Top 10 Underrated Musicals to Listen to During Quarantine

If you are an avid musical theatre nerd, such as myself, then you need to listen to my top ten underrated musicals! What else is there to do during quarantine than listen to some awesome showtunes? Most of these songs are upbeat and will keep your spirits up! If you aren't really into musicals, why not give a few shows a listen? You never know, you may fall in love with one or two of them and their music! I hope you enjoy my list of musicals that are not often talked about! To me, they are hidden gems in the theatre world!

  1. 1. Fun Home

    Person sitting on street underneath Fun Home posters

    "Fun Home" is based off of Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir published in 2006 with the same title. The musical surrounds Bechdel coming to terms with her sexuality and her relationship with her gay father. It reveals different stages of her life and memories she has from when she was younger, narrated by her adult self. It is the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist, so this musical was groundbreaking in the theatre world for the LGBTQ+ community. It discusses many serious themes of sexuality, suicide, broken families, and tragedy. Many songs are upbeat and fun, while others are more emotional and raw.

    Hit songs:

    “Ring of Keys”

    “Telephone Wire”

    “Come to the Fun Home”

    Click here for more information on "Fun Home." 

  2. 2. Pippin

    Musical theatre production of Pippin

    "Pippin" is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, who also wrote the music for the hit Broadway musical "Wicked." The Leading Player brings the magic world of a group of acrobatic performers to the audience at the beginning of the show. Along comes Pippin, the protagonist of the show and King Charles’ son, who longs to find the purpose for his life. The ensemble helps to tell his story and guide him in making the right choices. This show consists of songs containing love, adventure, loss, and magic! 

    Hit songs:

    “Corner of the Sky”

    “Magic To Do”

    “Simple Joys”

    Click here for more information on "Pippin."

  3. 3. Kinky Boots

    New York Times Square posters

    Cyndi Lauper actually wrote the music and lyrics for the musical "Kinky Boots." You might remember her as the singer of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Time After Time.” This musical is based on the 2005 British film with the same title and inspired by true events. It follows the story of Charlie Price, who inherits his father’s shoe factory. In order to make the business succeed, he partners with a famous drag queen named Lola. They work together to create a line of high-heeled boots for anyone to wear! There are a ton of upbeat songs in this show that you will want to belt out!

    Hit songs:

    “The History of Wrong Guys”

    “Raise You Up / Just Be”

    “Not My Father’s Son”

    Click here for more information on "Kinky Boots."

  4. 4. Once on This Island

    Tropical hut with palm trees

    "Once on This Island" is a 1990 musical that surrounds the story of Ti Moune, a dark-skinned peasant girl who was saved by the gods from a terrible storm. She falls in love with a wealthy, light-skinned man named Daniel from the other side of the island after she rescues him. The gods make a bet on whether love or death is stronger, with Ti Moune’s life being at stake. This show is a beautiful story of love and culture on the island they create through the characters. It is based on the fairytale The Little Mermaid, but set in the Caribbean.

    Hit songs:

    “Waiting for Life”

    “Mama Will Provide”

    “We Dance”

    Click here for more information on "Once on This Island."

  5. 5. Heathers

    7-Eleven slurpee cup with airplane in background

    Heathers: The Musical actually never made it to Broadway, although I believe it should have because it is an amazing show! I’ve seen it performed below a restaurant at a bar/pub with my old voice teacher when I was younger. It was a really cool setting to have it performed! It’s a rock musical based off of the 1988 film by the same name. It covers serious issues, including bullying, teen suicide, sexual assault, and violence in schools. The protagonist is Veronica Sawyer as she maneuvers through Westerburg High School’s social hierarchy. At the top of the food chain are the Heathers: Heather McNamara, Heather Duke, and the queen bee, Heather Chandler. Veronica eventually becomes a part of their clique, but then she begins to fall for a new kid named J.D. You won’t regret listening to this show! All of the songs are bops!

    Hit songs:

    “Candy Store”

    “Freeze Your Brain”

    “Dead Girl Walking”

    Click here for more information on "Heathers."

