This post goes out to Daniel Darwin and Carlee Ryan, the only people who tolerate (and, on a good day, embrace) my theatre-related YouTube binges. It happens more than you might think. The following videos are some tried and true favorites. Classics happen.
Okay, we all know that Raul Esparza is a badass. A huge one. I dare you to sing like that. This video, however, is not awesome so much because of his fucking out of this universe vocal clout, but because of the circumstances: He's just hanging out with theatre dork extraordinaire Seth Rudetsky (I want to be him when I grow up...He's uh-mah-zing, I'm obsessed...) - no big deal. He's singing "Defying Gravity", one of the most overplayed musical theatre numbers of this decade, and doesn't know the words. Thank you. Some people have better things to do than listen to Wicked, get wet over Idina's over-glorified belting and (subsequently) pretend they know something about the American musical. Raul Esparza is one of them and I love him for it - thank god he is a real musician and can sight read. Lastly, bombastic gestures are a plus here. A big plus.
Alan Cumming: I can't decide if I would rather fuck him or be him. Joel Grey: A huge legend of minuscule physical proportions who will always creep me out in the best way possible. Fosse dancers: Always sexy. Kander and Ebb: Know how to write a fucking musical. All of these things combined? Please excuse me while I tend to my sudden physical needs.
This one is specifically for Carlee because she has spent so many hours on our couch with me crying like an idiot over the final scene of Funny Girl and playing "Don't Rain on My Parade" whenever I'm acting like an emo turd. Carlee, you're a queen.
Daniel Darwin stalked this man and I had nothing to do with it. Nothing. Except those 9 times we went to see Spelling Bee, including the day of Barrett's last performance when we won the lottery for both the evening show and matinee. Oh, and the time he was in that G.B. Shaw reading nobody knew about. Right, and that time he was in Washington Square and I followed him with Daniel on the phone. It was all Daniel.
Patti LuPone is playing Argentinian. Mandy Patinkin has a false beard that would make the Yeti quiver. Eva Peron and Che Guevara. Come on.
Jonathan Groff can do no wrong. (Except when he was in the ensemble for In My Life but that wasn't his fault and I'm willing to overlook it.) This song is very simple and very sad but he sings the shit out of it. Also, who in their right mind would break up with the hypothetical "him" of this song? He can spit all he wants when he sings, it's okay with me.
This kid is fat and awkward. But let's get real. This is what I was totally doing when I was ten except I didn't have the balls or technology to tape myself doing it. This cast, as if hey weren't amazing enough, is fucking awesome for getting in touch with this kid, giving up their one afternoon a week of rest and filming the finale of the show with him. In The Heights is a Broadway show but this is a downtown mentality. Lin Manuelito (as he is commonly called in my household) is simultaneously on the verge of hysterical laughter and hysterical tears the whole time. That's pretty much how I feel about this. P.s. check out the videos this kid made that led to this happening in the first place. They're pretty much the best thing ever.
Yea, I know. Two videos of J.Groff. Don't judge me. This video is awesome because it was filmed at the Atlantic mainstage before the audience for this show was substantially comprised of hormonally challenged 14 year old girls and their uncomfortable mothers. I think this is an amazing closing number and should have been left on its own. (I can't express enough the extent to which I loath "The Song of Purple Summer".) Listen to the last harmony of the song - for those who are as pathetic as I am, you will notice that it is totally different and is kind of awesome despite the fact that I never had any qualms about the way it was by the time it made it to the Great White Way.
Broadway. Just for comparison's sake.
Let me introduce you to Iwan Rheon. I interviewed him while I was in London (the transcript of said interview is posted earlier on this blog). He is ridiculously talented. The London cast of this show in its entirety was mind-blowing. Their producers didn't let them record a cast album and the run ended way before it was scheduled to. I actually feel really priveleged to have been there for the whole run and (maybe excessively) attached to this specific production. This is where YouTube and our internet generation makes me really happy: Although I wrote a lot of my thoughts down every time I went to see it, these videos are pretty much the only thing that viscerally archives the fact that this even happened. If you want to see more clips from this cast (and you should) search SALondonFan on YouTube - most of the musical numbers are there. Specifically, check out "Whispering" because for the London production the Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik added a solo for Melchior that completely changed the function of the song for me. (And yeah, blah, blah, blah...I have obviously included quite a bit from this show - so kill me. I saw it 29 times and have no shame whatsoever.)
It's things like this that rmind me why I have a portrait of Stephen Sondheim tattooed to my arm. This is hardly the most well-known song from this show, but I think the lyrics are delightful and it's awesome that it is performed by proper opera singers, as so much of Sondheim's vocal demands are suited to their skills. This is also a tip o' the nib to the upcoming Broadway revival...Catherine Zeta Jones had better not let me down. This shit ain't no joke.
This is biased. Ths song is from Floyd Collins - if you don't know it, get to know it. I worked on this show a couple of years ago at NYU and this guy - Jay Johnson - played Floyd. Pure fucking gold. The closing number is beautiful. I'm a total atheist, but this is a song about "God" and "Heaven" and all that lovely nonsense and I'm absolutely sold. He is now understudying Claude in Hair on the big BWay and that is super awesome for him. Keep an eye out for him because he'll be around.
To end, I gift you this. A classic through and through. When I was 13 I was certain it was written for me. Welcome to the club, former self.