Broadway shows often push the limits of freedom of expression. Back when TV and movies had very strict censorship, the theater was already tackling issues like sex, homosexuality, drugs, religion, etc.
Read on to know three of the most controversial shows on Broadway:
- The Book of Mormon
From the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, comes a satirical tale about two young Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda. They have a hard time reaching out to the locals who are more concerned with real-life pressing issues like poverty, war, and AIDS. The producers made use of humor and music to touch on these issues.
Despite the controversy surrounding the show, The Book of Mormon was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards in 2011. They won nine awards including Best Musical, Best Book of Musical, Best Original Score, Best Direction, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Sound Design.
- Avenue Q
This musical covers sex, drugs, racism, homosexuality and online pornography with the use of puppets. Yes, puppets — like the ones seen in Sesame Street. That is what sparked controversy for Avenue Q.
The show opened Off-Broadway in March 2003 and transferred to Broadway in July of the same year. It has won three Tony Awards including Best Musical.
You can still catch Avenue Q at New World Stages in New York.
Starting Off-Broadway in the late 1960s, Hair is a rock musical that is a product of the hippie culture and sexual revolution. It is a story of a group of hippies fighting conscription to the Vietnam War.
The production was perceived to be anti-American because of its irreverence to the American flag. The most controversial element was a brief nude scene with the entire cast that ended the first act.
The 1969 original production moved to Broadway after six months. It was nominated for two Tony Awards — Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical (Tom O’Horgan). It won a Grammy for Best Score From an Original Cast Show Album.
Do you know of other controversial Broadway shows? What were they criticized for? Share it in the comments section below!