8 Broadway Cast Albums
That You Have to Listen
By Janelle Almosara
If you’re a fan of musicals or just someone who’s exploring the wonderful world of theatre, then you’d know that there is so much to learn and feel from Broadway cast albums. Whether you’ve seen the play or just interested in listening to some great music, cast albums have its own way of transporting you to a magical place, making you feel as if you’re a part of another world.
As a true-blue treasure-trove of all things related to music, we’ve decided to go through Spotify’s catalog and list down some of the greatest cast albums that we can find! Here’s the rundown:
Waitress: The Musical
Essential Track: She Used to be Mine
Music and lyrics written by Sara Bareilles, Waitress: The Musical is just like your favorite feel-good indie-acoustic album – complete with catchy songs, emotional tracks, and a whirlwind of feelings. Just like eating a pie, listening to Waitress is also heartwarming and comforting. While the life of the central character, Jenna, takes a whole lot of twists and turns, the end of this musical is straight up satisfying, you would ask for more.
Essential Track: Cell Block Tango
Set in the 1920s, this dazzling production is definitely not to miss. Listening to the cast album is actually like being in a time machine – their songs filled with pizzazz, the music so lively and energetic; you couldn’t help but dance. Bring out those flapper hats and cutesy little dresses. This award-winning show is here to make you feel glamorous.
Want to see the music with actors but can’t afford to go to Broadway? Go ahead and watch the film adaptation. It’s still sparkly as ever, and it features Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Essential Track: Defying Gravity
Witches, wizards, and magic – this enchanting musical will make you feel like a kid again, believing in powers and alternative universes. Based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Wicked tells the unlikely friendship and unending rivalry of Elphaba and Glinda through spellbinding music and powerful performances.
This cast album features the original Broadway cast, including the iconic duo, Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda) and Idina Menzel (Elphaba).
School of Rock
Essential Track: School of Rock
I bet I’m not the only one wishing to have a teacher that’s this cool…
School of Rock is a stage adaptation of the canon film of the same name. Staged in 2015, this fun-loving, head-bangin’ musical is written by greats Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater. If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ll know what to expect – except this time, everything is in a rock-and-roll format.
Essential Track: Seasons of Love
Although many people know the song “Seasons of Love”, thanks to hundreds of renditions from different people, Rent is actually one of the most revolutionizing musicals of all time. A story featuring gay people and revolving in an angle that heavily involves HIV, Rent stood up when no one was daring enough to talk about these taboo topics. It’s a powerful production and one that definitely shook its audience to the core.
Fun fact: There’s a movie version that features (almost) all the original Broadway cast. It’s not the theater production, but it’s amazing.
Dear Evan Hansen
Essential Track: Waving Through a Window
Featuring the adorable and undeniably talented Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen is a musical that’s timely and oh-so-relatable. Here’s a teaser: this musical tells stories about not fitting in, being lonely, seeking refuge and validation through online interactions, and mental issues among many others. This production hits so close to home that at some point while listening and understanding the songs, you’ll definitely find yourself shedding a tear or two (or probably buckets of tears, who knows).
Essential Track: One Day More
This sung-through musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same title is undeniably one of the most famous shows out there. It is the longest-running musical in the West End and has been continuously staged since its first run in October 1985. A powerful musical set in the early 19th century; Les Miserables is a rollercoaster ride, having you witness the rough life and the ups and downs of its central character, Jean Valjean. Listening to the album would take you a while as it’s technically listening to the whole play, but trust me, it’s worth going through.
Hamilton: An American Musical
Essential Track: My Shot
Setting the record of 16 Tony Nominations (winning 11, including Best Musical) in 2016, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is undeniably one of the fastest rising musicals on Broadway. With sold out shows and a huge following on social media, there is no denying that the genius retelling of Alexander Hamilton’s story is worth giving a shot.
PS: This is a sung- and rap-through musical. Everything that you hear on the cast album is what you’ll exactly hear when you watch the show (except for one reprise that they took out). This cast album is highly addicting, so be prepared.
Got any more recommendations? Share them with us below!