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2 different takes on Top 5 musicals from 2022

Musicals are not everyone’s cup of tea. But some of them definitely should (or in some cases, shouldn’t) be. This past year was one heck of a time for amazing Broadway musicals with a variety of tastes and flavors for the viewers to enjoy (or hate) and to see reopen, revive, run or close. Here, two very different writers each give their own takes on on our top five Broadway musicals:

Photo obtained from playbillstore.com

1. “Hadestown” 

DP: “Hadestown” is a stunning creative musical that has a unique, jazzy retelling of the myths of Orpheus,Eurydice and Persephone with absolutely stunning staging and costuming. Packed full of beautiful musicality and metaphors, the show more than delivers on nearly every aspect of storytelling. No words could do it justice, not even the somewhat joking nickname of “The Theater Kid Hamilton.” GRADE: A+

HS: This one kind of has it all. With a killer twist on a classic myth, it becomes a story everybody can relate to. The show started off-Broadway, but in 2019 made it on the “Great  White Way” and snatched multiple awards including best musical, and for good reason. The score is new and something many certainly  haven’t heard before, and with a stellar cast that each have their own special skills and talents that bring the world to life. “Hadestown” is a show that has gained an everlasting following and will perform for many months to come. GRADE: A+

Photo obtained from playbillstore.com

2. “Beetlejuice”

DP: With a flashy comeback and sad closing this January, “Beetlejuice” was such an exciting exploration in creative theater, exploring interesting dark themes with light music and humor. While things do feel a bit uncomfortable or heavy at times, there is no doubt the actors are having a lot of  fun performing the songs. Just as bold as the title character, and with a killer cast, there is little room for error, and an easy favorite for many. I truly can’t think of a more entertaining and creative musical to engage in, and will no doubt stay a fan favorite for many, even years from now. GRADE: B

HS: “Beetlejuice” did something that very few musicals can do: Reach a base of people not in the theater world and loop them in. The show became popular via TikTok from cast members posting backstage videos in costume, and soon the score was blasting in every 11-year-old’s ears who was trying to be edgy. With a jaw-dropping set, catchy music, killer humor and a bit of heart, “Beetlejuice” has made its mark on Broadway, and now, every high schooler is going to beg their theater director to do the show, even if the rights aren’t out yet. GRADE: B

Photo obtained from broadway.com

3. “Phantom of the Opera”

DP: Ever a classic, “Phantom of the Opera” has such rich musicality and beautiful costuming and staging. There is majesty in the theater, and the Phantom conveys that easily. Even with the occasional slow moment or slightly uninspiring tune, the musical picks up again with its intense plot and stunning theatrics, making it one of the top five not only of my ranking, but also a place inside my mind. GRADE: B

HS: Yes, even though the show is dull, out-dated and problematic, this half-masked moron has been creepily singing to audiences for 35 freakish years and people still run to it like they’re giving out free iPhones in the aisles. Now I’ll admit, watching a chandelier fly over your head while an descending chromatic scale that rips off Pink Floyd’s song “Echoes” blasts in your ears is epic, and if I was able to write a show that is just the same three songs repeated over and over again like Andrew Lloyd Webber did with “Phantom” and make millions of dollars, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. “Phantom” is the show for every tourist and hopeless romantic with daddy issues, making it a bona-fide classic. GRADE: B

Photo obtained from broadway.com

4. “Into The Woods” 

DP: This revival was an easy showstopper. The wonderful reproduction of the classic Stephen Sondheim play takes all the clever and rather difficult music in stride, confidently allowing remarkably talented actors to shine even brighter. It’s a heart-warming tribute to the late Sondheim, and one of the funniest shows you could ever do. I know, at least, that I will be listening to the cast recording on repeat for hours on end. GRADE: A+

HS: I don’t have much to say, I haven’t seen it, but the original’s great. Maybe this one is too? GRADE: N/A 




Photo obtained from broadway.com


DP: While a very interesting musical with some clever reversals and takes in this revival, “Company” is sadly uneven – a bit too dull and dry for me. The concept of “a musical surrounding tumultuous relationships” is far from unique and new, and it quite frankly lacks the intrigue that comes from the more magical elements of other musicals. However, the music is very well done, and anyone would be remiss to not at least give it the slightest bit of a chance. GRADE: C

HS: Respectfully, my colleague above is wrong. The concept of “a musical surrounding tumultuous relationships” is not a cliche here because it was the first show to make it a thing, and arguably the only one to perfect it. The revival takes the show and makes it relevant to today, with a gender-swap for both characters, and updated lines to kick out dated references referring to telephone lines. “Company” brings Sondheim’s ever- relevant story to a new audience. GRADE: A-

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