Broadway Goes Mainstream- A Spring 2024 Listening Guide

This season include music by Alicia Keys, The Who, Sufjan Stevens, and more!

By: Apr. 14, 2024
Broadway Goes Mainstream- A Spring 2024 Listening Guide
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A new Broadway season has arrived at last, full of exciting new shows and revivals of beloved classics. While many of them feature scores by some of Broadway's mist beloved composers, two are based on concept albums, two on existing catalogs of music, and four are original scores by music icons. If you are seeing any of the below productions in 2024, check out how you can study up beforehand or unpack afterwards!

Plus, check out which Broadway shows you can add to your reading list and viewing queue.

See: Illinose

Listen: Illinois (2005)

Stevens’ beloved cult classic features live music and vocals, impressionistic choreography, and narratives centering on self-exploration and community, crafted by Tony Award-winning director-choreographer Justin Peck. A company of performers brings the original story to life, set to the entirety of Stevens’ album with new arrangements by composer, pianist, and frequent Stevens collaborator Timo Andres, ranging in style from DIY folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronics, performed live by an 11-member band and three vocalists.

See: The Who's Tommy

Listen: Tommy (1969)

Myth and spectacle combine in The Who’s exhilarating 1969 rock opera, TOMMY—including the unforgettable anthems “I’m Free,” “See Me, Feel Me,” “Sensation” and “Pinball Wizard.” After witnessing his father shoot his rival, the young Tommy Walker is lost in the universe, endlessly and obsessively staring into the mirror. An innate knack for pinball catapults him from reticent adolescent to celebrity savior. 

See: Hell's Kitchen

Listen: The discography of Alicia Keys

Ali is a 17-year-old girl full of fire – searching for freedom, passion and her place in the world. How she finds them is a New York City coming-of-age story you’ve never felt before: Hell's Kitchen, a new musical from 16-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys, whose life and songs inspire an experience made for Broadway. Set in the rhythm of the 90s, Ali is rebellious and stifled by an overprotective single mother until she meets her mentor: a neighbor who shows her how to cultivate the power of piano and opens her mind and heart. 

See: The Heart of Rock and Roll

Listen: The discography of Huey Lewis & The News

Set in 1987 and jam-packed with Huey Lewis megahits like “Do You Believe in Love”, “Hip to Be Square” , and “If This Is It,” The Heart of Rock and Roll centers on a couple of twenty-somethings on the cusp of their futures—Bobby, a rock and roller who’s traded his guitar for the corporate ladder and his boss Cassandra who’s always put the family business first. When they both get a second shot at their dreams, it’ll take “The Power of Love” and a little help from their friends — to figure out what kind of life they really want. 

See: The Notebook

Listen: The discogrpahy of Ingrid Michaelson

Allie and Noah, two people from different worlds, share a lifetime of love despite the forces that threaten to pull them apart in a deeply moving portrait of the enduring power of love. Based on the book that has sold millions of copies worldwide and a film that is one of the highest-grossing romantic dramas of all-time, the musical adaptation of The Notebook features new, original music and lyrics by multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson.

See: The Outsiders

Listen: The discography of Jamestown Revival

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1967, Ponyboy Curtis, his best friend Johnny Cade and their Greaser family of “outsiders” battle with their affluent rivals, the Socs. This thrilling new Broadway musical navigates the complexities of self-discovery as the Greasers dream about who they want to become in a world that may never accept them. With a dynamic original score by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay & Zach Chance) and Justin Levine, The Outsiders is a story of friendship, family, belonging... and the realization that there is still “lots of good in the world.” 

See: Stereophonic

Listen: The discography of Arcade Fire

Stereophonic mines the agony and the ecstasy of creation as it zooms in on a music studio in 1976. Here, an up-and-coming rock band recording a new album finds itself suddenly on the cusp of superstardom. The ensuing pressures could spark their breakup — or their breakthrough. In Stereophonic, Adjmi invites the audience to immerse themselves—with fly-on-the-wall intimacy—in the powder keg process of a band on the brink of blowing up. The play features songs by Academy Award nominee and Grammy Award winner Will Butler, formerly of Arcade Fire.

See: Water for Elephants

Listen: The discography of PigPen Theater Co.

After losing what matters most, a young man jumps a moving train unsure of where the road will take him and finds a new home with the remarkable crew of a traveling circus, and a life—and love—beyond his wildest dreams. Seen through the eyes of his older self, his adventure becomes a poignant reminder that if you choose the ride, life can begin again at any age.  The msuical features an original score by the acclaimed PigPen Theatre Co.

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