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BWW Blog: An Introduction to Musical Theatre


Here are my recommendations for Broadway’s five most beginner-friendly musical theatre shows.

BWW Blog: An Introduction to Musical Theatre

When I was Marco Polo-ing my cousin, Lauren, the other day I asked her what my next blog should be about. She responded back with, "Write about the best musicals that someone like me, who knows nothing about theatre, should get into first". I immediately started typing, once being clueless on the topic of musical theatre myself.

Everyone has that show for them, the one that made them fall in love with theatre just as I first did. Mine was the beloved story of Les Misérables, a Broadway classic. With Les Misérables comes many more musicals that I believe to be stories that need to be heard, need to be seen, need to be loved.

So, here are my recommendations for Broadway's five most beginner-friendly musical theatre shows. The best shows to light a fire in your heart for jazz hands, incredible costumes, and the occasional heartbreak. You'll thank me later.

Les Misérables (1987)

Synopsis: This musical rendition of Victor Hugo's 1862 novel depicts the life of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict living in France. Throughout his life, he is hunted by his old guard, Javert who never stops looking for Valjean after he broke his parole. In his search for a new and redemptive life, Valjean begins caring for the daughter of a factory worker, changing him forever. As they both grow older, they find themselves in the midst of the French revolution.

Most recognizable songs: "One Day More", "I Dreamed a Dream", "Stars"

West Side Story (1957)

Synopsis: Mirroring the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story focuses on the two opposing and ethnically diverse gangs of 1950's New York City. Tony, a former member of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, sister of the Sharks' leader. Eventually, the two rivalries turn to violence, resulting in a tragic ending.

Most recognizable songs: "I Feel Pretty", "America", "Maria"

Wicked (2003)

Synopsis: Telling the tale of two unlikely friends, Elphaba and Glinda are the "good" and "bad" witches in the land of Oz. Throughout "The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz", the two battle through differing personalities and viewpoints, ultimately resulting in the classification of Elphaba as wicked.

Most recognizable songs: "Popular", "Defying Gravity", "For Good"

Hamilton (2015)

Synopsis: Centered around Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton shows all of the good and bad of the rollercoaster that is his life. Depicting his affairs, battles, and legacy through music, Hamilton brings a new element to history.

Most recognizable songs: "My Shot", "Non-Stop","Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)"

Chicago (1975)

Synopsis: In the satirical production portraying the fame surrounding criminal celebrities, Chicago tells of Velma and Roxie, two women who find themselves battling for publicity after committing heinous crimes.

Most recognizable songs: "All That Jazz", "Cell Block Tango", "Class"

Well, there you have it! I believe these shows to be the best for beginning your "musical theatre lover" free-trial. Give them a listen or a watch and join the party. We'd be glad to have you.

P.S. Lauren, if you're reading this, I'll be over in 5 with Les Mis and popcorn. Oh, and tissues.

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