderland characters that we know and love, and plenty of reasons to listen to the soundtrack again and again!