  6. 6. Bandstand

    old colonial American flag

    "Bandstand" made its Broadway premiere in 2017, and I actually had the pleasure of seeing this amazing show! I got to see the original cast with Laura Osnes and Corey Cott as the two leading roles (eek!). I was in awe of their performances because they are theatre legends! As American soldiers return home, Private First Class Donny Novitski (Corey Cott) comes home with a dream to rebuild his life around music. When NBC announces a contest to discover the nation’s next biggest superstars, Donny seeks out a unique group of soldiers, each a talented musician. They form a band with Julia (Laura Osnes) as the head singer. They are able to discover the power of music and how to use their voice to stand up for change! If you like jazz music, you will love this show!

    Hit songs:

    “Nobody”

    “Donny Novitski”

    “Love Will Come and Find Me Again”

    Click here for more information on "Bandstand."

  7. 7. The Last Five Years

    woman holding the shoulder of her husband

    "The Last Five Years" is a show completely written by the famous Jason Robert Brown. I had the pleasure of seeing him in concert and he autographed my music book by him. It was an awesome experience! Some of my favorite songs he wrote are from this musical. It was never on Broadway, but it premiered in 2001 and then Off-Broadway in 2002. There was a film adaptation made in 2015 with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan as the stars of it. The story follows the five-year relationship of Jamie, a novelist, and Cathy, a struggling actress. This musical is interesting in how it is told in perspective of the characters. Cathy tells their relationship backwards and Jamie tells it from the beginning to the end.

    Hit songs:

    “Still Hurting”

    “I Can Do Better Than That”

    “Goodbye Until Tomorrow / I Could Never Rescue You”

    Click here for more information on "The Last Five Years."

  8. 8. The Addams Family

    grayscale photo of tombstones in a graveyard

    I have seen this show performed various times, and it never fails to make me bust out laughing. This show is a pure comedy, while also exploring the themes of young love, family relationships, and darkness. The show is obviously based off of Charles Addams’ original cartoon of a ghoulish family titled The Addams Family. It made its Broadway debut in 2010. It centers around Wednesday Addams, Morticia and Gomez’s teenage daughter, falling in love with a “normal” boy named Lucas Beineke. They invite him and his family to dinner, and that is just when the craziness begins. You are in for a treat with this show! It is definitely one I can listen to on repeat!

    Hit songs:

    “Pulled”

    “Crazier Than You”

    “One Normal Night”

    Click here for more information on "The Addams Family."

  9. 9. Bring It On

    cheerleaders in a line in blue uniforms

    The music for "Bring It On: The Musicalwas written by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda (he wrote the music for "Hamilton"). It made its Broadway debut in 2012 and is based on the 2000 film about the competitive world of cheerleading. Campbell is the new captain of her cheerleading squad, and she has a handsome boyfriend. Her senior year is drastically shifted when she has to transfer to Jackson High School and start from the bottom again. She befriends the girls on the team and helps lead them to victory at National Cheerleading Championships! This musical has some power anthems and upbeat tunes to get your spirits up!

    Hit songs:

    “One Perfect Moment”

    “It’s All Happening”

    “I Got You”

    Click here for more information on "Bring It On."

  10. 10. The Book of Mormon

    Holy Bible on black wooden bench

    This musical is a complete comedy, making its Broadway debut in 2011. It is pure satire of the religion and beliefs Mormons follow. Elder Kevin Price is ecstatic to see where he will be sent to in order to carry out “God’s mission” for Him. He is paired with the clueless Elder Cunningham, and they are sent to Uganda. (Fun Fact: Josh Gad played Elder Cunningham in the original Broadway cast, and you may know him for voicing Olaf in "Frozen" and "Frozen 2"). The African villagers are experiencing AIDS, poverty, and famine, so this mission may not be as easy as they thought. This show is not for the easily offended, but if you are up for a comedy, give it a listen! It is all in good fun!

    Hit songs:

    “Two by Two”

    “Turn It Off”

    “You and Me (But Mostly Me)”

    Click here for more information on "The Book of Mormon."

spotify, phone, headphones, musicI hope you enjoyed learning more about these underrated musicals! Go give them a listen when you get the chance, especially the hit songs from each of them! I hope you and your family are safe and healthy throughout all of this uncertainty and anxiety with COVID-19. Hopefully these songs can keep you positive and your spirits up! Take care of yourself and your mental and physical health. Much love!

HCXO, Rachel