i'll have my name in lights...
August 5, 2007 3:04 PM   Subscribe

In a few weeks, I have the wonderful opportunity to go see a Broadway show (my first!). My options are Hairspray, Wicked, or the Drowsy Chaperone. Which one should I pick?
posted by kidsleepy to Media & Arts (27 answers total)
Of those, I've only seen Wicked, but I've listened to the Hairspray soundtrack quite a bit. Wicked is excellent, and would be my recommendation.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 3:07 PM on August 5, 2007

Best answer: I've seen them all on Broadway, and they're all highly enjoyable. I would pick Drowsy Chaperone over Hairspray or Wicked. It's a really well-written show, and I saw it again a few months ago (saw it first right after it opened), and the show is still in tip-top shape (some shows languish after a year or two). You can still catch Beth Leavel, who won a Tony for playing The Chaperone; it's a performance worth seeing. I saw Hairspray again a few months ago, and it seems to have weakened since it opened- it has become the repository for every ex-boyband member and/or reality star on the planet, to mixed results. The movie is better, at this point. Wicked is fun, and is probably the hottest ticket on Broadway right now, but I think the music sucks. There, I said it. A musical with bad music should be illegal. That said, it is still a fun show and not a total waste of time.

Do report back and tell us what you decided on!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:26 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I haven't heard of the Drowsy Chaperone, whereas Hairspray and Wicked are so damn popular you'll probably be able to catch them on tour for the next fifteen years. I would go with the Drowsy Chaperone (this is assuming it doesn't suck).
posted by Anonymous at 3:44 PM on August 5, 2007

I saw The Drowsy Chaperone. Alot of its humor is poking fun at the genre of musicals, but it has other stuff going on too, the performers were all great, the story is great, the staging is very unique and interesting and well done. And it was really, really funny and smart and clever.
posted by amethysts at 3:51 PM on August 5, 2007

All three are a lot of fun. The Drowsy Chaperone is the best, in my opinion, but it does rely a lot on musical in-jokes, so if this is one of your first forays into the genre, you might not enjoy it fully. It'll still be fun, though.

Of the other two, I'd generally recommend Wicked - but first I'd check and see if there's any really silly stunt-casting going on for either one right now that might sway you away from one or the other.
posted by Stacey at 3:57 PM on August 5, 2007

I agree with Stacey. I loved the Drowsy Chaperone, but if you've never seen a musical before, some it will be a little flat for you. Plus, once you've seen the Drowsy Chaperone poke fun at about a zillion musical theater conventions, you might find that your future musical theater going career is a little flat since you'll already know which things you're seeing are totally cliche.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:03 PM on August 5, 2007

In the realm of stunt casting, Hairspray has Ashley Parker Angel (from MTV's Making the Band), Alexa Vega (from Spy Kids), Jerry Mathers (from Leave it to Beaver), Tevin Campbell (R&B Singer), Ashley Spencer (from TV's Grease reality show), and Naturi Naughton (from pop group 3LW). August 14th, Lance Bass (from NSYNC) will be joining the cast. Nary a trained stage actor in sight.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:03 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Drowsy Chaperone.

As for Wicked, a friend of mine saw it and thought it was so awful he and his wife walked out at intermission. (This was in L.A., though, so I don't know if it was a particular problem with that particular production, or if they just thought the whole thing sucked.)
posted by scody at 4:04 PM on August 5, 2007

Is this your first musical, or merely your first Broadway show? How much familiarity do you have with musical theater? Your answer will affect our answers.
posted by decathecting at 4:13 PM on August 5, 2007

posted by unclejeffy at 4:17 PM on August 5, 2007

The Drowsy Chaperone, indeed. And for many of the points made upthread. Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus.
posted by minervous at 4:21 PM on August 5, 2007

See The Drowsy Chaperone. I've actually never seen it, but if you live in or near any decent sized city, Wicked will come through (again) at some point. It's come through Dallas at least twice in the last couple of years; go for the less well known show.
posted by MadamM at 4:54 PM on August 5, 2007

The Drowsy Chaperone. In the same line as TPS, it hasn't been compromised yet.
posted by spec80 at 5:27 PM on August 5, 2007

Response by poster: This will be my first Broadway musical, but not my first ever musical. I love musicals, but my date doesn't love them as much as I do. I've seen tons of live performances (professional and amateur) as well as renting lots of the old classics (South Pacific, Music Man, etc). I actually just rented High School Musical (don't tell anyone). My favorite of all time is Guys and Dolls with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando- I can probably sing (badly) every line. The appeal of Hairspray and Wicked is that I could probably find the songs online and learn them ahead of time, while the appeal of Drowsy Chaperone is seeing a new show that's quickly gaining notoriety.
posted by kidsleepy at 5:53 PM on August 5, 2007

Absolutely "Drowsy Chaperone". The others are more Disney-esque, the kinds of shows that are meant to appeal to absolutely everyone, and thus are somewhat watered down. Not that "Drowsy Chaperone" doesn't have universal appeal - it's just (slightly) less of a corporate machine than the others, and NO stunt casting, thank GOD.

