Summer has really flown by!
What with EdFringe, holiday to Italy and our new season in full swing at work, it’s just gone so quickly. Even if September slowed it right down! #GroundhogDayAfterDay!
The reason I mention this is that I was looking back through some older posts, and realised I was missing one. A few months ago, Chowkimwan created a new ‘This or That’ sort of challenge: Act 1 or Act 2? The premise is simple: choose 8 or more of your favourite musicals, and ask yourself which half do your prefer in terms of songs/story, Act 1 or Act 2? At the end of the feature, ChowkimWan challenged other theatre bloggers to post their own versions, and I was one of the few tagged. Well…
Earlier this year, I posted the definitive list of my Top 10 Musicals. And by ‘definitive’, I mean definitive at that time! As it has already changed since then! So I thought I’d use them again in this challenge, with the exception of Assassins as it only comprises of one act.
The Producers (Mel Brooks): Act II
This one surprised me a bit! Two of my favourite songs are in Act I, I Wanna Be A Producer and We Can Do It, so I thought it would be that half hands down. But then number wise, there are more that I like in Act II: Springtime for Hitler (Part 1) and You Never Say ‘Good Luck’ on Opening Night and Betrayed in particular, which is probably in my top 5 favourite musical songs ever.
Spring Awakening (Duncan Sheik, and Steven Sater): Act II
Difficult choice, as my favourite fall equally across both halves: four in Act I with All That’s Known, The Bitch of Living, My Junk and And Then There Were None; and four in Act II, Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind (Reprise), Totally Fucked, The Words of Your Body (Reprise) and Those You’ve Known. I’m going to go with Act II, half because Those You’ve Known will always have me in tears even just listening to it on my phone, and half because to cheer myself up after this, I always remember Jonathon Groff’s story of Left Behind!
The Book of Mormon (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone): Act I
Not a massively tough choice. As I was looking through the break down of songs from Act I, I was thinking: Hello (YES), Two by Two (YES), You and Me (But Mostly Me) (YUP), Hasa Diga Eebowai (YUP YUP), Turn It Off (RIGHT THAT DECIDES IT, YES! ACT I IT IS!). And of course, All American Prophet and MAN UPPPPPP!
Although Act II does contain one of my favourite lines in a musical ever: I can’t believe Jesus called me a DICK!
A Very Potter Musical (Darren Criss, and A.J. Holmes): Act I
Four words: Goin’ Back to Hogwarts.
I was hooked from that, so Act I!
Kiss Me Kate (Cole Porter): Act II
Whenever I see this show (and I’ve seen it a fair few times), there are three songs I am always waiting to hear and see how they are staged. Too Darn Hot, Always True to You in My Fashion, and Brush Up Your Shakespeare are the show stoppers from this musical for me, and all fall in Act II. Though that doesn’t mean I’m just sitting there twiddling my thumbs in Act I; I do like Another Op’nin’, Another Show and, of course, I Hate Men!
Wicked (Stephen Schwartz): Act I
This involved little thought, to be honest. I know which songs are my favourite The Wizard and I, What is this Feeling?, and Popular. Oh, and Dancing Through Life. And One Short Day. And of course Defying Gravity, aka the best song to finish the first Act on. To be honest, the only two songs from the second half that I remember are No Good Deed and For Good. And by remember I mean are on my iPhone!
Legally Blonde (Nell Benjamin, and Laurence O’Keefe): Act I
Like Wicked, the first Act of Legally Blonde ends with a great, show stopping number. Although, yes, not quite as good as Wicked‘s! Ending on Chip on Her Shoulder and So Much Better, we see Elle Woods transformed in the space of two songs, into a strong, ambitious, independent woman who doesn’t need a man! Well, not Warner at any rate! Oh, and did I mention, they are catchy as hell?
American Psycho (Duncan Sheik): Act I
I went back and forth with this one. Mainly because Act II contains one of my favourite songs to end a musical on: This is Not an Exit. Also, funnily enough, Sheik’s other appearance on this list features my other favourite final song: Those You’ve Known, even if Purple Summer is the actual final song.
But Act I combines both great original songs, and new arrangements of classics. Sheik’s take on In the Air Tonight is spine tingling, and Killing Time is so clever. So Act I just about wins.
Avenue Q (Robert Lopez, and Jeff Marx): Act I
Much like The Book of Mormon, when I look through the songs from the first half up until Mix Tape, they’re some of the most played on my phone. What Do You Do with a BA in English? sometimes haunts my dreams or rather nightmares, being a BA English grad myself! Plus, I can’t think of many other musicals which manage to introduce each character so succinctly as It Sucks to be Me! Les Mis, take notes: you don’t need like 12 sepearate songs to introduce everyone!
Thanks for the challenge, Chowkimwan. And now I’m nominating the following to take part: