When a Cast Recording Presents a Second Chance to Love a Show

Jennifer Butler

  • Massachusetts Columnist

We all have shows that we instantly connect with. Something about the show’s theme or the music just captures your attention. And it’s immediately added to your favorites list. For me some of those shows include Newsies, Jersey Boys, Rent, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Mamma Mia and Peter Pan. I fell in love with both the stories and the music. But they are on this list for other reasons; because they remind me of someone, take me back to another time and place, or because it makes me think of someone I went to a show with. 

But what about the rest of the shows out there?  For as many shows as I have seen and know of, there are so many more that I haven’t seen or may never have even heard of. 

Recently I have been giving shows like that a second chance.  Shows that I normally wouldn’t think I would have a connection with or be interested in. This is because I don’t think it’s fair to judge a show without at least listening to the cast album or looking up the shows on YouTube. The most recent shows that I have been trying to get to know include Avenue Q, Fiddler on the Roof and Fun Home.  I have come to like all of them and I may be adding Fun Home and The King and I to shows that I ended up liking after listening to the cast albums. Hamilton is another one that I initially didn’t think I would like and didn’t want to listen to at first, because I heard it was rap. However, after the persistence of my dance teacher, I gave it a second chance and now I love it and can’t stop listening to it. The lyrics really connected with me and the thought process behind the show is great. Shows like that are inspiring because they remind me that persistence and hard work can pay off.  Now I am eager to get to know Lin Manual Miranda’s first show In The Heights.

More recently cast albums have become an important part of my everyday life. Lately I have been living vicariously through certain cast albums because they are all that I have.  The cast album really helps with exposure to shows that I can’t always afford to see when they come to my town; shows like Matilda and The Lion King. These shows have come through town more than once but with the high price of the tickets I have had to pass on seeing them. 

The point of this article is that cast albums are just as important as the shows themselves. They provide exposure to shows that we may not be able to afford to see or might not be interested in. Cast albums are a great way to get to know shows and I highly recommend that you give them a chance before you say, “This isn’t for me”.