Photo: Darius Soodmand on Unsplash
Les Misérables: Set in 19th century France, Les Misérables tells the story of the human spirit amidst unrequited love, sacrifice, and redemption. It has graced the Broadway stage with its uplifting musical score, dazzling backdrops that take inspiration from Victor Hugos’s paintings, and enthralling performances that have left audiences and critics alike cheering and clamoring for more. With shows seen by 70,000,000 people in 44 countries, and in 22 languages, Alain Boubili and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s beloved musical has planted its flag in musical theater history.
Hamilton: If there’s a million things you haven't done, then one of them is to see Hamilton on Broadway. It's the story of America’s Founding Fathers like you’ve never seen or heard them before: Its musical score and songs incorporate a unique mix of rap, hip hop, soul, R&B, and showtunes. Even more innovative about the show is the use of non-white actors portraying the main characters. Finally, a history lesson that everyone can stay awake to enjoy, courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The Lion King: Now you can witness the circle of life on the Broadway stage with the Lion King. Just like the original Disney movie, the stage production captures the appeal of both child and adult viewers with its catchy songs and uplifting story. Likewise, its success on the stage has earned it numerous Tony Awards, and the title of being one of three shows to earn more than one billion dollars.
Aladdin: Another Disney classic that's taking Broadway by storm and is being shown around the world in six different productions and with a whopping 10,000,000 total audience members, and it's not hard to see why. From its dazzling costume and set designs, realistic special effects, and perfect blend of music and comedy, Aladdin is a wish come true for both fans of the original movie and first time musical goers alike.
Phantom of the Opera: From the mind of esteemed composer Andrew Lloyd Weber, the Phantom of the Opera has been synonymous with Broadway ever since its first release in 1986. Following the story of a young Soprano who becomes the object of obsession for a disfigured but brilliant composer living underneath the Paris Opera House, the Phantom of the Opera has gained critical acclaim as the longest running show in Broadway history with 70 major theater awards to its name and attendance by 140 million people.
Wicked: By now, we all know the story of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, but what about before she came to Oz? Well, Wicked answers that question and then some with the origins of the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch. Here, they’re portrayed as both the main characters and the most unlikely friends. With all of the “brains, heart, and courage” that the original story had, Wicked has made a name for itself as one of only three Broadway shows to gross one billion dollars and the second most successful of all time.
With all of these new musicals like Dear Evan Hansen, Heathers, and Be More Chill coming in and amassing such large followings, it can be difficult navigating the world of musical theater and figuring out which ones are worth the time and money to go see. And yes, musical theater is an expensive art form to jump into, but a worthwhile one all the same. Hopefully, this article gives you the guidance you're looking for as you’re planning how best to enjoy the last few weeks of summer.
Briyahna Rice is a 20 year old college student studying Mass Communication at Five Towns College. Her favorite movie is Black Panther and in five years, you can find her publishing her first book. This will be a horror novel about human monsters. She steps up for a world where people can live their own dreams, not someone else’s.