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Top 10 Musicals

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Disclaimer: This goes off of personal preference. If I didn’t include your favorite or put your favorite lower than how you place it in your head, I am so sorry.

 

1: Hamilton

 

The national phenomenon Hamilton places number 1 on my list due to its impact on pop culture and its creativity. The musical is the brainchild of Lin Manuel Miranda which follows the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of our founding fathers and first secretary of the treasury, and his life as well as the lives of people like his wife, Eliza, Angelica Schuyler, Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. The cast is made up primarily of people of color which is surprisingly rare to find on the Broadway stage and the music was influenced by modern music and rap. Miranda says the musical is “America then as told by America now”. It picked up 16 Tony nominations last year and won 11 of those awards including Best Musical.

 

2: In the Heights

 

Another famed work by Miranda, In the Heights is the story of several characters as they live and try to survive in Washington Heights, a primarily Latino neighborhood in New York City. Characters such as Usnavi, Nina, Benny, Sonny, Abuela Claudia, and Vanessa show their struggles to the audience through song such as “Breathe” which is Nina talking about how she feels as though she let everyone down due to dropping out of university because of stress. This musical features music influenced by latin pop and urban music, giving it a new, unconventional twist to a Broadway show.

 

3: Wicked

 

Wicked is a beloved Broadway musical which highlights what really happened in Oz before Dorothy dropped in. Wicked is the untold story of the witches of Oz. It follows Elphaba who goes on to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West and how she was a social outcast, isolated by even her own family, for her green skin and magic powers which make her even stranger than she already seemed to be. This musical has a lot more to it, but to save time, you will have to go check the soundtrack out online for yourself. It is critically acclaimed for a beautiful soundtrack by Stephen Schwartz as well as phenomenal acting and costume design, so it places highly on this list.

 

4: RENT

 

This famed and beloved musical was written by Jonathan Larson and came to the Broadway stage in 1995 for the ‘95-’96 season and stayed for 12 years before finally closing curtains in 2008. It follows the lives of 7 friends who are living in New York City in the height of the AIDS crisis. Many of the main characters in the story such as Roger, Mimi, Collins, and Angel  are actually diagnosed with AIDS and the story also follows how they cope with the virus. The musical openly features LGBT+ characters like Maureen and her fiancee Joanne as well as Collins and Angel. Larson’s work is treasured today by many theatre fans with songs like “La Vie Boheme” and “Seasons of Love” becoming favorites and even picked up the Tony for best musical at the 1996 Tony Awards.

 

5: The Lion King

 

How could I leave this off the list? The Lion King is beloved by people of all generations whether for the musical or the animated film for its incredible award-winning soundtrack and lighthearted comedy to help you recover from the scene that shall not be named. The characters are the ones we all know and love such as Simba, Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, Mufasa, and Rafiki are ones who are beloved by many and wonderful in both the movie and musical. The iconic songs such as Circle of Life, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, and Hakuna Matata are all still beautifully done and as magical as we all remember and Be Prepared still places fear into the hearts of all

 

6: Phantom of the Opera

 

If this wasn’t included on a Broadway list, it would be an all-out crime. Phantom of the Opera is one of the most famous Broadway shows in the world and follows the story of Christine Daae as she rises to stardom at an opera house in France and how she deals with being the apple of the Phantom’s eye  as well as a new primadonna. The music is incredible and very well known, written by the acclaimed Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, and has been awarded several times and toured all over the world. It is a personal favorite of mine and many others which places it on the list of top 10 musicals.

 

7: Sound of Music

 

A classic. The Sound of Music takes place on the starting end of the Second World War in Austria and follows the story of Frauline Maria as she goes from being a nun in an abbey to the nanny of the Von Trapp family, looking after the seven rowdy children and eventually capturing the heart of the widowed father, Captain Von Trapp and marrying him.  The musical features a lot of well known songs such as My Favorite Things and Do a Deer. Most of us have seen the movie version which is lovely and stars the incredible Julie Andrews. This is a classic to many and one that I personally grew up watching with my older sister on VHS (if you don’t know what that is, why are you in high school? You are too little!)

 

8: Les Miserables

 

Les Miserables is a musical based in France in the 1800’s. It is based on the book by Victor Hugo of the same name and follows many different storylines, however it primarily follows the story of Jean Valjean, a French convict who has run from his parole in order to redeem himself and start a new life while running from the officer who wishes to bring him back behind bars: Officer Javert. The soundtrack is beyond wonderful and very critically acclaimed, earning many awards throughout its time in existence.

 

9: Heathers: The Musical

 

This one is a bit more odd than the other ones. Heathers: The Musical is based off of the beloved 1988 Winona Ryder and Christian Slater movie, Heathers. The musical follows Veronica Sawyer in her senior year of high school at Westerburg High School in Westerburg, Ohio which is nothing but a social hierarchy in which Veronica is sadly at the bottom with her friend, Martha Dunnstock, until she meets and befriends the Heathers: Heather McNamara, Heather Duke, and their leader, Heather Chandler. This thus brings her miles up the ladder and makes her ridiculously popular.

 

10: Dear Evan Hansen

 

This one is a brand new musical. Dear Evan Hansen is a musical following a teen named Evan Hansen who has high levels of anxiety as he goes through his first day of his senior year in high school. This musical is insanely complex and beautiful in different angles and factors to Evan’s life from absent parents and a lack of friends to parents who don’t care and neglectful attitudes. The soundtrack contains songs like Waving Through a Window and Words Fail which look perfectly into anxious, slightly-destructive behavior of teenagers.. The musical is new to Broadway, but still very good and complex with a great soundtrack which makes it easily likeable to many, placing it at number 10 on my Top 10.

 

Honorable Mentions: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Legally Blonde: The Musical, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, Beauty and the Beast, West Side Story, and Aladdin.

 

So, what are your favorite musicals?

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Orcutt Academy High School News and Event
Top 10 Musicals