Theatre Thursdays: Halloween-y Musicals

I think by now it’s pretty obvious that I love both Halloween and musicals. As such I have a few musicals that I like to watch or listen to around this time of year that I thought I’d share with all of you. Some of them are directly related to Halloween or horror while others just employ some of the themes of the season (and I’ll be honest, some are a bit of a stretch).

10. Captain Louie

Captain Louie is a really cute little musical about a young boy who has just moved to a new neighborhood and doesn’t have any friends yet. It’s an imaginative tale of this boy’s first Halloween in his new town and how he deals with his loneliness and shyness.

The songs are sweet and the story rings true to childhood. I find that often when children are written they seem artificial. Rarely do I find writers who really capture the spirit of children, often making them mentally and emotionally too mature or too young for their age. This musical really does a good job of depicting kids as kids.

This musical can be enjoyed through its studio album and songbook.

9. The Phantom of the Opera

He’s a phantom, ‘kay?

The goth-synth score and classic tale can be enjoyed on film, in concert, and through various cast recordings and studio albums.

8. The Secret Garden

Yeah, this is one of those ones that’s a stretch, but hear me out! The show starts off with almost everyone dying from disease while a chorus of children sing a creepy “Ring Around the Rosie”-type song about it. A young girl, the sole survivor of this plague, is sent to live in a creepy old mansion that turns out to be haunted by people she’s never met as well as spirits who have followed her from her old home, and the music can often be atmospheric in a creepy and foreboding way.

Granted, the story overall is a very beautiful one of growing up and learning to love, but there are ghosts! And I just love this musical so it tends to make it to the top of any list I make.

The Secret Garden can be enjoyed through its Original Broadway Cast Recording (It’s so good!), Australian Cast Highlights (Why only highlights?), and London Cast Recording (Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen).

7. Nosferatu

Yes, they really will make a musical out of anything.

I believe the concept recording is as far as this show ever got, but I’m not sure. I checked it out because of Annalene Beechey being featured (she was the original standby for Glinda in London’s Wicked) and I was amused by much of what was found on the CD. I would like to especially recommend the song “Blasphemy!” which includes lyrics such as:

There have been many rumors. Some say he ate a cat!

Some say he worships Satan. What do you think of that?

The concept album is available here (Holy Jesus, it’s expensive! Maybe try your luck on eBay), and if you’re interested in “Blasphemy!” click here.

6. Repo! The Genetic Opera

I had really high hopes for this movie after seeing this clip, but it was sadly a disappointment. The world just wasn’t very well-developed, it seemed to be trying really hard to be a cult hit, and the plot was full of more holes than one of Freddy Krueger’s victims. Still, it does have some pretty good songs and good performances, even from Paris Hilton (honestly I was more surprised by Sarah Brightman’s good performance though).

The premise is that far into the future people receive cosmetic surgery not only to alter their appearances, but also their insides. They purchase “designer organs” but if they default on their payments the Repo Man comes and reclaims their organs.

You can check out the movie or its soundtrack (I’d sooner recommend the soundtrack). I know it has a stage history but I’m not familiar with the available recording.

5. Jekyll and Hyde

Yeah, Dr. Jekyll is singing and becoming Mr. Hyde and killing ye olde British Jerks.

And singing.

This score is actually pretty fantastic. I saw this production with Lady Saika last year and it was pretty awesome (we were in the balcony and still felt the blast of heat from those pyrotechnics; it was epic).

If you’d like to see this classic horror icon singing and slaying you can purchase this DVD (sorry about The ‘Hoff) or try to catch the new, re-vamped production on tour!

4. Bat Boy

Bat Boy is a hilarious musical ripped right from the headlines of Weekly World News!

The whole story just tickles my funny bone and it has one of the best opening numbers. If nothing else, it’s worth it for this song alone.

Sadly I’ve never seen this show live but I do love the Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording which can be found here. All the songs are pretty funny and the recording is complete enough that you can understand the story well even without seeing the show.

3. The Dracul Series

Though technically a trilogy, The Dracul Series consists of four musicals in the Sailor Moon Musicals series: Last Dracul Jokyoku, Transylvania no Mori, Transylvania no Mori (Kaiteiban), and Chou Wakusei Death Vulcan no Fuuin. In true Sera Myu style, the full titles of the shows are much longer, but this is typically how fans refer to them.

These musicals are dense and confusing and definitely take more than one viewing to understand them but they are SO GOOD. I don’t really recommend watching them as your first foray into Sailor Musicals because there’s already so much going on that if you’re not already used to the chaos of the musicals or “Myu”s, as fans commonly refer to them (which is where the term “Sera Myu” comes from: “Sera Muun [Sailor Moon] Musicals” > “Sera Myu”) then there will probably be too much to handle. However, if you think you’re up to it, feel free to watch them here, here, here, and here. Despite the craziness these musicals are really made up of some of the best casts and storylines the musicals ever had, in my opinion.

2. Evil Dead: The Musical

This hilarious show is a combination of the first two Evil Dead movies which are, if you’re unaware, some awesomely campy movies. In the original The Evil Dead film, the camp was unintentional but it was embraced for the sequels and is embraced in this musical. Some of the highlights include “Cabin in the Woods” and “Do the Necronomicon” which are great songs that I listen to frequently whether it’s Halloween or not.

This show had an out-of-town tryout in Toronto, if I’m remembering correctly, before opening Off-Broadway. Both productions were well-received and the show is thankfully available on its Off-Broadway Cast Recording.

1. Sweeney Todd

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street! I remember when I first started getting into musicals a friend of mine asked me “What’s that one musical where everyone gets killed in a barber shop?” and I said, “I don’t think that’s a real musical.”

Boy was I wrong. It’s not just a real musical, it’s a really great musical.

Sweeney Todd is, as many people know thanks to the Tim Burton film, the story of a barber who was wrongfully imprisoned and had his wife taken from him. Thankfully, with the help of a new friend named Mrs. Lovett he manages to work through his grief and anger in a very healthy way- oh wait no, he kills people and she bakes their corpses into pies, that’s right.

This gory tale is funny, moving, and frightening and features a phenomenal score and libretto from the always astounding Stephen Sondheim. Who else could make us laugh at cannibalism and then root for the murderers? You can watch the movie, the stage production, the concert version, or take your pick of cast recordings. I personally recommend the 2005 Revival Cast Recording since it’s the production I saw and I honestly feared for my life during Michael Cerveris’ “Epiphany”. Ladies Saika and Geek Girl can attest to the power of this production.

What? No Carrie? Well, I think by now I’ve talked about Carrie enough (well, for the time being, at least) and you surely know my many and varied opinions on the many and varied productions of the show. Of course it’s another one of my Halloween favorites but I’ve devoted enough time to Miss White that she didn’t really need a spot on this list. If she were here you know she’d be number one.

And then someone would dump pig’s blood on her and the whole thing would go to Hell in a handbasket.

2 thoughts on “Theatre Thursdays: Halloween-y Musicals

    • Rocky Horror is definitely another good option for a Halloween-time musical but I’ve always had this aversion to it because it scared me when I was a kid and I just can’t seem to get past that. (I also still can’t watch Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video if I’m by myself for the same reason)

      And thank you for the compliment! We try our best to make worthwhile articles so it’s nice to hear you’re enjoying it.

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