Plus, a friend of mine is in DC and I want to keep him working!
posted by FlyByDay at 6:58 PM on August 5, 2007

If you've seen other shows, then absolutely, Drowsy Chaperone. It's tremendously entertaining.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:49 PM on August 5, 2007

Wicked is fun, and is probably the hottest ticket on Broadway right now, but I think the music sucks. There, I said it. A musical with bad music should be illegal. That said, it is still a fun show and not a total waste of time.

I sort of felt the same way. Besides "Defying Gravity" I can't remember any of the songs. The ticket was a gift to me - if it had been up to me I would have chosen something else.
posted by la petite marie at 7:59 PM on August 5, 2007

Drowsy Chaperone is my favorite of the three (I've seen them all too), but I'm not sure it's the one I'd recommend. As others above have said, the whole show is basically poking fun at musical theater, so I think it's only worth it if you're a "theater person" - I mean, if you are a "theater person", then by all means go see it. Your date might not be so much into it, though.

There's a reason Wicked is as popular as it is. I think the themes within the show resonate with a lot of people across the board, and plus visually parts of it are really, really stunning. The Act I finale is one of the most incredible theatrical moments I've ever experienced.

It's been a couple of years since I saw Wicked in NYC, so I can't personally vouch for the condition it's currently in, but.... yeah. I'd say probably Wicked.
posted by Quidam at 8:52 PM on August 5, 2007

Wicked, its a crazy spectacle!
posted by thebrokenmuse at 9:02 PM on August 5, 2007

Hey, wicked has that opening song... and... popular... and.... and.... ok, I give. Like everybody else has said, wicked is, well, pretty omnipresent. I shudder to think of what that other show would be like with all that stunt casting. bad director! no pay raise for you.
posted by Jacen at 9:18 PM on August 5, 2007

Wicked is incredible. And the music grows on you until it becomes an obsession, if you allow it. My opinion at least.
posted by visual mechanic at 10:48 PM on August 5, 2007

Someone I knew who isn't even into musicals and Broadway shows went and saw Wicked with his girlfriend and loved it. I figure if he liked it then it must be good. Can't say from personal experience though.
posted by Defenestrator at 10:51 PM on August 5, 2007

Best answer: We've decided on the Drowsy Chaperone! I have a feeling I'll really like it, and my date will put up with it if it makes me happy (happy gf = happy bf). We got matinee tickets, so my next question is, what do we wear to a 2 o'clock show?
posted by kidsleepy at 6:51 AM on August 6, 2007

Dress for yourselves. If you enjoy dressing up for the theatre, so so. But the days where it was mandatory are long gone. You'll see plenty of jeans, t-shirts and shorts.
posted by grumblebee at 7:04 AM on August 6, 2007

Yes, like grumblebee says, pretty much anything goes. Have a great time!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:01 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wear something comfortable. The theater will be colder than you expect. You will be surrounded by tourists, so no need to look too fancy.

I saw Drowsy Chaperone a few weeks ago and really liked it. I generally despise musical theater because of things like Hairspray and Jersey Boys - you know, unabashedly corporate juggernaut fodder. At least Drowsy Chaperone has something refreshing to say.

Wicked is entertaining if you liked Wizard of Oz, the film. There tend to be lots of small children in the audience.

Hairspray will be entertaining if you liked Hairspray, the second film, and infuriating if you like John Waters. I have to pass the theater on my way home from work and as far as I can tell nobody special has been in it for about 6 months.

Your boyfriend will like Drowsy if only because it has no intermission!
posted by billtron at 8:50 PM on August 6, 2007

Best answer: just wanted to report back- the drowsy chaperone was hilarious! amazing set design, funny songs, intriguing POV. i loved it, and haven't stopped talking about it since!
posted by kidsleepy at 11:29 AM on September 5, 2007

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