With such a variety of musicals from drama to comedies, there is such a wide range to choose from for my favorite Broadway musicals. There is nothing like watching a story where people randomly break out in song and dance. I just wish my life could be a musical so I could break out in a song whenever I felt sad or happy. Unfortunately, since I don’t live in a musical, I have to live vicariously through some of my favorite Broadway musicals.
1. Les Misérables
Even though I have never actually seen it on Broadway, Les Mis is still one of my favorite Broadway musicals. I recently saw the movie and was blown away by it. Even when I have seen it in off-Broadway versions, I still found it incredible. This story tells the tale of a man who is trying to run from his past, lovers torn by violence, and young rebels trying to fight for their freedom. It has everything your could want. Even if you don’t take my word for it, Les Mis is one of the longest running musicals of all time, and years of people loving it must mean it is incredible. I wont spoil the show too much because you need to watch it, but I promise you will not be disappointed after watching this Broadway favorite.
2. Legally Blonde
Who wouldn’t want to watch a chick flick turned musical? As much as I loved the movie, I loved the musical even more. My favorite blonde lawyer, Elle Woods, was back in action in the Broadway version of Legally Blonde. The songs are super catchy and the entire show is filled with the color pink and tons of Elle Woods' quirky antics. The musical takes all of your favorite aspects about the movie, and just puts them to song and dance to create such a lovable Broadway musical.
Wicked is one of my favorite Broadway musicals because it took my favorite childhood story of “The Wizard of Oz” to a whole new level. It tells about the origins of Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West, whose real name is actually Elphaba. In Wicked, The Wicked Witch of the West doesn’t exist yet, and Elphaba is just a young girl trying to come into her own. One of the best parts about Wicked is that it shows that even if you are different, you can overcome adversity and achieve great things. Not to mention I get chills every time I listen to "Defying Gravity."
When I first saw Rent, nobody warned me I would leave the theater in tears. Rent is one of my favorite Broadway musicals not only for its addictive and catchy music, but for the assortment of personalities that make up the main characters. They are a group of friends living in the city while struggling with rent payments, drug abuse, AIDS, and trying to follow their dreams. Trust me, you will leave Rent obsessed with all of the music and wanting to live “la vie boheme.”
5. Avenue Q
Warning to parents: do not take your children to this show unless you want to spend a good amount of time awkwardly explaining things to them. This is not your typical puppet musical. As a spoof off of Sesame Street, Avenue Q has puppets talking about racism, sex, gay people, and being happy when bad things happen to other people. You will be falling out of your seat from laughter at this raunchy show. And if you never in a million years though you would be watching puppets have sex, think again.
6. Mamma Mia
I am a huge fan of ABBA’s music, so naturally Mamma Mia is one of my favorite Broadway musicals. Like all of my favorite Broadway musicals, the songs are absolutely addictive and will stay in your head for weeks. Like Les Mis, Mamma Mia has been running for years and is still considered a hugely popular show. Mamma Mia takes the beloved songs of ABBA and puts it to the story of a young girl trying to find out who her father is at her wedding on a small island in Greece. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.
You can’t stop the beat when it comes to another one of my favorite Broadway musicals, Hairspray. I fell in love with both the musical and the movie version of Hairspray. This was one of the first musicals I ever saw when I was younger. Hairspray was the musical that introduced me into the world of Broadway. I found it so fascinating that a show that started off about dance could incorporate an underlying message about the importance of integration into it. Ever since then, I have had a special place for musicals in my heart.
8. South Pacific
My mother would always sing “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair” when I was younger and it just stuck with me. South Pacific is such a classic example of a Rogers and Hammerstein musical from the 50s. South Pacific is about American soldiers and nurses living in the South Pacific during WWII and having to deal with falling in love in a foreign land and racial discrimination. This was such an incredible concept for the time when race was still a sensitive issue in the 50s. South Pacific is considered one of the great American Broadway musicals, and I personally would have to agree.
If you love anything Monty Python, Spamalot is for you. Based on the hilarious movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Gail,” Spamalot is a parody of the old legend of King Arthur, but with a twist. The parade of wacky characters includes Sir Robin, Lance, the Lady of the Lake, and of course King Arthur. With tons of slapstick humor and crazy songs, Spamalot is filled with tons of reasons to laugh yourself silly.
10. Sweeney Todd
The reason Sweeney Todd is one of my favorite Broadway musicals is because it is so different from the others. While most shows are about love or friendship, Sweeney Todd is about the dark path revenge leads you down. Filled with bloody gore and violence, this show is not for the faint-hearted. If you are too scared to try and check this out in person, I would definitely recommend the Tim Burton version of the musical with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
Broadway musicals have always found a way from the stage and into our hearts. The way they can take a song and dance and turn it into something bigger than a show just astonishes me. What are some of your favorite Broadways musicals? What do you think makes a great Broadway musical?