4 Musicals for Superhero Fans
Now that the school year is wrapping up, everyone is getting ready for the relaxed summer months. Summers bring bonfires, swimming and vacations with them, but most importantly they bring the summer blockbuster movies. Most of the time the blockbusters are filled with action, love, explosions and superheroes. With movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron already in theaters and Fantastic Four coming out in August, superhero movies have made a large comeback into American pop culture. So it only makes sense that superheroes have pervaded musical theatre too. Below is a list of 4 musicals that feature superheroes as their main characters!
Some theatre fans might have heard of this project starring Matt Doyle that ran from January to March this past year at the Vineyard Theatre in NYC. The musical, book/lyrics and music written by Michael Mayer and Peter Lerman respectively, follows the story of Trey Swieskowski, an idealistic hardware store clerk who dreams of becoming a superhero, and Astrolass, Brooklyn’s celebrated hero who wants to give up on her job as superhero and live a normal life. The two must team up to save Brooklyn when it faces destruction. This off-Broadway show received wonderful reviews from publications in New York including The New York Times. While there isn’t a cast recording yet, some of the scenes and songs can be found on YouTube, including a video from BroadwayBox.com!
2. The Toxic Avenger
Another great off-Broadway musical, which ran from April 2009 to January 2010 at New World Stages in New York City. Written by Joe DiPietro with music by David Bryan, The Toxic Avenger follows Melvin Ferd III, an earth scientist, as he attempts to clean up the toxic waste in New Jersey. When he is tossed into a vat of toxic goo, he emerges as a seven-foot-tall monster that is determined to save New Jersey and win the heart of a blind librarian. This musical is based on the 1984 movie of the same title and it won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Off-Broadway Musical. This musical is silly and fun and features some awesome rock musical songs (some of which might not be suitable for children). The cast recording of The Toxic Avenger can be bought on iTunes or Amazon.
3. Holy Musical, B@man!
Many people in the musical world have heard of Starkid, the theatre group that started at the University of Michigan in 2009 (hint: Darren Criss started with this troupe). Starkid is all about producing new musical work based on pop culture and making it accessible to everyone by using YouTube to publish their musicals. They have produced Harry Potter musicals, sci-fi musicals, a musical about genitalia and a musical about the dark knight, Batman. This musical follows Batman’s origin story and shows the dark knight in a totally new, musical light as he tries to save Gotham from the most powerful supervillain yet. The entire musical can be found on YouTube, and the cast recording can be bought on iTunes as part of the Now That’s What I Call Starkid Vol. 2 album.
4. The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Scarlet Pimpernel opened on Broadway in the fall of 1997 and closed at the Minskoff Theatre in May 1999. The musical, book and lyrics by Nat Knighton and music by Frank Wildhorn, tells the story of Sir Percy Blakeney, who dons the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel in order to save innocent men and women from being executed during the Reign of Terror in France. The musical is based on the novel of the same name by Baroness Orczy, which was a predecessor of the superhero genre and which was published in 1903. The original play, also written by Orczy, was performed in London the same year the novel was published. The original Broadway cast recording can be found on iTunes.
Superhero fans, what are your favorite musicals?