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08.07.13 Rock From Brazil04.12.13 Best Rock Musicals

Best Rock Musicals

Being a theatre enthusiast and rock'n'roll fan, I just figured my first list should be of the ten rock musicals I consider to be the best.
1Spring Awakening by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik

Sensational. Absolute success and wonder. The play which this musical is based on is already marvelous on it's own (Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind; look this guy up) but the adition of music seems almost essencial after this version. The themes are timeless and always moving, like sexuality, suicide and the pressure of society, especially coming from adults towards adolescents. The score is very much a folk-ish alternative rock with beautiful lyrics. The story is relatable and inevitably packs a punch everytime. There is no film adaptation yet, but even the crappy bootleg youtube videos can communicate the energy and message (even though seeing the live show -if done by a good cast and director- is a whole other experience; trust me, I've seen it four times). Listen to "Mama Who Bore Me", "Don't Do Sadness/Blue Wind" and "I Believe". Or just listen to the entire soundtrack, really.
2RENT by Jonathan Larson

My favourite rock opera of all time, written about the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, the LBGT community and heroin addiction. It's characters are a bunch of young misfits, many of them artists, living in New York and dealing with love, career and loss. It's music is wonderfully written and surprisingly positive, despite it's dark thematic. Listen to "Rent!", "La Vie Boheme" and "Out Tonight". (I would recommend the movie soundtrack for a first listen).
3Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice

Another LLoyd Webber-Rice gem, it tells the story of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Judas Iscariot, one of the most complex and misunderstood biblical characters. It's controversy is just as grand as it's quality. Listen to "Superstar", "Heaven on Their Minds" and "I Don't Know How to Love Him".
4Next To Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey

In a world full of musicals about people falling in love filled with standard show tunes, there is a light. Pulitzer-winning and Tony-snubbed (Billy Elliot was awesome, but please), this musical's themes are harsh and usually ignored in this field, like modern psychiatry, mental illness and drug abuse. The songs are genius and that's the only word I could find to express what I think of them. Listen to "Make Up Your Mind/Catch Me I'm Falling", "I Am The One" and "Superboy and The Invisible Girl".
5Evita by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice

I almost refused to write anything about this. Well, the rock opera is obviously about the notorious Argentine First Lady Eva Per?n and it's completely sung-through. I don't think I have to mention the movie, right? Listen to "Buenos Aires", "Oh What a Circus" and "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" (duh).
6Little Shop of Horrors by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

Based on low-budget 1960s dark comedy movie of the same name, this comedy-horror musical, scored by Disney homeboy Alan Menken, is brilliant enough for having as antagonists a Venus flytrap and a dentist. Menken is obviously a very talented composer, so it's actually predictable how great the music is. Listen to "Feed Me (Git It)", "Dentist!" and "Suddenly, Seymour".
7The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O'Brien

One of the most random musicals ever created, it pays tribute to weird sci-fi and horror films. It's protagonist is a bisexual transvestite mad scientist, who (seriously) creates a tan, blonde surfer hottie a-la Frankenstein. The plot and characters, though somewhat shallow, are hilarious and likeable. The music is of the strangest kind. Listen to "The Time Warp", "Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me" and "Sweet Transvestite".
8Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson by Michael Friedman and Alex Timbers

BBAJ is a political satire about the infamous 7th president of the United States, Andrew Jackson. It's staging is very cabaret-like and audience engaging (it even includes a lap dance!). Mr. Jackson is portrayed as an emo rock star, who claims "life sucks and [his] life sucks in particular". It all may sound immature, but that's where the wit of the play is. The songs are simple, infectious pop-punk tunes. Listen to "Rock Star", "Populism Yea Yea" and "The Saddest Song".
9Godspell by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak

Based on the Gospel of Matthew, this musical is divided in parables and it's music is versatile and timeless. The play can be easily adapted and turned into whatever you like and it's portrait of religion is anything but cheesy or overly serious. Listen to "Day by Day", "Save the People" and "All For the Best".
10Hair by James Rado, Gerome Ragni and Galt McDermot

Hair is filled with anti-Vietnam, sexual revolution and drug culture anthems. It's music is spectacular hippie rock and it's story is engaging and poignant, if not a little messy, but I wonder if that's the point. The characters are very symbolic and share notable similarities with biblical characters. Listen to "Hair", "Ain't Got No" and "Aquarius".
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