With the extended run of Les Misérables and the announcement that Wicked will return to Manila next year, it’s clear that the theater scene is thriving in the Philippines (proof also is the excellent local stage scene). Recently, we’ve seen many international musicals hit our shores: The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Mamma Mia!, Chicago, and Singin’ in the Rain. But there are more musicals we’d love to see. Below are 10 musicals we wish would come to Manila, in no particular order*:
Lin-Manuel Miranda is entering legendary status, mainly because of Hamilton. This musical about US founding father Alexander Hamilton may sound irrelevant if you’re not American, but when you consider that black and Hispanic men play the all-white Founding Fathers, it shows how diverse America, and the rest of the world is, today. And oh, the music is set to hip-hop, winning Best Musical Theater Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards. According to JJ Abrams, “It can safely be said that Hamilton is one of the best things—not just theatrical events—you’ll ever see.”
LSS: “Alexander Hamilton”
2. American Psycho
Based on one of my favorite novels, Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho deals with the excess of consumerism and how it drives an investment banker insane (if he wasn’t insane to begin with). The book was adapted to film, and one of the key scenes is lead Patrick Bateman, played brilliantly by Christian Bale, chasing a prostitute with a chainsaw while he is bloody and naked.
LSS: “Selling Out”
3. The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a hilarious satire on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s a heartwarming (yet viciously funny) story of two Mormon missionaries who try to convert locals in Uganda, to no avail. The music was written partly by Trey Parker, co-creator for South Park, so you can kind of figure out the humor of this musical. It won nine Tony Awards in 2011, and won Best Musical Theater Album at the 2012 Grammy Awards. The LDS church took it so well that they advertised in the musical’s playbills.
LSS: “Hello” and “Hasa Diga Eebowai”
4. Matilda the Musical
It’s a story we grew up with: Matilda is a young and intelligent girl who realizes she has telekinetic powers. She studies in a school where the principal is a terror, and she uses her power to save the people around her. It’s a Roald Dahl book that was adapted into a film, and later on, a musical. It holds the record for winning the most awards at the 2012 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. And oh, it won five Tony Awards, too. Watch out for the performance of “When I Grow Up,” which is both impressive and endearing.
LSS: “When I Grow Up” and “Revolting Children”
Set in Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, the musical focuses on the Kit Kat Klub and its 19 year old British performer Sally Bowles (played to perfection in the film adaptation by Liza Minelli). It is entertaining and poignant, yet slightly ominous because of the creepy Emcee and the looming Nazi threat.
LSS: “Willkommen”and “Maybe This Time”