Musicals are making a comeback



   Broadway itself has always been famous. Everyone can envision the bright lights of a marquee, the curtain rising. While many know the basics of theatre, the general population does not remember the songs, plays, and performers that make theatre great. 

   Recently, the number of theatre fans has increased. This is most likely because playwrights have started to appeal to modern audiences.  

   When “Hamilton” was first shown on August 6, 2015 at the Richard Rogers Theatre, it gained a large following, which was mostly made up of teens and young adults. Lin Manuel Miranda, the playwright who created “Hamilton”, used a mix of rap and song to narrate the story of the relatively unknown Alexander Hamilton. 

    While the first Secretary of Treasury and co-author of the Federalist Papers does not seem like a good subject for a ground-breaking musical, Lin Manuel Miranda plays him perfectly. 

   Freshman Rubi Regan states “I like Hamilton because it was the first musical that I was interested in and it introduced me to musical theatre.” 

   “Dear Evan Hansen” is also one of the most popular musicals with the teenage audience. It premiered on May 1, 2016. “Dear Evan Hansen” follows the title character as he navigates high school and deals with his social anxiety. 

    This musical won Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Steven Levenson), Best Orchestrations (Alex Lacamoire), Best Original Score, Best Actor in a Musical (Ben Platt as Evan Hansen), and Best Featured Actress (Rachel Bay Jones as Heidi Hansen) at the 2017 Tony Awards.  

   “Heathers” is a remake of the 1989 non-musical movie. This forced playwrights Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe to write over twenty original songs for the musical. 

    This musical follows Veronica, who joins the most prestigious clique in her school, the Heathers. She meets her mysterious classmate JD and they start dating. This musical is particularly dark for what looks like a chick-flick musical. 

    Murphy and O’Keefe did an excellent job updating the play for modern audiences. This play gained a large following, which mostly consisted of teens. 

    Another teen movie adaptation on Broadway is “Mean Girls.” This show introduces a new element of comedy to the 2000s film. Tina Fey, who played Mrs. Norbury in the movie, and her husband Jeff Richmond worked on the stage adaptation together with the help of lyricist Nell Benjamin, who’s best known for her work on the musical of “Legally Blonde.”

    This show tells the story of sixteen year-old Cady Heron as she transitions from being home-schooled in Africa to attending public school in Chicago. She must navigate “girl world” and decide who her friends really are: Janis and Damien or the Plastics.

    “Next to Normal” was nominated for eleven Tony Awards and won a Pulitzer Prize. This musical perfectly addressed heavy issues such as suicide, depression, mental illnesses, and drug abuse. 

    This show follows a suburban mother, named Diana Goodman and her family. Diana suffers from bipolar disorder, and her husband Dan suffers from depression. This musical is appreciated by adults and teens alike.  

   “Wicked” was opened in 2003 and has been on Broadway ever since. This play was based off the books by Gregory Maguire and “The Wizard of Oz” movie. Both kids and adults love this show.

    Across the country (and close by in New Orleans next month), Tate High School graduate Allison Bailey will be playing Galinda on the national tour of Wicked after understudying the role while in the ensemble.

   It opens up as a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” with Elphaba and Galinda starting off at Shiz University. The two are forced to be roommates but eventually become friends. Elphaba later becomes the Wicked Witch of the West and Galinda becomes Glinda the Good. Many of the other characters are also changed as it comes into the same time frame as the movie. 

   Theatre used to be outdated, and it was only appreciated by a few. Now that playwrights have adapted their plays for the modern age, many teenagers and young adults have started to appreciate theatre. Playwrights will continue to make many modern musicals that are a perfect fit for Broadway.