5 Musicals for Book Lovers

One of the many reasons that I love reading is simply because I love words. The right words strung together in just the right order can create a story that’ll last a lifetime. This happens to be one of the reasons that I love musicals! First of all, music is a huge part of my life and always has been. When you mix music together with great storytelling…I’m sold! Here are 5 musicals that I think you’ll enjoy if you love literature!


Something Rotten – Starring: Brian D’Arcy James, Christian Borle, and John Cariani

From the show’s website: From the director of ALADDIN and the co-director of THE BOOK OF MORMON comes the “ingenious and irresistible” (Variety) story of Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar known as “The Bard” (played by 2015 Tony Award® winner Christian Borle). When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first MUSICAL!

I saw this show in New York City at the St. James Theatre this summer and it was hysterical. The writing is genius and it has so many references to both Shakespearean plays and well-known musicals. As soon as it was over, my friend and I both wanted them to just start from the top all over again. I bought the cast recording as soon as I got home from my NYC trip. I recommend you listen to: “Welcome to the Renaissance”, “God I Hate Shakespeare”, “A Musical”, and “Will Power.”


Hamilton – Starring: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Leslie Odom Jr.

From Broadway.com: Lin-Manuel Miranda takes the stage as the unlikely founding father determined to make his mark on the new nation as hungry and ambitious as he is. From bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, a loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal, to the Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy. George Washington, Eliza Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Hamilton’s lifelong friend/foil Aaron Burr all make their mark in this astonishing new musical exploration of a political mastermind.

Hamilton is currently at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City and it’s the biggest hit on Broadway. I saw on the show’s website that they’re holding auditions for an upcoming national tour, so it’ll be coming to a theatre near you! I can’t wait! If you love American history, this is the show for you. If you’re like me and you’ve studied American history your whole life, this is a great, new way to get the narrative. I love the cast recording and I listen to it on Spotify all the time! If you’ve never listened to it, I recommend: “Alexander Hamilton”, “Aaron Burr, Sir”, “You’ll Be Back”, and “Helpless”. Then listen to every other song. You won’t be sorry. 


Wicked – Currently starring: Rachel Tucker, Kara Lindsay

From the show’s website: WICKED is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

I had to include Wicked! How could I leave it out? I saw the national tour of this show a couple of years ago in Dallas and was floored. I have the original cast recording (with Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth) and I know all of the lyrics. If you love the original Wizard of Oz story, this is a great prequel! If you aren’t a huge fan of the original story (like me), then you may like this story more! If you’re unfamiliar with this show, I recommend you listen to: “Defying Gravity”, “For Good”, “Popular”, and “As Long As You’re Mine.”


Les Miserables – Currently starring: Alfie Boe, Adam Monley

From the telecharge.com site: Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Broadway’s Les Misérablestells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who breaks parole and is then hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. Spanning years of Valjean’s life, the story goes from the streets of Paris, across the bridges of the Seine, and straight into the heart of a revolution. Les Misérables is a timeless tale of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption–an enduring testament to the survival of the human spirit.

This was another show I saw on my trip to NYC this summer. Les Miserables is currently playing at the Imperial Theatre and has a fantastic cast. I have yet to tackle the original book because it’s rather intimidating, but the movie is brilliant, the cast recordings are all wonderful, and the 25th anniversary concert is incredible. This is probably my favorite show of all time. It’s not exactly a feel good show, but it’s so powerful and moving. I always cry. Always. I recommend you listen to: “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Bring Him Home”, “One Day More”, and “On My Own.”


Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella – Original cast: Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana

From the show’s siteRodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA is the Tony Award®-winning musical from the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music that’s delighting audiences with its surprisingly contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s most beloved songs

Unfortunately, this show is no longer on Broadway, BUT – there is a national tour going around. In fact, I saw it in Dallas this summer. I like the original starring Julie Andrews, I enjoy the movie adaptation starring Whitney Houston and Brandy, and I LOVE the stage show. The musical is beautiful and the storyline is captivating, twisting the original fairy tale juuusssttt enough to make it feel like you’re seeing something new. Please, please, please listen to: “Ten Minutes Ago”, “In My Own Little Corner”, “Impossible”, and “A Lovely Night.”

