As a fan of musical theatre, you every so often come across musicals that really peak your interest just from the title. Without knowing the first thing about the show, you are instantly attracted to a show and can get a sense of what the show was about. Sometimes your right and sometimes your wrong … in this instance my assumptions about the newly released soundtrack of ‘Broadway Bounty Hunter’ were completely wrong! I would never in my wildest of dreams thought this was a musical all about female empowerment and theatre politics but I am so glad it explored such important modern-day themes.
Broadway Bounty Hunter is a musical following the life of a down on her luck actress Annie who becomes increasingly frustrated with the theatre community and gets the once-in-a-life opportunity to become a real-life kung-fu fighting bounty hunter. It documents her life from being a helpless actress to a badass, powerful woman which is obviously an empowering message for any listeners but specifically female viewers who feel suppressed that some women can overcome the oppression and become strong, powerful characters. It highlights the ideas of sexism and ageism that are rampant in theatre communities even today and although the idea of bounty hunting isn’t a particularly attractive career path for many people the character progression of Annie is incredibly aspirational. There is a constant energy and sense of action throughout all the songs in this show which when combined with the ideas of empowerment made me personally think of being a man from Mulan. Honestly the connotations of the saying ‘be a man’ are very problematic and this show seems to subvert the ideas of this song to become an up-lifting messaging for women while maintaining the excitement and sense of action throughout.
The show opens with a super groovy and almost disco-esque song titled ‘women of a certain age.’ This style of music being used to open up the musical is very unusual and I had to check multiple times that I hadn’t played the finale/party style song by accident. However, the motifs used in this song are very catchy and possesses the classic ‘life sucks let’s make it better’ lyrics that build the show up nice so in those regards it’s the perfect way to start the show. Talking about unusual starts the song titled ‘Master Shiro’s Bounty Hunters’ is quite possibly the strangest song I have ever listened to with the opening being a strange selection of voice making unusual noises. The song progresses and seems to jump a classic song to wild chanting etc and takes you on a weird journey throughout the song. The song that proceeds this one titled ‘Shiro’s Revenge’ is a spoken word/rap piece (think Hamilton-esque) that is very dramatic and character-driven while at the same time very musical theatre inspired. Emily Borromeo (who plays Shiro) is a very talented actor who manages to blend the performance and rap styles beautifully. She keeps the character at the forefront of her performance and her voice is very emotive and portrays the thoughts of Shiro excellently. Veins sung by Annie (played by Annie Golden) is by far the standout song in this production. It is an insanely strong and emotional song that leads to Annie realising her potential. The use of the band makes this song a strong and uplifting number that builds excellently. This is the type of song that I know I personally will listen to first thing in the morning to give me the energy required to take on the day!
Overall, this is a musical that is totally not what I expected and surpassed all of my expectations. With strong themes of female empowerment throughout and many powerful songs, this is the type of musical perfect for musical theatre fans but may resonate more with modern-minded women. The songs constantly surprise you with a range of genres and styles and I imagine seeing this show will only make the experience that much more well-rounded. I would rate this musical 4 our out of 5 stars and encourage people to check out the soundtrack to Broadway Bounty Hunter on most music streaming services (with me personally using Spotify!)