Broadway Musicals – Features on popular musical theatre productions

Broadway Musicals
Written by Andres

The Illustrious History and Continuing Legacy of Broadway Stage Spectacles

Broadway musicals boast a renowned history as America’s premier form of musical theatre. Originating in the early 20th century, these celebrated stage productions began increasing in the 1920s and 1930s, popularizing musical theatre as a mainstream entertainment genre. Pioneering Broadway composers like George Gershwin and Richard Rodgers elevated musicals to an art form, crafting innovative works that resonate deeply today.

Throughout the latter half of the century, beloved musicals like West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, and Chicago further cemented musical theatre as a cultural phenomenon, renowned for artistic storytelling through a fusion of song, dance, and drama. To this day, Broadway remains a household name synonymous with spectacular live performances and hit musicals. Spectacles like Hamilton, The Lion King, and Wicked have shattered box office records and enraptured audiences worldwide, showcasing musical theatre’s timeless power to move, inspire, and bring communities together. This article will explore musical theatre’s illustrious history and examine what enduring appeal has made Broadway musicals a global sensation.

Record-Breaking Hits that Packed Them In


Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical biography of Alexander Hamilton debuted in 2015, taking the theatre world by storm. A cultural tour de force praised for its diversity and innovation; Hamilton grossed nearly $650 million during its Broadway run. It remains the highest-grossing musical in adjusted box office history.

The Lion King

With its lavish puppetry and beloved soundtrack, this Disney musical adaptation of Hamlet continues to enthrall audiences 25 years later. Having played over 9,000 performances, The Lion King reportedly grosses $60-80 million annually. It’s the highest-grossing Broadway show in weekly box office figures.


Exploring the untold stories of The Wizard of Oz characters, Wicked uses a pop-rock score to share its empowering message. Now in its 18th year, it’s the 5th longest-running Broadway show ever, making over $1 billion.

The Phantom of the Opera

This Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is a romantic, Gothic spectacle that has continued breaking box office records since 1988. The longest-running show in Broadway history, Phantom grosses over $1 million weekly on average, with global ticket sales surpassing $6 billion.


A stylish, seductive murder mystery, Chicago revived the dance musical when it premiered in 1975. The film adaptation took it mainstream; today, it remains one of Broadway’s most-produced titles, with over 27,500 performances totaling $878 million to date.

Contemporary Hits Winning Hearts and Awards

Dear Evan Hansen

Since opening in 2016, the tear-jerking story of loneliness and community has attracted legions of young fans. Winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen demonstrates musical theatre’s ability to discuss mental health challenges.

Come From Away

The feel-good, true-story musical invited audiences in 2017 to experience the kindness shown by a small town towards air travelers after 9/11’s airport closings. Lauded for celebrating humanity, it received the Tony for Best Direction of a Musical.


This folk-operatic retelling of the Orpheus myth began as an indie musical in 2006. Its 2019 Broadway premiere was unanimously lauded, winning eight Tonys, including Best Musical. Hadestown has now been performed over 500 times on Broadway and tours.

Springsteen on Broadway

Bruce Springsteen’s wildly popular, record-extending solo residency showcases his humble storytelling artistry. It ran on Broadway for over a year starting in 2017, earning the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer a Special Tony Award.

Ain’t Too Proud

The Temptations biographical musical brought Motown legend to Broadway in 2019. Garnering a Best Choreography Tony for its funk-laden dances, Ain’t Too Proud continues selling out theaters with its celebration of brotherhood and soulful music.

Classics That Stood the Test of Time

West Side Story

Opening in 1957, Arthur Laurents’ modern-day adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, starring feuding New York gangs, broke new ground with its realistic grit and use of dance to propel the plot. The mesmerizing Leonard Bernstein-scored musical left an indelible mark on American popular culture.


Bob Fosse’s dark, cinematic take on the Roaring Twenties scandalized audiences in 1975 with its unapologetic depictions of murder, corruption, and female sexuality. Chicago revived the dance musical and was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film, turning it into a true global phenomenon.

Fiddler on the Roof

Featuring Jerry Bock’s memorable klezmer-inspired score and Joseph Stein’s nostalgic book celebrating family and faith, 1964’s Fiddler on the Roof touched audiences worldwide. Considered among Broadway’s most influential musicals ever, with an iconic film, it also honors tradition against social change.

Cabaret ө

John Kander and Fred Ebb’s intimate musical set in a decadent Berlin nightclub unveiled in 1966 illuminated the political climate of 1930s Germany with its intimate glimpses into hedonism and repression. Cabaret won multiple Tony Awards and inspired numerous revivals and a classic film.

Sunday in the Park with George

With a plot centered around French pointillist painter Georges Seurat, Stephen Sondheim crafted this Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork in 1984 that explored the artistic process through its innovative fusion of song, painting, and drama. It left a lasting mark on Broadway’s creative landscape.

Film-to-Stage Hits Delivering New Thrills

Sister Act

The 1992 comedy about an R&B singer hiding in a convent was reimagined for Broadway in 2011. With original music by Alan Menken, it amplified the nuns’ disco dancing while deepening the story’s messages of faith and individuality.

Groundhog Day

Following the beloved 1993 film about a man reliving the same day, the 2016 Broadway adaptation supplemented Bill Murray’s performance with an expanded cast and two new songs from Tim Minchin. Its byplay between philosophy and hilarity translated stirringly to the stage.

Pretty Woman

The hit 1990 Julia Roberts romance became a whimsical 2018 musical, as director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell infused it with showstopping spectacle. While streamlining the storyline, its infectious score and portrayal of finding love in unexpected places has audiences swooning.


The 1988 Tim Burton cult classic morphed into a 2019 Broadway musical with even more outlandish, hilarious chaos administered by demons wreaking havoc on the living. Gleefully macabre, with a party rock score by Eddie Perfect, it spins a fresh twist on the film’s subversiveness.

Mean Girls

Tina Fey wittily adapted her wry 2004 high school comedy into a 2017 musical, amping up its laugh-out-loud girl-world comedy with infectiously clever songs and dances that pack even more bite.


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