In my spare time, I can usually either be found at the theatre or writing about it. Now that sadly all of theatreland has gone dark following the covid-19 outbreak, I’ve flocked to YouTube to find some solace there.
No, I’m not watching cat videos, or those ones where things blow up. Quite simply I’m either binge watching content from theatre related channels (Broadway.com, Amy Lovatt or Seth Rudetsky to name a few). Or I’m watching brilliant musical theatre related performances for the umpteenth time, the majority of which I wish were available in a cast recording.
I’ve saved my favourite videos to a playlist, aptly called my – Musical YouTube Concert as it’s like a personalised concert, from the comfort of your home!
My heart really does go out to the whole theatre industry who are going through a time of immense difficulty and uncertainty. I cannot wait until the day comes where us enthusiastic theatregoers can jump back to watching live theatre and supporting the arts the best way that we know how to. Hopefully these videos will help us to patiently wait until that day comes.
This playlist has around 30 videos but here are my Top 10:
- A Duet from ‘Carousel’ Featuring Laura Osnes and Steven Pasquale
In ‘If I Loved You’, the classic duet from Carousel, the young fools Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan find themselves falling in love during the course of one song. Of all the recorded versions out there, I defy you to find one more perfect than this one between Laura Osnes and Steven Pasquale. Their voices, their characterisations in this clip and the ad-libs at the end are captivating. If YouTube ever did a Spotify round up of my most played video of the year, this one would probably come out on top.
- Through Heaven’s Eyes Brian Stokes Mitchell with the Mormon Taberancle Choir
Although Danny Glover voiced Jethro in the 1998 animated film, Prince of Egypt, Jethro’s big song, ‘Through Heaven’s Eyes’ is sung entirely by Brian Stokes Mitchell. Mitchell has one of my favourite Broadway baritone voices and he showcases it brilliantly here. Sometimes it can be difficult to balance the sounds from a lead vocal with a choir and an orchestra as large as the one in this video, but Mitchell’s voice is so complementary to the rest of the elements yet manages to soar through so effortlessly here. And that glorious belt into his little jig at 2:49 and that satisfying riff at 3:18 – mesmerising, what a talent.
- Jonathan Groff Channels His Inner Sutton Foster to Perform “Anything Goes”
Here Jonathon Groff gives one of the best ‘Miscast’ Benefit performances on YouTube. In these annual concerts, performers deliver a number sung in a role that they would never get cast for. In the days before Jonathan Groff rose to fame, starring in Mindhunter and Frozen, this Sutton Foster mega fan was in his bedroom watching and re-watching this performance of Anything Goes. For someone who isn’t a trained dancer, boy did he pull off the challenging choreography in this one.
- Lip Sync Battle – Tom Holland
If you haven’t watched this already, be prepared to be spell-bound. I didn’t really know who Tom Holland was before this video, but it came as no surprise to learn that he has a theatre background and performed in Billy Elliot the Musical on the West End. Compared to the other Lip Sync Battle videos I’ve seen, this performance is top-notch – the choreography, costumes and production design – it’s all so amazing.
- Patti LuPone Recreates Famous Line Readings and Sings on Seth Speaks
The best bit of this video starts at 3:39. I’d like to think that Patti LuPone has re-watched videos of ‘You Got Trouble’ online in order to learn the lyrics to this one. Although she’s meant to be on vocal rest when the video was recorded, she still gives an unexpectedly brilliant performance in her classic Patti LuPone style.
- “First Burn” [Official Video]
Remember the days when Lin-Manuel Miranda went slightly mad with remix after remix of Hamilton songs? Well a few of them stuck with me long after that craze, most memorably First Burn. It’s just so much more sassier than ‘Burn’, that combined with the voices of five kick-ass women and I’m hooked. This is the content I live for.
- La La Land Medley (Cello & Piano) – Nicholas Yee & Smyang
I enjoyed watching the film La La Land, but I enjoy listening to this creative La La Land medley even more. It’s just so passionately played by Nicholas Yee and Smyang.
- Could I Leave You – Donna Murphy
This is probably one of my favourite break-up songs and Donna Murphy gives me all the ‘on the verge of madness/hysteria’ energy I need. If you look out for Patti LuPone’s reaction to this performance whilst seated in the back, it probably mirrors my reaction to this performance each time I see it.
- Les Miserables: In Concert | The Confrontation | Film Clip
Norm Lewis also has one of my favourite Broadway baritone voices. (Don’t make me chose between Norm and Brian Stokes Mitchell, just don’t). One of my favourite musical theatre numbers is Javert’s and Valjean’s Confrontation in Les Miserables. I’m still mad that this concert version doesn’t have a cast recording with Norm’s voice, I’m still even more mad that Russell Crowe was cast in the Les Mis film rather than Norm. But I have to be thankful that this clip exists, despite being far too short.
- OBSESSED!: Seth Rudetsky, a Dog Person, Invites David Hibbard and “Cats” to the Studio
I’ve tried to pick clips with minimal speaking so as not to disrupt the flow of the ‘concert’ feel. But of course, for a Seth Rudetsky video, I’ll make an exception. So, I’m not sure why everyone got their knickers in a twist over the Cats film last year, it wasn’t that terrible. But regardless of whether you’re a fan of Cats the Musical or not, I’d highly recommend watching this video the whole way through. It involves hip thrusts, a $12m law suit and an impressively slick cat transformation.
Thanks for reading and feel free to send me recommendations for ones to add to the playlist!