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Top 10 Musicals to See on Broadway

By: Maggie Kretzmann

With Legally Blonde opening next Wednesday at Waldorf University, there is no better idea than looking into some of the best musicals performed on Broadway. Here is my list of what I consider the Top 10 best musicals to ever run on Broadway!

10. Cats

Andrew Loyd Webber’s musical tells of a tribe of cats, called the Jellicle Cats, who must choose which of them will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and be reborn. The musical is based on T.S. Elliot’s Old Possums’s Book of Practical Cats, a collection of poems. Cats won a Tony Award for best musical in 1983, is the fourth longest running show on Broadway and most recently had a revival in 2016.

9. Phantom of the Opera

Taking place in Paris, a music mastermind, who is considered an outcast due to his physical appearance, helps an aspiring soprano make it in the opera world. As the phantom helps Christine, he begins falling in love with her, and once Christine becomes successful a man from her past reappears, causing the phantom enormous amounts of jealousy, and he begins threatening the opera company as a result. Once again, with the help of Andrew Loyd Webber, The Phantom of the Opera won a Tony for best musical in 1988, and it is one of the most successful musicals of all time.

8. Hairspray

Tracy Turnblad, an overweight and quirky teenager from Baltimore, Maryland always dreamed of dancing on The Corny Collins Show. After being sent to detention and learning some new dance moves from the African American students, Tracy manages to snag a spot on the show and uses her new-found fame to push for racial integration on the show. Along the way Tracy runs into Velma, the producer of the network, and her daughter Amber who bully Tracy. Thanks to help from Tracy’s friends, Link, Corny Collins and Motormouth Maybelle, she finally manages to integrate The Corny Collins ShowHairspray won a Tony award for best musical in 2003.

7. Rent

Rent follows along the lives of a group of young people as they struggle with sexuality, drugs, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and life as they live in East Village in Manhattan during the late 1980s. It is based on La Boheme by Puccini and won a Tony award for best musical in 1996.

6. The Music Man

Harold Hill, a con artist, arrives in River City, Iowa and begins selling instruments and band uniforms as well as pretends to be a band director while promising everyone in the town that he will teach the new band. However, since Harold isn’t really a band instructor, he plans on leaving without actually teaching any lessons, but the liar is caught by Marian, the local librarian and piano teacher. Marian begins falling in love with Harold after he helps her little brother overcome his social awkwardness and lisp, and Harold starts second guessing leaving. In 1957 The Music Man won a Tony for best Musical, and people of any background will find this musical catchy and enjoyable.

5. Les Miserables

Set during 19th century France and after the French Revolution, Les Miserables follows along a diverse cast of characters and shows what life was like for different people. Jean Valjean, a recent convict, looks for a new life with Inspector Javert while chasing him endlessly. Throughout the musical Valjean finally realizes what the real meaning of redemption and love means. The musical is based off of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and won a Tony in 1987 for best musical. In 2012 the movie Les Miserables was released and starred A-list actors such as Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, Anne Hathaway and more. It is one of the most recognized musicals as well as longest running musicals to ever hit Broadway.

4. The Lion King

Much like the Disney movie, The Lion King follows along a lion cub named Simba after he felt it was his fault for his father’s death, when in reality it was his uncle, Scar, who came up with the dastardly plan. With the help of Nala, Timon and Pumba, Simba returns and defeats Scar, claiming the pride lands as his own. By using unique and beautiful costumes and backdrops, you should see The Lion King if you get the chance. The musical received a Tony award in 1997 for best musical.

3. Bye Bye Birdie

The musical takes place in 1958, and Conrad Birdie, a popular rock-and-roll singer had been drafted into the U.S. Army. An idea created by Birdie’s agent, Albert and Albert’s girlfriend Rosie has Birdie performing one last concert, showcasing his new single, “One Last Kiss,” on The Ed Sullivan Show to save the record company from failing. He will also be giving a farewell kiss to one of his fans in the Conrad Birdie fan club, who turns out to be Kim MacAfee who lives in Sweet Apple, Ohio. As the time grows closer to the event, things start getting hectic, and Kim’s boyfriend gets jealous at the thought of Kim kissing a singer on national TV. With catchy songs, flashy costumes and beautiful set designs, Bye Bye Birdie can be performed by any group, and won a Tony for best musical in 1961.

2. Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical has become one of the most popular musicals ever to hit Broadway, with performances being sold out across the U.S. Hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, and how he went from being an outsider to Washington’s number two. Miranda’s use of hip-hop has changed the ideas of musicals for the better, and David Brooks of The New York Times that said Hamilton is, “one of the most exhilarating experiences he’s had in theatre.” If you get the chance to see Hamilton, don’t pass up such an opportunity. In 2016, it won a Tony award for best musical, which is no surprise based on how popular it is with people everywhere.

1. Legally Blonde: The Musical

After being dumped by her boyfriend, Warner, Elle Woods comes up with the perfect plan of winning him back by getting into the same school he goes to, Harvard Law School. Along the way Elle not only makes it into Harvard Law, she also meets a group of quirky characters, is selected to be apart of Professor Callahan’s defense team and learns that being blonde isn’t so bad.

If you want to catch Legally Blonde: The Musical anytime soon, it opens April 5th- 8th at 7:30 p.m. at Waldorf University (tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and $2 for Waldorf Students). Come and see all of the hard work all those involved put towards this wonderful production. We hope to see you there!