I love musicals. I love them a lot. They hold an indescribable charm for me that results from the combined effect of the story, the numbers, and the visual performance.
This past weekend, I was one of the 11 million people who streamed The Phantom of the Opera for FREE on YouTube. The YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On! is streaming live one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s internationally renowned musicals every Friday night and leaving them available to watch for 48 hours as part of a fundraiser for the Actors Fund, in an effort to help theater professionals affected by the coronavirus. This weekend, it was the Royal Albert Hall performance of The Phantom of the Opera. I am ashamed to admit it was my first ALW musical, but boy, was it worth it.
Suffice it to say, I fell completely, head-over-heels in love.
The dancing, the scenery, the story, the characters, the songs, and above all, the singing enraptured me. I could not take my eyes off the screen. By the end of the show, I was a crying mess, completely obsessed with the numbers, and in love with Ramin Karimloo’s Phantom.
So today, the matter so being that I cannot stop thinking about Phantom, I decided to pair up some of my favorite musicals with YA books. Without further ado, let me commence my fangirling.
The Phantom of the Opera ✦ ✦ ✦ Shadow and Bone
While thinking of ideas for this post, I was surprised by how many tropes Phantom and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo share. The friends-to-lovers romance is charming in both works. But the true similarity lies between the antagonists. The possessive, wicked, unstable, and absolutely irresistible antagonists. I’m in loveeeeeee. 😍😍😍😍
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before, let your soul take you where you long to be… only then can you belong to me
Hamilton ✦ ✦ ✦ Blood and Sand
Oh, Hamilton. The show that rekindled the musical obsession within me with a vengeance. Like Hamilton, Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk turns history around on its head, this time in the form of a gender-swapped retelling of Spartacus. Unfortunately, there’s no rapping involved here, but there’s quite a lot of blood (and sand) and lovable characters, plus a heart-wrenching ending if that’s what you liked about Hamilton.
When America sings for you, will they know what you overcame? Will they know you rewrote the game?
Dear Evan Hansen ✦ ✦ ✦ Letters to the Lost
Dear Evan Hansen‘s numbers break me every single time. The thing that stands out most to me about DEH is its message that not everyone is who they seem on the surface. That message is reflected in Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, in which Declan and Juliet begin to realize through their anonymous letters that no matter how much you’ve messed up, and no matter how the people around you look at you for it, there is always a second chance.
All I ever do is run… so how do I step in — step into the sun? Step into the sun…
Wicked ✦ ✦ ✦ Heartless
Heartless by Marissa Meyer came immediately to mind for Wicked. Both Wicked and Heartless tell the backstories of villains that haunt children’s nightmares and transform them into people with depth, motives, and flaws. As Cath and Elphaba slowly begin to transform into the villains we know and despise, the reader/viewer/listener can’t help but shed a couple of tears along the way.
Was I really seeking good, or just seeking attention? Is that all good deeds are when looked at with an ice-cold eye?
Aladdin ✦ ✦ ✦ An Ember in the Ashes
The innocence of Aladdin and the brutality of An Ember in the Ashes make for an odd pair, yes, but hear me out. If you liked the forbidden love between Aladdin and Jasmine, and fell in love with the magic lamp, you’ll enjoy the blossoming romance between Elias and Laia and the hints of magic hovering in the background of Sabaa Tahir’s universe.
Love comes to those who go and find it, if you’ve a dream then stand behind it
Six ✦ ✦ ✦ Stepsister
Everything Isabelle learns from her heroine’s journey in Stepsister could be summed up as: “I DON’T NEED YOUR LOVE.” The message of female empowerment is obvious in both Six and Stepsister, especially as Isabelle realizes that the only beauty that truly matters is what you think of yourself. Besides, Stepsister‘s magical setting and the characters’ wit go hand in hand with the six queens’ catchy show tunes.
They always said: “We need your love,” but it’s time for us to rise above
Come From Away ✦ ✦ ✦ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
More inclined to true stories of hope found in the aftermath of a tragedy? That’s a steep order, but The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows may suit you (oh gosh, what a mouthful 😂). TGLaPPPS tells the story of the German occupation of Guernsey during World War II, something not many know about before reading this book. The residents of Guernsey piecing their lives back together after the horrifying events of the war with the help of Juliet, a struggling author, will make you smile despite the tears in your eyes.
And you look around and blink your eyes and barely even recognize the person in the mirror who’s turned into someone else
How about you? Do you agree with my pairings? Will you be watching Love Never Dies on Friday? What are your recommendations for Phantom fans (aka me)? I am desperateeee….