Anyone who knows me I love a spectacle! The more lights, explosions, dancing, trick and stunts the better in my opinion so when I heard there was a musical simply titled “Spectacle” I was instantly engaged but this musical was totally not what I expected it to be. From the creature of the pop culture phenomenon Twilight: The Unauthorized Musical Parody, “Spectacle” is a unique musical that follows the characters Ashley and Evan as they are producing their new musical titled “Sound Of Love” but when they hire producing mastermind Frank Ryger he starts altering the show leading Ashley and Evan to think how much creative control they need to have. They have to decide if they value guaranteed success or developing something that is uniquely their own ideas.
What is particularly interesting about the album, available on Spotify, is that it’s not your typical playlist but rather a demo album. The reason for this is that the creative team behind this project want to ensure there is a big enough following ready for their Broadway debut. This album is a scaled-back version of the actual show with a three-person cast and a piano rather than their usual orchestra accompaniment. The first track on the soundtrack is not your typical musical number instead it is the creative team talking about the project and the reason for this demo album. This was very unusual as I’ve never seen a discussion opening a musical soundtrack. There was a slight air of comedy to all the announcements through the playlist with did provide comic relief but I do wonder if, in the live show If these intermissions are removed, there may not be enough comedic relief. The actual songs in the playlist are actually very long with many of the songs coming in at around 6 minutes. The song “Do You Hear” was seven minutes long which is a very long number and I did lose focus about halfway through. The length of the songs means many of the songs do feel as if they are taking you on a musical adventure as they constantly change performers, music genres and tempos. Something I noticed in this musical is that it contains many references to other musicals which theatre fans will really enjoy. Firstly the characters with the musical in the show are called Marius and Christine who are characters in Les miserable and be more chill respectively. There are also lyrics that sound very similar to iconic songs from other musicals such as “One Day More” and “On My Own” (both of which are references to les miserable man. There are also many casual references to shows such as Hairspray.
I really enjoyed the romantic duet “Love Song” which is a hilarious song that parodies classical musical theatre tropes specifically how quick characters fall in love with one another. The lyrics in this song were very clever and the two performers sang beautifully together which made this song one of my songs in the entire musical. As the purpose of this album is to promote the show itself, I think the song titled “More” is perfect for this purpose. When listening to the song I could totally envisage the character performing it who in my head is a young girl who acts like a spoilt brat. For the song to create such a vivid picture of the character and staging etc is the sign of a cleverly thought about the show. Not only this but the performer who sang this song was amazing and the stupidly high note at the end of the song was excellently performed and was insanely impactful. My other favourite song on this album was the song “The Ends Justify The Means” which an almost evil monologue by one of the characters. It made me think of “You’ll be back” from Hamilton but instead sung by a bold nerdy/geeky character. I was a little disappointed that the song “She Deserves A Prince (original)” was not featured on the main album. It was an incredible song that was ‘cut’ during a different number where it was changed to a more up-tempo number to fit the character arc. I actually preferred the subdued version of the song included at the end to the remixed version. The person who performed this song sang it perfectly especially in the slower version and led to a very dramatic performance that brought me to tears.
Overall, this is a fun musical that promises a ‘Spectacle’ when performed lives. It contains many great songs with “She deserves a Prince (original)” being a standout. It contains many hilarious moments mostly through fourth wall breaks which are very fun. Although there are a lot of interludes that after a while slightly distract from the musical overall and makes me wonder if these parts are included in the live adaption. For me, it is perfect for any musical theatre fans due to its meta nature and (possibly unintentional) references to other musical shows. I would rate this show 4 and a half stars!