It came to pass in the mid-1990s that there appeared upon the stage of the Broad Way a musical called Rent. And yea, verily, it did touch many of those whose lives were affected by AIDS, and many were its points of appeal to those blue-haired matrons who might otherwise never have noticed the existence of the Down Town, an attitude lampooned most scathingly in the movie Team America: World Police.
High were the hopes of those at Sony, for it seemed that Rent soundeth like the charts and yet not like them, and fervent were the hopes that the days of Webber might returneth, when a show tune wouldst appear in the charts as the young people took it to their bosoms, a time when many units were shifted, and resplendent were the islands bought in Queensland.
But it was not to be. Although mighty was the effort made by Stevie Wonder, and although “Seasons Of Love” appeared too many times in the programmes of choirs, it faileth to earn as much as “I Will Always Love You”. Many were the productions of Rent, and much was its success in different languages, also with amateur groups, and far too often did its songs appear in the mouths of would-be Idols, but still the Banks frowned, and darkness moved upon the faces of Sony.
Then, in the noughties, it came to pass that Spring Awakening was born, and the whole deal happened all over again, but with less success.
In other climes, a different kind of show succeedeth, yea verily. A comet appeared, a two-headed cow was born, the sheep consumed the wolf, and Mamma Mia! opened on the West End. Mighty was its success with its known tunes and branded catalogue of hits. Obscene were its grosses at the box office; and yet still the Sony-men felt pain.
“Many are our dollars, but we lacketh street cred,” they cried.
“Verily, our show pulleth in the crowds, but where are the straight men?”
“Where is the known property, possibly a film, combined with a branded catalogue of enduring hits, that nevertheless haveth much street cred and seemeth not too fruity for the husbands and Gen Y types?”
I, the prophet, have studied these events, lo, these many eves, and though it pains my eyes, and makes me long for the gentle blindness of lesser men, I now can see …
Heathers: The Musical
A re-imagining of your favourite high school rom-com teen flick, now featuring songs by The Cure!
“We all suspected that “Boys Don’t Cry” would feature in the famous school cafeteria scene, but a delicious double murder in the woods counterpointed by a duet of “Close To Me”? Not your average jukebox musical.”
Alison Croggan, The Australian
Donnie Darko: The Musical
Your favourite superhero time travelling tale of destiny and sacrifice, with all your favourite songs by Tears for Fears!
“While the young leads never quite get to grips with their characters, a star turn by Hugh Jackman as the spiritual guru with a dungeon full of kiddie porn is a revelation. His performance of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is a genuine showstopper!”
Michael Riedel, New York Post
The Butterfly Effect: The Musical
Alternative narrative meets alternative music! Featuring all your favourite songs by Nine Inch Nails, Korn, Radiohead and Tool!
“This is no mere jukebox musical … the direction of Sam Mendes and script by Joss Whedon place these classic songs in stunning new contexts, best exemplified by the affecting Act Two ballad Stinkfist. And Ashton Kutcher can sing – who knew?”
Ben Brantley, New York Times