Readers pick their top 3 Proctors musicals

'The Lion King,' 'Wicked' on several lists
An image from "The Lion King" touring musical, which ranked high among readers.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
An image from "The Lion King" touring musical, which ranked high among readers.

Categories: Entertainment, Life & Arts

We recently polled 25 people in the local arts community — theater actors and directors, Proctors season subscribers, journalists — for their three favorite Proctors musicals of all time.

That story ran in print a week ago Sunday in the Life & Arts section and is available online at dailygazette.com. (A companion story on the many memorable moments in Proctors history was included.)

Now it’s the readers’ turn. Last week we asked for submissions.

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Here are their picks, and reasons why:

— Paula J. Kelly, Albany:
What an incredibly difficult question! Choosing my 10 favorite musicals was quite a challenge but three? Holy cow.
1.  “The Lion King” — I hadn’t wanted to see this but my niece really, really wanted to so we went. What a wonderful show! There is no single element; it was just perfect in every sense.
2.  “Spamilton” — Quite simply, I don’t remember ever laughing this hard, ever. To see such an incredibly well-written musical performed mostly by a cast of five was amazing! I would love to see it again — and, perhaps, again.
3.  “The King and I” — What a pleasure to watch such a classic musical so lovingly and respectfully staged. It was just a completely unpretentious staging of a charming play performed by a rather talented cast.

— Dennis DeSain, Saratoga Springs:
1. “Wicked” — Best musical in recent history at Proctors. Compared equally to the Broadway production.
2. “Hamilton” — Needed to be seen more than once to appreciate it fully.
3. A sleeper: “School of Rock” — The talent of the young members of the cast is worth the price of admission.

— Howard Riggert, Scotia:
1. “The Phantom of the Opera” — The story is great and the music is phantastic.  We’ve seen it 5 times.
2. “Fiddler On The Roof” — You can’t help but be empathetic to the father’s challenges with the three daughters, especially since we have three daughters. There is a lot of memorable music.
3. “The Lion King” — The music is great and the animal costumes are works of art.

— Linda Lefton Shults:
1. “The Phantom of the Opera”
2. “The Lion King”
3. “Cats”

— Mike Collins, Scotia: 
The list compiled by the 25 Arts folks was good. I wish a few of my favs could have been mentioned:
1. “Pippin” — Saw it in the 70’s. I think Barry Williams was in the title role but I can’t find documentation. Took my  grandson to see the show last time it played. We loved it. Recommended to young and old.
2. “Fiddler on the Roof” — Full of laughter, tears, and “welschmertz.” The song “Tradition” is a wonderful antidote to the nihilism we hear in “Imagine” by Yoko Ono.
3. “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” —   Small scale but exquisite. Sometimes a sonata can give more musical                             satisfaction than a symphony. A wonderful auditory sorbet after “Jersey Boys,” which wife and I also enjoyed.
Proctors Experience — A great recipe of variety and balance
  
— Suzanne Collins
1. “Les Misérables”
2. “Hamilton”
3. “Wicked,” although I would put “Frozen” right up there! Thanks for giving us something hopeful to think about!

— Cathy Bern-Smith, Glenville:
1. “Cats” — I had been hesitant to see it, but became a fan. So much so that my friend got tickets for us to then see the Broadway production.
2. “Miss Saigon” — That helicopter! Whew!  I had a chance to see it when it opened in London but opted for “Les Mis” instead. This was a last minute decision when my parents were visiting. They were very impressed. Also, because they lived in a suburb of NYC, the ticket prices to them were downright inexpensive by comparison.
3. “The King and I” — It was a delayed Christmas present for our then 10-year old niece, her parents and my dad. When we got tickets for “Hamilton” I told her that it was in Proctors, the same theater where we saw “The King and I.” She exclaimed: “Proctors! I love Proctors!”

— Arlene Brown:
1. “Hamilton”
2. “The Lion King”
3. “Matilda”

— Anne Astemborski, Rotterdam:
1. “The Lion King” — Pure Disney magic.
2. “Les Miserables” — Portrays the best of human nature.
3. “Hamilton” — Innovation in presenting history.

— Cindy Daly
1. “Wicked” — Absolutely incredible!
2. “Hamilton” — Met the expectations!
3. “Les Miserables”

— John Halstead, Proctors season subscriber:
1. “The Phantom of the Opera” — For the beautiful music which I love to play on the piano.
2. “Wicked” — For the wonderful other story behind my favorite “Wizard of Oz” along with the exciting music selections.
3. “The Lion King” — Because I love Disney and you forget you are seeing real people on the stage!

— Deborah Villano:
1. “The Lion King”
2. “Hamilton”
3. “The Phantom of the Opera”

Panel’s top 10:
And just to recap, the voting by the 25-person panel on May 10 resulted in the following top 10 list:
1. “Hamilton”
2. “Les Miserables”
3. “The Phantom of the Opera”
4. “The Book of Mormon”
5. “The Drowsy Chaperone”
6. “War Horse”
7.-11. (5 productions tied) 
“The Band’s Visit”
“Spring Awakening”
“Once”
“The Color Purple”
“Fun Home”
 

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Our subscribers help us bring this information to you. Please consider a subscription at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe to help support these efforts.
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