Hey all, Dani here.
I know there’s a lot of people missing the ability to go to the theater. Technically yes, this statement applies to movies and to live theater, but for the purposes of today’s recommendations post, let’s just all assume that when I say theater I am talking about live shows. I am not nearly as much of a theater geek as some people I know, but I do have a nice appreciation for a good play or musical, and have been to a number of local productions of shows. The same was true in college, though that was also because one of my favorite English professors loved to do pop quizzes the week after campus had a show, particularly if it had a similar focus to what we were discussing in class.
I don’t even know what my first show truly was, but the first one I remember is actually the only one I have seen on Broadway. I went for a summer vacation to visit a school friend of mine who had moved from Ohio to Connecticut, and her family took a day trip up to NYC, and we all went to see Cats, which I remember as being really good but also a bit weird. I’ve seen a number of Broadway shows, but I’ve seen them as local productions so it isn’t exactly the same.
Anyway, all of this to say that I had an idea in my mind to try suggesting some books to read for people who do enjoy seeing a Broadway show. So, I hope you enjoy my recommendations, and please feel free to suggest some more down in the comments.
Let’s get started.
First up is the show/book that inspired this post in the first place. I am talking about Les Miserables, which yes, originally was a book by Victor Hugo, so naturally if you are missing watching this show you can pick up the source material–or you can pick up the movie version with Hugh Jackman in it. But I’m not here to talk about that. For fans of Les Miserables, who want a book that has similar vibes, I suggest that you pick up the System Divine series by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell.
These books are Les Mis in space, which is a fascinating concept. And there are so many little nods to the original story in clever little ways that it is super entertaining. Also, these are pretty hefty books, like 500-600 pages each. There should be at least one more book in the story, but I can definitely say that I recommend them.
Next up, obviously, I have to mention Hamilton, because I’m still a bit obsessed with it. The wait to finally see the filmed version of the OBC is driving me crazy. I really just want to be able to see the show. Even the current (well, on hiatus) tours have ticket prices that are just a bit too much for me to be able to afford. I know theater is meant to be enjoyed live, and that experience is great, but when people are allowed to buy up all the tickets and turn around and sell them for a 500%+ markup, that’s utterly ridiculous. There should be no more than a 10% increase on the list price. I don’t want to say that reselling shouldn’t be allowed, because sometimes things happen and you find that you can’t attend the show anymore, so you should be able to sell them off to someone else, but it shouldn’t be a way for you to make a whole lot of extra cash.
Anyway, there’s a bunch of recommendations for this one, because Hamilton was/is a massive sensation for the Broadway world and beyond.
Obviously you can read the Alexander Hamilton biography written by Ron Chernow, the one that inspired Lin to write the hit musical, or you can check out Hamilton: The Revolution which has behind the scenes details on putting the show together, as well as photos and song lyrics. Or you can try some historical romance, in both the adult or YA age groupings–with a tiny bit more of a focus on the women in the story. And there are probably so many more that I haven’t included here.
Next up: Matilda. So, can I just say that while I love the original book by Roald Dahl, and I adore the movie released when I was a child, I am so excited to see the movie adaptation of the musical? Damian and I actually went to see a local production of Matilda last year and it was outstanding!
Again, you could pick up the original source material. But you could also look for other books with a main character who has telekinetic powers. I know I have this one on my want to read list. Yes, it definitely seems to be a more mature story overall, but it also sounds pretty entertaining. Other books that would work in this category include the Harry Potter series or The Magicians trilogy.
All right, this post is getting a little bit long, so I’ll go with one more show: Hadestown. I really need to get the OBC soundtrack to this one so I can jump on the bandwagon, but I know it is focused on Greek mythology, so I already know I’m going to enjoy it. And naturally, there are quite a few books I could recommend that also deal with these characters from myth, but I’m sticking with the Hades/Persephone stories for this particular recommendation segment.
Okay, I hope you all enjoyed this post. Obviously there are a whole lot more shows out there that I didn’t mention for this post, so if you’d like me to do another round of Broadway recommendations, let me know, and maybe suggest some shows that I should offer book recommendations for.