After the golden age of musical theater that lasted from the 1940s to the 1960s, the popularity of musicals started to wane. In the 1970s, the era of musicals seemed to have come to an end as musical films became rare and new types of movies started to sprout up.
However, musicals have managed to survive thanks to the loyal fans of this genre.
Nowadays, watching theater musicals is considered to be quite an experience. Here are some of the best theatre musicals that you should not miss.
Hamilton: An American Musical
The first one on our list is Hamilton: An American Musical which tells a story about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. With a non-white cast and a combination of hip-hop, R&B, pop, soul music and traditional show tunes, this musical has achieved great success. It has won 11 Tony Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. If you are still not convinced that this is a great show, you should know that this musical has also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The Lion King
The Lion King musical is the third longest-running theater musical in history with more than 8,500 performances to date. It is based on the eponymous Disney movie from 1994, an epic story of a young lion Simba who revenges himself on his uncle Scar for killing his father and taking his rightful place of his father’s successor. The musical debuted on Broadway in 1997 and since then it has been attracting both children and adults all over the world.
West Side Story
This theater musical is a modern version of Romeo and Juliet that explores the rivalry between Puerto Rican and American gangs in New York City. It is based on Arthur Laurents’ book that tells a story about the love between Tony, a former gang member of the Jets, and Maria, the sister of the Sharks’ leader. It is a story of love, murder and gang violence coupled with extended dance scenes and sophisticated music. The theater musical was adapted into a musical film in 1961 and has won 10 Academy Awards.
When talking about the best theater musicals, we should not leave out Chicago. This musical is based on the eponymous 1926 play by reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins about real criminals and their crimes. It is the second longest-running show on Broadway, only behind The Phantom of the Opera, a story about a disfigured man living underneath the Paris Opera House and who kidnaps a beautiful soprano girl. Chicago was adapted into a musical film in 2002 and has won the Academy Award for Best Picture.