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Hi, guys! Welcome back to another video for the British Council’s LearnEnglish Teens website and their YouTube channel. My name’s Molly and in today’s video I wanted to talk about my favourite musicals.
Number one on my list is Hamilton. Now, if you watched my video where I went on a day trip to London a few months ago, you’ll know that in January I was lucky enough to be able to go and see Hamilton, and it was absolutely incredible. Hamilton is a relatively new musical. It tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, who’s sort of like the forgotten Founding Father of the United States, and the musical tells the story of his life, his political life, his family life, his romantic life, his friendship life … all of these things, and it tells it through primarily rap and hip hop, although there’s a huge variety of musical styles within Hamilton and that’s what makes it so cool and unique. Now, I study history at university so I’m quite a history nerd, but you really don’t have to be to get into Hamilton, and if you’re even in the slightest bit intrigued, I really recommend that you listen to the soundtrack and see what you think.
The second musical that I want to talk about is Rent. Rent is a musical that tells the story of a group of struggling artists living in New York City in the early 1990s, and it’s set against the backdrop of the HIV/AIDS crisis. It’s relatively old – it opened on Broadway in New York in 1996. The song ‘Seasons Of Love’ is a classic, so listen to that! And, yeah, there’s a movie version. They also filmed the final Broadway performance of the original cast, and you can get that as well and that is a great thing to watch.
3. Les Misérables
Another musical that I love is Les Mis. I think it’s the longest-running musical ever. I know in London it opened in 1985. It’s based on the novel by Victor Hugo. The story is set in 19th-century France against the backdrop of the Revolution and the aftermath and the main character is Jean Valjean, who’s a peasant who’s been imprisoned for 19 years just for stealing a loaf of bread, and then the story starts when he escapes and breaks free and tries to start his new life. And there are so many great characters involved. It’s a beautiful story, heartbreaking at times. There are so many iconic songs: ‘I Dreamed A Dream’, ‘On My Own’, ‘Do You Hear The People Sing?’ In 2012, they did a movie adaptation which is also really, really great, so I would highly recommend watching that.
4. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
The next musical that I have is one that you probably won’t have heard of. It’s called Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and everybody should be talking about this musical! It’s a new musical. It’s British. It’s based on a true story, and it follows Jamie New, a 16-year-old boy from a council estate in Sheffield, and he has this dream to be a drag queen, and he wants to go to his final school prom in a dress. And that’s sort of the start, and it’s just such a beautiful story. It’s so uplifting and heart-warming and the title song, ‘[And You] Don't Even Know It’, is just so good.
5. 36 Questions
So, my fifth musical that I want to talk about is something a little bit different. It’s called 36 Questions and it’s actually a podcast musical. One kind of problem with musicals is that they’re not always accessible. You might not live near a theatre where there are a lot of musicals, and often they’re quite expensive. So, this one is fantastic because it’s free. You can listen to it wherever you are. It tells the story of a couple that are having a lot of problems with their relationship, but they try to save and fix their relationship using 36 questions, which are these kind of famous questions that were designed and they’re supposed to make two strangers fall in love.
So, that’s my list! There are so many other fantastic musicals out there. There are new ones, old ones. I hope you found this interesting and maybe it inspired you to check out some of the musicals that I talked about. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time!
Worksheets and downloads
Have you ever seen a musical? Which musicals would you like to see?