The Highlighter Jukebox, VI: Musicals

By WSN Arts Staff

By popular demand, we have opened up the floodgates to submissions from WSN contributers and staff writers starting next week! Expect larger playlists, more comprehensive song exploration, and more sweet tunes to jam to. We’ve also changed the name of our playlist to “The Highlighter Jukebox,” because we’re the word playlist just doesn’t invoke the image of a Lower East Side divebar well enough.

This week’s theme celebrates Broadway and the productions that have made us ugly cry while trying to sing-along to notes we can’t ever hope to hit (except for our music editor, who I’m told is a countertenor; jealous doesn’t BEGIN to cover it.)

Without further ado, enjoy The Highlighter Jukebox’s sixth edition: Musicals!

Joseph Myers, Theater/Books Editor

“Magic To Do” from “Pippin”

“Magic to Do” is the perfect opening number. It encompasses the entire mood of the show through changes in tone, mood and tempo. From the first few bars of fluttering woodwinds to the opening “ooh”s, the audience is drawn in by the slow, simple, mysterious verses, then, the chorus creates a burst of color, using full orchestration and the entire ensemble singing in unison. The verses captures “Pippin”‘s themes of mystery and existentialism and the chorus reflect the aspect of spectacle. It’s a colorful and joyful song that perfectly sets to tone of the show. You can’t help but bust out your best Bob Fosse moves when listening to “Magic to Do.”

E.R. Pulgar, Highlighter Editor

“Popular” from Wicked”

“Wicked” is as known for its razor-sharp social commentary as it is for it’s inimitable soundtrack, and this song wraps up both of those elements perfectly. An anthem to the pure-hearted (if slightly arrogant) vapidity of Glinda before she became the Good Witch, she sings this song to Elphaba when they finally befriend each other at Shiz University, offering the future Wicked Witch of the West a personality and wardrobe makeover or, in her words, ” everything that really counts.” This song is saved from being an ode to the superficial because of it’s joyous orchestration and (in the version on our playlist) Kristen Chenoweth’s hurricane of a voice, devouring every line with the wit expected of her. Unsurprisingly, this is one of “Wicked’s” most popular tracks.

“Masquerade” from “Phantom of the Opera”

The grand opening number of this seminal classic is a study in celebration, decadence, and exuberant group dance sequences—everything Andrew Lloyd Webber does best. The complicated group vocals and harmonies, as well as the unexpected interruption before the song’s culmination make it one of the musical’s most enticing and exciting pieces, especially with the subtext of The Phantom’s presence looming over happy partygoers at the Opera Populairé. Perhaps this song’s only flaw is that it does not include the Phantom’s warm tenor, but then again, why would they invite the fear-inducing Opera Ghost to a masquerade?

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