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Best Theater Musicals of all Time

Musical theater is meant to invoke emotions in an individual. Through song and dance the actor tells a story that we can relate to, or at least empathize with. As audience members we sit back and allow our senses to be awakened by lighting, text, dance, orchestration, and scenery. All this taking us away from the hustle and bustle of the world outside the theater doors, making us laugh and making us cry.

Some of the greatest musicals were written by the likes of Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Each composer sharing their gift with the world, telling stories that make humanity look in the mirror and say, “my god that’s me.” We have all at some point during one of their iconic musicals, related to a characters pain or joy. They both were able to take social situations or historical fables and stage them in a way that as audience members we are not just watching, we are there.

Company by Stephen Sondheim is a musical about one man’s journey to find himself. Bobby dances through the life of bachelorhood, bouncing from one girl to the next, never really finding happiness. Surrounded by friends who appear to have it together, all they want is the best for Bobby and hope that someday he finds the one and settles down. As each couple regals Bobby with tales of the joys of marriage, each of their facades crack. They soon begin to reveal envy, regret, and shame as Bobby asks them, ” Why get married? What do you get from it but someone to smother you and make you feel things you don’t want to feel?” In the end, Bobby soon begins to face his own mortality longing for someone to share his life with.

We have all have at least once fallen out of love or been hurt by love and asked ourselves, “will I ever find the one?” At some point we all must face our own mortality and ask, “is it time to take life seriously?” Sondheim was a man that asks those same questions, wrote them for the stage, and posed them to audiences. People related to his work because he wrote about the average man in everyday situations, searching for the same things that we all search for.

The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber is another musical that still today touches the hearts of millions. Even though the musical takes place at the turn of the 19th century, it is a tale of unrequited love and the yearning to be accepted. Webber’s music though powerful, is made even more emotionally charged by Sarah Brightman. Her portrayal of Christine Daae the young love struck opera singer sends shivers down anyone’s spine as her velvety voice tells her story of grief and salvation. Michael Crawford melts your heart as the villain who only wants to find love and be appreciated for his gift of music.

Acceptance is something that we all crave, no matter how much we fight it sometimes. To be considered an outcast is a painful feeling and to watch the life you crave from the outside, even more painful. Even though the Phantom is an ultimately demonic character, we still shed a tear as he cries out to Christine, “I love you.” Phantom of the Opera tells us that, deep down in our inner most core, we all want to be loved for ourselves.

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