Not a fan of Valentine’s Day? You’re not alone. Some of us find the holiday to be a bit too saccharine sweet, too Hallmark driven, and are more excited for February 15 to scoop up those candy sales.
For the misanthropes among us who prefer to experience the darker side of love, here are a few shows we love, available on BroadwayHD.
Sweeney Todd – While there are certainly romantic relationships in Sweeney Todd, this dark, twisted show is known for its gore and violence. As love blossoms, so too does jealousy and hatred, leading to cannibalism and revenge of epic proportions. The depravity of the characters is evidenced in the cataclysmic orchestrations by Stephen Sondheim and steadily climbing body count. More hot pies, anyone?
Thom Pain – One of the darkest comedies to hit the stage, this Pulitzer Prize-winning play stars Rainn Wilson of The Office. He’s just like you, except worse, and he’s not afraid to show you. His view on the world is bleak and downright grumpy, just the way we like our anti-Valentine’s Day celebrations. See our exclusive interview with Rainn!
Gypsy – If you want to get dark, go no further than Imelda Staunton’s jaw-dropping performance as Mama. This is not the carefree glamorous Mama that you get with Bette Midler (also available on BroadwayHD) or Ethel Merman. No, with every lip tremble, scowl, and twitched eye, Imelda’s Mama personifies the trauma and trials she’s been through to get where she is. She’s fought hard for herself and her family, and nothing, and we mean nothing will get in her way.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night – Title tells all in this case – this is a captivating journey that simply gets darker and darker. This loosely autobiographical play by Eugene O’Neill tells the story of love in the face of insanity, and how mental illness can take down an entire family. The mesmerizing Geffen Playhouse production starred Jane Kaczmarek and Alfred Molina.
Elaine Stritch at Liberty – A little more lighthearted than the other options, this deeply sardonic and cynical look at showbiz stars the irreplaceable Elaine Stritch, sassy dame of Broadway. With each biting word and shocking sentence, Elaine brings us through her career, performing hits like “Ladies Who Lunch.” A great one for girls’ night in.
Company – This may appear to be romantic on the surface, as a group of friends surround Bobby on his birthday and encourage him to settle down. Through a series of vignettes, we see the role his coupled up friends play in his life. But while Bobby longs for deeper connection, he continues to overextend himself to his friends. Who has it better, the bachelor with a goal or the couples who turn their focus on him rather than themselves? Who is truly “Being Alive”? You are lucky to have the choice of two magnificent productions of Company – the Tony Award-winning 2007 production starring Raul Esparza, or the 2011 production starring Neil Patrick Harris.
Othello – The original romantic tragedy, this Shakespearean classic tells the story of a mixed-race marriage that isn’t kindly taken to by others. Trust is shaken, relationships are violated, and lives are taken all thanks to love. This mesmerizing version takes place during the Civil War and stars Ian McKellen as the plotting Iago, ready to use the power of love against his rivals and murder whomever he needs to. Happy Valentine’s Day?
Copenhagen – What could be more anti-Valentine’s Day than the atomic bomb? This landmark play stars a young Daniel Craig as Heisenberg (no, not the Breaking Bad one) arguing over the use of the atom. Fraught with tension as the world heads into World War II, you don’t want to miss this. We promise it won’t be a “Bohr.”
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill – The most decorated actor in Tony Award history, Audra McDonald clinched her sixth Best Actress for her portrayal of Billie Holiday. In a steamy jazz club, Holiday recounts her life as it spiraled into addiction and self-betrayal. Holiday died shortly thereafter, a victim of her own demons, and with each gravelly breath, McDonald captures the spirit of the songstress vocally, physically, and emotionally. It’s a gorgeous show anyone can enjoy, but especially for those feeling a little bit down on love.
What shows will you be watching this Valentine’s Day? Subscribe to BroadwayHD for these shows and many more!