Have you ever watched something so compelling and thrilling that it kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time? With a combination of singing, dancing, amazing stories, and topnotch acting, musicals offer just that.
Theater buffs and tourists alike flock to Broadway in New York City or West End in London to watch musicals, and here are five fantastic, award-winning shows that you should definitely catch live:
- Les Misérables
This sung-through musical is based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name.
Set during the French Revolution, it tells the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant who was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his relatives, and his struggle and search for redemption.
In 1987, Les Mis, as it is widely known, was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. It ran from 1985 to 2012 which makes it the longest-running musical in the West End.
Set in the 1920s, Chicago tells the story of two rival murderesses, Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, who cross paths in county jail, and how the press covered them as “celebrity criminals”.
It is based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.
It was adapted into a film in 2002 starred by actresses Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
- The Lion King
Based on the 1994 Disney animated film, director Julie Taymor created this musical that features actors in animal costumes and gigantic props. It also features the music of South African composer Lebo M.
The Lion King won six Tony Awards in 1998, including Best Musical. It is the highest-grossing stage show in history.
As The New York Times says, “There is simply nothing else like it.”
Wicked is a musical prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” that will make you fall in love with the story of the two witches Glinda and Elphaba with great leads, clever material, and catchy songs.
It has certainly defied odds considering that this now-successful show opened to mixed reviews back in 2003.
The original Broadway production, based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, has won three Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards.
- The Phantom of the Opera
Based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
It is a classic tale that mashes horror and romance to tell the story of a disfigured hero who falls madly in love with a beautiful soprano at a Paris opera house.
This show has won seven 1988 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.In 2006, it surpassed “Cats” as the longest-running musical in Broadway history. It is currently the longest-running musical and the most financially-successful theatrical show in history.
So, which show will you be watching first? Share your thoughts in the comments section.