There are feminine people in this world and there are masculine and we are far past the age where it is believed that one trait is only attributed to women and the other men. Most people in our world today identify with some masculine and some feminine characteristics as do objects, movies, music, and – you guessed it – musicals.
Yet, the original definition of masculine is embodying qualities typically attributed to men, particularly aggressiveness and force. We thought might be fun to look at the musicals we love that exhibit predominantly masculine storylines. So, without further ado, here are some of our favorite manly musicals.
1. Rock of Ages
This jukebox musical originally began as a stage production and was made into a movie that was released in 2012. The setting is Hollywood and newcomer Sherrie, who has just gotten off the bus, is robbed. She then meets Drew, who is a bartender and he gets Sherrie a job at the Bourbon club where he works.
Both are aspiring singers and wish to make it big. Meanwhile the Bourbon club is experience financial difficulties and their only hope is a gig with Stacie Jaxx, a typical rock star type. His band tours with him; Arsenal.
Drew and his band get an amazing opportunity to open for Arsenal when the opening band cancels. On the night of the show Stacie is in the back with a reporter, who he ultimately gets in bed, when Sherrie is told to bring the rock star a bottle of whiskey.
After his performance Drew is cold to Sherrie because he mistakenly thinks she slept with Jaxx. From there they grow apart. Sherrie ends up working as an exotic dancer while Drew is rejected by the record labels. He finds the only way to make a living in music is to join a boy band.
From there we see them reunite, clear up misunderstandings, and become successful. With its rock and roll story line and songs from glam rock groups like Def Leppard, Journey, Scorpions, Poison, Foreigner, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, and Whitesnake.
You can watch “Rock of Ages” in Las Vegas! Check their website over here for more details.
2. West Side Story
While gangs today, or anyone that knows the littlest bit about gangs, would look at the fights in this musical and snicker, the truth is, when this came out, these rumble scenes were considered tough and, for lack of a better term, bad ass.
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this musical tells the ill-fated love story of Tony and Maria. Instead of rival families, our duo deal with being a part of opposing gangs on the streets of New York City.
Maria works at a bridal shop with her brother’s girlfriend Anita. Bernardo, Maria’s brother, is the head of the Sharks, who are the arch rivals of the Jets, who are led by Riff.
Tony was once a member of the Jets but is less involved now. Some of his former gang members wonder if he is still on their side. Riff defends Tony never questioning his loyalty.
There is a dance and they all go and it is love at first sight for Tony and Maria. That is until Bernardo realizes what’s going on and makes his sister go home. Riff walks on and sets up a War Council meeting.
Meanwhile, Tony finds Maria and serenades her and they profess their musical love for each other.
During the rumble, Tony goes to try and stop it. Bernardo and Riff get into a fight with switchblades and Riff is killed. In anger Tony grabs a knife and stabs Bernardo, killing Maria’s only brother.
Word reaches Maria and when Tony comes to her she is angry. Still, they realize they are in love and make plans to run away. Maria’s cousin, Chino, is out on the streets, with a gun, looking for Tony to avenge Bernardo.
When the police come to ask Maria questions about Bernardo, she sends her friend, Anita, to tell Tony to wait for her at Docs, the place they were originally supposed to meet. Anita was Bernardo’s girlfriend and she is not only upset over his death, she is harassed by the Jet members when she gets to Docs. She tells Tony that Maria was killed by Chino.
Tragedy ensues and, just like with Romeo and Juliet, the finale will leave you in tears.
3. Sweeney Todd
This dark tale is filled with murder and mayhem, and due to the aggressiveness of those acts, it secures a spot on our masculine musical list today.
Set in Victorian London we have a couple, Lucy, and her husband Benjamin Barker, who is the city’s most skilled barber. The couple has a young infant daughter by the name of Johanna. Turpin, a judge who desires Lucy, sends Benjamin to a prison colony on Australia. This leaves Lucy alone and available for the judge.
More than a decade later Sweeney Todd emerges in London. He was once Barker but now has gone through the transformation to become a villain. Todd goes to his old barber shop, that was once successful, and sees that there is a meat-pie store opened beneath him.
Mrs. Lovett, who knew Lucy, tells Todd that Lucy was raped by Turpin and killed herself in despair. Also, there is the matter of his baby daughter, Johanna, who is now a young lady. She has fallen in love with a young man Anthony who is a sailor.
Todd plans to kill Turpin for revenge, yet his plan gets too big for him when he starts including the murder of others he feels has wronged him, losing sight of his original objective.
The meat-pie chef, Mrs. Lovett, helps him with his murderous scheme. Her solution to hide the bodies is less than savory, we can assure you.
Our next musical of a masculine nature is simple a narrative about the United States Declaration of Independence. Yet, with two acts and seven scenes, the truth is that this story is really not straightforward.
It all starts in the first scene on May 8, 1776, a little less than two months before independence from England was officially declared. Disliked delegate from Massachusetts, John Adams, is not happy. Not one proposal for independence he has presented to Congress has been discussed.
Adams approaches Benjamin Franklin and begins to air his complaints. Franklin tells him that the idea of independence would probably go over better he wasn’t the one doing the proposing. Enter Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. He agrees to create a proposal insisting success due to his being from the best families in America.
It is now June 7th and the three-hundred and eightieth meeting of Congress is brought to order. No one from New Jersey is there yet but a young man from Virginia named Thomas Jefferson lets the delegation know that he will be leaving for home after the meeting. He misses his wife.
When Lee presents his proposal for independence the delegates discuss their options. It ends up in a tie vote. John Adams, when it looks like the debate on independence would be voted over indefinitely, suggests they vote on postponing the vote until a declaration has been written.
Again, the delegates vote and it is a tie. This time John Hancock utilizes his authority as President to break the tie and the debate over independence is postponed until a declaration can be written.
Before Thomas Jefferson can get out the door and head home to Virginia they corner him and insist he write the declaration. He is the best writer and eventually is convinced.
To his surprise though, John Adams sends for his wife Martha to visit and the composing of the declaration of Independence is on its way.
This musical continues until the fourth of July, a day that will live in infamy. The historical themes of declaring yourself an independence sovereign state, is what gives 1776 its spot on the masculine musical list.
5. Les Misérabes
This final musical in our masculine series is a tragic tale of ex-convict Jean Valjean. When Valjean is released from prison, where he was placed nineteen years ago for originally stealing a loaf of bread. He wanders around France until coming upon the Bishop of Digne who takes him in.
Still, Valjean steals silver from the Bishop and tries to run. When he is caught, the Bishop lies and tells the authorities that he gave the silver to Valjean as a gift. This act of kindness inspires Valjean to leave this town and start somewhere fresh, with a new identity.
Move forward eight years and we find Valjean, under a new name, is mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer, a small French town. He has become a rather wealthy factory owner. His worker, a woman named Fantine, has been sending money to her illegitimate daughter. When the foreman discovers this he fires Fantine.
With no other way to make money to support her daughter, Fantine turns to prostitution but is soon arrested. Valjean helps her. After taking her to the hospital they learn that she has tuberculosis and will soon pass away. Valjean promises his former worker that he will see to the needs of her daughter.
Once Fantine dies Valjean sets out to liberate her daughter from the brothel in which she is being held. He is also escaping Javert, the cop that originally arrested Pantine, who wants to take him in for parole violation.
This storyline is written over the historical June Rebellion of 1832. The uprising came about as an endeavor to turn around the institution of the July Monarchy of Louis-Philippe. With scenes of battles and revolution this musical is as masculine as they come. And if you are near New York City, you can watch “Les Mis” today at Broadway! Find ticket here.
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