More than new musicals opened on Broadway over the past 10 years, and we've spent the past few weeks looking back on them all to come up with our favorites of the decade. The voting among our eight editorial staff members got a little contentious at times, but in the end, we were able to come up with a list that pleased us all. Here is our decade-end best list, presented in alphabetical order to avoid any more infighting. Bandstand Compared with some of the other titles on this list, Bandstand was a blip on the Broadway radar, only running for total performances. But Rob Taylor and Richard Oberacker's musical told an important story that often gets overlooked in the entertainment industry. Exploring how music helps a group of World War II vets readjust to civilian life, Bandstand deals with topics like PTSD and loss, presenting the struggles of each character with accuracy and sensitivity. It's a shame it didn't run longer and it's a huge shame that stars Corey Cott and Laura Osnes didn't get Tony nominations , but at least Andy Blankenbuehler's excellent production for which he won the Best Choreography Tony was filmed for posterity. The Band's Visit The Band's Visit was certainly "something different" for Broadway: a quiet musical based on a quiet Israeli film about a group of musicians stranded in the wrong city, where nothing much happened. No one expected it to land on the Great White Way, but we're glad it did, since it made a Broadway star and Tony winner out of Katrina Lenk for her sultry turn as Dina and led songwriter David Yazbek to his own long-awaited first Tony. Its blend of sweetness and longing didn't last very long at the Barrymore, but like the band's visit in the show itself, it certainly made an impact.
The 21st Century is young. But in that short time we've seen some incredible musical theatre that will no doubt go down as some of the best works of all time. These musicals aren't just filled with gorgeous scores or interesting characters. They raised the bar with their creativity, originality and themes. Given the influence of the work on this list, one can only imagine what the rest of this century will bring. Some of these you may know and love, and some you may be hearing them for the first time. But it also has some lovely insights into how the phantom pains of missing a life we never had can haunt and shape our choices — and that we can always find something new to live for, if we just remember to look up every once in a while. Every element of the production, including the set and costumes, advance the story and contribute to the impact of the performances. Stephen Flaherty, the composer of "Ragtime," knows how to write uplifting music, and his score for this tale of a stage-smitten ticket-taker on a Dublin bus is at once humble and enthralling. The legitimacy of the subject matter has been given the handling of an after-school special, perhaps to take the edge off of what might be perceived as confrontational.
New musicals are often based on source material, be it a film, a book, a play. Original musicals—meaning shows without any source material whatsoever—have always been the exception, not the rule. But the true original musical is far from unheard of on Broadway. The vast majority of new musicals pre did not have source material, but they also often featured flimsy and formulaic plots that existed only to move things along from song to song. The first Broadway production also established Ethel Merman as a bonafide musical theatre legend. Anything Goes tells the story Billy Crocker a Wall Street broker , Reno Sweeney an former evangelist and nightclub singer , and Hope Harcourt an American debutante as they get into a variety of humorous and romantic complications aboard the SS American. Just what those complications are depend on the version of the show—Guy Bolton and P. Allegro tells the story of a small town doctor who is lured away to a big city for the notoriety and riches of a fancier job, only to find that his life becomes less and less about actually helping people the more successful he gets. The story was deeply personal for Oscar Hammerstein, who had experienced similar struggles as he and Richard Rodgers became the toast of Broadway. The musical received mixed reviews and never really caught on with audiences, but healthy pre-opening advance sales led to a run of seven months and performances, which was more than respectable in those days.
Looking for more of the best this city has to offer? This gleefully obscene and subversive satire is one of the funniest shows to grace the Great White Way since The Producers and Urinetown. Composer-lyricist-star Lin-Manuel Miranda forges a groundbreaking bridge between hip-hop and musical storytelling with this sublime collision of radio-ready beats and an inspiring, immigrant slant on Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.
A brilliant, diverse cast takes back American history and makes it new. Set two decades after the final chapters of J. It leaves its audience awestruck, spellbound and deeply satisfied. Ostensibly, at least, the show is a modern retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Through elegant puppetry, Taymor populates the stage with a menagerie of African beasts; her staging has expanded a simple cub into the pride of Broadway.
A canny crossbreed of Heathers and Hairspray , this new musical has been adapted by Tina Fey from her own cult movie about high-school social warfare, and it remains her vehicle: an auto de Fey, burning with bookish anger at the limits young women place on each other and themselves. Where the show shines brightest is in the spotlight it casts on its exciting young performers. Director Bartlett Sher's elegant production is stately but not stodgy. This musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz addresses surprisingly complex themes, such as standards of beauty, morality and, believe it or not, fighting fascism.
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