Day Twenty-Nine (Cast Albums)

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I don’t know most of the musicals in this picture. I’d say I’ve listened to about half of them. Okay…let’s say 9 out of the 24. I just counted. So not even half. But that is not what this entry is about. No, this entry is just a celebration to all of the musical soundtracks that have changed my life for the better.

I am not going to go into detail about every single cast album that has affected my life. This blog entry would never end if I did that. I will, however, admit that my life would not be the same without cast albums. From my very first cast albums (Beauty and the Beast and Little Shop of Horrors) to my more recent obsessions (Dear Evan Hansen and The Great Comet of 1812). It’s strange. A lot of times I can go through many albums before finding the one that hits the right emotional note for me. It all depends on what I am going through at my life at the time that I find the musical. I found “Next to Normal” when I was going through my depression. I found “Spring Awakening” during puberty. I found “My Favorite Year” during my favorite school year. I found “If/Then” when I was at a confusing point in my life. And I found “Aida” when I was struggling between love and duty.

Tonight, I tried listening through a whole host of soundtracks. I’ve been trying Heathers again and again, but it never seems to click. I tried Falsettos and I couldn’t even get past the first act. I couldn’t get through Merrily We Go Along either. The new Willy Wonka? It seemed phony and misplaced. Then I put in The Great Comet of 1812 and I felt the click. The small feeling, right in the center of my chest, telling me that this was the new obsession I had been looking for. I felt the same click when I watched the first episode of Castle this morning. But I’ll talk about that in some other entry.

Unfortunately, this entry won’t be going into The Great Comet of 1812 either. There are so many plots, characters, music, and themes to work through there. I’ll have to listen to the soundtrack about a thousand or so more times to work through all the layers. But this feels like a musical that I can definitely do that with. It’s like a project. Why was it this specific musical that caught my interest? What is the deeper meaning?

Half of my ipod is filled with showtunes. Probably more. As I mentioned in an earlier entry, my dramatic medleys drive my non-theatre friends nuts. It’s a little too melodramatic for their tastes. But theatre has so much variety. The Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, Avenue Q, and Annie Get Your Gun are all completely different. When I was feeling low in college, I would often just wander YouTube in search of some emotional showtunes. It never failed to cheer me up, listening to characters belt out their feelings. When I’m home alone, my first thought is almost always “time for my Broadway Medley concert!”

I am so thankful for cast albums. It’s not often that I can actually see musicals onstage. It’s even less often that I get to be in them. Bootlegs aren’t exactly the greatest option either. But cast albums give you a general idea of the show and there are many musicals I love that I only know by the cast album. I could analyze every detail, yet I’ve never actually seen a performance of the story live. I’m so excited for when I can finally listen through “Anastasia: The Broadway Musical” and “Percy Jackson: The Musical”. I need to hear Dimitri and Luke Castellan sing, man. I NEED IT. Even if I never do a show ever again for the rest of my life, I will absolutely never give up on my love of listening to these soundtracks. My life wouldn’t be the same without them.

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