2nd January 2023
Top 10 Best American Playwrights
7th November 2022
Hello theatre people! It has been a while since we delved into the world of musicals, and in particular broadway. There are so many broadway musicals and we will try and get through most of them, but there will be too many to mention apologies. You will just have to go and see them all once you have read this fabulous article won’t you.
Broadway is made of plays and musicals, concerts, live events and is a massive hit for theatre fans.
When was the first show on broadway you ask? Well, the first theater piece that conforms to the modern conception of a musical, adding dance and original music that helped to tell the story, is considered to be The Black Crook, which premiered in New York on September 12, 1866 and there were 474 performances in that year. But if we want to be more specific, broadway has really been around since 1735, when the first theatre opened in Manhattan.
Before Broadway became what we know it as today, the area was largely made of farms and family homes, and then with regeneration came modernisation and a production of a theater hub within the city.
There has to be 500 seats or more at the venue and it needs to be situated along Broadway’s 13 mile street in New York City’s theatre district. The best broadway musical songs will have been sung on these stages and I’m sure you will have heard of the likes of Les Miserables, Wicked, The Book Of Mormon. And if you haven’t, well go straight online and book your tickets now.
There are 41 broadway houses currently open to the public and are ready to invite you in. Of course during the height of the pandemic, things were very different and theaters had to close unfortunately. It felt like the heart of New York city stopped beating, but now it seems to be that they are back and their doors are wide open again.
So there are so many theaters to mention that I have just listed the ones that are currently showing a production, so please don’t hate me if I missed out your favorite theater.
If we were trying to list our favorite top 10 best broadway musicals, I think we have done a pretty decent job with the ones below, but I may have added in a few more. There were some just too good enough not to mention.
This must be one of the longest running musicals to date in musical history and even though it is not currently running right now, I thought it would be worth a mention, otherwise I’m sure theatre fans amongst you would be up in arms. The story of Jean ValJean and in short the tenacity of the human spirit and what it can endure has a rich history on the Broadway stage. There will be a national touring production starting at the Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio in October.
Playing at the Gershwin Theater, this long-running musical has people hooked from the opening number. Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth opened the show to the public on 30th October 2003 and it has been running in NYC and in London ever since. The relationship between Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West is one not to be missed as they each go on their own journey to discover they were both changed for good. This is definitely one of the best musicals of all time, broadway style!
The Book Of Mormon
This makes it into one of the best musicals on broadway right now, and having been to it myself, I would urge anybody who hasn’t done so to get down to the Eugene O’Neill theater to see what all the fuss is about. This hilarious musical, a satirical examination of the beliefs and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was first staged in 2011. It follows a pair of missionaries who are sent to Uganda to deliver the word of God and what mishaps they encounter along the way.
Playing at the August Wilson theater until next March 2023, this tale will be known by many. Fanny Brice starts out as a vaudeville player in New York City and makes her way to becoming a broadway star and we see her stormy relationship with Arnstein play out. The comedy and pazazz of this musical is what makes it and it was a hit with Barbara Streisand playing the lead in the film version in 1968. This was actually based on the 1964 broadway production which received 8 Tony nominations.
Another musical that has actually now closed, but it was such a popular choice with the audiences at the Broadhurst Theater and still is running over in London, in the West End.
On the night before her wedding, a daughter tried to find out which of the three men she invited to her wedding is her father. Drama and the superb music of ABBA made it a huge success in NYC.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of Cats on broadway premiered in the Winter Garden Theatre on October 7, 1982 and the final performance was at the Neil Simon Theatre on December 30 2017. This production is about a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make the “Jellicle choice” by deciding which cat will ascend to the Heaviside layer and come back to a new life.
Phantom Of The Opera
The longest-running production on Broadway, will resume its performances in October this year at The Majestic Theatre, as it had been closed due to the pandemic. The story centers on Christine Daae, a soprano whose beauty and strong vocals mesmerizes the phantom who haunts the Paris opera house, and makes her his protégé.
This musical is showing at the Richard Rogers theater. It recounts the story of the U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the Caribbean who became George Washington’s right hand man during the American Revolutionary War, as well as the first U.S. secretary of the treasury. Lin-Manuel Miranda is the mastermind behind this epic rap musical and it is an experience of a lifetime. I would go so far to say that it is one of the best broadway musicals of 2022 and I could easily see it again.
After 25 years, the audiences keep coming back for more, year after year, and is currently on at the Ambassador Theater. The story of fame, fortune and of course jazz in one showstopping musical is why it has won 6 Tony awards, 2 Olivier awards and a Grammy. The dancing is incredible and the musical numbers by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and was choreographed by Bob Fosse in 1975.
Come From Away
A poignant tale of the 9/11 attacks and those who were diverted away from New York to a community of Gander, Newfoundland who took them in. Showing at the Schoenfeld Theater, it shows what people are really made of in a time of crisis. Even though the topic is a harrowing one, there is so much light and comedy within this musical and a firm favorite in my books. It opened in March 2017.
Dear Evan Hansen
This musical with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul opened on broadway in December 2016 is showing at the Music Box theatre. It won 6 Tony Awards, the Grammy Award and the Olivier Award for Best Musical and catapulted the leading man who played Evan Hansen, Ben Platt to stardom. At the Tony awards in 2017, he was the youngest solo winner for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. It follows Evan Hansen, a high school senior with social anxiety, “who invents an important role for himself in a tragedy that he did not earn”.
It is safe to say that these are the best musicals on broadway ever and I know I have only really covered the basics, but hopefully you now have more of an idea of broadway and what shows you need to go and see. So what are you waiting for, buy those tickets and we will see at the theater door!