Have you seen any of these shows? Do you have any other recommendations for book lovers? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading, watching, and listening! – Caitlyn


Cinder by Marissa Meyer

*This review does contain some spoilers.*

“Imagine there was a cure, but finding it would cost you everything. It would completely ruin your life. What would you do?”


Synopsis from GoodreadsHumans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Feelings: I wanted to re-read this series before the final installment came out. It’s been 3 years since I read Cinder and I honestly didn’t remember any details about what happened in this first book. I’ve already read the other 2 full length novels, as well as the novella.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s really entertaining and Marissa Meyer is a great writer. While some of it was predictable, it still had some surprising elements and a few little twisty turns. In the case of this book, the predictability wasn’t annoying or disappointing. It felt like a mystery and we got clues from start to finish, yet there are still a lot of missing pieces to the puzzle.

Characters: I’ve read quite a few books lately that have a LOT of main characters, so reading this was a shift for me, but I ultimately enjoyed both Cinder and Kai’s development. Because this is the first book in a series, I can tell that we didn’t even get a fraction of character possibility that we’ll get as the series moves along. Now, the fact that Cinder is really Princess Selene was no surprise. When she has nightmares about fire, we’d just learned that Selene was believed to have been killed in a fire…so it seemed like there was a connection there. Then, when Queen Levana is headed towards Earth, Dr. Erlund was all YOU HAVE TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW BEFORE SHE SEES YOU and my brain receptors went alert, alert…she’s totes Princess Selene and Erlund knows stuff. We know who she is, but there’s so much other crap she’s going to have to figure out…so it’s like not oh, she’s Selene THE END.

At first, I didn’t love Prince Kai because I kept wondering where he got all this free time to hang out with Cinder. And, I got annoyed with how much attitude he spouted at WORLD LEADERS, which seemed childish. But then, he became just a human guy at some point in the middle of the book and I was rooting for him. He’s just a young guy whose parents are gone and he’s got a lot of weight on his shoulders. I felt bad for him at the end when he had some tough decisions to make – mature decisions. He ended up growing up a lot in the span of 150 pages.

Iko, bless you, you sweet little andriod. She’s like that cute little sidekick/best friend character that you love, but you don’t expect to spout earth shattering wisdom at any point. #SaveIko

Queen Levana is Queen of the Cray. I read Fairest earlier this year, so some of her background was fresh in my mind. It was interesting to go back and read Cinder with that new lens. I now know why she is the way she is, so it was very telling to re-read the events in this book.

Comparisons: The world building reminded me a lot of the short-lived TV show Firefly. There’s a great blending of Eastern and Western ideals, clothing, and culture just like in the show. I didn’t make that connection the first time I read this book.

I liked how this retelling operated. It wasn’t a direct, page-by-page retelling of the classic Cinderella story. There was a nice blend of multiple versions of the Cinderella story, too, which I really enjoyed. Cinder drives an orange car to the ball which she said looked like a “rotting pumpkin” and when she ran away from the ball, her mechanical foot detached in a very glass slipper-y way, aligning with the Disney version of the fairy-tale. One aspect I enjoyed about this retelling was that we got a more grounded prince, as opposed to the vapid prince charming character we see so often. The retelling aspect of Cinder was my favorite thing about this book. I love a good fairy tale retelling and this is one of the best ones I’ve read.

Final thoughts: In the end, I thought this book was fresh and entertaining. It’s different from anything else I’ve read, which is always a plus. If you don’t usually get into the science fiction genre, this is a great book to start with. As for YA, this book is exactly what the genre needs. It’s not saturated in foul language or sexual innuendoes, but it’s also not on the too much end of the spectrum (cheesy and empty). This story has depth, well developed world building, and a lot of room to grow. I highly recommend this book, as well as the rest of the series!

Other great fairy tale retellings:

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (Cinderella)

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (The Frog Princes…and some others)

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (The 12 Dancing Pincesses)

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis (Snow White)


Goodreads rating: 4.14/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5

My rating: 4.75/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn