These musicals have music and topics that are not what most people think of. They are great gateway musicals for people who aren’t ready for Rogers and Hammerstein yet.
My husband calls this South Park meets Sesame Street (although we may have read that on the internet). It’s 50% puppets and 100% tongue in cheek. The songs include classics like “The Internet is for Porn” and “You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You’re Making Love)”.
You might have heard of or seen the movie to this. It’s pretty good, but the musical is unbelievable. This show uses a mix of traditional and rock music sounds to tackle trying to find your way in a difficult world. The topics include homosexuality, AIDS, death, and love. It’s my favorite show and I’ve seen it live at least eight times. If you can’t find yourself in at least one character in this show, I’d be surprised.
For the History Geeks
If you’ve got a thing for historical fiction, there’s probably a musical from your favorite past era. These range from hilarious to exceedingly serious, making sure there’s something for everyone.
Based on the experiences of a soldier during the Vietnam War, this show is very real world and relatible. Also, there’s a helicopter. On stage. Totally worth it.
The Scarlett Pimpernel
This is a mostly comedic show set at the start of the French Revolution. It has a more traditional sound, but is all about saving people from having their head’s chopped off. “Madame Guillotine” is just one of the many interesting musical numbers.
This is a show all about presidential assassins and assassinations. No, really. Now, it’s sort of cheating because it was only off-Broadway. However, I do have a cast recording of it starring Neil Patrick Harris. If he thought it was cool, so should you!
For the Literature Geeks
These musicals are based on some of the greatest novels and stories of all time. If you’re familiar with the stories already, that might help you relate to the musical even better.
Jekyll and Hyde
It’s not the greatest show, but it has some fabulous moments. The scene where Jekyll is arguing with Hyde is fantastic and, done well, it’s worth the whole show.
This is my second favorite show (After Rent! of course) with interesting, well-developed characters and story lines. The music can be harder to follow and it’s a terribly sad story (the title does translate into “The Miserable Ones”), but the war scenes and staging are utterly spectacular.
Into the Woods
Like fairy tales? Prefer totally screwed up fairy tales? Yeah, so do I. Well, this show takes a bunch of fairy tales (think Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and various other familiar stories), throws them together in the woods, and then deviates from typical story lines. If you like Fables, the Vertigo Comic, give this a try.
Sometimes a musical is just about a geeky topic, and that’s where these fall. Whether it’s the entire story line or a main character, there is a geek topic here that you can find yourself in.
This is a show about chess, the game. No, really. It’s set during the Cold War, so there’s some interesting USA/USSR bullying. Also, it was written by the two guys from ABBA (Benny and Bjorn). There is now a stage version available on DVD, so check it out!
Guys and Dolls
This show is mostly about gambling. At least two of the major songs involve betting on the odds. The rest of it is more complicated, but still a lot of fun. It’s a good show to get your guy to watch, especially since the movie stars Marlon Brando.
Little Shop of Horrors
The star of this show is an honest to goodness geek, a science-botany geek at that. Then, he ends up with a blood-thirsty plant. How awesome is that? So awesome.
There you go, a good set of great shows with something that will interest everyone. They all interest me, but really, give one of these a try. These are also good options for getting a male significant other interested. I started my husband on Rent, and now we see a musical almost every time we go to the city. You might find that Dr. Horrible was just the first in beginning a love of telling stories through song, and dance, and maybe even a little bit of rock and roll.