Musical theatre has been well served in 2016 on both sides of the Atlantic with revivals of amazing musicals and the unveiling of some new works which are fast becoming favourites.
Looking back through my browser history and playlists I’d like to put forward this list of epic musical theatre performances by some of the world’s great musical theatre performers and the cast of one particular musical which blew my mind this year.
This list is by no means definitive and certainly bears the hallmark of my own taste, so I’d invite you to add your own thoughts below. Share and through sharing make the world aware of the depth of talent out there entertaining us.
TOP 5 EPIC MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMANCES IN 2016
GLENN CLOSE – SUNSET BOULEVARD AT THE ENO
She came and she conquered with an almighty performance that would have taxed the greatest of divas. Almost twenty years after her final curtain call in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard on Broadway, Glenn Close performed the role of Norma Desmond in a semi-staged concert version of the show featuring the ENO Orchestra which at fifty odd players made this a night to remember in itself. This lush sound was only topped by a performance which was spellbinding and utterly amazing. There are so few truly suitable superlatives and unfortunately no video we know of so we have included this video of Close at the Royal Albert Hall for flavour.
BEN PLATT – WAVING THROUGH A WINDOW – DEAR EVAN HANSEN
One of the most incredible performances on Broadway this year, Ben Platt plays the title role in this new musical by Pasek and Paul. All his life Evan Hansen has felt invisible. To his peers, to the girl he loves, sometimes even to his own mother. But that was before he wrote the letter – that led to the incident – that started the lie – that ignited a movement – that inspired a community – and changed Evan’s status from the ultimate outsider into the somebody everyone wants to know. But how long can Evan keep his secret? And at what price? Ben Platt is incredible as Evan Hansen. It’s on permanent playlist shuffle here at BritishTheatre.com. We can’t wait for the Tony’s! Book tickets for Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway
THE CAST OF TITANIC AT CHARING CROSS THEATRE
Some of the most incredible musical theatre talent in the UK took to the stage of London’s intimate Charing Cross Theatre this year to perform Maury Yeston’s award-winning musical Titanic. Without water, special effects, or an iceberg, these talented performers brought great emotional depth and a monumental sound to this amazing musical generating enough tears to fill the Atlantic twice over. It’s our only listing for an entire cast and is entirely deserved by this amazing ensemble.
AMBER RILEY SINGING AND I AM TELLING YOU I’M NOT GOING IN DREAMGIRLS
We knew that Amber Riley could sing this epic anthem from her performance of it in Glee, but live and in the context of the show, Riley produced an epic performance that blew the theatre away and established her as a musical theatre diva par excellence. The raw, unbridled heartache Riley bought to this role just has to be seen, I’m already booked for a return and can’t wait. Find out more about Dreamgirls.
Cynthia Erivo And Her Tony Award-Winning Performance in The Colour Purple
From small starts at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, this production defied the odds and made Cynthia Erivo the blazing star that she so richly deserves. It’s a performance that won the 2016 Tony Award, we can but hope that she will return to the UK, but there is no doubt that the world is now her oyster.