1 of 8
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Hook: Neil Patrick Harris revives the 1998 cult fave about a transgender rocker.
Standing-O Moment: ''Tear Me Down,'' Hedwig's high-adrenaline opening number and the show's best headbanger.
Bathroom Break: ''Wicked Little Town (Reprise),'' the sluggish emotional climax, doesn't quite register—on stage or off.
Just Like Being There? Ja! The pulsating score has always been the star of this show, even in its original-run days. Just turn up the volume to max, picture NPH in fishnets, and you're there.
2 of 8
Hook: The Sliding Doors-like tuner penned specifically for Broadway diva Idina Menzel.
Standing-O Moment: Menzel's shining aria ''Always Starting Over'' will be your shower song for years to come.
Bathroom Break: Most of the show falls flat due to repetitive, clunky lyrics. (Honestly, how many ways can you say ''what if''?)
Just Like Being There? Eh/No. The troubled score works better as a stand-alone record than it does on stage. But it's probably best for giving Frozen and Rent a well-earned break on Menzel superfans' playlists.
3 of 8
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Hook: The tune-packed life story of singer-songwriter Carole King.
Standing-O Moment: ''(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,'' the show's Act 2 crowd-pleaser—and a pitch-perfect example of why Jessie Mueller deserved her Tony.
Bathroom Break: No offense to Carole, but good luck feeling the earth move during ho-hum covers of ''Up on the Roof'' and ''You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling.''
Just Like Being There? Not so much. Beautiful's plot is virtually absent on the over-glossed record, which forfeits the lush spontaneity so present in the show.
4 of 8
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Hook: Tony-walloping 2014 Best Musical.
Standing-O Moment: ''I've Decided to Marry You,'' the musical equivalent of a Three's Company episode, illustrates the production's madcap farce and shrewd rhymes.
Bathroom Break: Comic momentum comes to a standstill with ''Inside Out'' and ''Sibella,'' droll ballads you won't even notice you missed.
Just Like Being There? It's easy to understand why this merry show took home four statuettes, but Jefferson Mays' feverish performance as eight ill-fated aristocrats suffers without the visuals.
5 of 8
Hook: The 1992 animated flick is the latest Disney tale to fly from screen to stage.
Standing-O Moment: ''Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim,'' a jubilant original written for the stage, captures Aladdin's euphoric dance breaks and clever wordplay. (So many hummus puns!)
Bathroom Break: Sorry, Jafar. Despite being sung by the film's original voice actor Jonathan Freeman, the villain's tango-inspired ''Diamond in the Rough'' needs polishing.
Just Like Being There? Magically close. Strong characters, sky-high orchestration, and the Genie's frenetic pop culture diatribes bring the Disney pixie dust.
6 of 8
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Hook: Audra McDonald's exquisite homage to Billie Holiday in her final days just won the actress her sixth Tony.
Standing-O Moment: Holiday's signature ballad ''God Bless the Child'' is one of McDonald's finest moments; she disappears completely into the soulful vibrato of the iconic chanteuse.
Bathroom Break: The uptempo ''Blues Break'' almost seems made for it, as the song syncs up with McDonald briefly leaving the stage in the show's second half.
Just Like Being There? Yes, lover. Recorded live in front of an actual audience, Lady Day re-creates the show's smoky dive-bar intimacy on disc, and nails the nuances of McDonald's haunting performance.
7 of 8
The Bridges of Madison County
Hook: Jason Robert Brown's soaring adaptation of the 1992 novel about a small-town love affair.
Standing-O Moment: ''One Second and a Million Miles,'' the ravishing love duet destined to become a cabaret standard.
Bathroom Break: Cross your legs for it all if you can. But if you really have to go, skip the unnecessarily dreary ''Something From a Dream.''
Just Like Being There? Absolutely. Though the show ended its run far too quickly, this fluid, gorgeous, and perfectly captured recording nearly puts you back in the theater.
8 of 8
Hook: Sutton Foster stars as a maimed girl searching for salvation.
Standing-O Moment: ''Raise Me Up,'' a joyful gospel number that literally stops the show, and highlights the powerful vocalists in Violet's seasoned cast.
Bathroom Break: Unless you get a thrill from songs about the banality of playing poker, feel free to bypass ''Luck of the Draw.''
Just Like Being There? More than most. The inclusion of all 90 minutes of dialogue and music preserves the whole lovely Sutton experience on two worthy discs.