I have decided there are a couple things that can make a musical a lot worse or a lot better for me.
For example, in the heights. In the heights was very good, but frankly I didn't love it .I feel so guilty when I don't love things that are that expensive, but let me get to the point.
I had never heard the soundtrack, it was not the original cast, it is kind of a fluff musical, and I sat in the second row. I've come to the conclusion that these are all the wrong ways to do it.
1.) Soundtrack. I love me some musicals, but if there is one problem that almost all of them have is that it is really hard to understand the lyrics. That is why I think I've decided it is better to listen to the soundtrack first like one time, just so you know what's going on.
For example, the 3 broadway shows I've seen are In the Heights, Spring Awakening, and Avenue Q. For the first two, I had never heard the soundtrack before and didn't understand a lot of the lyrics, which took a lot away from it. Spring Awakening was the extreme, because at times I had no idea what was going on. That was also because those lyrics are non literal, but anyway.
2.) Original cast. Obviously it is not always the right choice to see the original cast, but I always seem to regret it when I don't. For example, when I saw Spring awakening I thought I should have seen in the heights with the original. When I saw In the Heights I was extremely disappointed when I found out it wasn't original cast, and I am now thinking I should have seen Next to Normal because if I ever get an opportunity to see it now I will not get to see it with original cast probably.
3.) Fluff Musicals. I generally enjoy musicals that are about something not just entertainment if that makes sense. In the Heights was at it's core about dance and good music and that's fine but I've decided I prefer things with really good plots, like Blood brothers or Spring awakening. Or comedies, of course.
4.) Farther back. I think I like sitting farther back. It gives you more of a feel for the whole show, instead of just seeing fragments. I think that is another reason I didn't love in the heights because complicated dance numbers are hard to see from a foot away. This rule ESPECIALLY applies for dance musicals, not as important for non dancey big ones.
Of course there are always exceptions, but in general that is what I've realized. I think in order of enjoyment, the musicals I've seen go
1.) Blood Brothers
2.) Avenue Q
3.) Spring Awakening
4.) In the Heights
I left out Sweeney Todd and Wicked because they were both made less enjoyable by the fact that I had seen a previous version of them (I saw wicked in LA like 4 years ago but It was to long ago to remember exactly how much I liked it)
I think I should have seen Next to Normal. Of course my mom was really the one who chose in the heights so I shouldn't regret that too much.
I am glad that I have alienated all non musical loving readers.