Playbill, the theater-goer’s bible, has just issued a list of the top five rock musicals on its blog. And, of course, we beg to differ.
There’s no getting around “Hair” as the biggest gun among rock musicals. Rado, Ragni and McDermott’s 1967 production opened the door for rock, or something resembling it, on the Great White Way, and the show spawned some top 40 hits, albeit lightweight ones. (Cowsills, anyone?)
After that, things get…arguable. “Jesus Christ Superstar?” Hm. Was there once a time when Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music was considered “rock?” “Rent” and “Spring Awakening” don’t seem particularly rock-centric to these ears, instrumentation aside. But “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” does have the requisite perversity and attitude to be tagged as a legitimate entry.
Truth be told, it’s a thin field. History has had a way of writing some significant shows out of the picture: The Broadway production of “The Rocky Horror Show” — maybe now, thanks to its celluloid incarnation, the most beloved rock musical of ’em all — folded after just 45 performances. And SoundCheck is rather surprised that Playbill ignored the most truly deserving of rock musicals, “American Idiot,” a show based on an actual rock album of genuine merit.