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The National Theatre’s Music Mondays
Thanks to COVID-19, I haven’t seen a play or musical in a theater since January. I’ve tried to fill that hole in my heart with virtual cast reunions and filmed productions, but one can only watch Hamilton so many times before it becomes repetitive. I’ve mainly been ingesting theater in the form of show tunes played while I wash dishes at the end of the day. Thank goodness, then, for the National Theatre, which is trying to bridge the Broadway gap with a series of Spotify playlists. Dubbed “Music Monday,” each playlist has a specific theme, be it songs about work, excerpts from shows that visited the National in the past year, or selections from shows that had their pre-Broadway tryouts at the venue. The latter option is the best place to start—it combines pieces from popular contemporary musicals (Beetlejuice, Mean Girls) that locals may have seen at the National with selections from beloved classics (Hello, Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) with forgotten D.C. origins. Even Showboat, the 1927 show that brought the Broadway musical to maturity, has roots at the National and two tracks on the list. It could be a year, at least, until we’re enjoying a musical from the National’s upholstered seats, but if you fill your commemorative sippy cup from a past National season with wine, crank the playlists, and close your eyes, you can shake off the blue Mondays and imagine yourself there. The playlists are available on Spotify. Free. —Caroline Jones