A night in the theatre can seem to go by in an instant. A fabulous cast album can have the same effect - which is why I never travel without an ipod loaded up with lots.
The morning of December 22, one of the busiest travel days of the year - I asked via twitter:
Responses included Chicago, Legally Blonde, Drood, Spring Awakening, Wicked, Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, and the list goes on. Needless to say, I'm not the only one who depends on cast recordings when I have a long trip ahead of me!
Depending on my mode of transportation, my listening criteria vary. For example, when I'm on a long solo drive, I make sure to pick an album from a show I know well, so the images of the staging keep my mind active; and I make sure it's upbeat and usually funny - that way I can sing along at the top of my lungs, "dance" (air-drumming on the steering wheel is my specialty!) and laugh to keep from getting bored. The Book of Mormon tops my list this traveling season. Other driving favorites in this category include Avenue Q, Hairspray, The Producers, American Idiot, and Catch Me if you Can.
Road tripling with friends or family? Careful, because if your carpool companions aren't as gaga over musicals as you are, they could get sick of your choices fast. That's when classic musicals are a perfect choice; shows like Annie, West Side Story and South Pacific include songs they most likely know even if they never knew they were from Broadway. This is a great opportunity to break out a jukebox musical: whether it's Nice Work if You Can Get It for the lover of standards, or Rock of Ages for the hair-metal fan, the familiar, singable tunes create a bridge between Broadway aficionados and their loved ones who don't know Cabaret from Cats.
Best cast scenario, you're in a car with a bunch of other Broadway fanatics. I play a game with my favorite girls that goes like this: the gal riding shotgun chooses a showtune from her iPod and plugs it into the sounds system (if your car doesn't have an iPod dock, invest in a pair of quality batter-powered speakers - they make all the difference on a road trip!). While it's playing, the next person scrolls through her iPod and finds a song that has a direct connection - it might be another song by the same artist or composer, the titles might have a word in common, etc. When song #1 ends, girl 2 plays her choice while the third person thinks of a new connection to a song she'll subsequently put on. We go around in a circle, changing out iPods with every song, surprising and amusing each other with the connections we find. Example: I play "Fly, Fly Away" from Catch Me if you Can. Sarah, riding shotgun, chooses "Xanadu" from Xanadu, because both songs are performed by Kerri Butler. Lizzie, behind her, gets clever and chooses "Hopelessly Devoted to You" from the most recent revival of Grease; it takes us a moment but then we realize both "Xanadu" and "Devoted" were made famous on film by Olivia Newton-John! Up to the challenge of clever connections, Lara plays "Chip On My Shoulder" from Legally Blonde. Consider this pairing for a moment... can you think of the connection between "Devoted" and "Chip"? I was the one to call this one out: the newest Grease and Legally Blonde were both featured on reality competition television shows. (Don't worry if you didn't think of it; we're old pros at this point.) See how many more you can add to this list, or start your own... with a little practice, it can go on for hours, making your trip simply fly.
Speaking of flying: on a plane, I choose my listening material very differently. There will be no belting of high notes, no giggling with girlfriends, and no need to keep myself awake. On the contrary, I prefer to get myself as comfortable as possible and doze in & out while sinking into a beautiful mellow score. When I fly this holiday season, Once will be first on my playlis. Other choices for a mellow flight include The People in the Picture and The Secret Garden. Recline the seat, order a glass of wine, turn up the headphones and settle in: bliss.
In conclusion, I offer you a few of my favorite Broadway showtunes that are written about the topic of travel. If I missed your faves, tweet them to me at @BroadwayGirlNYC as soon as you get to a rest stop.
- "There's No Cure Like Travel/Bon Voyage" from Anything Goes
- "Jet Set" from Catch Me if You Can
- "When I Drive" from Bonnie & Clyde
- "A Weekend in the Country" from A Little Night Music
- "Out There" from Barnum
- "Two By Two" from The Book of Mormon
- "America" from West Side Story
- "Another Hundred People" from Company
- "Ah, Paris!" from Follies
- "One Short Day" from Wicked
- "Midnight Train to Georgia" from Rock of Ages
- "Addison's Trip" from Road Show